Mothers definitely need a mantra.
In fact, some days, we need a whole array of them. With summer holidays in full swing, include this traditional yogic mantra—a seed sound that resonates the essence of mother—in your daily practice:
Years ago, with a two-year-old and five-year-old at home, I sat in a yoga studio full of women, chanting Ma.
I was still new to the whole chanting thing, but I was recovering from years of sleepless nights and was open to any and all practices that boosted my energy while soothing my often frazzled mom-nerves. I had joined a 12-week Kundalini yoga course, and every session was unique, including our session of Ma.
The chant started low and slow, each voice tentatively going through the motions of the mantra. Within a minute, the chorus of female voices (and I believe a male voice or two) filled the room, seemingly reaching beyond walls.
Some voices held long, strong recitations, while others shook; seed sound merged with sobbing. The experience of chanting this age-old sound was different for each person, but powerful for all. I felt fortified by the practice.
My mom has always been there for me. But this was a new sense of “mother,” a vast well of support from which to draw. Tears flooded my eyes during the practice while I released this sense of having to hold it all together. Making decisions for myself was hard enough. As a mom, I was now responsible for two tiny people and that responsibility often felt heavy—even heavier on days with little sleep, which were many.
The chant shook loose all the pieces I had been trying to hold together. It was as if “mother” held out her hands and took them from me. I didn’t care how it worked. I just cared that it worked.
I continued to chant Ma for months after that day. I still return to her from time to time.
Ma is the sound of mother: the primordial mother. When you need the support of mother wisdom, chant Ma to call upon the great mother. Use this ancient mantra to replenish your reserves so that you may be nourished in your own role of mother.
1. Sitting on a chair, place your elbow on the table in front of you with your hand cupped to your ear as if you are listening for something. If you are seated on the floor, allow one leg to be in the cross-legged position and the other to be bent, with your foot on the floor and your knee supporting your elbow while your hand is cupped to your ear, listening.
2. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Allow the body and mind to relax.
3. Bring a gentle smile to your face (this act alone signals the body and mind to relax).
4. Inhale and with the exhalation, call Maaaaaaaaa. Feel your voice reverberate through your body. Listen on the inhale.
5. Then repeat your call in whatever tone feels nourishing to you. Try lowering your voice or raising it. Find your voice.
6. Change sides and continue to chant for an equal amount of time.
7. Work up to 11 minutes of practice.
9. When finished, relax the hand and leg, and sit with your eyes closed, enjoying the vibration and comfort of Ma. Sit in the resonance of compassion and protection.
May the sound of Ma nourish you.