What is a mantra? Why do we need one? How do we know what our mantra is? To find out, we spoke to life coach, opera singer, and mantra expert Shirin Eskandani.

Splendid Spoon: Hey Shirin! Tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming a life coach.

Shirin: Hey Splendid Spoon! I’m a life coach and opera singer based in Brooklyn. I moved to New York from Canada ten years ago to pursue a career in music. That path lead me to some amazing moments, including making my Metropolitan Opera debut in Carmen. It was a dream come true! However, this experience also made me realize that I needed to make some changes in my life. This ultimately led to me becoming a life coach.

I remember being terrified when I signed my contract for The Met. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of the job. This moment should have been filled with joy, but instead I felt fear. Things had to change. I got interested in mindset work, started meditating, doing yoga, and exploring Buddhism. They helped, but what made a significant difference was working with a life coach. I learnt that I can choose how I experience life. I can’t control what happens around me, but I can choose the lens through which I see myself. It was life-altering, and led me to finding a new passion: life coaching.

Splendid Spoon: Let’s start with the basics: what is a mantra?

Shirin: Mantra comes from the Sanskrit words Man meaning “thought” and -tra meaning “to transport”. A mantra is a thought that changes our vibration, especially when it’s repeated. It can be a phrase, sentence, or word that shifts our energy.

Mantras have the power to both raise and lower energy. When we think of mantras, we tend to think of positive examples such as “Om” or “I’ve got this.” When we repeat these mantras, we raise our vibration and feel happier. However, we also have negative mantras: these are words or phrases that lower our vibration. Negative mantras are statements such as: “I’m terrible with money” or “I don’t deserve this.”

It’s so important to be aware of our thoughts and what we choose to say to ourselves: a mantra can shift our energy for better or worse.

Splendid Spoon: How do we find our mantra?

Shirin: A mantra has to deeply resonate with you. What works for one person may not work for another. To find your mantra, you need to tap into your intuition or highest self. This is when the truth of who we are comes out. The words and feelings we encounter in this space are what we need to fill ourselves with; they’re most aligned with who we are when we aren’t in a space of ego or fear. The best way to tap into your highest self is through meditation.

Splendid Spoon: When should our mantra be used? Why do we need a mantra?

Shirin: Mantras can ground and center us. This is especially important when you live a hectic life in a stressful city! A mantra can help shift your experience and center you when things feel chaotic.

Start by creating a “mantra alarm.” Set the alarm on your phone to go off three times a day. When it sounds, tap into your mantra and its energy. I make sure my alarm goes off in the morning, during my commute, and before a stressful event. It grounds me.

Splendid Spoon: Do mantras change over time or should we stick to the same one?

Shirin: Mantras are ever-changing. What resonated with me two years ago is probably not going to resonate with me today. They can change from day-to-day or week-to-week, depending on what you’re going through. You’ll energetically and intuitively know when it’s time to move to a new mantra. However, I find there are certain mantras that always resonate. They’re the ones that are most rooted in who you are.

Splendid Spoon: Could you share your favorite mantra?

Shirin: My favorite mantra isIn Joy.” It reminds me to be in a space of joy and gratitude.