The Beginner's Guide to Common Mantras

Searching for a meaningful mantra to use in your practice? Here are four powerful pieces to get you started.

The mantra: Om

Pronunciation: a-u-m
Translation: The primordial sacred sound
Why chant it: Om is said to be the first sound heard at the creation of the universe. When each syllable is pronounced fully, you should feel the energy of the sound lifting from your pelvic floor all the way up through the crown of your head.

The mantra: Om śāntih śāntih śāntih

Pronunciation: a-u-m shanti hee shanti hee shanti hee
Translation: Peace peace peace
Why chant it: Because we could all use more peace in our lives.

See also The Science Behind Finding Your Mantra (and How to Practice It)

The mantra: Gāyatrī mantra

Om bhūr bhuvah svah | tat savitur varenyam | bhargo devasya dhīmahi | dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt

Pronunciation: A-u-m bhoor bhoo-va-ha sva-ha | tut sa-vi-toor va-rain-yum | bhar-go day-vas-yah dhee-muh-hee | dhi-yo yo na-ha pra-cho-duh-yat
Translation: Earth, heaven, and all between. The excellent divine power of the sun. May we contemplate the radiance of that God. May this inspire our understanding.
Why chant it: It’s one of the oldest Sanskrit mantras and very sacred in the Hindu tradition. It invokes the light of the sun and helps us to transcend suffering. It should only be chanted at dawn, noon, and sunset.

5 Ways to Tap Into Your Inner Leader (and Stay True to Yourself)

Here are 5 ways to be a more authentic leader, plus a guided meditation from Meditation Studio.

Leadership is something we often think of in very literal terms, and we usually associate it with work. But if we shift our thinking just a bit, it can actually be something much more meaningful: a way of living more authentically and fearlessly. That’s a concept executive and investor Fran Hauser explores in her upcoming book, The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate, which is designed to empower women to align more fully with their core values. Taking inspiration from the book, here are 5 ways to be a more authentic leader, plus a guided meditation from Meditation Studio.

5 Ways to Be an Authentic Leader

1. Align your actions with your values.

When your actions in the world don’t reflect who you truly are, you might feel off balance, even stagnant in life. The flip side of that is the easy flow and joy you feel in life and work when you do things that line up with who you really are. Just as you would realign the wheels of a car, you may find you can adjust the connection between your head and your heart to find a better balance.

2. Be courageous.

Self-doubt can make you feel stuck or hesitant to reach for what you want. What you need to cast that doubt aside is courage—a deeply rooted faith in your inner strength and knowledge. Think about where you are today and acknowledge that it is the result of a long, courageous journey through the unknown. What motivated you through that? What are you passionate about now? True success will come from connecting to that sense of purpose. Anytime you feel self-doubt creeping in, take small steps as you open yourself up to the possibilities that lie before you.

Alan Finger's Energy-Clearing Yoga Sequence to Prepare for Meditation

Find freedom by settling into a meditative state with this gentle asana practice.

Yoga Journal’s new online Master Class program brings the wisdom of world-renowned teachers to your fingertips, offering access to exclusive workshops with a different master teacher every six weeks. In April, Alan Finger will share ISHTA meditation practices. If you’re ready to get a fresh perspective and maybe even meet a lifelong yoga mentor, sign up now for YJ’s year-long membership

Kriya yoga is all about purifying your consciousness, says Alan Finger, and from there, meditation becomes easy. “You’re able to sit and do nothing, which is remarkable,” he says. “Because when you’re doing nothing, you’re actually tuning in to unbound, universal intelligence. That’s when inspiration, intuition, and insight come to us.”

The Kriya Yoga practice Finger shares here serves as a great introduction to his upcoming Master Class on ISHTA meditation. In it, he combines asana with breath and sound to help you prepare for meditation by bringing consciousness to the brahma nadi (divine channel), the line of energy that travels from the top of your head to the middle of your pelvic floor, governing intelligence. As you move through the poses below, keep your fingers closed, as this develops more of an inner focus. On an inhalation, bring awareness down the brahma nadi, from the top of your head to your pelvic floor. On your exhalation, sense a distribution of energy from just in front of your sacrum, at the bottom of your spine, into each cell of the body. On the inhalation, think sa, which is the sound of inspiration. On the exhalation, think hum which is the sound of transformation.