Let’s chant: how sound accelerates our spiritual development

Via Nadine McNeil
on Aug 14, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

In this lifetime as well as others, I’ve been incarnated into cultures where the sound of music and the pulse of rhythm serve as the prana or life force that flows through my sacred, spiritual self.

The Dance of Shiva

Like the dance of Shiva the destroyer, while my soul DNA clearly recalled the profound indelible mark that chanting the Hindu mantras left behind, my daily grind threatened to erase them – or so I alluded myself into believing.

Since my return from India in early 2009, this was my first time being fully immersed in an environment where two hours of daily meditation and chanting was a welcome core requirement.

I am still awash with gratitude that I was able to share this ashram experience with my beloved kindred spirit. In hindsight, I’m not yet entirely convinced that I would recommend such a trip for just any old couple’s first holiday together. In such a pure setting with virtually no distractions, I was constantly confronted by myself and my stuff. At times when the baggage was too much for me to unload, he was there without judgment to assist.

With the chanting tapping into all of my chakras, especially my heart and throat, being on an emotional roller coaster was in a nutshell, situation normal.

Each passing day, I observed myself, my partner as well as those around us shed layers of cloudy grey auras that were quickly replaced by the various magnificent colors of the rainbow. This is the transcendental effects of invoking our truth through our voice.  There is something deeply authentic in chanting that has absolutely nothing to do with one’s singing abilities or lack thereof.

By at least the third day, one begins to notice that they would be chanting as naturally as they would be breathing. Meals were prepared with the entire kitchen in sacred song. In addition to the wholesome, organic nutrition provided by these healthy meals, as we savored every delectable bite we were mindful of ingesting love and devotion.

There are a myriad of reasons, many of them scientifically proven, on the healing effects and impacts of sound on the body.  Experiencing this first hand however is an entirely different – wonderfully so – matter.

Satsanga, Savasana and Surrender are the key ingredients to leading a healthy, happy and holy life.

Satsanga, the Sanskrit term for when we gather in community of like-minded others is precisely what occurs when people of all nations, ages, races, sexual orientations, etc. unite as human beings in voice.

Bhakti yoga, that which is concerned with the devotional aspects of yoga lives in the chanting of the sacred mantras. Bhakti is concerned with the continuous and bountiful flow of God’s divine and sacred love.

While we may recognize that we need a break, being able to pause long enough to actually take it is an entirely different matter. Yet every day in every moment, we have a chance to pause – if we would only honor ourselves in so doing. Too many of us catapult ourselves into our asana practice – at which point we’re only engaged in some sort of physical exercise – at the end of which an invitation to just die for a few moments in savasana or corpse pose so that we may re-emerge renewed and restored seems too threatening.  Instead, while lying there we check out of that sacred moment of nothingness and into planning errands, outfits, meals and a whole range of other mindless activities.

We needn’t isolate ourselves on some beautiful Caribbean island with crystal clear waters in order to surrender – though it sure does help!  The gift in surrender lives in being able to just be in every moment that life presents us.

Om Namah Shivaya, I honor the Shiva consciousness within.


About Nadine McNeil

Yogini. Humanitarian. Spirited. Compassionate. Storyteller. All of these words conjure up aspects that make Nadine McNeil the person she aspires to be: an evolutionary catalyst committed to global transformation. Now fully devoted to expanding the reach of yoga through what she refers to as the “democratization of yoga,” she designs and delivers workshops to a wide cross-section of communities who ordinarily may not be exposed to nor reap its benefits.To join her mailing list and to learn more about her work and receive special offers, please click here.


13 Responses to “Let’s chant: how sound accelerates our spiritual development”

  1. Suzette says:

    Thanks Nadine,
    Hail Mary's, Ohm Namah Shivayas and this too shall pass (repeat minimum 7X's) any of these mantras does get me through the day, the moment of grey.

  2. yogiclarebear says:

    Just posted to Elephant Spirituality on Facebook. Wonderful article Nadine.

  3. tanya lee markul says:

    Thank you Nadine.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  4. tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  5. Suzette says:

    George Harrison "My Sweet Lord"

  6. tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  7. palariviere says:

    Om namah narayanaya

    At lesser level, I took a week at the Sivananda Yoga Camp. Apart from the two daily yoga classes, there was also two satsang, the first one at 6pm in the morning, the other one at 8 pm. That was a revelation. I attend to some kirtans before that but the use of the same mantras over and over a gain in a spiritual environment did magic on me. I bought the chant't book and now perform the daily chant each morning after meditation and pranayama in front of my shrine (where we can find a nataraja and a Shiva lingam, but also a flute playing Krishna. A lot a yogis see outward spiritual practice like chanting and puja as too religious. I would say that it is a question of personality. But I also believe that if you do want to kneel down toward shrine, it may be because the ego is still very strong. Chanting is one of the most powerful ego crusher, and I can tell you that hata yogi need a lot of it, asanas as the tendancy to strengthen the ego. Feel the divine love!

  8. […] Let’s chant: how sound accelerates our spiritual development […]

  9. […] Let’s chant: how sound accelerates our spiritual development […]

  10. Braja says:

    Nice one Nadine; I have an article on elephantjournal.com and yours was underneath in the cloud, saying it was similar 🙂 Nice to meet a chanting lovin' girl 🙂