Stress can be healthy. A certain level of stress can inspire us toward meaningful and fulfilling achievements. Also, of course, stress can be debilitating, life-draining. Stress on a muscle can be strengthening. Stress without relief will injure the muscle.
It’s similar to so many emotions. A healthy twinge of guilt can move us to improve our character and behavior. That’s different than avoiding responsibility, for the past, present, and future, through wallowing in guilt. Sadness, anger, and fear all have their place in a healthy emotional life. Also, we can use them in ways that don’t genuinely serve us; for example, we might let fear get in the way of courageously living a life of inspiration, or utilize anger to manipulate, at the expense of intimacy and a culture of respect in our relationships. The key in determining the extent to which an emotion is life-enriching is the degree to which it brings us closer to self-realization, or distances us from it.
Here are some yoga essentials to help improve each yoga session:
Why Mantras are Helpful
Jill Bormann has researched mantra meditation with various populations including military veterans. She describes meditative time with a mantra as a “…Jacuzzi for the mind. It’s something you can use to focus and calm yourself at a moment’s notice, …it doesn’t require money, and it’s non-toxic… a person just needs to make it a part of their lives…” Dr. Bormann’s research has indicated a significant reduction of stress for combat veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Dr. Neil Abell and I also studied the effects of mantra chanting on stress, depression, and other factors related to psychosocial functioning. These studies revealed a statistically meaningful reduction in stress for those who chanted genuine mantras, as compared with a control group, and with a group that chanted an invented mantra.
“Mantra” indicates sound vibration that liberates the mind from mundane entanglements. Unhealthy anxiety, or stress, is very much connected with the mind’s enmeshment in the tedious drama of life, rather than being immersed in the adventure of self-realization that is the true life of the self. Probably it’s true that what we’ve accomplished is despite our worry and anxiety, not because of it. “Genuine mantra”, as defined in the Vedas, means sound vibration that is composed of names of the Divine.
Dr. Bormann’s studies incorporated mantras from diverse spiritual traditions. These mantras included Ave Maria and Ohm Shanti Rama. A mantra chanted in the studies conducted by Neil Abell and myself was the Maha Mantra, which consists of 3 words, arranged into a 16-word mantra. In the Vedas, an ancient wisdom tradition and the source of knowledge about yoga, meditation, and mantras, the Maha Mantra is especially recommended for the current age. One reason for this is that, unlike other approaches to mantra-yoga, the Maha Mantra is not dependent on any particular rules or regulations, related to breathing, inflection, or intonation. With the Maha Mantra, one simply chants and endeavors to focus the mind on the sound vibration. If the mind wanders, we notice that, and gently try again to bring our mind back to the mantra. The 16 words of the Maha Mantra are Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
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As researcher Jill Bormann says, mantra meditation is a free, non-toxic method for stress reduction- “…a person just needs to make it a part of their lives…” You have an opportunity to give it a go- chant any authentic mantra, and notice the effects, on your level and experience of stress, on the clarity of your consciousness, and the quality of your self-realization. Refine your yoga routine and enjoy a healthier you.
This article is written by David B. Wolf, one of our friends from satvatove. . Check them out if you want to learn more about a stress free life!