SAT NAM 

Sat nam – truth is your identity.

Let yourself be touched by your own truth. What is your truth? Who are you? Dig into the deepest level and discover yourself. 

Sometimes we meet people that are able to see our truth. Great souls won’t hesitate to tell us what they see and maybe even more, how it makes them feel. They will confront you with your truth, which can feel slightly odd, it might make you feel kind of naked, but it’s the purest form of love. Acknowledging the other person as what he or she is. 

Sat nam. The phrase sat nam is used particularly in Kundalini Yoga as a greeting to acknowledge the truth in each one of us. Does it seem superficial when using it as a greeting? I’m not a Kundalini practitioner, but feel touched by the beauty in its approach!

While on your mat, no matter what style you’re practicing or during your meditation, use it as your personal mantra to express or tune into your infinite identity.

Sat nam – truth is my identity.

Do you pray?

I never used this term, as I related it to religion and I thought, people pray in a church, mosque, temple or on their own to their god. I even had issues with the term god, as I don’t belong to a religion and don’t believe in god. 

Even if this is still the same, my attitude made a full turn-around when I went to India for my teacher training first time and saw how open and easy people deal with their gods (yes they have more) and how they pray. I learned about the Hindu gods, and I love all the stories around them, colorful and beautiful analogies. And I like that they have a name, a family, a face, a body, certain things around them and everything is representing something important in life. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. They seem real. Even with a lot of arms and other magical attributes.

India took away the strictness and tightness I saw in religion as such and showed me a world full of openness, laughter, ease and same time seriousness. I learned to put my hands in prayer in front of my heart center during my yoga practice and nothing felt wrong with it. It wasn’t religious, it felt and still feels as a ritual.

However I still replace the term god with universe when reading a spiritual text and I still don’t pray, but strongly believe, it’s just a matter of definition. I recite mantras, I talk to the universe, I challenge the law of attraction, I ask and give thanks to my angles.

Well, guess some would call it praying. 

How to quieten your mind

You can’t? Welcome to the club! To not be able to quieten ones mind is one of the mysteries we tend to believe.

As long as you’re busy trying to calm your mind by getting rid of all thoughts, sorry to tell you, it’s not gonna happen. Well… let’s be more specific: you can calm your mind, but you won’t be able to stop your thoughts of having a party when they feel like it. Even worse, as soon as you feed them, maybe through following them or telling them to leave, they got you.

Instead, ignore them. Let them pass. Don’t give them any attention, but bring your awareness to your breath. No matter if you’re meditating, practicing asanas or just include a little break into your day, it’s a quite good idea to fully focus on your breath. Feel your breath, listen, follow your breath through your body and concentrate just on this. It helps to be fully aware and keep your focus.

If this isn’t enough, you can add a mantra. A short mantra that you recite mentally. This keeps your mind busy and guides your focus. The beauty of a mantra is of course additionally it’s meaning. I like to use Sanskrit mantras, as they require a bit more concentration. Just saying a mantra mentally and repeat, non stop.

I’ve got some suggestions for you, some short mantras I like to use, particularly in meditation:

  • Aham Prema (I am love)
  • Aham Brahmasmi (I am the universe)
  • Sat Shit Ananda (truth, consciousness, bliss)
  • OM Mani Padme Hum (the sound of silence, the jewel in the lotus)
  • OM Ram Ramaya (an invocation to Rama, whose perfection exists in us all, to radiate confidence and strength)

As everything, it’s not just a one shot, but implementing a regular practice!

What is a Mantra?

Even if there is no generally accepted definition of mantra, let’s shed a bit light on it with a simplified translation:

The Sanskrit word can be broken down into two parts: “man”, which means mind or to think and “tra”, which means instrument or vehicle, hence a literal translation could be “instrument of the mind”.

Let’s look at the more significant explanation: Mantra is the fifth yoga described in the Yoga Upanishads. The word mantra is generally translated as sound vibration and the literal meaning is “the force that liberates the mind from bondage.” In Sanskrit the word mantra is derived from several roots: “Mananaat” means bondage of mind, “trayate” means freed or liberated, “iti” means through or thus and “mantraha” means the force of vibration.

The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic Sanskrit by Hindus in India, and are at least 3000 years old. A mantra can be just one word or more and believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers.

The ultimate mantra is anahada nada, an unstock sound or the sound of the vibrating nucleus within an atom. That is the anahada nada which, of course means nothing also because it is the soundless sound. This is where yogic physics comes in. Wherever there is motion there is bound to be a vibration. This in turn creates a subtle sound. The atoms are constantly in motion and creating a set of vibrations.

Confused? Although finding the term “think” and “mind” in a simplified translation, mantras don’t work on that layer. Through repetition we create a certain rhythm and through this rhythm sound frequencies occur. We can feel the effects of this energy in our body and mind.

How to practice a mantra:

A mantra can be a sound, word or phrase and should be repeated often, used in meditation, as a prayer or it can simply express someone’s beliefs. You can just recite it in your mind or also write it down. It can also be used for counting e.g. in pranayama – I love to use the Gayatri mantra (see below) for my counts when practicing Nadi Sodhana (alternate nostril breathing).

A nice visualization is to think about a mantra of as a seed for energizing an intention. Much in the same way you plant a flower seed, you plant mantras in the fertile soil of practice. You nurture them through repetition and over time they bear the fruit of your intention.

Give It a try and use your favorite during your next meditation (repeat it silently), chant it as an opening for your asana practice, use it as an intention for your practice, close with one or use it to count.

Some examples of my favorites:

Mantras come in many forms, the simplest and most important is

OM

Made of the three characters AUM, it presents the trinity of the universal principals, such as past, present, future or the three main gods in Hinduism, Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. The sound of OM is supposed to be the primordial sound of the universe and has a harmonizing frequency, that can be felt through the body.


The shanti mantra– is a Hindu prayer for peace, found in the Upanishads. It is supposed to calm the mind of the reciter, as well as the environment around.

Om sahanaavavaatu

Sahanau bhunaktu

Saha viiryan karavaavahai

Tejasvi naavadhiitamastu

Maa vidvishhaavahai

Om shaantih shaantih shaantih

 May we be protected together. May we be nourished together. May we work together with great vigor. May our study be enlightening. May no obstacle arise between us. Om peace, peace, peace.


The Gayatri mantra– is considered one of the most universal of all Hindu mantras, invoking the universal Brahman as the principle of knowledge and the illumination of the primordial sun. The mantra is extracted from the Rig Veda:

Oṁ Bhūr Bhuva Swaha 

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi

Dhiyo Yo Naḥa Prachodayāt

There are lots of slightly different translations, here is what I’ve learned:

Let us meditate on the glory of Ishvara*, who has created this universe, who is fit to be worshipped, who is the embodiment of knowledge and light, who is the remover of all sins and ignorance. May he enlighten our intellect!

(*Ishvara is the personification of god – untouched by suffering and karma, the teacher of all teachers and his expression in OM)

Hari Om Tat Sat!

I’m a Taurus and they (who the f*** are ‚they‘?) say, I’m resistent to any change. Not true. Not. At. All. I love changes, I love progress, I love growth, physically and mentally. As a Taurus I just need to ensure that I’m properly grounded. What I need is stability. My feet (or hands) touching the earth.

When I started yoga, I was looking for a class without any of this spiritual chichi. It should be fitness, just that. I found that class – at least I thought so. Hahaha, I was so damn wrong! It got me in my first class, this ‚yoga thing‘.

It took me years to admit that there’s more and that it’s not feeling any bad. Gosh, was it a waste of time? All these years? Nope, it was my journey. A slow one, yep. I don’t like slow. Hmmmm, probably that might be the reason why!

However, the past couple of days I recognized some huge changes. Finally I opened myself fully to all this ‚spiritual shit‘. Not on purpose and this is the best of it, I just observed the change. All of a sudden the words of Deepak Chopra reached me. All of a sudden meditation brings me into deeper levels of myself. All of a sudden I kinna inhale the Upanishads. All of a sudden I have a glimpse of the meaning of existence. All of a sudden, I opened myself.

This is what yoga is about. Changes. Finding your true self. Nobody said it’s easy. But so worth it! Go for it yogi. Stay true to yourself, it’s YOUR journey. And remember: ENJOY!

Hari Om Tat Sat!

Oooooooooommm

OM is a symbol. OM is a mantra. OM is sound. OM is the initial sound of the universe. It vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature. Meaning, by chanting OM, we are physically tuning in to that frequency. The physical effect on the body is a slowing down of the nervous system and calming the mind, which also allows our blood pressure to decrease. Next to that, chanting OM at the beginning and ending of a yoga class, sets the practice into a frame and helps us to kind of login to our practice.

Honestly, when I started practicing yoga, I was particularly looking for a class without chanting, incense sticks, Hindu gods, singing bowls or any other stuff, that I related to this ‘spiritual chichi’. Well, now I know, it was nothing but this childish behavior of ‘when I close my eyes with my hands and can’t see anything, nobody can see me’. Practicing yoga just on a physical level is simply not possible. This doesn’t mean, that all of a sudden every yogi turns into a highly spiritual being 😉 However yoga is working in and on us, on different levels, body and mind. Thank god, I wasn’t aware of it when I started!

The first class I attended with an opening OM scared me a lot. I tried to just ignore it, as I liked the rest of the class. But one day, I just did it. Ups. What an amazing vibration in my body! It felt awesome. Just that. Getting more used to it over time, I learned to love it. Not caring about the sound of my voice, we do it all together and hey, no judgment please! Hearing my own voice is sometimes embarrassing, particularly when teaching Ashtanga and doing the opening prayer as call-and-response…. However, that’s part of the game! And beautifully settling in our cells….

Due to my own experience, I was quite careful with my students, but finally started to finish my classes with an OM. I love this grounding feeling going through my body, that completes a class. As expected, my students were scared. All I could hear was a little humming somewhere in the back. Next time I told them, we will continue doing this and it’s not religious, no spiritual reason, but physical. Be bold and give it a try, the louder the more vibration you’ll feel in your body. I could hear some tender OMs….

Yes yogis, go for it!