Her practice: The moment I sit down, I chant the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra to myself, silently, within. I recite this healing mantra after my asana and pranayama practice, prior to meditation. It clears my mind, feeds my body, and simultaneously softens and strengthens my spirit. The English translation is: "I meditate on and surrender myself to the Divine Being who embodies the power of will, knowledge, and action. I pray to the Divine Being, who manifests in the form of fragrance in the flower of life and is the eternal nourisher of the plant of life. Like a skillful gardener, may the Lord of Life disentangle me from the binding forces of my physical, psychological, and spiritual foes. May the Lord of immortality residing within free me from death, decay, and sickness and unite me with immortality."
I take time to slowly feel my way through it three times. I listen for the notes, the ideas, the potent empty spaces that come with it. Then I have a recitation practice given to me by my teacher, Yogarupa Rod Stryker, and then I'll typically do either Nadi Shodhana, Breath of Fire, or Bellows Breath (Bhastrika). And sometimes, I’ll do a measured breathing practice to sink in more deeply toward my center. Then I'll sit, letting my personal mantra echo through me for about 20 minutes.
The results: A distinct calmness washes over me when I'm sitting, carries me throughout the day, and helps me manage both the expected and the unexpected. Boundaries are more easily felt and more gently, effectively expressed, and there is far less emotional turmoil. I can see what needs my attention and where I can retreat. Ten years ago, when I first began wishing for a direct yet soulful practice, I had no idea it would be this simple. When I prioritize this short practice, everything becomes imbued with an indescribable vibrancy, pointing me toward what I'm meant to share, how I'm meant to serve, and when I'm meant to step back and listen again.
See also 13 Major Yoga Mantras to Memorize