"When you sing, you pray twice"
Chanting simply means singing [rhythmic speaking] certain sounds or words. It is a commonly used spiritual practice and hence is mostly synonymous with religious rituals. Chanting calms our emotions and helps meditate better. But do we know that it produces positive energy and aids in enhancing our overall health?
Let us have a close look at some of the benefits chanting has on our body, mind and soul.
It is surprising to know that chanting benefits our body in so many ways:
- A research done by Alfred Tomatis of the French Academy of Science and Medicine found that chanting sounds have a therapeutic effect on the body. It soothes all our bodily systems and activates the body's natural healing process. It also plays a part in reversing heart disease.
- According to a research done at the Cleveland University, USA, the rhythmic tones involved in chanting create a melodious effect in the body called the Neuro-linguistic effect [NLE]. When we know the meaning of the mantra we are reciting, it creates a Psycholinguistic effect [PLE] on the body. The NLE and the PLE effects are by-products of the production and spreading of curative chemicals in the brain. The research concludes that this is the real reason why chanting provokes curative effects in us.
- A study by Dr Alan Watkins [senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London] revealed that while chanting, our heart rate and blood pressure dip to its lowest in the day. Doctors say that even listening to chants normalises adrenalin levels, brain wave pattern and lowers cholesterol levels.
- Using chants as part of our exercise regimen, helps facilitate movement and flow of the body during exercise.
- Studies prove that making chants a part of our daily yoga can help achieve greater weight loss in a shorter span of time.
- Neuroscientist Marian Diamond from the University of California found that chanting helps block the release of stress hormones and increases immune function. It also keeps our muscles and joints flexible for a long time.
- The body's energy and vitality are augmented by regular chanting.
A calm mind begets a healthy and vibrant you.
- Dr Alan Watkins says when we chant, the vibration of the sound calms the nervous system and a profound sense of peace is obtained. It also de-stresses and facilitates better concentration and memory power.
- According to Dr Watkins, chanting promotes a sense of well-being and helps us bond better with people around us, especially when practiced in a group.
- Chanting enhances our good virtues, by eliminating negative thoughts. We can thus enjoy whatever we do and achieve success easily.
- It helps control our mind and emotions.
- Alfred Tomatis highlights that chanting aids in getting over addictions like smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Chanting brings about a transformation that leads us closer to the Divine.
- Psychologists believe that chanting mantras [especially the name of God] helps us become aware of the Supreme Being and unite with him. Thus, chanting aids in connecting with the Divine.
- Chanting alters our consciousness and raises the psychic power.
- Spiritual gurus claim that when we chant sacred words, it provides us with the power to attain our goals in life and lift ourselves above mere earthly pleasures.
- Religious authorities vow that chanting harmonises the physical, emotional and intellectual forces. This harmony makes us a complete being.
- Chanting enhances our spirituality by letting us transcend to higher spiritual thoughts.
Most mothers will vouch for the effect musical chants had on them and their baby [from the time it was in her womb till about six years of age]. Pregnant women listen to chants to calm their body and mind. Chanting or music is also an effective tool for helping little babies sleep.
Time and place
Time and ambience are critical aspects to gain maximum benefits of chanting. Chanting should be practised everyday at a fixed time. The ideal timings are the early mornings and evenings. Also, the place where you are sitting should be calm and comfortable.
Gist of it all
It is essential for all of us to have a sound body and calm mind. Once we are free from all worries and have achieved stability in mind and body, our lives will become bliss. Chanting is based on the concepts of self-regulation and relaxation. If you want these concepts to be extended into your lives, you now know what to do. This good habit is really worth being an inseparable part of our life.
Chanting cures depression
An 8-week study was carried out at the Samarya Center for Integrated Movement Therapy and Ashtanga Yoga in Seattle, WA, to see the effects of chanting on general well-being and particularly respiratory functions in people suffering from mild-to-severe depression. The results showed that chanting helped participants increase control over their breath and expiratory output level. The participants claimed that chanting reduced their anxiety and improved their mood. Researchers thus concluded that if done at least once a week, chanting is an effective means of enhancing people's moods in the immediate present, as well as over an extended period of time.
Chanting is easy
Chanting is the need of the hour especially during these modern times of stressful lifestyles. Here's why you should and can incorporate this good habit into your life, no matter how busy your daily schedule:
- You can chant with a group of friends or just alone in the quiet of your room.
- You can chant whenever you want and wherever you want.
- You can chant during office breaks, or even while travelling.
- You don't have to sit in any particular position or make any prior preparations.
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