Sat Nam and welcome to the new Yoga and Talk website! And to our first blog which I’m calling Mantra Mondays.
If you’ve done kundalini yoga before you are familiar with the mantra Sat Nam. Do you remember what it means?
Sat means Truth and Nam means identity. All together it translates as “Truth is my Identity” or “I identify with my True Self.”
Sat Nam rhymes with (“But Mom” – a mantra I hear a lot in my house these days).
We use mantra to break through automatic or negative thinking patterns and bring us into the present moment with an uplifting thought or affirmation.
Often in a kundalini yoga class, we link our breath to a rhythmic movement and then add the mental mantra Sat Nam. As we breathe and move, we are practicing focusing our minds and in so doing we have the experience of consciously choosing which thought to focus on.
Did you know that just because you think something doesn’t make it true? My teacher Yogi Bhajan says that we release a thousand thoughts with each blink of the eye. Not all of those thoughts are important or true! Many don’t even belong to you.
Through the practice of mantra, you can begin to observe the recurrent and automatic thoughts and train your mind to choose thoughts that are encouraging and uplifting and/or that help you see reality for what it is, and help you consciously walk your path in life.
In our culture, we are inundated with stimulation from the environment outside ourselves. The media, computers, facebook (my personal favorite), texting, other people’s opinions, expectations and judgments cloud our ability to know our own thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes our own ego’s perfectionistic standards can prevent our appreciation of our True Self, leaving us stuck feeling inadequate, sad, or anxious.
The experience of Sat Nam is an experience of the neutral mind – how you feel after yoga or meditation, in nature, in a completely relaxed state, or in a moment of spiritual connection.
I use Sat Nam to remind me throughout the day that what really matters is being grounded and aware of my body and breath, my gratitude for each moment, and a surrendering of the need to control what other people think or do (after many years of trying, I know this doesn’t work).
It reminds me that in my relationships, what is most important is that I show up and be mindfully present, awake, and aware. From this state, I am open to connection that is satisfying on both sides.
Yoga and Talk group members share many ways they use Sat Nam in their daily lives – to be honest with themselves, to set limits when needed, to give them courage to speak their truth, and to stand up for what is right for their True Selves, and to remember that they are already ok, already good enough.
Sat Nam becomes a somatic marker (a sensation felt in the body) that they can refer to and re-experience again and again.
This week I’ll be presenting Thursday evening at the Breast Cancer Resource Center’s monthly educational meeting on Yoga and Meditation during the breast cancer experience.
We’ll be practicing our Sat Nams there.
What is your experience with Sat Nam?