What Is a Mantra VS Affirmation?


In our modern spiritual world, Mantras and Affirmations often go hand in hand or are thought to be interchangable, but there is actually a huge difference between the two that dates back thousands of years. It's not the end of the world if you confuse the two, but knowing the difference, means you can use each one correctly and therefore deepen your self discovery, spiritual and healing journey. 

What is a Mantra?

A mantra is a sacred sound that attunes your energy to the power and meaning of the word. They come from ancient Indian Yogis and Sages and there are thousands of Mantras written in the Vedas (an ancient Hindu book). Mantras are supposed to come from the Universe directly. 

The word Mantra comes from the Sanskrit language and means 'the thought that liberates and protects'. A mantra is a thought or word said out loud that quiets your mind and allows it to focus on an intention. Mantras prepare you for meditation and provide a quiet mind by gently training the mind to find the stillness in repetition and to attune to a higher consciousness. 

Mantras work by surrounding you with the vibration of the sound (if it's spoken) or filling you internally (if it's thought).

A mantra can be just one syllable or many, the most important part is the vibration of the word. The vibration of the mantra has a frequency that carries it's power. 

How Do Mantras Work?

Mantras work by chanting the sound over and over again, either out-loud or within your mind. This should be done regularly to best attune yourself to the frequency they carry. 

Some mantras have a beautiful meaning, others may have a beautiful sound. Find one that feels most true for you on your own personal journey. Using mantras will help deepen your understanding of yourself through finding quiet and relaxation. You may choose a mantra that carries a specific power, such as healing, to best assist you. 

Mantras can be chanted a specific number of times, usually 108, a spiritually significant number. To help keep count of this, a japamala can be used - a garland of prayer beads moved between finger and thumb to keep track.

Examples Of A Mantra

1. "Om"

One of the most widely used and powerful mantras is Om (pronounced ah-uu-mm). A sacred sound that is considered by many ancient philosophical texts to be the sound of the universe. In Sanskrit Om is called Pranava (meaning to hum) and is considered an unlimited or eternal sound. By chanting Om you attune yourself to this unlimited and universal energy, becoming more harmonised with nature, yourself and the universe. 

2. "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo" 

This mantra means I bow to the Creative Wisdom. I bow to the Divine Teacher Within.

3. "Ad Guray Namay, Jugad Guray Namay, Sad Guray Nameh, Siri Guru Devay Nameh"

This mantra means I bow to the Primal Wisdom, I bow to the Wisdom through the ages, I bow to the True Wisdom,I bow to the Great Divine Wisdom.

4. "Om Shanti Shanti Shanti"

This mantra means Om peace, peace, peace. This mantra can be used alone or added on to other mantras. 

5. "Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu"

This mantra means "may all beings everywhere be happy and free".


What Is An Affirmation?

An affirmation is a positive statement that you repeat, either out loud or in your mind, that is in a language you understand. Unlike a matra, the importance and power of the words is in their meaning, not their sound. Affirmations generally are used to bring about your intention into the world, and can be about anything you like.

Affirmations are often used to reprogram negative thinking or to manifest your dreams into reality. By repeating the affirmation, you slowly begin to rewire your thinking and start to believe what you are saying. Transforming negative beliefs and thinking can have monumental effects on our lives and wellbeing. Affirmations give you the power to create a healthy and positive state of mind. 

Negative thinking can have serious affects on our health. We are beginning to understand the complex and severe effect stress can have on our bodies, and negative thinking is one the hidden causes of stress, anxiety and depression. Affirmations (and mantras) are by no means a replacement for medical help but they are proven to assist with reprograming a negative state of mind to a more positive one. 

How To Use Affirmations

To use affirmations you must first be aware of what you wish to bring into this world, or what you wish to change about your thinking. This requires some self - awareness and observation of your thought patterns. Once you know what you want your affirmation to be about, create a few words or short sentence that sums it up in a language that feels right for you. You can find lots of inspiration online. Repeat this as often as you want, staying consistent. For example saying the same affirmation five times in the morning, five times at lunch and five times before bed. Stay present with these words and attune yourself to the reality of them. Some people like to say affirmations whilst looking in the mirror, especially if the affirmation is about their self-image, but this is not necessary. Affirmations can be done with the eyes open or closed and wherever you are comfortable. 

There are a number of ways to use affirmations.

You could try:

  • Repeating an affirmation at the start and end of a yoga class
  • Doodling your affirmations into a journal in the morning and evening
  • Bringing your positive resolve for the day to mind and ‘stirring’ your affirmations into your morning tea or coffee
  • Writing your affirmation on a post-it note and sticking it on your mirror
  • Changing your phone lock screen to an image of your affirmation


Examples of Affirmations

Affirmations are unique to you. You may wish to use one that is for a very specific issue or you can use them generally to improve your outlook. Here are some examples to inspire you and get you started. 

  1. I give myself permission to do what is right for me.
  2. I allow myself to love unconditionally
  3. I give myself space to grow and learn.
  4. I accept my emotions and let them serve their purpose.
  5. I trust that I am on the right path.

Both Mantras and affirmations can have monumental effects and improvements in our lives. You can compliment them with Meditation, Pranayama and Yoga Mudras to bring more peace, focus and wisdom into your life.

What Mantras and Affirmations do you use?


By: Katrina Scales

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