“Chanting is a way of getting in touch with yourself. It’s an opening of the heart and letting go of the mind and thoughts. It deepens the channel of grace, and it’s a way of being present in the moment.” – Krishna Das
“Through Being in touch with the breath, the energy of the breath, the sound of the breath, making the sounds of god, allows an opening into truth, into the one self, Immersing yourself in the sound of your own soul – this is chanting, this is Kirtan, this is the divine.” – Yantra-ji
I was first introduced to Chanting or Kirtan 25 years ago, it was also the time I was introduced to Yoga, Meditation, Breath work, and other emotional release therapies. I was blessed to be surrounded by a community of people who were Devotees of Satyananda, Osho and Baba Muktananda ( now Gurumayi ), all who loved Kirtan. I would Chant with them in Sanskrit or English, in the yoga classes, at special Kirtan gatherings held in the small Satyananda Ashram in St Albans or in their homes, and in our local healing centre where we offered monthly Chanting evenings.
As a child I had always loved singing, alone at home, at school, in church, and in the choir, which I have come to realise, had the same effect as chanting, of subtly disconnecting oneself from the mind and resting into another more blissful state.
When I started chanting I did not know at the time what the chants were or what they meant, just that I loved the sound, the music, the rhythm, the repetition, the drums, bells, the harmonium, the singing, the silence that followed each one and the place that it left all of us, in ecstatic bliss!
For many years I would continue to chant, at home, in the car, at Kirtan gatherings, in the retreats I offered, always traditional Indian, Sanskrit, American Indian and English chants.
In 1997 I became unwell, I was on a strict healing diet and knew that I needed to get back to my yoga practice and also wanted to chant. It was as though there was this burning desire within, that instinctively knew that it would be healing for me, and so I felt this need to purchase a Harmonium. What a blessing that a dear friend and yoga teacher Atma Dharma was willing to sell me her harmonium. She spoke to me of the healing effect on the physical, mental, emotional systems of the body through the practice of chanting, she was sharing what I instinctively knew to be the truth.
I chanted and practiced yoga almost every day for he next 10 years. Whether it was just the repetition of the sound Aum, or whole Sanskrit chants, the chanting was so healing and nourishing to my body and soul .
During this time I became involved in Journey work and in 2001 was introduced to the divinely beautiful Chants of Deva Premal & Mitten and through the years have been blessed to attend private concerts and retreats with them and get to know them personally.
“Without the silence that follows the chants, you get only half the story. It’s like the climax of a good story. The silence is there because it exists in the music. It just needs to be exposed and acknowledged. It’s so easy to overlook the silence inside the music… and it’s that which is healing us… if we allow it to be there. This is really one of the main reasons Miten and I sing – to bathe in Silence. It’s our nourishment. It’s what keeps us on the road. For me there is nothing more precious than having sung with an audience, ecstatic with bliss, and then entering the deep silence that the mantra brings… so deep, that with closed eyes you really feel there is ‘nobody’ there at all… all personalities dissolved for a tiny sacred moment.”- Deva Premal
I was also introduced to the divine music and chanting of Kirtana, who has also become a dear friend. We were so blessed and treated to have Kirtana here in person offering a private Satsang, last year, singing for our Sangha ( Satsang group ).
“Kirtana’s music is a pure love transmission. Her lyrics, her voice, and her playing bring me to tears of joy”.- Gangaji
Often we have another dear friend and Devotional singer Lou Van Stone visiting and offering her devotional sound baths, workshops and concerts.
“With people living highly- stressed lives, there is now more than ever a need to bring the world back into balance. The nervous system communicates through sound and therefore the body, mind and spirit can instantly be calmed, nurtured and healed by beautiful music. “- Lou Van Stone
Last Month in April, we have just had the privilege of sitting in a Satsang workshop with Krishna Das, he is known as the the “Chant master of American Yoga. KD speaks about not needing to know what the chants are, or the meanings of the words, just knowing that they are the many names of god and that you are singing to god, yourself as god, is enough.
“The words of these chants are called the divine names and they come from a place that’s deeper than our hearts and our thoughts, deeper than the mind. And so as we sing them they turn us towards ourselves, into ourselves. They bring us in, and as we offer ourselves into the experience, the experience changes us. These chants have no meaning other than the experience that we have by doing them. They come from the Hindu tradition, but it’s not about being a Hindu, or believing anything in advance. It’s just about doing it, and experiencing. Nothing to join, you just sit down and sing.” Krishna Das
There are so many beautiful Devotional singers including Snatam Kaur and the Spirit voyage team, offering such divine Chants in Hindi, Sanskrit, Tibetan, American Indian and English.
We can continue to immerse ourselves in this beautiful healing balm, by singing and chanting ourselves, along with the CD’s, with friends, attending workshops or concerts. Primarily it is through offering ourselves fully in love through the repetition of these divine sounds that carries us ever more deeply home into our own essence.
Join us this Sunday 27th May for our Monthly chanting afternoon.