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According to Wikipedia, “”Mantra” means a sacred utterance, numinous sound, or a syllable, word, phonemes, or group of words believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual power in Sanskrit. A mantra may or may not have syntactic structure or literal meaning; the spiritual value of a mantra comes when it is audible, visible, or present in thought.
Hindus in India composed the earliest mantras in Vedic times. Those mantras are at least 3000 years old. Mantras are now found in various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Similar hymns, chants, compositions and concepts are found in many religions.
The use, structure, function, importance, and types of mantras vary according to the school and philosophy of Hinduism and of Buddhism. Mantras serve a central role in Tantra. In this school, mantras are considered equivalent to deities, a sacred formula and deeply personal ritual, and considered to be effective only after initiation. However, in other schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism, initiation is not a requirement.
Mantras come in many forms, and at its simplest, the words Aum or Om serves as a mantra. In more sophisticated forms, they are melodic phrases with spiritual interpretations such as human longing for truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge, and action. Other mantras have no literal meaning, yet are musically uplifting and spiritually meaningful.”
Here are 5 Sanskrit mantras, adapted from MindBodyGreen.com, with their ancient meanings and how we can adopt them into our modern lives:
Translation: The sound of the universe. It’s the first, original vibration, representing the birth, death and re-birth process.
Modern adaptation: Chanting the sound OM brings us into harmonic resonance with the universe – this is a scientific fact! OM is said to vibrate at 432 Hertz, which is the natural musical pitch of the Universe, as opposed to 440 Hertz, which is the frequency of most modern music.
Decreasing your frequency to coincide with that of the Universe stills the fluctuations of the mind, allowing you to practice yoga through sound. OM is an idyllic way to begin and end a yoga or mediation practice, and also comes in handy when you just need to chill out.
Mantra: Om Namah Shivaya
Translation: I bow to Shiva, the supreme deity of transformation who represents the truest, highest self.
Modern adaptation: In the book Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert is given this mantra by her Guru, which she lovingly refers to as the “Amazing Grace of Sanskrit.” Her interpretation is, “I honor the divinity within myself.” This is a great mantra to help build self-confidence, reminding us that we are all made up of divine energy and should treat ourselves accordingly.
Mantra: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Translation: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all
Modern adaptation: Most commonly associated with the Jivamukti Yoga School, this mantra is a powerful way to dedicate yourself to living a life of non-harming and being of service to the greater good. This mantra encourages cooperation, compassion and living in harmony with the environment, animals and our fellow human beings.
Mantra: Shanti Mantra
Om Saha Naavavatu
Saha Nau Bhunaktu
Saha Veeryam Karavaavahai
Tejasvi Aavadheetamastu Maa Vidvishaavahai Om
Translation: May the Lord protect and bless us. May he nourish us, giving us strength to work together for the good of humanity. May our learning be brilliant and purposeful. May we never turn against one another.
Modern adaptation: A perfect mantra to start a yoga class, a new day, or even a new business with. It unites the participants and sets a tone of non-competitiveness, unity, and working together towards a common goal.
Mantra: Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah
Translation: I bow to the elephant-faced deity [Ganesh] who is capable of removing all obstacles. I pray for blessings and protection.”
Modern adaptation: In Hindu teachings, Ganesh is known as the god of wisdom and success and the destroyer of obstacles. This is my favorite mantra, which I always draw on when I’m facing a big challenge in life and especially when I’m traveling.
Came across this story featured on MindBody Green and it made me smile. You can find the good, when you look or seek and accept it. Here are 13 Inspirational Childrens Book Quotes to make you smile.
MindBody Green featured Dr Lawrence Rosen, who wrote, “I have a profound connection to children’s literature. When I was young, my parents read to me often and instilled in me the joy of reading. I was transported by the tales, my imagination whisking me on amazing journeys to fantastic new worlds.
Even today, when books struggle to compete with movies, TV, the web, and mobile apps for our kids’ attention, reading to my children has taught me that there is still a tremendous, unique power in sharing stories.
That’s why, as a pediatrician, I’ve chosen to fill my waiting room and exam rooms with favorite children’s books rather than TV screens or toys. I love walking into a room and finding a parent sitting on the exam table, child on lap, reading together.
Below, I’m sharing some of my favorite inspiring quotes from children’s literature. I hope they inspire you to share one of these stories with a child in your life.”
1. “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl, “The Minpins”
2. “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
― A.A. Milne, “Winnie-the-Pooh”
3. ” ‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’ ”
— E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web”
4. “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
― Dr. Seuss, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”
5. “Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring”
6. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
― J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
7. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland”
8. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
— Louisa May Alcott, “Little Women”
9. “You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them.”
― Norton Juster, “The Phantom Tollbooth”
10. “All grown-ups were once children … but only few of them remember it.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “The Little Prince”
11. “I bet if you go through the rest of your life telling yourself, ‘I’m sparkling,’ you’ll have a whole different energy and experience.”
― Wendy Mass, “Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall”
12. “I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”
― Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time”
13. “Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child, Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS, The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S
Listen to the NEVER HAVES, Then listen close to me—
Anything can happen, child, ANYTHING can be.”
— Shel Silverstein, “Where the Sidewalk Ends”
Story courtesy of MindBody Green, and Dr Lawrence Rosen.
According to a recent article in MindBodyGreen, there is a simple way to give your immune system a boost with a few kitchen staples. Herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years to support health, and now science is starting to catch up with traditional wisdom. Cooking with fresh or dried herbs and lots of spices is one simple way to boost your defenses as the seasons begin to change. After all, the best defense is a good offense! Here are three spices to keep in your kitchen.
Turmeric is a pungent, bright yellow powder, it’s also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It’s been shown to be antimicrobial, antifungal and play a role in inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells.
Turmeric is best absorbed when paired with a fat, which makes it perfect to cook with. You can also add turmeric to your smoothie with a scoop of coconut oil.
Cayenne packs a nice kick and most of us use it to add a bit of heat to dishes. That kick also carries some great health benefits and cayenne is known to be anti-inflammatory, metabolism booster and cancer fighter.
Research suggests that the capsiates (or non-spicy substances) found in many pepper varieties target a variety of pathways involved in cancer development and inflammation.
Commonly associated with Italian dishes, oregano is a fragrant herb that’s been shown to have exceptionally high antioxidant content.
Research suggests that adding a mixture of herbs, including oregano, to meat can reduce the formation of oxidative stress markers that naturally occur with cooking. This is important because those markers are known to play a role in the formation of carcinogenic and atherogenic forming compounds.
Cooking liberally with herbs and spices will improve the taste and depth of your dishes while adding considerable health benefits to each meal.
Photo Credit: MindBodyGreen & Shutterstock
A recent article on MindBodyGreen, caught my eye, as it gives tips on how to raise calm, happy social kids. Who doesn’t want that right? The purpose of the article is to get parents to be mindful and teach their children how to be mindful. 8 Ways To Raise Calm, Happy Kids & Boost Their Social Skills, was written by Sean Grover, LCSW, author of When Kids Call the Shots. Mr Grover has worked in child development and adult psychotherapy for 20 years, and maintains one of the largest private group therapy practices in the U.S. He has been quoted in Newsweek, New York Magazine, NPR, and elsewhere about parent-child relationships.
Teaching children to be mindful can have a direct impact on many areas of their lives. Mindfulness improves social skills, boosts school performance, fosters creativity, reduces impulsivity in children and can encourage them to be independent thinkers. What parent doesn’t want to see the best in their child shine through? It is our job to guide children and give them the tools they need to succeed in life, at all stages. I think that Mr. Grover shares great advice on how to give children the best guidance…number 8 is critical: mindful parent, mindful child. Enjoy this excerpt from his MBG article:
8 Ways to Raise More Mindful Children
Raising a mindful child does not require moving your family to a monastery. I’ve seen parents foster it in everyday activities by creating more reflective spaces at home, making room for greater contemplation, and strengthening family communication.
To encourage greater mindfulness with your own kids, consider these eight steps:
1. Take technology blackouts.
Set aside times during the day when no one in your family touches technology. You too, mom and dad! That’s right: turn off all cell phones, televisions, computers, etc.
Children who are always engaged in technology are more impulsive and rarely have time for self-reflection, which is the bedrock of mindfulness. If your family is technology dependent, create more quiet space for relating and exchanging thoughts and feelings without a glowing screen between you.
2. Offer creative outlets.
Painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, sewing, and similar hobbies require thought and patience to follow through to completion. Children who learn to sit quietly and assert themselves to creative tasks are more grounded and self-motivated to succeed. They learn to work through frustration by keeping their eye on the prize.
3. Encourage journal writing.
Journaling is a great tool for developing greater mindfulness. If your child is resistant to starting a diary, start one together. A sense of calm and empowerment emerges when kids take time to create a narrative for their lives and reflect on their daily experiences. A diary also offers them a chance to consider their choices more fully.
4. Hold family meetings.
Family meetings are a great way to introduce structure to household communication. Set aside a time each week, and make sure everyone has the chance to voice his or her concerns. When family members learn to honor each other’s feelings and work through frustrations together, a healthy sense of trust and cohesion emerges.
5. Cultivate a meditative practice.
Studies have shown that kids who engage in a mindfulness practice, such as martial arts, yoga, or meditation, experience a greater sense of well-being. They instinctively start to embrace a spirit of self-improvement, which leads to greater inner strength.
6. Nurture altruistic activities.
True mindfulness lives and breathes in the compassionate bonds of friendship and community. Help your child develop a greater sense of interconnectedness through volunteer work, charity or supporting neighborhood projects. Altruism deepens your child’s sense of humanity, gratitude and empathy.
7. Organize your child’s day.
Kids crave sameness. Even though they may resist boundaries, they fall apart without structure. Strive to create a household of shared responsibilities and dependable schedules. Flexibility is welcome, but you need a baseline of consistency first. Too much chaos or inconsistency in a child’s life never allow for mindfulness to take root.
8. Lead by example.
Mindful parent, mindful child. In other words, mindfulness rarely appears organically in children — parents must foster it. What’s the best way to introduce mindfulness into your kid’s life? Practice what you preach. Develop a mindfulness practice for yourself and demonstrate its power in your own behavior.
A recent article in MindBodyGreen, was very eye catching to me. The article discusses 9 Foods To Fight Inflammation And Boost Your Mood. Using food as medicine is a passion of mine. Using food to relieve your ailments is powerful. The following is directly from the MindBodyGreen article and is worth the read. Empower yourself, heal yourself, through the food you eat!
Foods have a marked impact on our moods, but too many times when we’re struggling to get through the day, we reach for the very snacks that only bring us down: sweets, refined carbohydrates and other processed foods.
When you eat unhealthy junk foods, you set in motion a silent, chronic inflammation that wreaks havoc on your body. Not only does that affect your physical health, but it also impacts your overall mood.
While unhealthy foods can promote a negative outlook, the good news is that healthier options can also produce a positive one.
By adding these nine mood-boosting foods into your diet, you’ll reduce low-level inflammation throughout your body, and help transform a down day into a happy one:
Studies show that yogurt can increase levels of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, making it a tasty way to help fight depression.
Plus, cultured and fermented foods promote good gut health. That’s critical since the gut is where most of the body’s serotonin is found.
Other fermented foods to add to your shopping list: kefir, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchee. Besides boosting your mood, they’ll also add beneficial bacteria that protect the lining of the gut and prevent inflammation throughout the body.
Thanks to its higher levels of a chemical called tryptophan and the mineral selenium, turkey has an edge over other types of poultry. The tryptophan triggers serotonin, while the anti-inflammatory selenium helps to fight depression.
This summer staple is a particularly rich source of folic acid, a natural mood booster. The high levels of folate in asparagus also help to alleviate symptoms of mild depression, like lack of energy and foggy thinking. For a happy snack, try dipping spears in Greek yogurt or sour cream, which are dense in calming calcium.
4. Dark, leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens — think spinach, kale or collard greens — are high in mood-boosting magnesium, which creates a feeling of calm and plays a large role in the development of serotonin. Add a kale or spinach salad to your daily diet to help beat stress and depression.
5. Roasted cherry tomatoes
Hiding in the colorful skin of tomatoes is the phytonutrient lycopene, whichhelps prevent inflammatory compounds linked to depression. Why cherry tomatoes? Since they’re smaller in size, you’ll eat more of that skin that packs a powerful anti-inflammatory punch. You’ll also want to roast them: studies have shown that cooking tomatoes first can actually up the total amount of lycopene your body receives.
6. Wild salmon
Omega-3 fat offers a powerful protection against depression, and salmon is stuffed with it. These fats also help to reverse low-level inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. Though the brain is rich in omega-3 fats, the body can’t make its own, so getting this fat from the food you eat is essential.
7. Dark chocolate
Research has shown that dark cocoa powder can help keep bad moods in check — not to mention improve cognition and boost brain power. Enjoy 1.5 ounces of 70% dark chocolate daily to cut down on the stress hormone cortisol, as well as pro-inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein.
8. Green tea
Chickpeas are brimming with the nutrients tryptophan, folate and vitamin B6 — all of which help boost mood and reduce inflammation. For a delicious, happy hummus tip, use chickpeas and tahini, which is high in stress-reducing magnesium.
All links in this article are avenues to explore even more great MindBodyGreen articles packed full of healthy advice. Make food a powerful tool and enjoy it while doing so!