Question: What do you do if your mind wanders or is distracted?
Answer: Distractions, including various kinds of thoughts and feelings, will come and go. You don’t need to worry about them. Don’t try to prevent them.
If you discover that your attention has been temporarily taken away by a particular thought or emotion, don’t worry about it. Just gently focus your attention back to the object of your meditation (for example, your breath or the mantra).
Question: What are the benefits of Mantra Meditation with Yoga Breathing?
Answer: Slowing down the breath and focusing on it is calming to the mind and the nervous system. This makes us feel calmer and more relaxed, eases stress, and it can therefore help improve our health in many ways—especially since so many diseases are caused or aggravated by chronic stress. But even more significant are the benefits we get from the mantra, a spiritual sound vibration that, when repeated regularly, helps bring us a deep sense of contentment and inner happiness. By combining these two techniques, we get the benefits of both.
Question: Is practicing the mantra with breathing more powerful then than just practicing the mantra by itself?
Answer: No, but in the beginning, it helps keep the mind from wandering. When you do Mantra Meditation with Yoga Breathing, the added awareness of your breath can help keep the mind anchored on the mantra. When you’re able to focus more closely on the mantra, to really let it enter the core of your being, to chant from your heart, your meditation becomes much more powerful and much more effective. You begin to experience the deep inner happiness and joy that comes from sincerely repeating the mantra.
Question: Can anyone do Mantra Meditation with Yoga Breathing?
Answer: Absolutely. While we have a guided meditation with a rhythm you can follow, it’s perfectly fine to do it in your own rhythm if your breaths are longer or shorter. For example, some people may take very short and shallow breaths. They can practice Yoga Breathing according to their own capacity, in their own rhythm. People who have been practicing yoga asanas and yoga breathing may have long, slow breaths, so they can practice in the rhythm that’s comfortable for them. Even kids can practice it.
Mantra breathing can also be practiced silently by focusing on the mantra as you say it in your mind. This means you can do it while commuting, when waiting for something or someone, before going to sleep, or during periods of wakefulness in the night.
Question: Can you please explain the importance of the mantra?
Answer: From the Vedic or yoga perspective, you are the eternal atma or spirit soul temporarily covered by a material body and material mind. You are in fact a part and parcel, a spark of the Supreme Soul, the Supreme Atma. In the same way that the material body needs material food, you, the atma within the body, need spiritual food because you are spiritual in essence, and transcendental love is that spiritual food.
Spiritual love exists within the heart of each of us but it is covered over, much like a diamond is covered over with mud and dirt. The process of mantra meditation cleanses that dirt and mud off of the diamond of spiritual love. From the perspective of yoga, a mantra is the sound incarnation of the Supreme Soul, and it has the power to reawaken our spiritual love. Simply by resting our heart and our mind in this transcendental sound vibration, we make direct contact with the Supreme Soul.
Such contact with the Supreme Soul is what we need—whether we know it or not. Such contact is where we’ll find true comfort, inner peace, and happiness. This union or harmonious loving relationship with the Supreme Soul thus is known as the highest samadhi—it is the very meaning of the word yoga.
- Find a place where you won’t be disturbed for a while.
- Turn off your cellphone or any other electronic devices.
- Commit yourself to taking a “mini-vacation.”