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Last year when I started sharing my yoga knowledge and teaching I felt something was missing. It didn't feel completely aligned and it took me a little while to recognise why that was. During my yoga teacher training in India we began and ended every class with om chanting and mantra chanting - from our asana practices to meditation classes to pranayama lessons to dedicated mantra classes. It had become engrained in me. Instantly after chanting I noticed a sense of serenity. My mind felt still and empty - something that didn't happen very often for me! I would feel relaxed and ready for the upcoming lesson. These were feelings I knew I wanted to recreate in my classes. Yet here I was, back in the UK, not chanting in my classes. This was the missing piece. I needed to incorporate mantra chanting.
I had to get really honest with myself about why I wasn't.
- Was it because I didn't know the mantras well enough? Nope I could chant them easily and with the correct pronunciation.
- Was it because I was embarrassed to chant in front of people? Partly - I don't have the best singing voice and whilst chanting is not the same as singing I still felt self-conscious about it.
- Was it because I thought people would feel uncomfortable or think I was weird for chanting? Yes, that one, mainly that one. I was afraid of what people would think and how they would feel. Despite knowing that the majority of my students would be open-minded and give it a go and therefore feel amazing afterwards.
I unpacked that further. Mantra chanting was part of the yoga tradition I had learnt. I strived to be an authentic yoga teacher who taught the whole practice of yoga - not a culturally appropriated white-washed version. I wanted to show people how they could calm and relax their entire being in less than 60 seconds. To do each of those thing I needed to start chanting in my classes. Through my reflections I realised 3 things:
1. I am not going to be everyone's yoga teacher - if people didn't enjoy chanting or it wasn't for them then they would find another yoga teacher. I am not going to be everyone's yoga teacher - and that's okay. That was a tough pill to swallow because I don't like the idea of people not liking me or what I do (hello again people pleasing tendencies).
2. Explain the why - growing up there were many rituals and practices that I did without understanding why. When I would ask why the explanation I was often met with was: 'because that's what we do'. But that didn't satisfy me and led me to not want to engage with certain parts of my culture. It is only now that I am older and able to learn about them for myself that I understand the why and therefore want to continue doing certain practices. With this in mind, I would ensure that I explain the why behind chanting and the meaning of the different mantras I use. This way my students would have a solid understanding and could then decide for themselves whether or not they wanted to try it.
3. It's a choice - I would never force anyone to do an asana that their body couldn't get into so I certainly wasn't going to force anyone to chant if they didn't want to. Simply listening to mantras also has profound effects on the body and mind.
And voila, I felt ready to incorporate chanting into my yoga classes and would later include them in my moon circles and other offerings. During my latest moon circle I felt a sense of readiness to teach this knowledge as I was chanting. And, as if by magik, one of my lovely moon sisters in attendance messaged me afterwards to say I should teach a class on chanting. So here we are today...
I would love for you to join me in my Mantra Masterclass to learn about:
- the ancient history of mantra chanting
- the science behind mantra chanting
- how to chant mantras using the correct pronunciation
- the meaning of different mantras and when to use them
- how to incorporate mantra chanting into your life
If you have any questions please do reach out to me.
With love and gratitude,
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