Thousands of years ago during the time of the Vedas, before the written word, knowledge was passed down orally. The Vedic sacred texts had to be recited precisely to ensure that the meaning of the ancient wisdom would be conveyed correctly. The chanting of the Yoga Sutras – concise aphorisms containing everything you need to know about the workings of the mind – is also followed according to certain guidelines in relation to pitch and pronunciation. In the past, disciples had to learn to chant all of the 195 Yoga Sutras by heart before even being introduced to their meaning. One learns solely by call and response, then ‘read’ the stanzas only once one has mastered their chanting. Thus, one becomes a very skilled listener, which would transmit not only when chanting, but also in other areas of one’s life. Learning this way requires a high level of concentration, a single pointed focus.

Our students of the ‘Deepen the Experience’ course learn the Yoga Sutras by heart. If you are an early morning practitioner you might have heard some of them practicing in the Yoga shala before their asana practice.

Ashtanga Opening and Closing Mantra

These mantras mark the beginning and the end of the asana practice. We are setting a starting point, and gather our energy with the intention to be fully absorbed in every breath we will be taking from the first to the last posture. The Opening Mantra introduces correct breathing, and of course also connects us with a deeper meaning of the practice and its historical relevance and guidance. The Closing Mantra rounds our practice off.

Chanting also activates and balances our throat chakra, which is amongst other things, responsible for good communication and self-expression. Singing benefits us in many other ways, too: – our overall wellbeing, self-expression, being heard, the ability to speak up, opening our heart, and eventually also speaking in front of others.

On a spiritual level, chanting ancient sacred texts or mantras connects us with an ancient tradition, supporting us in reaching the ultimate goal; the union with the Universal Consciousness. And of course, it is also great fun.

By the way, I have become a much more passive and ‘reasonable’ driver ever since I chant in the car regularly :)

This month’s focus will be on Chanting. Classes on Monday nights at 6pm are dedicated to the monthly focus. In June we will practice asanas in this class, followed by about 5-10 minutes of chanting. You might also learn a short mantra in some of the other classes. Enjoy!

Come and join us.

OM Shanti, Angelika