The question about combining mantra and meditation is a common question that comes up when students get to the practicum planning stage. One of the reasons that this can be confusing is that there are meditation practices that use mantras! Wonderful practices such as the Calm/Smile meditation use the repetition of a mantra to help the mind find focus and stillness. A mantra meditation, such as Calm/Smile would fulfill the meditation requirement of the practicum class.
If you chose a meditation that uses mantra for your practicum you would still need to include a mantra from the mantra/chanting section of the program. If you review the section on chanting in the program you will see many mantras listed that would be appropriate to include in your practicum class. You could choose to speak the mantra out loud or to chant (sing) the mantra with your students. We suggest explaining the meaning of the mantra and repeating it a number of times (3-5 is a nice amount) with your students. If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of using mantra, we encourage you to use a simple mantra like Om at the start or end of your class to fulfill this requirement.
A good guideline when thinking about fulfilling the practicum criteria is to select a practice/element from the corresponding section of the course. A mantra from the chanting section, a meditation from the meditation section, a pranayama from the pranayama section, etc. Keeping it simple and easy to follow is key for your practicum class. As you move into the teaching world after graduation you may find creative ways to combine practices, but for the purposes of your practicum class keep it simple!
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