I see out there in the world through social media and other avenues that one thing people are looking to do with their intentions for the new year is bring stress and anxiety under control. Here's one of my favorite techniques from my yoga practice for doing just that:
Now before you run away and say "I can't do that! My voice is horrible!" or "That's just weird! How could that help" take a moment and think about the last time your favorite song came on the radio (or your music delivery device of choice). Did you feel better after singing along?
You probably did and here's a couple of reasons why:
1. The overall feeling of the music changed how you were feeling at the moment. In yoga we call this the Science of Vibration. Sound vibrations have this amazing power that we often experience when we listen to our favorite music. The vibration of the music changes our own vibration. We FEEL it just like you can feel the vibration of the music if you place your hand on your car stereo speaker. When we surround ourself with "good vibrations" our vibrations change and level up to meet that "good". How cool is that?
2. By singing you control your breath. When we're anxious our breath becomes shallow. We may even feel the tension around our ribcage or in the belly and we can't seem to get a good deep breath. When we sing, there's no way we can belt out our favorite tune without a good breath, so we're more likely to take deeper fuller breaths. Deep breathing, as you may have experienced in a yoga class, activates our biological relaxation response automatically and anxiety melts away.
Chanting is just another form of singing, but it adds the power of Sanskrit mantra to the practice for an even greater effect. Once you get familiar with the pronunciation of the mantra, the repetition and the feeling of the rhythm and vibration of the chant combined with the control of the breath create an even deeper experience of centeredness. It's a great form of meditation as well.
Want to give it a try? Check out this track on our SoundCloud page. It's 27 repetitions of a mantra perfect for the new year. You can download it to your device of choice for free and chant along or just listen. Put it on repeat and do it 4 times and you've got yourself a really great practice.