What is chanting?
Yoga teaches us about chanting and we know that there are many different mantras and that most yogi’s carry a special one through life – but what is this chanting business really all about?
Let’s start with the term mantra…
Mantra is actually two words – man and tra. Man means mind; Tra means trajectory, or better yet, projection. So put it together and mantra means mind-projection. In the words of Descartes – “I think therefore I Am”. The understanding here is that we are focusing the mind and that focus will help us direct our intentions, actions, and beliefs. Yogi’s believe that the mind is a muscle like any other part of the body, and it needs to be exercised and trained to have both a clear understanding of and the ability to navigate through – the spiritual journey. So we sharpen the mind using tools – and one of the best tools is called mantra.
Japa mantra is the practice of recitation. Sacred teachings, poems, and other important concepts are recited continuously so that the mind has no room for other thoughts – just remembering. Japa mantras are often long and intricate and require lots of practice. Because the mind is so busy remembering what to recite, this practice has made popular use of the Mala – an object used for counting during Japa Mantra practice.
Kirtan mantra brings in the element of emotion. Yogi Bhajan once said that our emotion becomes either commotion or devotion depending on how you handle it. In this call-and-response style of chanting, the live music can draw out a wide range of responses from its participating audience. In this style of mantra practice, the heart gets involved – it get struck by the vibration of emotional stimulus. And, it reacts. The process creates a deep internal meditative space in which each participant is reconciling the pairs of opposites, the dualities and polarities of life and living. This ‘divine praise’ is said to be so beautiful that God himself crosses the cosmos to listen to our prayers.
Traditionally, all forms of mantra fall under the Bhakti category in yogic study. The concept of devotion or Bhakti has been developed throughout India for thousands of years and is vibrantly alive there today. Practices of all kinds – from the most obtuse to the most fundamental – have evolved from this seemingly simple concept of Devotion.
Yogi Bhajan put it this way – “Vibrate the Cosmos and the Cosmos shall clear the Path.”
YwN invites you to take some time vibrating the cosmos – with Yoga of Sound or Naad Yoga master Mata Mandir Singh this November. He’ll be performing a LIVE CONCERT & KIRTAN (Nov 4) and also hosting a follow-up Naad Yoga Workshop (Nov 12). Two great opportunities to dive in deeper to sound, vibration, and mantra magic.
Mata Mandir has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of Naad Yoga and is a pioneer of the yoga music genre. He is passionate about teaching the science of Kundalini Yoga and continues to teach and play mantra concerts around North America, Canada, Europe and China. You can read more about his work at www.yogaofsound.com.
To register or buy tickets, please click here: Website Registration