Mantra, Affirmation, or Prayer: The Power of Words
I am an advocate for the power of language and the importance of using language as a tool to make things better-whether that is your state of mind, your relationships, or the community you live in. There are three words that are often used interchangeably within the world of yoga and wellness. Affirmation, mantra and prayer. At first, and maybe in your personal practice, they may mean the same thing to you-but are they?
What is affirmation? Affirmation can be understood to be a declaration, a statement, or an assertion. It can also be a word, phrase, feeling, or state that you wish to create within yourself at any moment. Affirmation can be used to focus the mind away from its wandering nature when in meditation. For example, stating "I inhale, I exhale". Affirmation can also be used throughout the day as a practice of mindfulness, a phrase or word that you repeat to yourself whenever you need a reminder, like the phrase "I am calm".
So, what is mantra then? Mantra can be described as a mystical statement of invocation or incantation, and it typically involves a sound or a bij (a root sound, like Om). It has also come to be known as a sacred word, sound, or phrase that holds spiritual and psychological power. From Sanskrit, mantra means "tool of thought" and it can also be used in meditation to focus the mind away from its wandering nature. Perhaps the most commonly known mantra is "Om", as this is often associated with yoga and its practices, although there are many other mantras.