Updated: Jan 18, 2021
Chanting is a form of spiritual devotion practiced by many religions, cultures and civilizations throughout the world. Chants can be composed of sounds, words, sentences or sections of sacred texts.
In the Yoga tradition of ancient India, mantra is a type of chant that is recited to raise a person's vibration and ultimately heal and empower both them and others. Chanting can bring us to deep states of calm while elevating our overall health and well-being. When we practice this form of prayer, we aim to embody our own sense of inner peace and calm while merging our connection to others and to the Divine consciousness.
Anytime we engage in single pointed activity (where the mind, emotions, breath and body are doing the exact same thing), we come into states of wholeness. We are re-minded that we are never really separate from Source energy and that we are all connected- especially with the thread of love.
Chanting can be grounding and liberating simultaneously because it brings us into deep connection with the breath and the body while opening our mind perceptions and allowing the soul to experience itself. It's one thing to make vocal sound but when imbued with an intention, then healing can occur because we align with something far greater than ourselves.
Some people are naturally drawn to chant while others feel awkward using their voices in such a way. Singing along with recorded chants before trying it on our own can help dispel any nervousness. Perhaps, we can spend some time researching a short sentence or prayer that resonates with us personally. Eventually, creating our own mantras can become a fun, personal practice that is relevant and meaningful.
To begin, sit comfortably with a straight back and take a series of long, deep breaths to open and flex your lungs. Then, take another breath and with resonant tones direct the breath outward in the form of sound. Simple vowels like 'oh,' 'ee,' or 'ah' are easy to remember. Use the breath to inhale deeply and exhale slowly in order to elongate the sounds. Using a musical drone (the keys of D and A are particularly beautiful) is helpful and can be played through your sound system or on a shruti box. Smile, relax and connect to the meaning of the chant. Enjoy the experience and let it take you somewhere that is still, internal, deep and profound.
Remember that the act of chanting is ancient and sacred. It is a form of spiritual practice that connects us to lineages rooted and steeped in mystery. It reminds us that we are all part of the matrix that weaves us together on a virtuous and holy path. It reminds us that sacred sounding is a beautiful, resonating expression of joy, meaning and love.