Sometimes our minds get stuck. An event triggers a thought or emotion we simply CAN'T. GET. OUT. OF. OUR. HEADS. At other times, we are so full of frenetic energy we can't force our minds to be still.
Enter the mantra. Before my non-yogi readers brush aside the suggestion, let me help alleviate some concerns and clear up a few misunderstandings. A mantra is neither a spell, an incantation, nor a prayer. It is not a method of brainwashing, nor does it contain magical properties. A mantra is simply a sound, word, or group of words we repeat - silently or aloud - to help us shift our focus or enhance concentration.
Over the past week I have been inviting my students and clients to work with mantras in their yoga and meditation practice. As I shared last week, the simple suggestion to be filled with peace, grace, and loving-kindness proved helpful to many who had been fixated on the disappointment and frustration they were feeling over the recent election results. This week, we focused on cultivating gratitude, which helped highlight the many blessings in our lives.
As we enter the holiday season with its many competing demands on our schedule and energy, it is easy to be distracted, overwhelmed, or unable to focus. Whether you find yourself stuck in unhelpful thought patterns or utterly unable to concentrate, take a moment to pause and identify an idea or quality you want to embody. If meditation is already part of your daily rhythm, use that time to repeat the word or words until they resonate. If sitting still doesn't work for you, use your morning run or daily commute as an opportunity to incorporate a new practice.
See if this simple act can bring some calm and clarity into your day - and your life.