Om, My Goodness

I was a skeptic.

When I went to Sri Dharma Mittra’s Life of a Yogi Teacher Training, we were taught a Mantra for Purification that we chanted daily.

It didn’t resonate.

Though I stumbled through the mantra, I didn’t know what it meant, I didn’t understand the words, I simply couldn’t connect.

Fast forward a decade. Well, a few years more than that….

Despite what my social media may lead you to believe, it’s been a rough and tough few months around Shana-ville.

And as much as I hate to write it out loud, my asana practice hasn’t helped. Chanting mantra is an invaluable tool for regaining mental equilibrium.

Though I do hit my mat every day for a full-on, balls-to-the-wall, hardcore practice–no excuses, no backing down–it has often been a struggle. There are days–and sometimes days on end–when each and every posture feels like a fight against my mind. Some days, my two-hour practice takes three (or more) hours to complete. And though I always, always feel better for having practiced, it hasn’t left me feeling better.

Even harder to admit, when I descended into a particularly low space, meditation and pranayama didn’t help either. Instead, I found my heart steamrolling my mind into a relentless emotional frenzy.

Then there was a day, when out of complete desperation, I decided to chant.

I still didn’t know what the Mantra for Purification meant. I still didn’t understand the words. But that day, I chanted. Slowly, mindfully, loudly. I stopped thinking about the meaning of the Mantra and started feeling the Mantra instead.

I focused on how the words sounded in my head, how they reverberated in my throat, and how they landed in my heart.

I intended to chant it ten times, and then I did 20. And 30. And, honestly, I couldn’t stop.

Because it was working.

When nothing else on earth could stop my tears or quiet my mind, I suddenly–and completely unexpectedly–found my peace.

Since then, there have been days when I use the Mantra to close my asana practice. There are days when I use it to lull me to sleep. And there are days that I chant it for a half-hour or more to regain equilibrium. It truly is the only thing that works for me right now.

To be honest, I don’t know what chanting Mantra does to heal my spirit. I don’t know if it’s mindfulness or magic. I don’t know if it’s the words or the will. All I know is that, for me, it works. And om, my goodness, I couldn’t be more grateful.


  1. Brabra on November 22, 2022 at 2:00 pm11

    This was great to read! Thanks for sharing so honestly.
    Maybe you can share the mantra with a lesson on how to do it, if it’s not too personal.

    • Shana on November 22, 2022 at 2:00 pm11

      I would love to, but the Mantra is gifted from Sr Dharma directly to his students and, as such, I am beholden not to share.
      However, I think perhaps the healing comes less from the specific chant and more from its resonance.
      I would suggest exploring various mantras and chants to see if there is one that creates a visceral healing for you.
      Love you❣️

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