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Mantra 101

Add daily affirmations to your practice with a spiritual starter kit.

By Annie Buckley

Want to keep that yoga feeling going all day long? Christine Burke, co-owner and director of Liberation Yoga in Los Angeles, offers a solution—mantra. Burke's desire to share the practice with others led to the creation, with Ariel Joseph Towne, of the Outrageous Mantra Experiment (OME). The practice entails repeating a word or phrase with a focused intention for meditation.

Last year, actress Ashley Fondrevay tried mantra through the project. "I'd always heard about mantra, but thought it was for people who were more spiritual than me," she says, adding that it soon became a regular part of her life. Her theme was removing obstacles, so she chose a mantra for the Hindu deity Ganesha, Om gum ganapatayei namaha ("Om and salutations to the remover of obstacles").

OME updates traditional mantra discipline through its open invitation to yogis everywhere and its focus on personal choice. Instead of assigning mantras to their students, Burke and Towne select a theme, such as love or courage, and encourage participants to choose from a variety of related mantras. In this collaborative 40-day spiritual regimen, participants commit to chanting their chosen mantra each day, for as little as a few minutes to as long as an hour. OME provides an information packet, optional support meetings, and guidance in the practice of mantra.

Fondrevay found that reciting the mantra aloud helped her stay focused in difficult poses and accept her mistakes in yoga class. Repeating the mantra silently throughout the day also brought clarity to other areas of her life. "It helped me to realize the power of words," Fondrevay says. "The things we tell ourselves every day, all the time, are bound to have an effect on the way we feel." Rather than listen to racing thoughts or excessive noise from traffic, she says, "now I let the silence of the day get me going."

Contact Liberation Yoga (www.liberationyoga.com) to learn more about the OME.


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