What is Chanting?
A mantra is a word or series of words, usually chosen to focus the mind on a particular feeling or intention. When we chant, we repeat a mantra over and over again. Mantras are particularly useful as a tool to calm your mind. You can chant out loud or silently, which means you can use this tool anywhere and anytime. Chanting mantras unites mind, body, and sound, adding a deeper level of consciousness. If you are feeling sad, stressed, anxious, excited try picking a word or phrase that works for you. Chant softly, loudly, or even internally, depending on your mood and surroundings. Notice the effect chanting has on your mental and emotional energy.
Here are a few easy chants we use in Healing Chair Yoga:
CHANTING: OM Pronunciation: A-U-M
Usually chanted the beginning and/or end of a yoga class. Om is said to be the first sound heard at the creation of the universe. It is the sound of the wind, ocean, mountain brooks, the sound you hear in utero. Each syllable of the chant comes from a different place in the body and represents a different intention. A – originates in the belly for creation, U – originates in the heart for sustaining growth, and M – the lips come together for closing. As each syllable is pronounced, the energy of the sound lifts from your pelvic floor all the way up through the crown of your head, unblocking the throat chakra.
CHANTING: OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI OM
The word shanti means peace in Sanskrit. This is a chant for peace, both internal and in the world around you.
CHANTING: OM HARI OM
Hari is Om. It is a universal mantra that removes suffering. The sequence of this chant is as follows:
Om Hari Om Hari Om Hari Om (repeat three times)
CHANTING: OM SO HUM
This chant essentially means “I am that I am.” This is a chant for self-acceptance. The sequence of this chant is as follows:
Om So Hum, So Hum Sa Aha, Om So Hum, So Hum Sa Aha (repeat twice)
I am that I am, I am that I am, I am that I am, I am that I am
Om So Hum, So Hum Sa Aha, Om So Hum, So Hum Sa Aha
Your chanting practice:
These are just a few examples of simple chants we practice in Healing Chair Yoga. There are innumerable other mantras and chants available online and in yoga literature. Get creative! You can make up a mantra that suits your mood and your intention and practice your own self-guided chanting. If you wish to get an idea of the beat, rhythm, and intonation of chanting, we suggest looking on YouTube for video and audio clips of chants, such as this one, with which you can follow along.
Remember there is no right or wrong way to practice chanting. Just enjoy and be.