My first time chanting was mystical. I was about 22, had been woken up at 5am and led out in the Arizona desert with 50 women on a white tantra retreat called “Womanheart”. Surrounded by the red rocks & beautiful music playing in the background, we chanted together “wahe guru, wahe guru, wahe guru, wahe jio…”. The sun rose slowly in front of our eyes…every woman around me looked radiant. We all felt so powerful and so loving toward each other. It was incredible. It changed me.
The second time I understood the power of chanting was when, in my 20s, I lived in a community house in Phoenix. We would have Sunday potlucks & a big drum jam out on the land. Some of the women would start chanting Native American prayers like “earth water fire air, we are everywhere!” and “mother I feel you under my feet, mother I feel your heartbeat.” And then the group would chime in. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. It felt like an ancient memory stored deep in my cells was waking up. Like I had done this before.
The third time was when I attended an all night event facilitated by a traveling spiritual teacher from India & her devotees. That was my first introduction to Hindu chanting, Bhakti & kirtan. The sounds of sitar and tablas were completely mesmerizing, the chanting went on all night, and the energy in that room was the most safe, loving & alive energy I’ve ever felt. The kirtan truly nourished my spirit. It was the only time I’ve been able to stay up all night and somehow feel like I was well rested. I’ll never forget it.
Now, after being a kirtan drummer & helping lead kirtan at a local yoga studio for 5 years, doing workshops with kirtan artists Jai Uttal & David Newman, and even taking a trip to India to meet other bhaktas, I’m starting to figure out why I want to teach mantra yoga, chanting & share kirtans.
Chanting opens the heart, brings transformative energy into our lives, makes us feel connected & safe in a sacred space, and that, in my opinion, is what’s missing in our culture. People coming together in a shared space, letting go of their hang ups and ideals that society has imposed on them, & using that sense of shared liberation to experience boundless energy, that they can take into their own lives & apply to themselves and hopefully make the world a better place.
I hope to bring a happy, sattvic vibration to people through kirtan, and to lead them to a place of harmony. Chanting has brought me a happy heart, good health, a joyful life, and at times even liberation. Mostly, it’s made me a better person.
Now it’s time to give back.
Wahe guru, om shanti, Hare Krishna & Jai ma!
Thanks for reading 🙂