Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambho
Mahadeva Shambho Mahadeva Shambho
The most auspicious thing that can happen to you is to realize yourself. To reach the highest with in yourself.
I recently spent some time training with Rusty Wells. I am inspired to make chanting a regular part of the classes I am blessed to lead. As a modern, western yogi, I have spent many years loving chanting in the classes I attend as student, but not feeling quite right about offering it as a part of the classes I lead. Because of insecurity, nerves, the fear of being disliked... and I certainly don't want to disrespect any cultural or spiritual practice. I have come to realize that although these chants come from a different culture and a different time they are relevant now and they are universal. It is an opportunity to OPEN YOUR HEART, to be sung to, and to sing for others. I get so much joy out of singing and here are a few reasons why:
Breath and the nervous system.
A powerful and nearly instantaneous way to access the parasympathetic nervous system(rest, digest, restore) is through the breath. When we sing our exhales are longer than our inhales, this breathing pattern activates the nervous system, sending a message to the brain that we are doing well. This is likely why people hum when they are nervous. They are self soothing, getting access to the parasympathetic nervous system!
Connect to community.
On the simplest level... it is fun and powerful to sing in a group. Especially in the non judgmental atmosphere of a yoga class... we are singing to the divine with in ourselves and each other, we get to make a joyful sound even if it is out of key and too loud... it is not about that.
Fill your cup and open your heart.
During the training I was spending 10 hours a day away from my partner and son. I was being challenged mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I can honestly say that I was expecting home life to be a challenge. But, to my surprise, it was not. It took me until about the 4th day to realize that it was the chanting the singing that made me feel so good, so full, so connected to community, so connected to a source of love that allowed me a lot of patience and a lot of compassion, a desire to be of service to the people around me. This is the power of music, song and singing.
Relinquish your ego (even briefly).
Singing and chanting takes a lot of awareness... a lot of paying attention. When we allow ourselves to be sining in the moment free of judgement we can really step away from our personal drama and the stories the ego tells us. We can go back to a child like state, where we don't even know that it is possible not to sound good singing... and the sounds we make while singing to open our hearts are always beautiful, always joyful.