What is Mouna and how do you practise?

Mouna is a sanskrit word that translates as ‘silence’. It is also the practice of measured speech that is referred to as Vak Mouna. To practise mouna you refrain from talking by taking a vow of silence for a period of time. Mouna may also refer to refraining from non-verbal communication, like eye contact, or physical touch.

Ram and I first came across the practice of mouna in an ashram environment. Here it is often observed during mealtimes or in the evening until after breakfast the following day. This was a way to relax and rest the mind. After a few days of incorporating mouna into our routine, we would wake the following morning feeling focused and refreshed. Ready to move into the day ahead with an abundance of energy.

Personally, I really valued this time to myself as a way to re-charge my batteries, rebalance and to have cherished time to be with myself. Not being exposed to interactions in the evening gifts you time for reflection. To be fully present with thoughts and emotions and importantly, to have a restful night’s sleep.

Practising Mouna gives you an opportunity to conserve your energy.

In day to day life you are subject to a continuous stimulation of noise.

Noise from conversations. Living in suburban areas. Social media, television and mobile devices. This ‘noise’ is a drain on your energy.

Even talking can be exhausting!

Have you ever found yourself feeling exhausted because you have spent your entire day  continuously in conversations and interacting with others? Have you noticed how tired you feel?

Not only is this a physical drain, it’s also a mental drain on your energy. Making it almost impossible to have a focused mind!

Sadly, as a society, we don’t always practise Ahimsa (non-violence) with our speech.  Conversations can be negative, loud, or we use words that are as sharp as swords. We all need to be aware that our words can cause harm to others. That they can cause negative emotions. Let’s be kinder with our speech and have compassion for others.

Find your calm free 10 minute meditation

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to practise Mouna in environments like an ashram or on retreat. They are structured for this practice, and Mouna is practised specifically to give space for self-reflection. To rebalance and re-charge our energy.

Yet, the real challenge is to find ways to carry this sacred silence into day to day life.

Here are three ways to bring mouna into your daily life.

1. Practising mouna on weekends.

The great spiritual master, Swami Sivananda recommended allocating time during the weekend for the practice of Mouna. He suggested that you pre-schedule this time. Let your friends and family know that you will be unavailable. Instead, utilise this period for reflection, spiritual practice, particularly for meditation.

In our fast paced modern world this is not always easy. Particularly if you find yourself continuously juggling the demands of career, family and home life.

A couple of hours ‘me time’ does not mean you are neglecting your responsibilities. It is valuable time to pause and reflect.

Perhaps go for a walk alone in nature, or find time when the home is quiet for your own personal reflection and quiet time.

During these periods of sacred silence, take a break from other stimulants. Give yourself a digital detox for a few hours. Turn off the TV. Switch off your phone. Avoid reading any news articles, or anything that may distract you. The news is full of negativity you’ll be surprised the positive effect it has on your mental wellbeing by switching off from the news.

inner reflection meditation
2. Antar Mouna Meditation.

As Swami Sivananada suggests, mouna gives you an opening to create space for personal reflection, to observe your thoughts be present to all that is going on around you. This period of silence is also a beautiful opportunity to focus the mind and go within.

The meditation practice called Antar Mouna, referred to as Inner Silence, is referred to as a pratyahara (disassociation from the senses) and dharana (concentration) practice.

Your mind can get very distracted. To support the initial internalisation process in meditation,  Antar Mouna guides you through the observation of the different senses, until the mind becomes bored and loses interest of all the external stimulus. This is when the inner work begins!

The further stages of the practice are an opportunity to enquire, to observe you thoughts. By doing this you start to acquaint with your own inner world.

It’s a wonderful practice for self-enquiry and enables you to develop what we call the witness, to observe. To look at thoughts without being attached. Thoughts that may be re-occurring or past events that you may like to explore further.

If you would like to explore the first stage of this practice. Click on this link to download a free 10 minute meditation practice. 

3. During mealtimes.

Breakfast time is my sacred time. I enjoy eating breakfast outdoors. in silence so I can be present and appreciate all the senses.

I highly recommend allocating a period of time to practise mouna during mealtimes. Allocate once or twice a week where your meal is eaten in silence. This set time should include no external stimulus especially no television or mobile devices.

It is a wonderful mindfulness practice to eat in silence and be really present with your food and the process of eating.

Here’s how it is done…

  • Find a quiet place to eat your meal. Somewhere away from external stimulants where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Start by gently closing your eyes and connect with your breath. Take five natural breaths, breathing in and out of your nostrils.
  • Before you open your eyes, take a moment to offer gratitude for the origins of your food. Give appreciation for the energy and love given to prepare this meal.
  • Now gently open your eyes, notice any difference in your current state of being. You may find you feel more pre Save sent.
  • Begin the meal. Notice the different colours and textures of your food.
  • When you start to eat, be observant of each mouthful. How does the food feel in your mouth? Notice the taste, the different flavours and textures of the food.
  • Is the food hot? Can you identify different ingredients?

By adopting this mindfulness practice you may find you are eating a little more slowly and chewing your food for longer. Take time to notice this. By being present to your food, how is this changing the way you eat?

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like to read:

How to deal with difficult emotions as they arise.

Five Pillars of Wellness, the secret to living a balanced, healthy life.

5 Ayurvedic Practices to start your day. 

Would you like some inspiration in your inbox?

Sign up to our exclusive email with our latest blog, free resources, and a dose of inspiration to take into your week.