Universal Sound: How Chanting Can Liberate Your Spiritual Practice
The Power of Chanting
Have you ever walked into a yoga class and the first thing the teacher wants to do is chant?
You get nervous, you start to panic because you know none of the Sanskrit words nor how to pronounce them, and then you awkwardly “Aum” along and pray to the divine that this ends soon.
Yea, I’ve been there.
Fortunately, chanting can be a beautiful way in which to let go and simultaneously connect not just to your own higher Self, but to everyone around you.
Chanting is a century-old practice that connects us to ourselves, our teachers, our community, and our Universe.
It’s also a mantra- a sound and a symbol deeply rooted in Hinduism and yoga traditions. The vibrations that we feel when we chant “Aum,” either at the beginning or end of class, have rich spiritual and creative benefits that clear our mind and bring happiness and contentment into our soul.
As I’ve chanted and heard it from personal experience, no “Aum” will be the same at first; some people will start off quietly and progress through the chant.
Others will start off loud and clear, and slowly taper off toward the end. Nevertheless, at the end of the chant, all of the sounds merge into one, and it could not be more beautiful. It serves to show us that we are all one, and that despite our initial differences, a universality connects and unites us.
The Universal Sound
“Aum” is a universal sound of everything and everyone; therefore, when we chant it and our voices become one, we are reminded of this humbling introspection.
Still, chanting can present itself as an obstacle for some people. It could be that we’re embarrassed that we won’t pronounce the words correctly or that our voice will sound funny.
Perhaps we’re hesitant to chant unfamiliar words in fear that we’re praying to a foreign god or object.
But I’ve come to learn that these fears are more about our own internal blockages than they are about the chanting itself.
When I first started practicing yoga, I was hesitant to chant because I was afraid that others in the room would judge me. Fear of judgement has long been my burden in life, and through my practice, I’ve slowly and gradually worked through it to gain the love that I’d lost. It took some time and a great deal of looking inward, but I was able to welcome the opportunity to let go of my fear and embrace something new.
Let Go and Let it Flow
Chanting is an incredibly freeing sensation when you let go of what you think you should sound like.
Even though you’re in a room full of people, the universal sound is very much personal to your own spiritual journey. This is why it’s easier when we close our eyes and turn off our monkey mind; we can look inside and find that chanting is as natural as breathing.
We don’t need to look at our neighbor or the teacher; we begin to trust our own heart.
One of my teachers used to say that the songs we chant are songs our soul already knows. It’s quite interesting to view that approach, and just the same, quite heartwarming. If anything, know that chanting is a way in which to give yourself the time you give so attentively to others.
It is a chance to reconnect to your body, your heart, and your place in this world.
Just as yoga moves our bodies, chanting moves our souls to unite with what inherently makes us awesome human beings.
Let go of preconceived notions, let go of judgement, and let your intention make the sound it wants. Seal your presence and connection without holding back.
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