Mantras are commonly used during yoga and meditation as a means to focus the mind and calm the body. In fact, the word mantra directly translates to “sound tool.”
While this may sound like a lofty, other-worldly spiritual concept, the use of mantras to establish groundedness is a practice that is grounded in science.
The Benefits of Mantras
Similar to the benefits of sound healing, mantras can:
- Reduce heart rate
- Decrease blood pressure
- Improve brain wave activity
The practice of repeating mantras is known to sync the right and left hemispheres of the brain, creating a link between physical and emotional awareness.
Mantras are used as a means to turn inward, express intention, and shift negative patterns of behavior to positive ones.
Because of this, mantras are a useful tool in day to day life, even outside of a meditation or yoga practice.
While traditional mantras are in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, modern mantras can be found in any language. Many mantra practitioners prefer chanting traditional mantras, but the use of modern mantras can be incredibly beneficial to those looking for positive affirmations and words to live by.
The Power of Mantras in Addiction Recovery
While mantras are a helpful tool for anyone looking to establish inner peace and achieve their goals, they are especially beneficial for those in addiction recovery.
While the practice of reciting mantras may seem silly and fruitless at first, persistence and dedication will help the message resonate over time.
The process of recovery is often a series of ups and downs – some days sobriety feels easy, while others are full of cravings and negative emotions.
By practicing mantras each day, you can maintain a sense of consistency regardless of where you are in your recovery journey. Some days your mantras will feel like simple reminders, and other days they will be the fuel you need to keep moving forward.
A Traditional Mantra for Addiction Recovery
The traditional method for practicing mantras is through chanting during meditation. These mantras are typically Sanskrit and are used to bring the body, mind, and spirit into a higher state of calm and enlightenment.
While there are many Sanskrit phrases used during this type of mantra practice, there is one that is particularly helpful for those in addiction recovery: Sa Ta Na Ma.
“Sa Ta Na Ma” translates loosely to “Infinity. Life. Death. Rebirth.” This series of words is intended to invoke a feeling of expression, transformation, love, and communication, coaxing forth an interconnectedness within yourself and the world around you.
As we understand connection to be essential in recovery, this mantra is especially uplifting for those working to overcome addiction.
7 Steps to Practice this Mantra
1. Find a comfortable seat in a room free of distractions. Traditionally, practitioners sit cross-legged on the floor, but this can also be practiced while sitting upright in a chair.
2. Close your eyes and rest your hands in a comfortable position. In a traditional mantra practice, the hands rest on the breast bone in a prayer position or on the knees with the palms facing upward.
3. Declare an intention for your practice. This may vary from something specific you would like to feel that day or a broad goal such as remaining sober.
4. Turn your attention to your breath. Observe your inhale and exhale. Notice what the breath feels like as it enters and exits your nose and lungs.
5. Begin chanting your mantra. Let go of perfection and pay attention to the sound of the words and what it feels like as you speak them.
6. Continue chanting until you complete the practice or use the mantra as an opening for a silent meditation.
7. Complete your practice with several moments of silence as you turn your attention back to your breath. Take one final deep breath in, fill your lungs, and bow as you slowly exhale.