Chanting is a beautiful practice that is a part of the yogic lifestyle. By chanting mantras, we are allowing ourselves to drop deeply into our heart space. These mantras are so powerful…more powerful than we may ever even understand. And what are mantras, you may be wondering? Well, by definition, mantras are realized sounds of light discovered by the rishis in a thoughtless state of reality. They are a tool in purification of the mind, soul, and body. Something happens when we chant….our bodies begin to vibrate on a very subtle level, our minds become tranquil, and our breathe becomes more steady.
When you chant with the intention of goodness and love, you are drawing that energy towards you and begin to heal your entire system by doing so. If you are new to this practice, it may feel very awkward and uncomfortable at first. This is because it naturally opens us up and brings us to a very vulnerable state. We immediately feel a shift. However this is not too different than the yoga asana practice. When one begins practicing asana consistently, this person will naturally become more sensitive, more open, and as a result, vulnerable. And that can be a very scary place to be. But it is from these essentially "empty" spaces- when we have dumped out all of the old which no longer serve us- where true transformation begins to take place. Chanting is a way in assisting this transformation.
The most basic mantra which we are most likely all familiar with is the universal sound of "Om". I love to begin and end each Yoga class that I teach by chanting this very basic yet powerful mantra. When we chant Om, we can literally feel a vibration in our bodies and in our heart. It's a great way to start the physical asana practice because it helps to calm our minds and bring us to our center. And its a beautiful way to end to allow ourselves to feel what is happening inside.
We live in a society where it can be scary to allow ourselves to truly feel things very deeply. We are constantly conditioned to distract ourselves. When we chant, there is no room for distraction. There is no place for the Ego. We are being gently guided back to our true selves, our true essence, our core, which is pure Love and Bliss. If not for any other reason, I invite you to practice chanting, beginning with the simple Om, so you can begin to feel that pure Love inside of you. Sometimes it feels less scary to stay closed. But, speaking also from personal experience, it is way more painful to stay closed than it is to be open. Open yourself to new experiences, new possibilities, new ways of life. Be open to receiving all of life's beautiful gifts. Start by truly connecting to your heart, which is why we practice Yoga in the first place. We practice to develop more compassion, love, and humility. Live from a place of love, and watch in awe of the magic that will unfold as a result.
Come and Chant with me every week in my Yoga Classes at Vitalidad Movement Arts Center. :)
Written by Helene Sandi