During the last fortnight we were fortunate to have two opportunities to explore chanting for health in two-hour sessions on Saturday afternoons. We chant sutras twice a week at the clubhouse, but these sessions provide another type of opportunity to gain an introduction to these arts.
For some it was the first experience of chanting without a clear idea of what to expect. During the first session we explored the effects of the different postures for chanting: seated, standing and kneeling. Many of the beginners reported that it was a challenge for them to let go of their reservations about the kneeling posture. One person who had been apprehensive initially, however, commented that he was surprised to realize that kneeling was more comfortable and powerful than standing, and that he could effortlessly shift the focus from his bad knees to following the sounds of the chants.
At the beginning of the second session participants were asked to share their first experience with chanting. One member explained that when she came home from the practice, she didn’t feel like watching television or interacting very much — the stillness and centeredness she had experienced while chanting stayed with her for many hours. She said that she went to bed feeling very calm and had a wonderful night’s sleep.
Another member shared his profound experience of recovery after numerous knee surgeries and a devastating car accident that resulted in the avulsion of three cervical discs. He also explained the key role chanting has played in that recovery. “Despite heavy morphine and other pain medication after the accident the only time I felt no pain was when I was in the presence of chanting.”
Attention was given to correct alignment and the bow to be open and experience the stillness. This way even when not chanting, being present in a good posture can bring enormous health benefits.
Practicing several chants kneeling or seated for a longer time was an experience that brought people to share: “I came with pain after several surgeries in lower back and leg, it hurt at the beginning, but during the chanting when I could let go, the pain went away”.
Another participant commented: “I feel so happy, I received so much. I have many old traumas, but today I feel light, released”.
After only two sessions of chanting, many members were able to begin to feel and understand how powerful this practice can be in the opening of the body, improvement of circulation and balance, exploring stillness … and the motion in stillness.
Chanting is another practice that helps us to feel joy and gratitude for being able to experience the richness of the arts that Master Moy shared with us that are available through the organization.
We enjoyed afternoon tea together afterwards and raised funds. There was a raffle of a painting donated by a member and had a silent auction of chocolate and a tea towel donated by a visiting member from the USA.