Mantra meditation is a broad practice that can help practitioners with a variety of intentions. Whether you are hoping to feel grounded, motivate yourself toward your goals, or simply relax at the end of the day, incorporating mantra meditation into your routine offers many benefits.
Because there are so many mantras to choose from, selecting just one for your practice may be difficult. If you are seeking an all-encompassing mantra for any location or occasion, consider bringing your practice back to basics and practicing an ancient and versatile mantra meditation: aum.
Introduction to Aum
If you know a single mantra meditation, odds are you know aum. This age-old mantra dates back to the early days of Hinduism when practitioners would use it to connect with their higher being. Though some people still use this mantra for religious purposes today, many yogis take aum to have a broader meaning.
Aum is not a simple word with a dictionary definition; it is a complex idea with many layers. One common translation is “the sound of the universe.” Practitioners who take this approach in practicing chant om to feel connected with the world around them and understand the connection between all living things. This practice enables them to see and embrace the world’s universal energy through mantra meditation.
Another translation of aum popular in Hinduism is “what has been, what is, and what shall be,” which speaks to the all-encompassing energy this mantra carries.
Additionally, each syllable within an aum mantra meditation has meaning. This common way to dissect these syllables may help build your understanding:
- The “A” sound represents the universe and all things within it.
- The “U” sound speaks to energy and life force that sustains you as you walk through the world. It helps you find steady rhythm and balance in life
- The “M” sound serves as a closing and sense of cumulation. It represents a peace and finality in life.
Others still may break down each syllable in the following way:
- “A” represents a waking state
- “U” embodies the dream state
- “M” represents a state of deep sleep
Grasping a single, all-encompassing definition of aum may be difficult because it has so many layers of meaning. Rather than getting bogged down in how others interpret this mantra meditation, you may best spend your energy thinking about what it means for you! The depths and versatility of this mantra is what can make it the perfect mantra meditation for any time, any location, and all occasions.
Inspiration For Your Aum Mantra Meditations
Now that you have a basic understanding of what this mantra meditation means, it is time to put it into practice. Because it is a multifunctional mediation that serves many purposes, there is not a single correct way to practice it.
Regardless of your intention, start your mantra meditation in a comfortable, quiet place. Take a few deep breaths before you a start chanting your mantra. Then, inhale, and on your exhale chant your “aum” feeling each sound within the word (for a detailed guide to getting starting mantra meditation, see this article). You may want to bring your attention to the feeling of warm air on your skin, or calming sounds of nature or music. Advanced practitioners may start chanting at medium volume, and lower their voice to a whisper throughout their practice.
In terms of setting your intention for this mantra meditation, consider some of the following times where you may want to use this mantra:
- When You First Wake Up. Starting your day off with this mantra meditation may give your morning a jump start. Make this the first thing you do in the morning by taking a few calming breaths and reciting the mantra aloud. Let the vibrations flow through your body as you feel the earth’s energy at the start of your day. This practice can help you keep your mind clear and alert from the moment you wake up!
- When You are Feeling Stressed During Your Day. Aum can also help you feel centered and focused during your work or school day. Whether before a big presentation or when feeling overwhelmed by a long list of tasks ahead of you, taking a few moments to recenter yourself and focus on your breath may be just the stress reliever you need.
- When You Want to Feel Grounded and Connected. Because aum is a mantra that speaks to connection with the universe, using this mantra meditation when you lack grounding may be just the medicine you need. Taking some time to practice aum may help you find your peace and center by bringing your attention to the way you fit into the world around you.
- To Embrace Your Present Moment. What better way to practice mindfulness than to take a moment to connect with the world around you? Whether you are enjoying the view from the top of a beautiful mountain or relishing in a lazy Sunday afternoon in your home, practicing aum to bring your energy to the moment at hand is a great way to embrace your current moment.
- To Clear Your Mind Before Going to Sleep. A final place you may want to practice this mantra is to quiet your mind at the end of the day. If you tend to toss and turn with too many things on your mind, try practicing aum before going to bed and let the meaning behind these vibrations ease your busy mind. Taking some deep breaths and letting your mind slide into sleep may be the perfect way to end your day!
At Cody, we love helping people embrace the power of yoga for mind, body, and spirit. For more mantra meditation inspiration, check out these mantras to turn your day around and these essential Sanskrit mantras.