Mantras have been used for thousands of years by various spiritual traditions in order to bring a deeper awareness and concentration into meditative practices. With yoga and mindfulness becoming more mainstream, western science has only started to catch up to the many benefits that arise from meditating with simple mantras such as Om. Below you’ll find four scientifically proven benefits of this ancient practice which you can always use whenever you want to bring equanimity into your life.
Number One: Mantras improve vagal nerve function
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body connecting most of the major organs through an intricate root-like system. This nerve is also known as the ‘chill-out nerve’ as it is responsible for activating your relaxation response by stimulating the nervous system and the cardio-respiratory systems. Vagal nerve stimulation has been used to treat clinical depression, addiction, epilepsy, and anxiety. Chanting vedic mantras such as Om, has scientifically proven to improve vagal nerve function by deactivating the limbic system (known as the fear-response center), activating the auricular branch of the vagus nerve through the vibration created through chanting, and regulating the heart rate by synchronizing mantra repetition with deep breathing. (1)
Number Two: They can alter your physical and mental state
By creating a relaxation response and aiding in emotional self-regulation, chanting mantras have been shown to improve resilience and the ability to cope with life’s challenges. Mantra can work as a wonderful self-help tool by helping you deal with intricate emotions such as anger and anxiety by improving mood and acting as a powerful management mechanism for emotional reactivity.(2)
Number Three: Mantras improve focus and reduce mind-wandering
Reciting mantras is an attention-honing practice as it trains the brain to focus on a single activity by reducing the activity of the default mode network of the brain or DMN. An overactive DMN has been associated with excessive thinking and mind wandering. During meditative practices such as chanting mantras, there is an increase with heightened states of presence and awareness, as the deactivation of this region of the brain quiets the thoughts and brings clarity of mind.(3)
Number Four: strengthens social cohesion
Mantra meditation can improve and deepen your social bonds by increasing feelings of empathy, positive affect, and social cohesion. Social cohesion is an important indicator of long-term prosperity and well-being. By inducing feelings of connection, peace, and unity, mantra meditation can have the power to change the way you approach your social relations.(4)
We hope that you get to try this life-changing meditation so you can exercises within a committed space the power held within your chosen mantra.
Be guided through your mantra practice through simple coloring exercises to put your samadhi + focus into practice.
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- B. Kalyani, G. Venkatasubramanian, R. Arasappa and N. Rao et al. Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Int J Yoga. 2011 Jan-Jun; 4(1): 3–6.
- Perry, Gemma & Polito, Vince & Thompson, William. Chanting Meditation Improves Mood and Social Cohesion. Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. 2016.
- Simon, R., Pihlsgård, J., Berglind, U. et al. Mantra Meditation Suppression of Default Mode Beyond an Active Task: a Pilot Study. J Cogn Enhanc 1, 219–227 (2017).
- Wei, Marlynn. How Mantras Calm Your Mind. Psychology Today. 2015.