by Nancy Preston
I begin yoga classes with the chanting of OM and the Invocation to Patanjali in Sanskrit.
I conclude classes with the chanting of OM.
Often the chanting at the end of class is distinctively different.
There are many reasons for this, but my current investigation is the throat itself.
This was brought up in a recent retreat on Yoga & Sound I attended.
I have been watching how my throat feels before I chant, when I chant, and after I chant.
Is it hard or tense, open or closed ?
Does it get more or less tense and under what circumstances?
I decided to investigate.
Am I able to chant without hardening my throat?
My first attentions to this revealed to me a hard throat most of the time.
I admit I was disappointed in myself.
How could that be?
I went further.
Am I able to speak, sing, or chant without hardening my throat?
I continued and with consistent attention (not effort) it began to change.
Observation and acceptance were eventually liberating.
Letting go of judgment.
That very process softens my throat.
How does my throat feel when I am happy, sad, angry or anxious?
Sometimes discovering a hardening can initiate an exhale and release into softness.
Sometimes I find so much hardness that am unable to release.
When all else fails, I smile.
How does your throat feel when you speak?
Better yet, how does it feel right now and how does it feel when you think about speaking?
Tune yourself into the differences.
Is it possible to keep your throat soft when you speak?
One of my teachers has never raised his voice or shouted.
That is quite a statement.
Does that even seem possible?
Try it for a day.
It takes attention and understanding to explore the voice and the throat and not get sidetracked by expectations.
Do that and you will find the possibility of a soft open throat and voice always there waiting.
Communication, Expression and Listening can then take place.
Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih