About a year ago, I knew nothing about chanting. Not that I’m an expert today, but my perception has most certainly changed a lot.
I used to think chanting was for the crazy hippies and maybe the sect-bound weak personalities. I know –I was quite prejudiced. But hey, I’ve changed! Changed happened after the very first session. I was leading a retreat with Sivananda teacher Laia Puig, and she incorporating some chanting in the sessions.
It was powerful.
Just listening to her was mesmerizing, but when the group slowly started loosening up and joining here and there, we all could feel the energy. We were in a trance, we were singing the Sanskrit words and falling into some sort of spell that would last a long time after the singing.
After the retreat, I attended my first kirtan… boy, wasn’t that special! The singers would start singing the mantras slowly and little by little speed the rhythm up… following the rhythm, yogis attending the concert would clap, sing, dance, get up and jump with their hands to the sky.
The power of chanting was incredibly evident and I suddenly understood why so many spiritual traditions use it for transformation. I was transformed. I felt connected to all those people. I felt real happiness. And I wanted more.
If you’ve never experienced anything like this before, be open. And trust me, it will get pretty awesome. So allow yourself to be open to new experiences. Let go of any negative thoughts like “I will look stupid”, or “this is weird!”. Remember in yoga we always say that the poses you don’t like are the ones you should be practising most, because your body needs them most. The same is true for any experiences you are resisting.
So let go of the expectations and judgements that don’t really serve you and bring your awareness to the surrendering of the moment… Maybe just listen… maybe start moving… maybe chant a little… you will then experience the freedom that comes with living the moment.
Me, I’m leaving tomorrow on another retreat with Laia, and I expect more chanting, more freedom, more connection…
I cannot wait!