Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Power of Chant

Hello Dear Ones,

I just got back from an amazing weekend tour with my band, ONE LOVE. We did a big loop through Pennsylvania, from Doylestown (just north of Philly) to Harrisburg, and then up to State College. We led kirtan and interfaith chanting at two churches, were the featured guest musicians for a Sunday worship service, and then went on to play for a live music yoga class followed by a kirtan. 

I'm still vibrating from the experience. In each venue we witnessed people melt as they dropped into their hearts, as they chanted along with us. Teary-eyed folks came up to us afterwards to share how powerful an experience it was for them--some of them participating in chanting for the very first time. One woman described the experience as "a massage for the soul."

The reason I'm sharing all this with you is not to brag, but to emphasize the incredible power inherent in the practice of devotional chanting. This is an integral part of yoga, and it's a huge part of my practice and service to others. I invite you to visit my band's site, www.onelovechant.com to get a taste of this yoga that I practice off the mat.

Basically, the word yoga means "union." It is the Sanskrit ancestor of the English word "yoke, " and it has come to mean a method of spiritual union. A yoga is a method (and there are many kinds) by which a person may become united with the Godhead/Divine Presence/Ultimate Reality. 

When we do postures and breathing, we are practicing Hatha yoga, which conditions the body and calms the mind. . Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion, and uses the power of the heart to express our love and longing for the Divine, through chanting, prayers, and ritual offerings.  One does not need to be deity-oriented-- we can use these practices to call upon our highest Self, that wellspring of love, joy, and radiance that is our essential nature.

I look forward to sharing the power of chant with you, in yoga class or at the next kirtan in your town! 

"The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."  Emily Dickinson      

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