One of the things I’ve learned through practicing yoga is the power of a mantra.
From the Sanskrit words “man” (to think) and “tra” (instrument), a mantra is an instrument of thought. It’s a tool used by yogis, typically during meditation, to turn inward and find stillness away from the noise of the outer world and the chaos of our thoughts. It helps quiet and focus the mind and establish a connection with your true self.
My yoga teachers usually start a class by asking us to set an intention or sharing a mantra to use throughout the practice, and that combination of purposeful thinking and physical movement often helps me let go, find peace and cultivate inner strength.
Recently, I listened to a podcast from The Chalene Show, hosted by fitness leader and entrepreneur Chalene Johnson, focused on power phrases. She described these as phrases, words or sayings we repeat to ourselves in times of difficulty, when we need to find strength and power through a challenging time.
I use both of these techniques, depending on my mood, activity and what I need in that moment. I thought I’d share some of my favourite mantras and power phrases.
Be bold, be true – I used this one for a long time in the long months following my divorce when I felt shattered and emotionally adrift. I repeated this phrase daily to remind myself to be brave and true to myself, and it helps me choose the best path for me, even if it’s not the easiest. It’s a mantra I continue to use and which I hope will guide me for a long time to come.
Maybe that’s not true – This is how I question my brain when it’s telling me that I have no friends, that no one wants to hear what I have to say or that I’m not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, whatever. This simple phrase is enough to question whether what I’m thinking is based on reality or whether it’s possible that my anxiety disorder is taking over, and usually that’s enough to power through the moment and start practicing cognitive behavioural therapy.
I am stronger than I think – Courtesy of Autumn Calabrese, trainer in the workout program that I do, this power phrase helps me dig deep through forearm plank or mountain climbers or any other challenging fitness situation in which I find myself.
Total health – Since I signed on with the 21-Day Fix program, this has been my guiding principle. I seek total health on a daily basis: mental, physical, emotional and social. If something doesn’t serve that purpose, I think twice about whether I should do it. After several years of feeling awful in every way – of being sick, tired and injured, of being filled with anxiety and depression, and of feeling professionally and personally unfulfilled – reminding myself to seek total health has resulted in me being happier and healthier today than I’ve been in a very long time.
Om namah shivaya – Sanskrit for “I honour the divinity within myself” and sometimes translated as “I am, I will,” this mantra helps me believe in myself and find inner strength.
Today I choose joy – I don’t use this one a lot but when I do, it’s powerful. I reminds me that I always have the choice to choose happiness and that I can make that choice right here, right now.
Fuck it,* I’m doing it** – I find myself saying this when I want to do something but fear is holding me back. It’s my way of shrugging off the doubt, feeling the fear and remembering that I’m strong enough to deal with the consequences when they occur. In the meantime, I’m going to do it and have fun.
What are your favourite mantras or power phrases? Tell me in the comments!
*It’s my blog and I’ll swear if I want to.
**Quite often used before jumping out of trees, ziplining or clicking “post” on The Post that Started it All.