What exactly is a mantra? Ever wondered that?
As usual, when I choose a topic for this category of mine, Decoding Yoga, everything is much harder to convey than originally expected. Even the concept of mantra is huge and deep. Here's what I've learned: nothing in yoga is shallow or meaningless. It seems everything about yoga is deep and profound, and just when you think you understand it, you learn that you've only seen the tip of the iceberg.
So, I'll do my best here— with mantra— to explain it because a big mission of mine is to make yoga accessible and relatable to those of us here in the West, without watering it down or disrespecting its origin. These concepts sometime seem esoteric and woo-woo to us, and it turns a lot of people off immediately. That's such a shame, because there is so much there for us to learn and tools for us to use if we'll just take the time to understand it. Read on for a basic explanation of what a mantra is, and how to use one.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. One of my favorite things to say. If you've been practicing yoga for a while, then chances are good you've heard this often used chant. It pops up in songs, classes, meditations, and even yoga gear. If you've heard it, but aren't familiar with the meaning, read on for a translation. It's beautiful.
Namaste has become a common word here in the West. Since I live and teach yoga in a small town, I'm often asked what it means, especially by those who are new to yoga.
Many new students have approached me after class and asked what Namaste means. Sometimes they look concerned or suspicious. I think it's the way we say it at the end of class... with reverence, with hands at prayer pose, eyes closed... sometimes inserting a small bow of gratitude. It can be confusing and maybe even uncomfortable if you're witnessing it for the first time.
Let's clear it up, then.
My mission statement is to make yoga and healthy living relatable and approachable for all. I recently had an idea to start a column on my blog where the content aims to "decode" some of the terms you hear in yoga. I've realized that the vocabulary and Sanskrit throw some people off, and since they don't know what these terms mean, they lose interest or are afraid of yoga. But yoga shouldn't be scary, intimidating or unrelateable (I've even written about that here in Yoga: Where To Start?). Instead, it should be meaningful, inclusive, and (hopefully) a really fun never-ending personal journey. Therefore, in this new category of my blog, I'll do my best to take some of these terms / items / chants and explain them.
I'm starting with the term drishti, one of my favorite words. It's really fun to say. If you’ve ever been in a yoga class and heard the instructor mention your drishti and immediately thought “Uh oh. I didn't bring a drishti.”... then this post is for you. It sounds mysterious, but when you begin to really understand what drishti refers to, it can revolutionize your yoga practice.
Hi, I'm Blake. I love adventure, cooking, costume parties, wine, yoga, and reading...in that order. Follow my blog for yoga stuff, fitness tips, & healthy recipes...
• The Meaning of Namaste
• Confessions of a Self Care Hypocrite
• Living In The Age Of Social Media: Swapping Comparison for Gratitude
• My Exercise Manifesto
• 4 Exercise Hacks To Get YOU Moving