What are Mantras?

What are Mantras

You have probably heard of mantras in a yoga class or as a slogan. But, do you understand what mantras really are?

Mantras are sounds considered sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism and Yoga. You can find mantras formed by one syllable or a combination of syllables. Mantras produce vibrations with a precise mathematical arrangement in a specific pattern that can you get you in harmony with life.

You have probably come across the word mantra in a yoga class or as a slogan. The word “mantra” is used, and I would say overused in so many contexts that it has created confusion about what mantra is. 

In this article, we will look at what are mantras, what they are used for and what benefits they can provide you. 

What are mantras?

Mantras are sounds considered sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Yoga. Mantras are formed by one syllable or a combination of syllables. Mantras produce vibrations with a precise mathematical arrangement in a specific pattern.

The original mantras are in Sanskrit, but today you can find them in various languages. The word mantra in Sanskrit means “the thought that liberates and protects” (Radha, 2011). The root ‘man’ means to think and ‘tra’ means to protect or to liberate.

Mantra’s power lies in the sound, in the vibration it produces. You may be wondering if you can chant a mantra aloud. Well, not necessarily you can also chant it in a whisper or in silence. The vibration of the mantra surrounds you when you chant it aloud. When you chant a mantra in silence, it vibrates inside of you. 

Mantras will benefit not only to the person chanting it but also the listener. Chanting a mantra in the right way will help you release energy from your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. 

By simply listening to the mantra you will benefit. A mantra affects your body, mind, and spirit, bringing harmony to all your being. A mantra can activate and speed up your creative spiritual force. It allows you to direct this energy to your benefit or the benefit of others. 

What is a life mantra?

A life mantra is a personal mantra charged with power for you and your life. Traditionally, personalised mantras would happen only between student and guru. Receiving a personal mantra is a commitment to the guru and the mantra.

Mantras are created by enlightened gurus who can perceive the vibrational world. So unless you are sure who is giving you a personal mantra, it could be a waste of your money. 

What is a mantra in yoga? 

Mantras in yoga will help you focus your mind. The sound and repetition of the mantra calms the mind and stop it from wandering around. 

By practising mantras, you can be relieved getting rid of overwhelming recurring thoughts. Mantras will help you stay calm, reducing stress and anxiety.

Most yoga classes will include a mantra at the beginning of the session that helps to get into the space of practice. Sometimes it will also be a mantra at the end to close the class help grounding after the yoga practice.

There are three branches of yoga that use mantras. One is Japa Yoga, Japa means repetition, this type of yoga focuses on the repetition of a mantra. Another yoga is mantra yoga, which focuses on the chanting of mantras. And the last one is Naad yoga, the yoga of sound. 

Naad yoga focuses on the chanting of specific mantras. Naad yoga uses personalized mantras to help you in the inner journey of self-discovery. Naad yoga will help you bring awareness of your experiences and emotions. 

This inner experience will take you back to the universal source, to the original sound. A mantra will place you in a moment where you are in harmony and feel part of the universe. 

Mantras meaning

The curious thing about the meaning of a mantra is that it’s not important. It doesn’t matter if you understand or not the lyrics of the chant. You don’t need to understand the Sanskrit language.

You don’t need to make sense of it. The real importance of a mantra lies in its sound, for which the pronunciation of the word(s) is very important.

All mantras have a meaning, yet their power doesn’t lie in that meaning. The meaning of a mantra is important only for our psychology. We, as humans, like beautiful, positive meanings. But the sound of a mantra will have an effect regardless of its meaning.

Everything in the universe is sound. The matter has a certain frequency that vibrates at a specific rate. Sound produces vibrations, and from vibration, the matter is also produced. Maybe, this is the secret of manifestation. If we vibrate at a particular frequency, we can materialize that which we long for.

When you chant a mantra, you must have an intention before you start your chanting. Think of something you want to achieve, aim for, or long for. As you chant and become one with the mantra, you will tell the universe of your intention for it to manifest. 

How do mantras work?

It’s quite simple mantras will work if you chant them. You can utter or chant a mantra aloud, in a whisper or in silence only in your mind. It seems pretty simple, right? First, you set your intention, chant, and voila! You get what you want. 

The power of the mantra comes from the sound vibration itself. Mantras are sacred sounds created by ancient Indian sages and yogis. These sages and yogis managed to become one with nature and the environment around them. They got to hear the sound of the things surrounding them. 

The Sanskrit language is a witness to this knowledge. Sanskrit is based on sound. Animate and inanimate things were named according to the particular sound they produced. Hence, their name corresponds to their vibration. 

Even if you don’t reach all the notes, the melody of a mantra must never be changed. The melody creates a magnetic effect on the human being. With time your voice will get trained and, you will be able to reach all the notes.

Each mantra has a Bija or seed. This is the essence of the mantra. It gives the mantra its power. This sound has the power to effect change in your life. 

Before starting to chant a mantra set your intention. The mantra will keep your attention focus. When you focus, your initial intention gets magnified. The intention you have during chanting should aim to become one with the mantra.

When the passion of your soul is in the mantra, your aim will become real. A mantra will unite your heart with the divine, with the universe, with your true self. As long as a mantra doesn’t become mechanical and turns into a dull repetition, it will have a positive effect on your life.

What is the purpose of a mantra during meditation?

The aim of a mantra is set by your intention and by the sound of the mantra itself. Mantras are sound tools to help you feel alive and reach an inner state of contentment.

The mind tends to wander around all the time, going to the past or the future. The mind rarely stays a hundred percent in the present. The purpose of a mantra during meditation is to help the mind focus while the chanting takes place. 

So your worries, fantasies, and desires will stay in second place. You will be able to explore your feelings and emotions in your heart and connect with your true self. You will get to a state of calmness where you are aware of your own body and emotions. You may get to a state where you can perceive the surroundings and feel their energies. 

The final aim of a mantra is to help you unite your individual consciousness with the Cosmic consciousness.

What are mantras used for?

Mantras can be used for many purposes. Mantras are commonly used in meditation to help the mind focus while the chanting takes place. You can use mantras after meditations and/or during meditation. 

There are countless mantras, some are said to be more powerful than others. A mantra will quite likely help you get what you want by connecting ‘you’ with the universe.

People around the world use mantras for different reasons. People chant mantras for love, for healing, for anxiety, for success, for health, to help with sleep problems. You can find a mantra to help you with your exams, to bring money, to get you your dream job, you name it.

There are mantras for pretty much anything you want to achieve or improve in your life.

So, depending on what you want to work on, it’s the mantra you need to chant. 

How do you pick a mantra? 

Well, it kind of works the other way around.  I like to think the mantra chooses you. The easiest way is to listen to several mantras and be aware of how you feel while you listen to them.

When you find the mantra you need in your life, you will have a feeling that is stronger than the like or enjoyment of listening to the mantra. It will be a pull towards it. 

Once you know that the mantra is for you, play it from the moment you wake up, on your way to work, before going to sleep, and chant it anywhere and everywhere. 

What is mantra chanting?

Chanting is singing a melody composed of a single word or a set of words that repeat like a chorus. Chanting is a spiritual practice. It’s practised around the world by many cultures from all continents and religions. The chanting of mantras takes place among many traditions. 

There are Buddhist mantras, Hindu mantras, Sikh mantras. Some of these mantras are in Sanskrit language, others are not. Now we can even find mantras in English. Some may debate the chanting of mantras will work regardless of the language it’s sung.

Yet, the science of sound is very precise. In Yoga, Nada yoga is in charge of study sound vibration. Not everybody can create mantras as if it was a writing a melody or a song. 

Mantras have a more precise level of arrangement. They need the person creating them to be attuned with themselves and the universe to be able to feel and hear the sounds of the things around them.

To be able to extract one of those sounds and realize it has the power to guide others and bring them in harmony with themselves and the world around them. 

What happens when you chant?

When you chant, you create vibrations emanating from different parts of your body. The sounds could come from the abdomen, from the diaphragm, or from the throat. These are pure vibrations that tune you with the mantra so that you become one with the mantra. 

Are mantras dangerous?

Some people say mantras are dangerous. In reality, mantra chanting is safe. During your mantra chanting, you will get in touch with deeply buried emotions. When you chant, you will get in touch with those emotions and, you can be overwhelmed by tears and fears. You may cry and remember childhood memories that you have forgotten.

If during chanting, you are overcome with self-pity, sadness, or regret, try to acknowledge these feelings without acting on them. Be aware of your feelings, honour them, and be ok with them. 

Your feelings are within you, feel them and let them go, they are in your past, and your past can no longer hurt you if you don’t allow it. Don’t dwell too much on your emotions. Getting in touch with deeply buried emotions is a big step, but there’s a whole road to walk, so keep going. 

Energy will be moving in your body, this may be strange for you. 

You should not let fear overcome your mind. By practicing the mantra with conviction, love, and a pure heart for your intention, you will be calling good energy to yourself. 

If for some reason, you feel you are not ready for chanting a specific mantra stop the chanting for a while to allow the energy to settle down. Later on, after a few days or weeks, try again with the same mantra or a different one. 

Examples of mantra

There are many mantras to choose from. Check your intention and find a mantra that suits it best. If you have no specific intention, listen to mantras and find one that resonates deep in your heart. You know the mantra is for you when the mantra calls you without reason. 

Here are two beautiful mantras to get you to start with mantra chanting. 

Aum mantra

Aum is the sound of the origin of the universe. The sound that resonates in every being animate, and inanimate being. Aum is a Bija or seed mantra. 

A Bija mantra purifies the mind, the energy bodies, and the chakras. 

It can raise your frequency to your higher self. Aum mantra puts us in harmony with the vibration of the universe. 

Gayatri mantra

Gayatri mantra is a Vedic mantra that protects the person chanting it. This mantra dedicated to the Sun, who represents the life-giving force.

Aum Bhuur-Bhuvah Svaha


Bhargo Devasya Dhiimahi

Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayaat 


Mantras are sounds considered sacred. Each mantra has an essence sound or Bija that gives it its power. The vibration a mantra produces has the power to affect your vibration and that of your surroundings. A mantra can help you to connect with your inner self and bring you into harmony.

There are countless mantras to choose from. You can even get a personalised mantra. By now, you have an idea of what mantras are, what they can do for you, and how do they work. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Bija mantras?

Bija, known as a seed mantra, is a pure sound made of one syllable. A Bija mantra purifies the mind, the energy bodies, and the chakras. Learn more

What are the mantras for each chakra?

Each chakra has a Bija mantra. Root chakra: Lam, Sacral chakra: Vam, Solar plexus: Ram, Heart chakra: Yam, Throat chakra: Ham, Third Eye: Aum, and Crown chakra: Aum. Learn more

What are Sanskrit mantras?

Sanskrit mantras are those written in the Sanskrit language. You will find them in Hinduism and Vedic tradition and in Yoga. Learn more

What are mantra beads?

Mantra beads or mala is a string of beads or garland to count the repetitions during your mantra chanting. Learn more

Maria Mendoza

Hi. I'm Maria. I am a yoga instructor. I've created this blog to share my knowledge and experience with people who are interested in yoga and those who want to make yoga a part of their life. Through my articles, you can learn how to begin Yoga and discover the meaning of Yoga. Learn about Asanas, Pranayamas, Mudras, Mantras and Bandhas. Start your Yoga practice today.

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