What's a HarMantra™?
A "HarMantra™" is a breathing pattern that produces a pleasant and relaxing tune when played repeatedly using certain sets of notes on the harmonica.
The first one I teach to my groups, the Basic HarMantra™ (and the one I myself find to be most often useful), is short, simple, and slow.
Variations of it are often used in slow types of rock music, and in rhythm and blues music, so it's easily recognizable and thus easy to learn.
It's very easy to do while walking, and that's how I teach it.
You can see a video of some of my students doing the Basic HarMantra™ here.
How the HarMantra™ Works
As I described here, stress is caused by the fight or flight response of the brain.
Focusing our attention onto the breath immediately and effectively short-circuits unnecessary fight or flight responses,
In this way, forcing total attention onto the breath by playing the HarMantra™ — either on the actual harmonica or (in the library or the boss's office) simply imagining the playing of the HarMantra™ in the mind — provides instant stress relief.
Once we've memorized this HarMantra™ — and not "just" memorized it, but practiced playing it often and mindfully, it creates a "pathway in the mind" (a neural path, as I describe in my Neural Path Therapy book).
We can then instantly access it mentally during times of stress. In other words, when we start getting angry or scared, we turn our attention to the HarMantra™ and the breath focus short-circuits the fight or flight response.
Practicing for Real Life HarMantra™ Usage
In the workshops, we'll do simulated "Difficult Person Exercises" in which Person A (the designated difficult person) annoys Person B (the HarMantra™ player).
Person A's job is to be annoying in whatever way Person B has suggested is a real-life annoying situation for them.
Person B's job is to practice turning her or his attention onto the HarMantra™ (sometimes actually playing it, later on, just "thinking it").
There are also faster HarMantras™ that can be used in more active situations, such as when we have to walk rapidly or even run from one place to another.
We can also use our HarMantras™ as Harmonica Kirtan™, to express and enhance our spiritual depth and devotion.