A very effective way to both focus your mind and regulate your breathing is through the practice of mantra. This time honored tradition has been used as an aid to meditation for ages (literally).
Traditionally mantras are in the Sanskrit language and use words such as Aum (Om) which is sometimes described as the mother of all mantras or Shanti which means peace. There are many, many mantras and if you like the sound or quality of an English word you can use that also – such as peace, joy, light or whatever quality you feel in need of.
1. Choose a mantra you wish to repeat
2. Sit up nice and straight with your spine erect yet comfortable.
3. Focus your attention on your breath.
4. Take a nice long inhalation and as you exhale offer your mantra out loud.
5. Make your mantra long and slow.
6. Take a nice long inhalation and as your exhale offer your mantra out loud again.
7. Repeat this chanting as long as you would like. You can try counting how many times you repeat your mantra - no matter if you lose count - just choose a probably number and keep going.
8. After you have chanted for a while you could try repeating your mantra in silence.
9. After 10 minutes try stopping and enjoy the peace you have created both inwardly and outwardly.
10. Also it is a good idea to sit quietly for about 5-10 minutes after meditation to fully absorb and assimilate what you have received during your meditation.
11. Experiment chanting different mantras at different times and observe how they affect you.
Mantra is a really simple and effective way to focus your attention and to regulate your breathing. You can do it in many different settings and will always produce results.
Try chanting the Tibetan Buddhist Chant Om Mani Padme Hum
About the Author
Salil Wilson has been practicing meditation for 27 years under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy. Salil also serves as the Executive Director of the World Harmony Run, an global Torch-Relay - promoting the ideals of peace and international understanding.