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The Difference Between Mantras And Positive Affirmations

Updated: Dec 6, 2023


A common question I'm asked is if a positive affirmation is the same as a mantra. And the answer is no, technically positive affirmations are different from mantras.

Mantras are viewed from a sound perspective whereas positive affirmations are viewed from a mental health empowerment perspective.

A mantra is a word or short phrase often chanted repetitiously during meditation for purification or spiritual enlightenment. Affirmations are statements that can be as short or as long as one wishes to promote feelings of worthiness, set intentions, and affirm positive change.

While both are powerful tools that can help people rewire the brain, overcome fear, and enhance positive outcomes, they truly hold different meaning and value.

In meditation and yoga, a mantra serves as tool to help keep the mind focused in the present moment. They are often chanted or recited slowly and rhythmically anchoring the mind to the breath.

Research shows that reciting certain mantras harmoniously balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain. And, when the left and right hemispheres of the brain synchronize, alpha brain waves enhance sensations of relaxation and calm. Over time, this can help improve brain function, lower fear and anxiety, and empower positive emotions that can help rewire the brain or create new neuro pathways that promote health and wellness.

There are several different powerful mantras loved by many yogis.

AUM, the king of all mantras, is known to yogis as the first sound of the universe. Its powerful sound is said to open states of consciousness and purify the mind.

Om Mani Padme Hum is a Sanskrit mantra that translates into the Jewel is in the Lotus and enhances character qualities of generosity, ethics, patience, diligence, renunciation, and wisdom.

Sohum is another Sanskrit mantra meaning I Am That and is often used to accept the self as is, in all the forms in which it exists in the universe.

And, of course Om Shanti, which translates to peace and is usually chanted three times, Om Shanti Shanti Shanti to bring peace at all three levels of consciousness (waking, sleeping, dreaming), and into all three lokas or worlds (earth, heaven and hell).

There are many mantras of practice.

It's important to understand that whether you choose to use a mantra or a positive affirmation in your practice, you are empowering your mind and body with meaningful shift that can enhance relaxation, quiet the mind, and create neuro pathways offering a multitude of health and wellness benefits.


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