I empathize with you if you are someone overwhelmed, intimidated and slightly unsure about the practice of chanting ‘mantras‘.
I remember getting my first set of Mala beads…My teacher asked me what my favorite mantras were – I didnt even know one and I was pretty embarrassed. Hello, imposture syndrome!
I was lucky to have experienced, brave and open minded teachers who would lead chants at the beginning of class as a way to connect mind to body and set powerful intentions. I thoroughly enjoyed singing these chants but only experienced it within the walls of the studio or with some of my Indian friends. With time and a daily asana practice I slowly began to understand more and open myself up to mantras and how powerful they can be. But it wasn’t until I found myself in a moment of desperation that I sought them out myself.
I was traveling around and living in Thailand at the time. I had about $7CAD left in my spending account and I was out of options. I had money saved in a separate account but this was being held hostage for my trip to India where I was going to be taking my 200hr TTC in Dharmasala. But, I still had 5 weeks left in Thailand and I was shitting stress balls. The more I kept trying to make money with things I didnt want to be doing, the less energy I had to use for my yoga practice and studies. I tried massage, writing, personal training, coaching and even thought up new apps I thought would do well. Nothing clicked.
I knew with out a doubt I wanted to share yoga and that I had all the tools and knowledge at my fingertips- but I still needed my TTC. I was able to get a few subbing positions as a yoga teacher but that was hardly reliable and paid very little. I wanted to 10X my yoga buisness but I felt pretty stuck, limited, and at the mercy of time.
After weeks of high stress my body ultimately started to go a little haywire on me. My skin started breaking out, I wasnt sleeping well anymore, I was getting wicked headaches and I had zero interest or energy to do anything. To be honest, I felt pretty defeated and useless – I could feel myself slipping into a negative pattern of discouraging self talk and although I recognized the feeling, I had no idea how to catch myself.
I got to my mat one day and my entire body was tight, stiff, painful and heavy. Nothing was working and even though it had only been 2 days, I felt like I hadent practiced in months! That night I had a long, hard talk with my amazing partner. He could not only see how much stress I was going through, but reminded me (once again) that I was not alone and that I had his support. We decided that I should drop everything that wasnt exactly alligned with what I wanted to be doing. That meant giving up writing $20 articles that would take me 5 hours each to write for a medical website (my only source of income at the time) and just focus on studying yoga and practicing….I am one lucky woman to have his guiding support because its exactly what I needed.
I came home that night and went straight to youtube. Michael was on his computer and must have seen something because he said “Mantras” outloud and with zero context. This sparked something in me. I opened up the Ashtanga opening and closing mantras and sang it to him- something I had never done in front of anyone before. After that I started looking up mantras I was familiar with from practicing in my old studio.
As cliche as it sounds, the rest really was history. I woke up the next morning early and with a new found vitality. I was excited to meditate and chant mantra and did so with out hesitation.
My first chant was calling to Kala Bhairava. It was easy enough to pronounce and remember, and I resonated with it instantly. I stayed in meditation for 30 minutes. The only reason I got up was because of the dozens of ideas floating around in my head about what I wanted to do for my yoga buisness. My spirits felt lifted, I had a clear direction and focus and I wasnt engaging in any negative self talk. Needless to say, I will definitely be continuing with the mantras and learning all I can about the Demi Gods.
I cant praise enough how much chanting has enriched my meditation, my daily life, my focus and my yoga practice on and off my mat. I will share my tools and research if you are someone looking for a little extra help in your life.
If you have any questions or comments PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to hear your journey and answer any questions you have.