Chanting mantra is considered a powerful path to transformation. Sanskrit mantras are often chanted before a yoga class, or during meditation as a tool to focus the mind and soothe the body. Many of these mantras have their origin in the Vedas, a large body of religious texts based upon what was an oral tradition of sharing sacred practices in ancient India. The power of a Sanskrit mantra is found in the individual letters and the syllables created through the combination of a few of the letters. Each of the 50 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet vibrates at a unique frequency and stimulates a particular spot in our body. They are strung together in a particular way to create a seed sound (or bija). These seed sounds essentially wrap a garland of healing energy around and through the body when chanted.
The Gayatri mantra is one of the three most auspicious chants of this tradition. As we move toward the end of a decade, and into a new year, I'd like to share this important mantra with you. You may chant it while gazing into a candle flame, or visualizing the light of the sun softly illuminating your third eye.
Feel free to explore using it on your own, and if you find you'd like some guidance on chanting it well, I'd be happy to help you.
The Gayatri Mantra
The Gayatri Mantra has its origins in the Rig Veda (1000 BC). Traditionally chanted 108 times in one sitting, it is a prayer to the eternal light – the energy of life which is within and all around us - to the source of light and life.
The Gayatri is considered to be one of the most powerful healing mantras there is. The vibration created by chanting this mantra has the potential to bring about physical and emotional healing. The mantra is chanted to purify and protect us from subtle energetic obstacles. It may also be chanted to help you awaken your spiritual self.
Here is a transliteration of the Sanskrit Chant:
DHIIYO YONAHA PRACHODAYAAT
Here is one translation of the Gayatri Mantra:
Oh Divine Light - You are the Giver of Life,
The remover of pain and sorrow,
The bestower of happiness.
As the Creator of the Universe help us open to
And receive your supreme light.
May that healing energy guide us in the right direction.
Wishing you and yours a deLIGHTful new year!
~Sharon Harvey Alexander
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Have you developed a Stress Busting Tool Kit?
How does stress impact the quality your life? Take a moment and consider what stresses you out. Can you sense how it affects your body and mind each day? Do you have effective tools to help you navigate stressful times? If you would like to pleasantly mitigate the negative affects that stress plays in your life, please read on.
For some people, stress seems to be primarily work related. They feel pressured to meet quick or persistent deadlines. Their daily schedule seems hectic and possibly unpredictable. Relationships with colleagues may be cloudy or tense. There are expectations placed on us by others that may not feel important, yet we don't want to disappoint. Many know not what to do about all this. Is that true for you?
For some, there are developing health concerns - yours, or a family members - that create worry and stress.
And of course, “change” can be unsettling for anyone. This can be especially true for those who are aging, and may have become comfortable in a particular routine. Change in the status of a relationship, a place of residence, a career path, your physical ability, or something else can leave you feeling anxious and unsettled. When this discomfort or worry continues for a prolonged period of time, it may have negative impacts on the quality of your health.
At the same time, many people are motivated by stress. The seriousness of the situation –- be that a deadline, a state of health, or something else — causes them to focus more attention on the issue than they might have otherwise. I think of my son’s tendency to procrastinate. A tendency that I, too, share at times. What I find when I am pushing to meet a deadline is that my mind becomes more focused, and my choices and decisions more clear. This is, in part, because I understand what my priority is at the time, and move forward in a more linear fashion when time is tight. The idea that stress can be empowering is labeled by the term "eustress."
Eustress is the positive response that one has to stress. It is a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye. The prefix "eu" means "good". Combined "eu" and "stress" mean "good stress." The idea is that one can exhibit a positive cognitive response to stress. This is healthy, and can lead to feelings of fulfillment and even joy. This is but one manifestation of stress, and can be sensed in a physiological or psychological manner. It has to do with how one perceives a particular stressor. According to an article on wikipedia, eustress may result when one responds to stress by giving it a sense of meaning, or with hope or vigor and results in elevated levels of life satisfaction and overall well-being. While it may be uncomfortable, as stress of all kinds typically is, the experience is one that can lead to personal growth.
Knowing about eustress, would you agree with me that our perception of “stress” may be defined by the way we react to a particular situation, event, or even a person. How, then, can one become less reactive and more responsive to the demands placed on upon us?
The first step is to understand what you can control, and what you cannot change. This helps minimize the stress-inducing aspects of the stressful experiences in our lives. To paraphrase a quote from the Dalai Lama: "If you can change or improve something, do. If you can't, let it go."
For me, clarity around my influence comes in quiet moments. While sitting quietly in meditation, my mind experiences greater levels of ease, and is better able to process things. It's possible to cultivate "the witness perspective." The experience is similar for me when I am out in nature. Everything seems to slow down eventually; my body/mind drop into a more soothing and rhythmical pace. This, in and of itself, is a great antidote to stress.
Because I have found solace in quiet experiences, I aim to provide that for others through the work I do. Offering soothing experiences to my clients is a priority for me, in part because it allows me to contribute to making the world a better place ... one breath, one thought, one gentle and creative movement or restful moment at a time.
If you are someone who tends to get anxious easily, or feel unsettled in stressful times, it can be helpful to have a toolbox of techniques to fall back on as needed. I came across an article by Elizabeth Scott M.S. written for verywellmind.com that offers up fantastic stress busting ideas in line with my thinking, too so I thought I'd share it with you.
Click here to read the article.
Also, I encourage you to attend the weekly gentle and creative movement classes I offer in the Mountain Wisdom Healing Arts studio. They are designed to help you find center, turn off the noise of life around you temporarily, and let your inner voice guide you through the tumult of life more smoothly. As a result, over time you may find that you feel resourced and able to handle daily stressors with more ease and grace. Another great way to release stress and cultivate ease is through a Reiki Energy Balancing Treatment; it is a great antidote to the tension or anxious mind that can results from a fast paced and active life. Use this link to schedule a session today!
Finally, remember to breathe! If you're looking for ways to use your breath to turn off the flight/fight/freeze response to stress, and turn on the relaxation response in your body/mind, pick up a copy of my book: Learning to Breathe, Learning to Live: Simple Tools to Alleviate Stress and Invigorate Your Life. I teach and train from the book, so let me know if you'd like me to bring a workshop to your place of business, or social organization.
The bottom line? Make sure to schedule some time for yourself this holiday season. When you take time out to do that, you can banish stress, or transform it into joy. Not only will you benefit, but all of those around you benefit, too.
Wishing you a joyous and stress-free holiday season.
Sharon Harvey Alexander, C – I AYT
I came across a great article on the Very Well Mind site a few days ago, and wanted to share it with you. In it, author Elizabeth Scott MS, descripbes many effective stress releiving ideas.