When I was young, each school day began by entering church for daily mass. As I shuffled to the front pews with several of my fellow second graders, I could hear the hum of women parishioners chanting the Holy Rosary. This, of course, was only audible after the thunder of moon-boots and the swishing of winter jackets had subsided. Little did I know that these women who recited rounds of the Holy Rosary as a devotion to their religious beliefs were also physiologically benefited by doing so.
Generally speaking, music benefits the human body. By simply listening to music that you enjoy, neurotransmitters are released in the brain. This increases dopamine (a ‘feel-good’ hormone) and oxytocin, which causes feelings of trust. Additionally, music listeners experience lowers levels of the stress hormone called cortisol. Singing, as opposed to listening to music, floods the system with even more positive benefits.
The act of chanting, however, takes the physiological impact to a whole new level. Chanting or reciting prayer aloud is considered rhythmic speech which creates a fixed respiratory rate at a predetermined frequency. Engaging in this practice slows and regulates breathing from approximately 14 – 20 breaths per minute to 5.5 – 6 breaths per minute. Regardless of the culture or religion that the prayer practice is rooted in, chants often require the same breathing patterns. This rhythmic speech and associated breathwork result in improved blood flow to the brain and peak performance of heart function, circulation, and nervous system. Not to mention an overall sense of calm and well-being that rivals meditation.
Whether you choose to voice universal OM among the trees, add your voice to the congregational hum of the Hail Mary Prayer, or participate in another form of prayerful chanting you receive wholistic benefits. – Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual.
Given the challenges of this human experience, I know that I certainly need a little support in the feel-good and trust category lately. With that, I have been researching to create a morning self-care routine for myself, to which I plan to add ten minutes of chanting. I’m excited to start my day with some calm and well-being. Though I’m not sure the same excitement will be shared among the sleeping members of my household during my chanting. I think I will keep it as a surprise.
To share this experience with you, Scott and Deidra have planned a Virtual Concert of Singing Bowls and Chanting on Nov 19, 2020, at 6:00 pm. Scott will play the Tibetan Singing Bowls which are each tuned to a specific note that is aligned with one of seven chakras. Deidra will accompany the tone of the singing bowl with a Mantra associated with the chakra as well.
We welcome you to enjoy by either listening or by chanting during the concert so as to appreciate the benefits to your body, mind, and soul.
Wishing you happiness and wellness,
The Acupuncturist’s Wife