Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chant this?

One of my interests in yoga is chanting. I was first turned on to it at Kripalu in a session with Bhavani, in which she taught the basics of mantra meditation with and without a mala. It was great -- it was a full room, people were really open, and even some of the simplest mantras she taught took off.

I am thrilled to be attending Kirtan with Dave Stringer this week -- but truthfully, I feel like I don't know enough about this tradition...

In yoga teacher training, I was lucky to have guides from two different traditions -- one, of a more traditional, Sivananda lineage and one Anusara-inspired. It made for an interesting conversation, even with languaging differences and even some philosophical differences. We learned chants from both traditions, and I knew immediately it was something I wanted to work into my teaching. To me, a yoga practice feels a little thin without chanting. I need those vibrations to open and close my practice at least. The room always shifts beautifully when chants are invoked -- every person, every thing in the room, seems changed.

So I have been surprised in teaching, for a year now, how often people are hesitant to chant. Sometimes I am the only one singing -- not something I shy away from given my background in music. I am curious about other teachers' experiences with this -- do you offer chant in your classes? How is it received? Do you always do the same chant to encourage familiarity or do you mix it up for variety?

I'm also hoping to deepen my knowledge of this tradition. To that end, I hope you'll suggest your favorite chant resources. Oh -- and Sanskrit resources, too -- Books? CDs? Artists? Practices?

7 comments:

Y is for Yogini said...

i was one of those resistant-to-chant peeps. then Kundalini came into my life { blessing!!!! } and things got gloriously chant-tastic. now i dig it. :D xo.

fortheloveofyoga said...

i have not been good about adding chanting into my teaching.. even Om, i'm embarrassed to admit. I find it beautiful and I love chanting the gayatri, i guess for me, i'm not comfortable in my knowledge of chanting to include...

that's my simple 2 cents..

fortheloveofyoga said...

i have not been good about adding chanting into my teaching.. even Om, i'm embarrassed to admit. I find it beautiful and I love chanting the gayatri, i guess for me, i'm not comfortable in my knowledge of chanting to include...

that's my simple 2 cents..

faern-in-the-works.com said...

my first experience with yoga included chanting, so when i went to a class that didn't have it i didn't understand~ i love it- most of the time~ depends on how i feel really~ nice post :)

flyingyogini said...

ok.. trying again! I love chanting but definitely feel inhibited sometimes. So I try to get it in at home or in my car. yep, that's me rocking out to Jai Uttal in the car next to you! ;-)

lissabliss said...

i love, love chanting. it's amazing how much of me opens up through the act. i feel like it's not offered as much as i would like in class. i hope to offer it in my classes but it's def challenging since some people def aren't comfortable with it.

Teeg said...

I grew up on Krishna Das and have felt the healing powers of chanting. Such a beautiful practice<3