Where does chanting fit into yoga? The foundations of Yoga are set out in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.

According to Patañjali there are eight limbs of yoga. The last three limbs are the steps towards meditation and that is the place where chanting sits in yoga. Chanting is a meditative practice that takes you inwards to your inner consciousness.

When we meditate we begin with a focus or concentration on an object or a quality. The next step is to establish a relationship with the object, but where we remain separate entities. Then we reach the point where we become one with the object and there is no separation. This is similar to the process of chanting.

When you first learn to chant a mantra, you have to focus intently. As you continue to practice you feel a connection to the mantra, there is an ease of energy as you chant it. And finally, when you feel the mantra chanting you, it is inside you, a part of you with no separation. This is chanting as meditation.

When we chant we are moving towards our inner self. Chanting can be quite emotional because it touches our heart. Even without knowing the meaning students will sometimes burst into tears when just listening to a mantra. The meditative effect enhances self knowledge, calming the mind, gradually creating inner harmony and positivity, benefitting emotional wellbeing and overall health.

If a quality like courage is the focus, you connect with and absorb that quality as you chant. The mantra to imbibe courage is the Durgasuktam. Durga represents the fire of knowledge, she burns up all our impurities. She embodies strength and courage, and chanting this mantra helps to bring out the courage that is within us all.

I welcome your comments or questions in response to my article.

Please tune in next week when I look into the necessity for the rules of Vedic Chanting and what it means to chant accurately.