Modern Mantras For Yoga 2022

18 Jul 2022

I wonder how many of you have lip synced mantras in class with no understanding of the syntax, meaning or the reason for their repetition? So willing are we to indulge “authentic yoga”, we dive into it with egoless abandon. The benefits are that if we repeat it often enough, familiarity makes us more comfortable and we gain confidence in the order and pronunciation of the Sanskrit texts. But! My question is does this lead to the desired effect?

The function of a mantra is to create vibrations in the inner consciousness, whereby repetition by us the mantrins might bring us closer to the ultimate spiritual divinity held in the sacred syllables. My guess is that this reward is experienced by a handful of practitioners who dedicate time and understanding to the authentic understanding of the mantra.

This brings me to my eternal conflict with the practice of modern yoga versus traditional yoga. The adoption of divinity as a by-product of taking part in or teaching yoga concerns me and often leads me to question every word that comes out of my mouth and every thought that enters my head. At what point do regular people turn into beautiful souls?

Back to mantras and their place in our yoga classes.  Here is a link to my favourite – with a general thought process of “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” If you can harmonise with and it helps to clear your mind and bring you peace then read no further. If you would like a modern perspective and some simple tools to help you empathise with the verbal and mental practice of mantras then this might just help and who knows where will progress in the future.

Our relationship with music dates back to conception and to a greater or lesser degree manifests in pretty much everything we do. Influences come from family, friends, peers and every external medium of communication that we are subjected to. At some point we find a genre or style that moves us and this can define how we aesthetically present, think and conduct ourselves in the modern world. I wonder if you have ever played one track over and over again becoming so familiar with every word and lyric that it almost becomes yours? I lose count and can still recite every word of Grease, Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Regatta De Blanc and The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Sardust & The Spiders From Mars to name just a few.

Songs have motivated my teaching of yoga from day one. Imagine my delight when I found Disturbed’s version of Sound Of Silence a song that embodies thrash metal but leaves you with goose bumps from head to toe. It is a perfect choice for meditation in movement and an enabler for those who find silent yoga a little sterile. Lately I have encouraged working with lyrics as a method of modern mantra in an attempt to help people with their intellectual wellness. Chanting lyrics either out loud or internally is the first step to eradicating our fear, anger and depression.  It helps all of our bodies systems from the central nervous to cognitive. When looking to escape from the conflicts of our day to day existence, familiar lyrics that we empathise with can improve our mental health, ease stress, and take us to a higher level of consciousness. Chanting also improves our memory and powers of concentration, which is crucial – I hope you agree?

Now for the fun part….

I have selected three of my current favourites for you to try. You do not have to accompany them with yoga, you can run jump, ride or simply meditate the words.

  1. I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
    I know that the clubs are weapons of war
    I know that diamonds mean money for this art
    But that’s not the shape of my heart

Written by Sting so powerful for me as he was my first love! The lyrics tell the story of a card player who plays cards or gambles not because he hopes to win but because he wants to “figure out something” eluding him. According to Sting, the gambler gambles mainly because he wants to understand “some kind of mystical logic in luck”.

Shape of my heart Sting

  1. So when your hopes on fire
    But you know your desire
    Don’t hold a glass over the flame
    Don’t let your heart grow cold
    I will call you by name
    I will share your road

I saw Mumford & Sons in South Africa with dear friends, knowing very little about them and subsequently becoming a huge fan. This mantra is for those missing loved ones and looking forward to sharing their company.

Hopeless Wanderer Mumford & Sons

  1. Well, anyway, it’s looking like a beautiful day. So, throw those curtains wide. One Day Like This a year would see me right

 The beauty of this track is that these lyrics repeat over and over again. It is a message of uplift and positivity. The perfect modern mantra and one that I have such fond memories of teaching in Ibiza and evidence that this practice really works.

One Day Like This Elbow

So welcome to the world of modern mantras. An invitation to indulge your passion for music with an authentic and introspective mindset.