Tuesday, April 02, 2013

What Should a Yoga Teacher Know About Mantra

500 hour yoga teacher training program
By Kimaya Singh

Like many aspects of yogic science, the mantra is one that is not widely used by yoga teachers outside of India. There are a number of reasons for this. Some teachers consider the mantra to be an unnecessary throwback to earlier times; others are unclear on just what benefit using the mantra brings to the modern yoga classroom. Additionally, some students are offended by the practice of mantra because they feel Sanskrit syllables or words may have religious overtones.

Every yoga instructor should have at least some familiarity with the practice of mantra and what its role in the yogic tradition is. Some teachers may choose to incorporate mantra in their own activities, while others may not. At the very least, all teachers should be able to speak knowledgeably on the subject of mantras when called upon to do so.

The simplest western equivalent to the mantra is the positive affirmation. A simple form of mantra takes the form of an encouraging word or short phrase spoken regularly to bolster positive thinking, a cheerful mood, and self-confidence. While the yogic definition of mantra is far more nuanced, this simple definition can serve as an introduction to the concept of mantra to the student. For students that choose to create their own mantras, teachers should remind them to keep mantras positive and affirming.

Yogic science is like a body. Each component supports the rest in a comprehensive whole. Take away the smallest and most insignificant seeming part, and the body is less capable of functioning. Though not well understood in the west, mantra is an essential element of yoga.

The body of yoga relies on many small parts with simple functions working together to perform more complex tasks. In its purest form, the mantra is a simple word or phrase that is repeated for the duration of yogic exercise. Though seemingly simple, using the mantra focuses the mind and eliminates distractions. Through the deeper levels of concentration provided by the mantra access to deeper levels of yogic meditation are achieved.

In yogic philosophy, everything resonates with its own energy. Concentrating on a mantra creates a mental form of energy. Although the mantra may appear to be mindless chanting to the uninformed, it is in fact the very essence of mindfulness. The mind tends to chatter when left alone, but mantra trains the mind to focus on one task.

Yogic wisdom is a house with many doors. While some students may readily embrace the mantra, others may choose to omit it. Recognizing that each student can have their own preference, yoga teachers should share the knowledge of mantra with those students who wish to experience it.

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kalaiselvan said...

Can there be an additional article eliciting the mantra a little more

Param Yoga said...

Great article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post. yoga teacher training india |yoga therapy teachers training india |yoga courses india

Mary Wilson said...

The simplest western equivalent to the mantra is the positive affirmation. It is an essential element of yoga. Thank you Kimaya Singh for writing this nice article.