Honestly, I still struggle with chanting and feel a certain level of discomfort when chanting in a yoga class. The repetitive mantras are sung to create distinct vibrations in the body and mind. But I am not a good singer and can’t carry a tune to save my life. Perhaps I am overly concerned about doing it correctly, how my voice sounds, or if I am harmonizing well with the rest of the chanters. Chanting with my fellow yogis is still a source of anxiety for me.
Yet I intuitively know that because of this outward focus on my part, I am missing the point of chanting. This sound vibration is intended to harmonize the body and mind, thereby both expressing and creating an inner state of consciousness. Chanting is meant to sharpen the mind and senses to the higher source from which this sound originates. With continued practice, I hope to free my mind from the mental chatter and surrender to the vibrational sound that will lead me to the ultimate silence within and peace that I am seeking.
Here are a few respected chants believed to contain powerful healing and transformational energies:
- Om Mani Padme Hum (Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus)
- Om Namah Shivaya (I Bow to Shiva)
- Om Shanti Om (Peace to All)
- Hari Om Tatsat (Hari, the Lord, is Infinite Spirit – that is the Truth)
On November 7, 2003, UNESCO declared Vedic chants to be “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”
Additional resources: Chants of a Lifetime, Following Sound into Silence, Yoga Chants, The Divine Name, Sound Relaxation
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