For the past 10 or 15 years, I have been selecting an annual or bi-annual Sanskrit or Gurmukhi mantra to learn and recite daily. Once selected, I chant it 108 times; or for 11 minutes; or as a silent, rhythmic backdrop to daily activities. Some have been with me for many years; others occupy mind space for a limited period of time, often as a 40-day discipline. I find this practice to be calming, centering, and a fun way to placate my language-loving brain’s need for sustenance.

I have one particular Sanskrit mantra that I distinctly remember trying to learn and memorize: It was more than a decade ago, and I chose the full version as a challenge. Because I mostly worked with it during long walks around the neighborhood where I was petsitting at the time, the words began to attach themselves to the beat of my walk.

And that technique—linking a mantra to a physical rhythm—has stuck with me. Over the course of the last year, especially, I have sought mantras that invoke and instill wellness; that curb pain; and that keep fear and anxiety at bay. As the color or recent months took on an acute hue of struggle, I found that I would create mantras in English that directly addressed my specific needs and goals.

The two that now attend my every step—especially when out in public, where I am most determined to stay physically upright and mentally positive—are:

“Stong and steady, healthy and well; well and healthy, steady and strong.” I repeat this with each set of left/right steps, until I have reached my destination.

And, the most recent addition: “Soothe my muscles, bathe my bones in thine Divine Healing Power.” This particular helper stems from a mantra that is integral to the healing techniques of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship teachings.

So there you have it: If ancient mantras and unfamiliar sounds and languages do not resonate with you, feel free to intuit the words and rhythms of personal mantras that surge forth from within. When you find a way to incorporate them into daily life, their energy pervades your area of need. An extra benefit: To discern and create a mantra distracts the mind from perceived pain. This mental elixir thus joins the arsenal that one needs to build when trying to hang on.

’Til tomorrow…

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