Mantra yoga, often called "mantra meditation", is part of the nada school of yoga, an ancient system of yoga which focuses on sound vibrations and their use as a means of meditation, healing and influencing the external world. Especially in the form of mantras, which are formulaic sound vibrations that contain sacred syllables representative of and containing spiritual power.
Although nada yoga can be a complex practice, making use of long and complicated mantras with difficult metres, visualisations etc, the low barrier to entry makes this sort of practice incredibly easy to get into. All you need to get started is a mantra, some mala beads and a little time.
How do I start Mantra Yoga?
Mantra yoga is usually performed just by sitting and repeating a mantra, either mentally while remaining silent, quietly to ourselves, loudly to ourselves, or loudly with a group of likeminded yogis, an act called “kirtana” or congregational chanting.
After you have picked which mantra you’re going to be repeating. You simply sit comfortably, start holding your mala beads on the first bead after the “Meru” bead and then start repeating your mantra, every time you recite the mantra you move on to the next bead.
What are Mala Beads?
A mala is a string of beads used to count repetitions of a mantra, the amount of beads can vary on the material the mala is made of or the mantra that’s intended to be used, although for most purposes a simple wooden or gem mala of one hundred and eight beads is best. The mala is held between the thumb and the middle finger, although this can also differ depending on which mantra is being recited, there’s also traditional and regional variants as to this practice.
Japa is usually started on the bead after the Meru bead ( Sometimes called a Guru/Krishna bead) the bead is normally held between the thumb and the middle finger. A mantra is recited and then you move on to the next bead and repeat, until you reach the Meru bead from the other end, you then spin the mala around in your hand and chant back the way you came. Traditionally the Meru bead is never crossed.