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Using a mantra to stay mindful

Man·tra /ˈmantrə/
noun: mantra; plural noun: mantras
A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation; a Vedic hymn.

I use a mantra to guide and inspire me. I like to think of it as a daily message guiding my path, a place to return to and encourage me to move forward. Typically when we want to create change in our life, we use goals or resolutions to keep us on track. However, goals and resolutions require structure and planning. They require lists and when I fail to check off the boxes on the lists, I am constantly faced with disappointment. When I work with a personal mantra, I have more freedom. My mantra gently guides me to what I want to manifest. Sometimes it is a word or phrase that I need in a pivotal moment in my life or sometimes my mantra will change based on circumstance. At the beginning of every year, I always begin with a new mantra to open the door to all the possibilities I can manifest.

As educators, creating a mantra at the start of the school year could act as a guide to stay focused on the work you are doing. Even if you have created your lists or goals of what you plan to accomplish in the upcoming school year, your mantra can work along with these goals and lists as your own personal compass of manifesting your dreams.

In order to better understand the power of mantra, I want to share one of my favorite mantra stories.

I recently provided a client one of my favorite mantras “Trust your journey". She was in the process of buying a home and was experiencing a lot of back and forth drama with the seller and needed a way to stay grounded . Every time she panicked or worried she was not going to get her dream home, she repeated this mantra. After negotiating for weeks, the seller finally agreed to all the terms. Miraculously, she sold her current home in record time and she began packing up to move. A week later, the seller pulled the offer. My client was homeless. Her current home was sold and she had three weeks to find somewhere to live. Instead of panicking, she continued to repeat the mantra again and again. She used it to guide her through the process and remind her that worrying about the situation could and would not change it. In the end, my client found another home that turned out to be an even better fit for her family. Mantra is about manifestation. It is about believing the power of your own words as a meditation.

This particular school year will present new challenges as students, teachers, and educators adapt to impacts from COVID-19. Think of your mantra as your own personal meditation to give you comfort and grounding in the challenges and moments of uncertainty ahead of us.

So how do you create a mantra? You can start with self reflection and jot down some responses to the following questions.

WHAT WILL BE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE THIS UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR?
WHAT ARE YOU DOUBTING?
WHAT REMINDS YOU OF YOUR STRENGTH? YOUR WILLPOWER?
HOW WILL YOU ADAPT TO THE CHANGES THAT COVID-19 WILL CREATE?
WHAT ARE YOU MOST FEARFUL OF?
WHAT IS ON REPEAT IN YOUR HEAD?
WHAT DISTRACTS YOU MOST FROM YOUR WORK?

Once you answer the questions, find the common thread to see if you can create a mantra that will be your guide this school year. If you are still struggling to find a personal mantra, feel free to use one of my favorites and see what may resonate with you:

“BE BRAVE. TAKE RISKS. NOTHING CAN SUBSTITUTE EXPERIENCE.” Paul Coelho

This is my current mantra that has helped me pivot during COVID-19. I had to step completely out of my comfort zone and pivot my business in order to still stay connected to my yoga community. It has given me courage to move into my greatest potential.

BREATHE
This is the simplest one word go-to mantra. Just a reminder for you to take a few cycles of deep breaths to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and create a calm in your body.

TRUST YOUR JOURNEY
You already know the power of this mantra. This is one of my all time favorite mantras especially when I am in a period of uncertainty in my life.

I AM HAPPY. I AM PEACEFUL. I AM WELL.
This is the mantra I share with all my students at the end of every yoga class. It is a reminder to yourself that despite all that is happening in your outer world, you can carry on with your own inner strength.

I AM HERE
If you find yourself constantly moving ahead in your day, take a deep breath and use this mantra. It will guide you to stay present and engaged with your students.

THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE RIGHT NOW
This mantra is great as you learn to accept where you may be in your life right now. It takes into account the positives and negatives, but without judgement. When we live our lives always judging our experiences, we react, especially when it is something that may not go our way. Use this mantra as a guide and reminder that whatever is happening to you is happening only in this moment and does not need to be your final destination.

Use your mantra to help you get through the most difficult parts of your school day, carry it with you through those tough weeks. Perhaps you will carry your mantra for your entire school year.

I would love to hear your personal mantra for the upcoming school year. Let’s encourage each other by sharing in the comments.

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