Dear Spiritual Explorer: I have always wanted to do some yoga but am physically handicapped. Can you give me some suggestions about this? Mary M., Sebastian, FL, FL
Dear Mary: I have always found it fascinating that people think there is only one type of yoga and that it must be physical yoga and especially has to be one of the many physically based yogas that are now proliferating in our country. Sacred Sound by Alanna Kaivalya dispels that notion quickly.
Alanna Kaivalya in short shrift tells us how the practice of mantra and kirtan are quick and efficient ways to practice yoga, for sacred sound is a very essential element of yoga.
When one chants and sings the sacred sounds wonderfully expressed through the 21 mantras and kirtan presented in her book, you quickly realize that chanting can be done anywhere and anytime. It is in the sincerity of the expression that calls forth the special essence contained in these mantras and kirtan. Wonderfully noted is that you can chant mantra and kirtan in the shower, before you get out of bed,or on the way to work. I feel it necessary to remind you that in case you’re on a bus or train, we hope it will be silently.
I appreciate how Alanna dissects the meanings of both kirtan and mantra. The syllable of “man” means mind and “tra” signifies traversing or cutting through the obstacles of the mind. Kirtan means literally cutting away the mind stuff that allows us to engage with and connect with our deepest selves.
In yoga practice, mantra and kirtan are not really understood in the western tradition. While we don’t hesitate to consult counselors or psychologists, we sometimes don’t realize that reciting mantra and signing kirtan addresses the root of our psychological problems. Not that it isn’t great to have somebody to speak with and clarify situations, but there is a deeper reality that one touches when singing kirtan and mantra. It traverses the ego mind and reaches deep down into perhaps the root of our separation. And it is said that the root of all of our problems can be traced to separation from our selves and divinity.
I hope you will enjoy your foray into mantra and kirtan. There are many ways to reach our divinity and as they say, surely if there is a God, he/she would not be reluctant to make available to us many ways to achieve divine connection.
Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer
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