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Why chant?

Have you ever been in a yoga class and everyone starts chanting words you've never heard and you are wondering what the heck it all means and if its safe to drink the water? You're not alone.


I remember my first class that involved chanting and I was definitely suspicious if this was a workout or a cult. However, once I got out of my judgements and joined in, it all became clear. I didn't know what, or why... but I could feel it and thats all I needed.


Chanting has a profound effect on the body and the mind. Our voice is an instrument that we carry with us always. It is a pathway to connect with others, to ask questions, to speak our truth and to open our heart.


Incredible things happen when we chant in a group or sangha (spiritual community). Our heart beat and breath synchronize and it creates an undeniable feeling of community and connection. Its a space to open up! But it goes much deeper than just that...


Time is not viewed as linear in the East, it is cyclical. Eastern philosophy says there are four Yugas made up of many years that move in a cycle. We are currently in what is known as the Kali Yuga, the darkest time in the cycle, a time of chaos, disorder and fear, you can turn on the news as proof. It is said that in this time of the Kali Yuga, the easiest and most effective way to achieve peace is through a practice of chanting mantra.


Chanting mantra is a jewel of Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion. In this practice you are weaving a thread between you and God. God as a very personal entity, some people use the word Universe, Source, Light, Spirit, Love, Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna to name a few. Some see God in their children or pets, they see it in nature.. in Bhakti God (or whatever you connect with) is thought of before you do everything- eating, sleeping, bathing, studying as a form of selfless service.


For me, this practice of offering away what I do to something greater outside of myself relieves a lot of the pressure of being human.. I once asked my teacher "You probably never doubt yourself, but what happens when you wonder if you are doing the right thing? Or doing it the right way?" She laughed and said, "Us humans love to think that we are the ones doing. But we are doing nothing, what is done is done through us, we are merely instruments of the divine." I'll never forget her words.


When I chant, its dropping into the heart, its deepening the connection I have with God and its an opening for God to move through me.


Because time is a cycle, its a birth, a death and a rebirth. We return back to where we came, again and again, and while we are here, we learn lessons..


So chanting is many things, its a devotional practice, it raises your vibration and connection to the divine, its FUN and it feels good. Chanting creates community and has a profound effect on the body and is also a practice in pranayama. Pranayama is movement of our vital life force and essential to health in the body, mind and spirit.


There are many practical ways to apply chanting to your daily life. I find myself chanting when I drive, weather its something that comes through me or mantra music I can find on streaming applications. I always begin and end my yoga practice at least with AUM. AUM encompasses all of the elements and is known as the primordial seed sound, the sound of the universe. AUM is the vibration that connects us all and through repetition is said to invoke a spiritual awakening.


Mantra can be translated into "mind tool". Mantras carry the vibration of the divine. So when you chant mantra you are bathing yourself in the essence of God. Chanting is like an emotional antibiotic as Yogirishi Vishva Ji says.


In Bhakti the names of God and Goddesses are chanted. The name is very important, the name is non-different from that which you are naming. So when you chant to Sita and Ram it is the vibration of Love. When you chant to Krishna, the all attractive one, you are inviting in joy and pleasure. Where Krishna is there is also his beloved Radha. Hanuman is what it means to be in service, selfless service, he is a devotee to love.


These chants are like medicine, and adding music is like the spoon full of nectar to help administer the medicine. Just as our yoga asana practice, the more familiar we become with these mantras the stronger the thread is we are weaving between us and the divine.


Chanting is an easy and practical way to raise your mood, vibration and add even more depth to your yoga practice and life.


If you'd like to join me for chanting, check out my events page for live in person Kirtan. Some events are offered in person and online.


From my heart to yours,

Namaste








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