Mantra Chanting as a Tool to Help Calm Anxiety

Mantras are sacred words or phrases with a specific meaning and vibrational power. They come from an ancient tradition of using sacred sounds to shine light on aspects of ourselves and of life that we wish to heal, transform, manifest or understand deeper.

In our busy world, it’s easy to feel anxious. We’re constantly bombarded with information everywhere we turn, and although technology is a wonderful tool, it also carries its burdens. It seems in a world where we’re “so connected,” many of us feel isolated, anxious and alone. This is when chanting mantras can help.

As a sufferer from ongoing anxiety, I came to mantras 18 years ago through the paths of Yoga and Sufism. At the time, mantra chanting became a tool to help me detach from external distractions and calm down. It was an easy-to-use technique I could employ at any time to transform anxious thoughts and return to myself no matter what was going on around me. In this space, I felt more joyful, trusting, and more connected to life’s possibilities. Understandingly, I was hooked, and since then I’ve chanted mantras almost daily!

So what, you may be asking, are mantras?

Mantras are sacred words or phrases with a specific meaning and vibrational power. They come from an ancient tradition of using sacred sounds to shine light on aspects of ourselves and of life that we wish to heal, transform, manifest or understand deeper.

The word Mantra is Sanskrit and is made of two parts:

Man – mind
Tra – vehicle/instrument

When put together, Mantra becomes an instrument to help cross over the fluctuations of the mind. It’s a tool we can use to help us overcome the busyness of our thoughts, emotions, impulses, desires and tendencies. By chanting mantra, we pierce through these distractions and come to rest in the stillness of Being, in our true nature. There is freedom and transformative power in this.

And how exactly does mantra chanting help us with anxiety?

Chanting involves repetition. As we recite our mantra over and over again, our concentration on our experience of the mantra increases, whilst at the same time decreasing our focus on the triggers of our anxiety. Nervous feelings, worried thoughts about potential future scenarios, or the replay of past situations in our head – they all decrease as we give ourselves over to the mantra.

In this way, mantra chanting helps us focus our mind, connect to our body, and it brings us into awareness of the present moment. This is a place where anxiety doesn’t exist.

What are some tips we can use to chant mantra?

When we chant, we can focus on different sensations and ideas in order to strengthen our alignment with the mantra and through this reduce anxious feelings:

1. The meaning – Every mantra has a specific meaning we wish to align with. So we can hold this meaning in our mind as we recite the mantra to help us align with it.

2. The vibrations – We can tune into the vibrations resonating through our body from the fundamental frequencies created in our vocal cords. Some mantras even encourage us to focus on feeling the vibratory sensations in different parts related to the different parts of the mantra.

3. The pronunciation – As we chant, we can tune into the way we vocalise and pronounce each element of the mantra. Feeling it inside our mouth and concentrating on the specific pronunciation.

4. Breath – Focusing on anchoring our breath in our pelvis can help ground us whilst chanting. This also serves to bring us back into an embodied state and out of an anxious one.

5. Sound – We can focus on the sound coming out of us as we chant. And if we’re in a group, we can concentrate on our individual voice, blending into that of the group until it sounds as though we’re one voice chanting.

6. Love – Mantra chanting is a form of Bhakti or Devotional Yoga. When we chant, we get to give all of ourselves – all of our thoughts, emotions, and our current energetic state – into the mantra. I think about it as bowing before the altar of my own heart and chanting intentionally, from this space.

How to choose a mantra to chant?

What I love about mantras is that they are so diverse. There exists a mantra for almost every aspect of the human experience you can think of. From helping us move through fear, to allow more abundance into our life, from connecting to our inner strength to deepening our self-confidence, mantras to me are like little friends we can call upon whenever we need support.

When searching for a new mantra, I recommend finding one whose meaning or energy resonates with you. For instance, sometimes I look for a mantra that can help me with a specific issue I’m facing, and then I begin chanting it daily for a number of weeks. Other times my voice coaching clients, and online course students, present mantras to me in our live sessions whose vibe simply speaks to me. In these situations, I often find myself unconsciously chanting the mantra after our session, and I feel like the mantra has chosen me. So then I begin chanting it for a few weeks and I observe what unfolds in my life through this practice.

There are many ways you can find new mantras to chant, from books to blog posts, from YouTube videos to listening to mantra music on streaming sites like Apple Music and Spotify. I have many of the mantras I’ve personally worked with online for you to listen to under my name Kirbanu, and there are many other mantra musicians whose interpretations of classic mantras deeply inspire. As someone who suffers anxiety, what I appreciate in listening to mantra music, is that the music itself has an added soothing effect upon me in addition to the actual mantra.

If you’re unsure, you can begin by chanting a classic mantra like Om, Hare Om, or Om Shanti. Regardless of your choice, try chanting the mantra for a short time, like 5-minutes per day, to start with. From there you can build up to longer if you wish to. And the best part is that by doing this, over time you’ll have an entire range of mantras that you can go to, whenever you need them. And this for me is their magic. Mantras are vibrational medicine we can use at any time to regulate and heal ourselves. They offer us healing, support and insight for any situation, and they teach us to live a conscious life.

By Kirbanu

Kirbanu is an Australian-born, German-based mantra singer, voice empowerment coach, and yoga teacher. Her qualifications are in science, life coaching, and yoga, along with 15 years of experience as a professional singer and musician. Her unique body of work uses sound, therapeutic techniques, and the voice as tools for transformation and profound healing. Kirbanu came to sacred chanting through Sufism. Initiated into the lineage of Hazrat Inyat Khan in 2006, she lived with her teachers in America and New Zealand for 3 years, learning about the power of sound and mantra as a spiritual practice and developing herself through chanting. Her mantra practice has since been deeply guided by the works of Thomas Ashley-Farrand and Krishna Das. To date Kirbanu has performed over 600 concerts, and given over 100 workshops and masterclasses, in the last 7 years across Europe and Australasia including Festival appearances at: 2020 Berlin Digital Yoga Conference (DE), 2019 Yoga Vidya Music Festival
(DE), 2019 Darmstadt Yoga Festival (DE) 2019 Summer of Love (CH), 2017 Maifeld Derby (D), 2017 Adelaide Fringe (AU), 2017 Perth Fringe World (AU) and 2016 Blue Balls (CH).

Social Media:
Music on: Spotify, i-Tunes, Apple Music @kirbanu

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

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