top of page

Mantra yoga

Mantra-yoga is not just chanting "Om" in a yoga class, as many people think now. And it is not the chanting popular mantras together (so-called kirtan). This is a complete sadhana that contains all the angas (parts) of ashtanga yoga:

🔸 Yama and niyama, that is, restrictions and prescriptions. In addition to the general ones, Mantra Yoga has its own: practice in a certain place for example, facing east or north, at home or in the forest, at a certain time e.g. morning, evening or night, eclipses, specific lunar days, prescriptions regarding sleep and nutrition, the number of repetitions of the mantra, etc. This also includes the control of external and internal manifestations of feelings and actions, that is, the control of one's energy, the prevention of its unnecessary waste.

🔸 Asana – the position of the body during japa (repetition of a mantra). Padmasana, Siddhasana, Sukhasana, Vajrasana are commonly used. A stable, motionless posture is important, in which all pranas are balanced so it becomes easy to repeat mantra and with deeper concentration.

🔸 Pranayama – increase of prana, breath control. By itself, mantra yoga is a very energetic practice, because when the mantra is revealed, it releases a lot of energy, changes the quality of your prana. And there can be an interesting moment: during japa, breathing lengthens (especially exhalation) slows down, and then it can completely stop, which means kevala-kumbhaka (natural breath holding).

🔸 Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the sense organs from their external objects and turning them inward, towards their source. Sooner or later, if the mantra is repeated in the right way, it begins to unfold and your state changes, pratyahara arises. Concentration increases, the sense of time is lost. In my experience, pratyahara is much easier to achieve in mantra yoga than in other yogic practices.

🔸 Dharana is a steady one-pointed concentration on the mantra, keeping one's attention on it. One can concentrate on the sound, on the meaning of mantra, but the best concentration is on the manifestation of the mantra itself, i.e. on the shakti which begins to unfold during japa. Drishti (gaze concentration) is also used – in the space between the eyebrows or on the tip of the nose.

🔸 Dhyana arises as a result of a combination of the previous aspects, when the mantra is revealed more and more and you are deeply imbued with it, forgetting about yourself. In this state, of course, the mantra repeats itself in your mind, mentally and silently.

🔸 Samadhi is an intensification of the state of dhyana, as a result of which you become one with the mantra (with the Deity of the mantra), you are in the experience of this unity. Here, in fact, the repetition of the mantra (japa) is absent as such. There is only yoga.

There are different levels of repetition of the mantra – aloud (vachaka), whispering (upamsha), mentally (manasika) and ajapa-japa. Repetition in the mind is the most difficult, but also the most effective, because it is possible only when the mantra begins to connect with the mind. This is being done gradually. Ajapa-japa is the highest level of mantra recitation, when it is repeated “by itself” and there is no difference between the sadhak and the mantra, it can be repeated even in a dream.

The mantra can be practiced as a permanent sadhana (nitya-sadhana) or as an intense purashcharana ritual designed to realize the mantra (done for a limited period of time).

Such specific practices as nyasa, puja, homa, associated with mantra yoga, often require serious tantric knowledge and training. And although these practices are described in sufficient detail in the Tantras, they need to be explained by a competent Guru. In mantra yoga Guru is utmost important, because it is he who gives you the mantra and all the instructions for it. For a successful mantra sadhana, it is very important to understand, to feel such a moment, that the Guru, the mantra and the Deity of the mantra are a single whole. Without realizing this, the practice will be very fragmented, the mantra may not be revealed.


bottom of page