Exercise with a Mantra

You can use a mantra (sound) to increase the benefit of exercise. Research with instruments such as the electroencephalograph or EEC, which measures electrical activity in the brain, has shown that certain mental states are beneficial to both physical and mental health. Specifically, researchers have found a very beneficial condition of “restful attention,” which is typically observed during meditation.

But restful attention can also be attained during exercise through the use of a mantra, or repeated pattern of sound. With your attention focused on your breathing, silently repeat the syllable so each time you inhale silently, and then, as you exhale, repeat the syllable hum.

By using this mantra throughout your exercise period, you can enjoy the benefits of meditation and physical activity at the same time. Remember that the best times to exercise are during the Kapha periods: 6-10 a.m. and 6-10 p.m. This is because the structure of your physiology is stronger and more tolerant at those times.

The best exercises for weight loss meet two criteria: They involve continuous activity rather than starting and stopping, and they include motion by the large muscle groups in the lower half of the body, rather than just the arms. This kind of exercise is what the word aerobic refers to.

Thus, although tennis and golf, for example, are great for relaxation, they do not fulfill the purposes of daily exercise. By keeping these points in mind and making them part of your daily exercise program, you can gain enhanced clarity of thought, refined perception by all your senses, and lowered risk from many debilitating medical conditions such as hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels.

But best of all, in terms of weight control, you can reconstitute your basal metabolic rate so that your body is burning fat all the time, not just when you’re exercising. This kind of metabolism is characteristic of anyone who has made exercise a part of his or her daily routine. It’s the fundamental difference between people who are truly “in shape” and those who follow a sedentary lifestyle.

Adapted from Perfect Weight, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 1994).

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Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog4 years ago

Thanks for sharing - I've been thinking of chanting 'aum' with my yoga exhalations, let's see if it amplifies the effects of the asanas :)

Bob C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you Deepak and fellow students.

Years ago I discovered that softly repeating a counting chant -- "one, two, three, four..." -- helped me keep pace while jogging or walking briskly. Eventually the number words blended into a steady humming sound repeated every four steps, with my footfalls modulating the sound like so: "MmmmMmmmMmmm ..." On every fourth step I draw a deep breath and repeat the soft humming chant.

I inadvertently had developed my own mantra. It doesn't matter that for some time I did not realize that it was a mantra. It has little to do with intellectual understanding and much to do with breathing, internal wiring, and energy. The repetitive vibration in my throat and chest focuses my attention, keeps me on task, and helps keep my bronchial tubes open and my red blood cells oxygenated.

It also makes jogging or brisk walking a moving meditation.

Ida J.
Ida J.4 years ago


John Abraham
John Abraham4 years ago

thakns for this

John Abraham
John Abraham4 years ago


heather g.
heather g.4 years ago

I haven't tried using a mantra while exercising but will give it a try - Thanks

Paul B.
Paul Blake4 years ago

Excellent article Dr. Chopra, I am adding this into my exercise program today.

Doc Blake

Susan N.
Susan N.4 years ago

Interesting info.

myra d.
myra d.4 years ago

Interesting article. Interesting posts.

Gaby D.
Gaby D.4 years ago

Goodmorning Deepak, you are on a roll here with this week's posts! Another one on mantra's, meditation and exercise to boot!
Today's information made me feel a bit better.....for years I've been doing a 'walking meditation'. A mantra I have been saying with every footstep on my daily, walk /run. Each step is a word of the mantra which now, whenever I start walking anywhere.....is automatically started in my brain. And I swear that this mantra, which is very personal, an affirmation some would call it, that developed during my walks in times of physical disease ....has been around for many years now, and has been an essential part of my getting well again.

Thank you Deepak, this mantra I have is so personal. I even realize now that when I was much younger....ten or eleven years old....whenever I couldn't sleep I used a mantra....to go to sleep. Never knew it was a mantra.....it just started one day....I tried to stop all my thoughts.....and realized I needed to start repeating one word......and keep coming back to that word......for me it was: don't laugh: Grote teen...which is Dutch for big toe. I would focus on my big toe and keep repeating the word......to fall asleep. No idea how I came up with that way back when....but it worked like a charm. To this day,I sometimes use that old trick!! Deepak, your contributions to this forum are just brilliant....and Zee I really liked your comment:-) Ok ...gots to run,it's almost ten o'clock...need to get to my exercise. Namaste.