I think it was my faith as a Hindu that directed me towards some of the natural lifestyle things that I do. I try my best never to cause harm to others, although sometimes it's hard. I don't hit or lie or steal although sometimes I do lose my temper and yell. I try not to gossip, at least I don't spread harmful untruths.
I don't eat meat because that harms animals by supporting a miserable and cruel industy. I try to not harm the earth so I do a lot of natural-type things that way too. I can live with a clean conscience in many areas.
No one is perfect, but if you live life with the best of intentions, doing the best that you can, your movement towards ahimsa will help you to find inner peace. It was after I became veg and started trying to practice ahimsa that I was finally able to let go of some anger that had been haunting me since childhood. Many believe that when the animal is killed it is scared and releases endorphins into its tissues. People eat those and it affects their mood and emotional stability.
Some of my favorite quotes:
Many are the lovely flowers of worship offered to the Guru, but none lovelier than non-killing. Respect for life is the highest worship, the bright lamp, the sweet garland and unwavering devotion.
For a good explanation of Ahimsa written in terms that a Westerner can understand please follow this link:http://www.himalayanacademy.com/books/dws/M14.html
There are some generic ones that I think it's okay for anyone to say, but there are others that are too powerful to be done unless you are under the guidance of a teacher. I knew a woman who messed around with mantras and Kundalini breathing and she got really unbalanced to the extreme. I mean she went nuts. Just like when I was studying Wicca, my teacher told me not to even try to do certain things until I was at a certain level because I could really mess things up for myself and others.
About pronouncing the words, that is important, but more important are the intentions in your heart. This is one of my favorites, and if you want to learn to pronounce it right you can buy Ravi Shankar's Chants of India CD. An excellent multimedia is called From Untruth to Truth and can be bought at www.ammachi.org.
This not only has chants on it but it's a great intro to Hinduism from many different angles.
Aum Saha Naavavathu Sahanau Bhunaktu
Saha Veeryam Kara Vaavahai
Tejasvi Naavadheetamastu Maa Vidwishaavahai
Aum Shantih Shantih Shantihi
May the Lord protect us, may He nourish us, may we work together with great vigor (divine strength). May we acquire brilliance of our intellect through our studies, may we not hate each other. Let there be peace, peace, peace.