Mantras have been chanted for thousands of years, the first being composed nearly 3000 years ago in Vedic Sanskrit in India.
Mantra is the practice of repeating words or sounds, and just as we exercise to keep the body busy, we can chant a mantra to keep the mind busy.
There are three ways to chant mantras. These can be used interchangeably depending on the environment in which you are chanting.
1. Chanting the mantra out loud is referred to as Vaikhara Japa. This practice allows the vibrations of the chanting to be felt in the physical body.
2. Chanting the mantra silently while the lips and tongue still move is referred to as Upamsy Japa.
3. Chanting the mantra in the mind is referred to as Manasika Japa.
The reason silent mantras are more effective is that it requires a greater level of concentration, focus, and attention. The core principal of a mantra practice is to chant it with awareness and attention so whether you choose to do it out loud or silently is up to you. However you may also focus on the effects of the sound vibrations in your body, your breathing and the feeling of the mantra in your mouth, lips and tongue.
Singing or uttering mantras can improve ones immunity by stimulating the hypothalamus gland. It also regulates blood pressure, the heart rate, brain waves and the adrenalin level. Scientists say that when a mantra is chanted rhythmically, it creates a neuro-linguistic effect. Such an effect occurs even if the meaning of the mantra is not known.