Mantra merely means that which "frees the mind". Mantra is a Vedic hymn or musical verse, the repetition of which is Japa or prayer.
What is the meaning of the Om/Aum Mantra?
Chandogya Upanishad has a story of the creation of AUM by Prajapati. After the creation of the Vedas, Prajapati issues AUM and all our speech originate from Aum, as the saying goes.
Om or Aum mantra is the smallest mantra yet has the most meaning. It conveys the Ultimate Reality that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent! Everything in the Universe can be thought in terms of AUM- Feminine, Masculine and Neutral (sex of humans), Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh (creator, sustainer, and destroyer), Past, Present, Future (Time), Manas, Buddhi, Ahankar (Mind, Intellect, and Ego) and so on!
Chanting Aum means focusing our mind on the triads and realizing that we are not limited self but beyond these three triads and thus moving to self-realization.
What is the importance of Mantra practice? Our mind is turbulent and filled with thoughts. If we want to remove all thoughts, that almost is an impossible thought in and of itself!
As a result, if there is a support of a mantra, it helps the yoga practitioner focus on something that is pure and auspicious and not related to their day-to-day life. This prayer becomes that support that can be taken even during the day to help calm the mind. Hence mantra practice is a mere focusing exercise.
What is Bija Mantra?
Bija means "seed" and as a result, Bija mantra means Seed mantra. This is a 1 to 24 syllable mantra that has the potential to unlock the soul of an individual that although free from cause and effect is often entangled in the turbulent activity of the mind. Hence, the Bija mantra plays the role of calming the mind.
What Mantra practice can you expect in Arva Yoga classes? Let's now put all of this together...what is one of the most powerful Bija Mantra? You guessed it...Om! This one-syllable easy mantra has the power to remind you to calm your mind. You can use this simple tool in your daily life and off the mat to help calm your mind and focus on demand!
We would chant at least one Om during a class, in general. Advanced philosophy-based workshops may include other mantras like the five-syllable “Om Namah Shivaya” or the twenty-four syllable Gayatri Mantra.