Guest Author - Susan Helene Kramer
Chanting sacred syllables in Sanskrit or any language uplifts your mood and spirit. The robust breathing required in chanting draws more oxygen into your body, too.
Combining singing with devotional thoughts, uplifts us all around and at the finish leaves us feeling tuned up like the vibrations that emanate from a tuning fork after being plucked. Or like the vibrational sound from a singing bowl after being played.
To begin chanting gather together your supplies, which could be a harmonium, or another instrument. I play the harmonium so that is my choice. But it is not really necessary to have an accompaniment. Just your voice and an attitude of devotion is all that is required.
Chanting in a group brings up the energy of your combined efforts. A leader can be selected who chants a line and the rest chant the line in response. As a group participant you don't have to choose what will be chanted, just pay attention to repeating the sounds.
In devotional chanting it is the pure sounds that uplift and bring forth the purest energy, so that after the session you resound with the raised vibrations. At the end of the verbal chanting a period of silent meditation can follow where you go deeply within yourself for a comfortable period of time.
When you are ready to begin chanting, either sit on a cushion on the floor, legs folded in, or on a straight back chair without leaning back. If you are chanting in response to a leader, close your eyes. Otherwise keep your attention on the list of chants you will be singing. Take a deep inhalation and exhalation to begin and center yourself.
After the chanting and silent meditation stretch out and slowly go on with your day. You might want to spend some time in fellowship, or be by yourself for a while. Take time to reflect on the peaceful and harmonious feelings with which you are left.
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Article by Susan Helene Kramer