May 222012
 

  “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.

Click here for details     

Many Blessings Yantra

Apr 102012
 


Sound healing for mind, body and soul

From the ‘Singing for Serenity’ evening workshop with Lou Van Stone

On Tuesday the 3rd April we were graced with the divine presence of Lou Van Stone for an evening workshop ‘ Singing for Serenity’ where we were treated to an evening of toning and healing, working with Sound and the Chakras.

With a sound that is constantly evolving, Lou Van Stone combines soaring ethereal vocals and lush harmonies with ambient instrumentation. The beautiful bell-like quality of her voice has had her winning over audiences world-wide. Because she sings from such a deep space, the peace and love she experiences when she performs is transmitted to her audiences. Helping them to feel rejuvenated, serene and with a sense that All Is Well with the world.

Lou Van Stone has many years experience as a devotional singer, sound healer and vocal coach.  Her life has been transformed by sound and she is passionate about giving this gift to others.

She says “It is my life’s mission to bring people a sense of well-being and calm, to wrap them in a beautiful cloak of sound and to bathe them in all the divine healing colours that music creates.  I am committed to taking people to that space of silence and perfection that exists in all of us, a space beyond the chattering of the mind.” – Lou Van Stone

To start, we tried out different ways of making sound through chanting, humming and then toning. The humming creates such a delicious sound that clears the mind easily and effortlessly of all thought. For anyone struggling with wanting to quiet the mind, a few minutes of humming can easily shift ones consciousness to a calm and thought free state. Humming is also a very deeply relaxing, restful,  healing and clearing experience for the body as well as the mind. There is a simple yoga practice called the ‘Humming Bee’ which is wonderful to clear the mind, or otherwise just sitting quietly and humming a single note ( rather than a tune )  for 5-10 minutes can also be beneficial.

I have taught and experienced many different Chakra meditations and healings as well as sound toning over the years and so it was  beautiful to share in this experience with Lou. There are many different combinations of sounds, Sanskrit words ( and also movements ) that corresponds to the Chakras. We were treated to and participated in a sound meditation, where we were bathed in Lou’s beautiful voice, as well as our own. The simplicity of toning means that it is accessible to anyone of any age (children also love to join in with this ).

We experimented with the sounds individually and collectively, using the harmonies created with both the humming and toning to bathe the body in sound. We also worked as a group offering a collective toning healing experience for each person, working with each chakra. These techniques are very profound and yet so very simple that you would be forgiven for thinking that there may be little effect. However each of the participants were in such a state of deep relaxation from the beginning of the humming to a deeply profound bliss when we finished with the sound baths. We treated Lou to this experience as well.

One of the profound realisations that I experienced during the sound bath healing, was the similarity of the sounds I was hearing and being submerged in, to those of the Whale’s song when they are calling to each other underwater. This lead to an even deeper understanding of the connection that we all have and how sound can directly affect us both positively or adversely.

We have all experienced when someone has been angry and we feel the effect and the vibration ( ‘the vibe’ ) even if we have not been in the room at the time. This is because both our energy and the sound of that energy leaves an invisible yet palpable vibration.

As you Become aware of the sound and tone of your own voice when you are talking to yourself ( inside your head or out loud ), to others, to loved ones, to children, to friends, to colleagues and of how others speak with you, you will get a sense of how the sound and tone affects you and others. Our Sound and Tonality has such a huge impact on those around us. Sound is vibration, and as we are predominately 70%water ourselves, the sounds vibrate within and through us. Discordant sounds and tones affect us adversely whilst harmonious sounds bring peace and harmony.

If you are interested to learn more about sound healing or toning, or would like to purchase any of Lou’s CD’s
please contact Yantra or Lou.

To Listen to some of Lou’s music please visit www.louvanstone.com

Please feel free to try out these simple techniques  yourself and we would love you to share your experiences with us.

Many Blessings Yantra