Latham Thomas: Using a mantra practice to support your community
We met Latham Thomas at W.E.L.L. Summit last weekend where she led the opening meditation, spoke on a panel along with Koya Webb and Josh Rosenbrook and held a breakout session on self-care titled, Observe Your Sabbath. Through these conversations, she focused on the importance of our voice and the impact it has on us personally as well as those around us. To make it even better, she referenced juicy and heartfelt parts of her newly released book Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living And Crowning The Queen Within
We were fortunate to sit down with Latham at the end of the Summit and ask her a few questions. Her answer to the question – Do you have a mantra you live by? – spoke beyond what we expected. She shared what her mantra is and continued to break down the importance of having a mantra practice. If you don’t already have one, you’ll likely be thinking of one to begin by the end of this article.
Hi Latham, can you introduce yourself to the Setu community?
My name is Latham Thomas. I’m a mother, a birth doula, a self-care evangelist, author, yogini and women’s wellness activist. I’m a woman who helps women at the threshold of change. For me, that means holding hands and supporting women along their journeys to embodying their best selves. I founded a company called Mama Glow that supports expectant and new mamas.
Do you have a mantra you live by?
The mantra I stay with is, ‘embrace the energy of ease’.
People say, if it’s easy I don’t want it. But it’s not about things coming easy. It’s looking at what swimming upstream feels like versus turning on your back and floating. Floating is about surrender and swimming upstream is about effort. There has to be a dance between effort and surrender. But we exert a lot of energy, we push and strive to do all these things that engineer an outcome, instead of leaving space for grace to show up and help us navigate our lives.
We need to decide, ‘I’m going to step back and embrace the energy of ease’, and allow the universe to help order my steps. It’s about moment to moment guidance and check-ins with our internal compass, our GPS.
Think about GPS in the car. When you turn on the GPS it’s not just telling you where to go. It’s telling you the fastest and the safest way to get there. Our internal compass computes for us like GPS. It helps us determine what will be the most comfortable, not comfortable meaning without any challenge but meaning the most supportive and fortifying even if it is work. It’s what is most aligned, impactful, magical and serves the highest good for all who are involved and affected in the moment.
We have to find mantras that make sense for us in our lives. Ones that speak to the things we really want to call in, cultivate and grow. It’s basically planting a seed.
A mantra carries a vibration. Invoking sound with our voice box innervates every organ in the body through the vagus nerve. When you activate your voice with mantra every single organ in the body is activated, through Kundalini. This is why we use the voice, sound and mantra. This is why it’s important to find a mantra that works for you.
It’s powerful to collectively decide we want to create a safe space to use the power of our voices. If we think about this through the lense of consciousness, about what is happening in the world politically, this is the time to use all the tools you have from yoga to actually go out into the world, off your mat and apply it to healing.
If we just go inside rooms and sit with each other on mats and talk about what we had for lunch – you know our green juice – then we’re not helping anybody. But if we can take what we learn about expansion, opening and becoming a translucent vessel, we can go out in the world and decide ‘I’m going to use these tools of consciousness to affect change’. That’s when we’re really making a difference.
Mantra is a tool we use to cultivate our voice, so when we move out in the world we have more consciousness about our presence. We know how we show up and how we need to show up for the people around us. It’s not just for ourselves.
The yoga community has been silent on the issues in the world that are really affecting people. Largely because there’s an exclusion of people of color, who are affected by things happening in the world. If people of color don’t feel safe in a yoga class or if we don’t make sure that we invite and have allyship among people of all backgrounds – to hold your hand and walk you into a room that you would otherwise not feel comfortable in or for someone to speak on your behalf where you can’t speak for yourself. We can’t move toward change until we do.
Yoga is important, because it enables us to move toward change. It helps us sharpen our iron and see each other to say, ‘I see your light’. We say ‘namaste’ at the end of class (the light within me see the light within you). If someone is trying to dim my light or take something away from me then it’s your responsibility, it’s part of your sacred Dharma to speak up.
That’s what my call would be to the yoga community and to those of us who are in communion with each other around consciousness. Why don’t we use the power of our voices together and salute each other in a way that is meaningful not just at the end of class by bowing our head. But by putting your sneakers on and standing up at a march or speaking up for somebody who was mistreated in a grocery store line. Or making sure you watch how the police officer treats this child of color.
You know what I’m saying? Really bring it off the mat and activate through the power of voice in the world, so we can create this world we envision, talk about and know exists. It’s a shift the yoga community has to engage in. It starts with the teachers getting in the right relationship with themselves, healing the power of their voices and speaking truth.
When you open your mouth and throat it’s a vessel for truth. If you don’t use your voice to speak truth it can turn on you.We have to start being able to do that and activate everyone’s voice because everybody has power. But some people’s power is taken away from them or diminished. We have to make sure we restore the power of the voice.
Thank you Latham. Your words are a guide for what Setu intends to do in the yoga community.