Mantras are sacred words traditionally chanted in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language in which the old classical spiritual texts had been written. The syllables of the mantras carry energetic frequencies and they are chanted with the intention to connect to the respecting aspect of the divine. Singing mantras is a wonderful way to calm the mind and connect to a higher force, regardless of its name, call it God, Shiva or Buddha.
Mantra chants are often accompanied by a harmonium. This instrument has its firm place in India to accompany classical and spiritual music and is now becoming more and more popular also in the western Yoga world. Kirtan is a form of devotional chanting, in which the audience is singing together with a leading vocalist. The songs range from slow and calm chants up to energizing and powerful ones where people get up and dance.
My journey from classical music to devotional chanting
During Yoga classes, workshops and in my teacher trainings, I was introduced to mantra chanting and loved it right away as a way to quieten my mind, elevate my mood and reach higher states of consciousness. When I did my first Yoga teacher training in Tiruvannamalai in India in 2012, we gathered every day for an hour of chanting and it was a well-deserved time-out for body and mind as we were so busy studying from morning till evening. Living in Bali since 2014 gave me the opportunity to join numerous Kirtans and chanting circles as intimate gatherings at small Yoga studios or high vibe events with more than 150 people singing spiritual songs together and dancing in ecstasy. I feel very blessed that so many amazing musicians are coming to Bali to share their passion for spiritual music and create wonderful communities of like-minded people. I vividly remember my first Chanting Circle with Kevin James at a stunning villa in Ubud which blew my mind completely. I felt like being transported into another world that evening and I was thinking how amazing it would be to belong to this community. At that time, it did not cross my mind that it would actually come true for me to live in Bali a few years later and even to play with him for an audience over 200 people in 2019 in Ubud.
Over the last years music has become an important part in my life again with chanting mantras and playing harmonium – which is quite different from my former career in classical music as a clarinet player and teacher. Luckily my previous musical background the fact that I needed to play piano during my studies at the Music university made it very easy for me to dive right into it. During my travels to India I bought two harmoniums and brought them to Bali. I really enjoyed gathering songs and mantras from different traditions, figuring out the chords and practicing them at home. And after a while I took a leap and started sharing the music with friends and retreat participants.
Why I love devotional music
I love the fact that we can chant mantras and spiritual songs from so many different traditions, knowing that in the end it is all about the same: connecting to the Divine in different forms and aspects. When I sing and play, my mind comes to a rest, thoughts disappear and I feel more connected to the Creator and the universal energy. Even just listening to devotional music can create enormous shifts. I used to always have the radio switched on when I was younger, listening to Rock and Pop music of my favourite German radio station. Nowadays my playlists are filled with spiritual songs (Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal, Kevin James, Girish, Jai Uttal, Mirabai Ceiba and Wah are my favourites now). There is definitely magic happening when we are able to drop into the depths of Bhakti, the devotional path of Yoga.
My joy of singing and playing harmonium is becoming even stronger, when I can do it with other people, leading Kirtans with fellow musicians, guiding Cacao Ceremonies where I include songs from different traditions or chanting mantras during my Yoga classes.
As individual offers I teach how to play harmonium and sing mantras & chants from different spiritual traditions. These sessions can be booked one-on-one in person or via Skype. Curious to learn more about it? I’m looking forward to share my passion with you!