A mantra is a sound that is thought to bring about spiritual transformation.

What is a Mantra?

The concept of a mantra began in the Indian Vedic tradition, then became a part of the Hindu religion. While not explicitly mandated, mantras have also become a part of the culture and custom of Buddhism, Janism, and other Eastern traditions. The syllable “om” is probably the most well-known mantra, and has made its way into some yoga classes. For example, some yoga instructors encourage students to breathe deeply while saying “om” at the beginning and end of class. In Hinduism, “om” is the most important mantra, and begins and ends all prayers.

In some religious traditions and sects, mantras are viewed as representative of gods or divine entities, and thus the utterance of a mantra is a powerful act that can lead to emotional and transformative spiritual experiences.

Mantras and Mental Health

Mantras can have a soothing effect on the mind even among people who are not religious. The utterance of mantras often focuses on calming the mind, controlling the breathing, and eliminating unhealthy or unkind thoughts. Some mental health professionals encourage their clients to meditate or do yoga as a way to control stress, and some may encourage clients to utter mantras as mechanism to calm their minds.

Other Uses of Mantras

In colloquial usage, a mantra can refer to any expression or saying designed to soothe the mind, and sometimes is even used to refer to life aphorisms and summations of beliefs.


  1. Bowker, J. (2006). World religions: The great faiths explored & explained. New York, NY: DK Pub.
  2. The mantra OM. (n.d.). Mandala Yoga Ashram. Retrieved from
  3. The mystery of mantras. (n.d.). Ask Astrologer. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 08-11-2015

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  • marie m

    marie m

    January 25th, 2017 at 10:08 PM

    very helpful and would like to know about many other types of therapy used in psychiatric beside CBT).
    again thanks a lot

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