It is not uncommon for many of us, even those of us that are regular Yoga practitioners, to experience a jumble of racing thoughts that seem to be unmanageable at best, and a catalyst for long term anxiety issues and depression at worst. Traditionally, a comprehensive Yoga session includes a number of practices to still the mind, in addition to the physical postures that help to keep the body healthy, limber and strong. The classical Yoga practices of meditation, chanting and pranayama help to quell unruly, negative thoughts and emotions.
However, many Yoga teachers find it difficult to include these practices in their classes due to time constraints and unfamiliarity with these methods on the part of both the instructor and the students. Chanting sacred syllables, mantras and scriptural verses has been shown to calm an overactive mind, focus one’s attention on positive, uplifting thoughts, and even balance the flow of life force energy throughout the body. By including even a ten minute session of chanting into your Yoga class, your students will leave class feeling even more peaceful, energized and ready for the next part of their day or evening.
If you are a Yoga instructor and your feel intimidated leading your students in a Nama Sankirtina, you may find it helpful to chant along with a compact disc or your iPod. It is quite easy to find recordings of traditional kirtans that are energizing, uplifting and soothing, all at the same time! By setting up a portable compact disc player or your iPod prior to Yoga class, you will easily be able to lead your students through a brief and effective chanting session.
If your Yoga students are unfamiliar with chanting, you may find that starting with a simple call and response kirtan will help your students to feel comfortable with this profoundly effective spiritual practice. There are a number of well-known kirtan artists who have recorded albums that offer many traditional kirtans. A few of these artists are Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Wah, and M.C. Yogi. Their albums are readily available online and at retail book and music stores. You can also download a number of their tracks directly onto your iPod.
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