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What Casey Neistat and mantras have in common

Before I knew the power of a mantra, I was deeply inspired by this videographer, Casey Neistat. I wanted to create videos and he was someone that made it seem like a piece of cake. His videos looked so, SO kewl.

I went down the rabbit hole of watching and rewatching, and watching and rewatching them, and suddenly came across one video that included a mantra.

Yeah, I know.

A guy skating the streets of NYC doesn't immediately bring to mind a spiritual practice. But here's the thing:

if we understand a mantra to be something that shifts our perspective and alters our behaviour,

then Casey's sentence "Always stairs, never the escalator" has sure shifted something inside me.

Up to this day, I opt for stairs instead of an escalator.

Too simple? Too mundane? I don't think so.

The word mantra comes from Sanskrit and it could be understood as an instrument or a tool for the mind. Man may be translated to "mind" whereas tra would be seen as "transport/vehicle" (Thorp, 2021). According to the Sivananda Yoga Farm, you could also translate it differently, man as "to think" and tra as "to free/to protect".

If we see it this way, it may also help us understand mantras as useful in freeing the consciousness.

However you see it, I choose to focus on the effects of mantras.

When I was around 20 years old, I heard Em Carey say this:

If you can, you must

and it resonated so much that it has stayed with me throughout the years. It was originally about the physical movement but I now treat it as a prompt when it comes to sharing, listening, giving, as well as receiving. To be honest, I would find it a bit problematic if I was to only focus on "if you can practise asanas today, you MUST".

That said, I know it has helped me make some of the most healthy decisions for myself. So when we think of a mantra being something that you repeat silently or out loud, whether it be one word or a full sentence, notice what shifts.

Is the change in your:

  • thoughts

  • behaviours

  • words

  • emotions

  • elsewhere?

Aum (Om) is the universal vibration

It's the sacred sound. But your mantra doesn't have to be spiritual. See what needs to be repeated in order to help you transition to your most aligned and fulfilled Self. Mine is currently: "I am leading by example".


  1. What one word comes to your mind when you close your eyes, place your hands on the heart and breathe?

  2. What other words or sentences do you feel would resonate with you enough to keep repeating them, and create changes you want to see in yourself, and the rest of the world?

Photo credits: Nick Fewings,

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