The Gayatri mantra, written about 2500-3500 years ago, is considered the most important one in the Rig Veda. Initially performed by Djiv men in the Upanayamana ceremony, it’s now performed worldwide as a means of prayer, meditation, and adoration.
If you’re thinking of trying the Gayatri mantra, there are some rules that you need to follow for it to be more effective.
The good news is I have everything you need to know in this guide. Add to that, I’ve also listed the benefits of performing the Gayatri mantra regularly.
Let’s get started!
The rules of chanting the Gayatri mantra
1) There’s no prerequisite
You don’t need to be this or have that to chant the Gayatri mantra. All you need are four things: belief, faith, effort, and consistency.
2) However, you should consider your situation
The Gayatri mantra can bring profound changes to your mind – and body. So if you’re quite young – or if you’re pregnant – you should only do this under professional guidance.
3) Timing matters
Although you may recite the Gayatri mantra at any time of the day, it’s best chanted at these specific times.
Chanting the Gayatri mantra from 4 to 5:30/6 am is said to bring the most benefits. These hours have a sattvic (pure) quality, which is why they’re best at recharging one’s energy.
For best results, always be punctual (which may be hard when it’s too early) when chanting the mantra!
- Sandhi or Sandhya Vandana
Apart from reciting the mantra during the morning, doing it at midday and dusk is said to be beneficial as well. They’re two of the three points of Sandhi, which means they have charms that help elevate both the body and the soul.
Note: You can perform the Gayatri mantra every day, although it’s believed to be most potent when done on a Friday.
4) Take a bath and wear clean clothes
When performing the Gayatri mantra in the morning, make sure to take a bath beforehand. It’s also good to take a shower before doing the Gayatri mantra at dusk.
If it’s too cold to bathe, at least wash your face, hands, and feet before chanting.
Additionally, make sure to wear clean clothes before you start your Gayatri mantra session.
5) Have a dedicated Gayatri mantra place
If possible, dedicate a separate (and quiet) meditation room/area in your room – one that isn’t used for any other purpose but chanting.
See, the more you meditate in this place, the more it’ll be filled with energy from your chants. In the long run, it will be thoroughly purified and filled with love and joy.
For this to happen, however, you need to keep this area spic and span.
You can decorate the corner with images of deities and make offerings of flowers, water, or sweet treats as well.
You can also make your meditation area more conducive for chanting by lighting lamps or burning incense or dhoop.
Tip: If you live in an area near a banyan/peepal tree or a river bank, you can recite your Gayatri mantra here as well. These places are highly attuned to Mother Nature, which make them great locations for fostering spiritual growth.
6) Assume the right position
Keep your back straight. Your head, neck, and trunk should be aligned while the rest of your body should be relaxed and positioned in either of these poses:
- Padmasana or lotus pose
- Siddhasana or the accomplished/perfect pose
- Sukhasana or the easy pose
- Svastikasana or the auspicious pose
Make sure to use a cloth or Kushma mat before you sit, though. Sitting on the bare ground may lead to a loss of energy during meditation.
Try to maintain the position for as long as you can for constant changing is not advised. Additionally, keeping still in one asana will help build your energy and endurance as well.
Tip: You could also place your hands in the yoga mudra position (pointer finger and thumb touching each other to make a circle.)
7) Do some breathing exercises
Before chanting, it’ll help to do some breathing exercises (Pranayama.) It helps calm the mind – and make it more receptive to the chanting process.
One good pranayama to try is alternate nostril breathing, where you occlude one nostril as you breathe through another.
Do this at least five times, preferably facing east in the morning – and west at nighttime.
Tip: In case you feel very sleepy during the morning session, you can do some asanas or a dozen Surya namaskars together with your pranayamas. These will wake you up and make you more focused.
8) Face the right direction
Make sure you’re facing the east or north direction before you start.
Fun fact: the north direction is said to make the mantra more effective for it tunes with the Himalayas’ spiritual currents.
As with chanting any mantra, you need to focus on the words you are speaking. You can do this by channeling your attention toward the eyebrows (Ajna chakra) or the heart (Anahata chakra.)
Try not to think about any other thing for you may end up mispronouncing some of the words. Remember: making this error may lead to bad results!
To keep your concentration razor-sharp, visualize the 5-face goddess Gayatri seated on a Lotus flower. Imagine her standing in front of you – or lingering in your heart chakra. Concentrate on this image well.
It’s best to keep your eyes closed during chanting, but you may keep them open or half-closed. Basically, you can do what feels most comfortable to you.
10) Chant the Gayatri mantra 108 times.
Make sure you have a Sphatik Mala, which has 108 beads (and an additional one), as you recite the Gayatri mantra below.
“Om bhūr bhuvaḥ suvaḥ
dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt”
The Sphatik Mala can help remind you to do the mantra 108 times in total – 36 times in the morning, 36 more in the midday, and 36 at dusk.
Better yet, these beads can also help improve spirituality, wisdom, insight – and clarify your thoughts.
You may also use the Rudraksha/Tulsi bead rosary instead of the Sphatik Mala. Hold it up near your heart as you meditate – make sure it doesn’t hang below your navel.
And, if you’re chanting in a room with others, keep the rosary covered with a cloth.
Here are other tips on how to use the rosary during the Gayatri chant:
- Use only your middle finger and thumb when rolling the beads. Don’t use your index finger!
- When you reach the large bead or the Meru, it means you’ve already made 108 chants.
- Place your rosary on your eyes and forehead before using it in a reverse direction.
Just like your body – and your meditation room – it’s crucial to wash your rosary and keep it clean.
In English, the Gayatri mantra translates to this:
“We meditate on the glory of the Creator;
Who has created the Universe;
Who is worthy of Worship;
Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light
Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance;
May He enlighten our Intellect.”
11) Speak softly and correctly – and synchronize the chant with your breath
Since the Gayatri mantra can be pretty powerful, you need to make sure to pronounce the words correctly. You can chant them in any of the ways below, but what matters is they’re synchronized with your breath.
- Vaikhari or loud verbal chanting
- Upamsu or humming/soft whispering
- Mansika or ‘mental’ chants
You can switch between these chanting styles so that your meditation doesn’t become too monotonous or repetitive. Switching will prevent you from falling asleep as well, especially when you chant in the early hours of the morning.
Remember: Reciting the Gayatri mantra correctly will help activate the 24 qualities – as represented in its 24 syllables.
According to a Blisscredo article, they are:
- Re- love
- Yam- brilliance
- De- self-control
- Dhee-Prana (life-breath)
- Dhi- far-sightedness
- Yo-power to produce
- Naha- sweetness
- Yat- service
12) Follow a Sattvic lifestyle
Apart from regularly chanting the Gayatri mantra, eating a Sattvic diet should make your meditation more effective. That means eating unprocessed, high-nutrient foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, etc.
The benefits of the Gayatri mantra
Chanting the Gayatri mantra can do more than just bring happiness and success in your life. It also comes with a bevy of health benefits, such as:
If you find it hard to concentrate at work or school, then chanting the Gayatri mantra is what you need to do. After all, it could help curb your wandering thoughts.
As a Healthline article puts it:
“If you’re repeating a mantra, in your head or out loud, that mantra occupies your awareness and helps prevent it from drifting off in other directions.”
Likewise, the Gayatri mantra helps activate three essential energy centers – namely the third eye, throat, and crown chakras. These are known to help boost concentration for they are all directly related to the brain.
Reduced stress and anxiety
The benefits of mantras – such as the Gayatri – have long been documented in scientific studies. According to another Healthline article by Marnie Vidall, a study of experienced and inexperienced meditators has shown that they had lower stress and anxiety – after a quick 10 minutes of chanting!
Another paper has also documented reduced physical symptoms of anxiety, including lower blood pressure and a slower heart rate, right after reciting mantras.
A calmer mind
“The sounds of a typical mantra have been purposefully composed to produce a certain effect on the mind and the body. That’s why people can feel instantly calm, grounded, and disconnected from negativity with the help of a mantra,” explained Mantra singer Preeti in Vidall’s Healthline article.
With better concentration and a calmer mind, of course, comes better learning.
As experts from the Cleveland Clinic explain it:
“If you can’t concentrate on new information or stimuli you receive, you’ll be unable to process and store it in your memory.”
With the Gayatri mantra’s benefit of keeping your mind focused, it’s not surprising that it can aid you with learning as well.
Repeating the Gayatri mantra can help you find a natural breathing pattern as well. After all, when you chant, you have to take deep controlled breaths regularly.
In the long run, these deep breathing exercises may help strengthen your lungs – which sure comes in handy if you suffer from respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
Enhanced body system functions
Based on Vidall’s Healthline article, research has also shown that mantras could help improve nervous system function.
According to a 2017 study, the humming done in mantras can boost the production of nitric oxide. This substance helps regulate the nervous, cardiovascular, and immune systems.
Strengthened immune system
Chanting the Gayatri mantra puts pressure on the lips, tongue, palate, and vocal chord, thus creating some resonance in your head. These vibrations help stimulate the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the inflammatory processes – among many other immune system activities.
And, as mentioned above, mantras also help increase nitric oxide, which works to defend the body against infections.
Additionally, the Gayatri mantra helps activate chakras or energy centers as well. These are aligned to some lymph nodes in the body that help boost some immune system functions.
Improved heart health
On top of the increased production of nitric oxide, mantras’ other effects on the body may help improve heart health as well.
As mentioned, they can help reduce stress and anxiety – as well as lower blood pressure and slow down the heart rate. These factors – when constantly increased – can strain the heart and lead to fatal cardiovascular problems.
The Gayatri mantra vibrates certain areas on the face – thus helping bring more oxygen to the skin. The ‘additional’ oxygen, in turn, circulates throughout the body – helping it shed toxins through the skin (sweating.)
Shedding these toxins will make your skin look more glowy – and healthier too!
Chanting the Gayatri mantra regularly brings a lot of benefits, such as a calmer mind, and a healthier body, among many other things. But for it to be effective, you’ll need to follow the rules stated above.
While they may be a little tough to follow at first, they’ll be easier in the long run.
Remember: practice makes perfect!