Why I don’t Chant, Part 2: Tradition and Self Authority

Last week I published an article titled “Why I don’t Chant”, in which I explained some of the reasons that I don’t use the Ashtanga opening and closing mantras in my classes or in my personal practice.As expected, I received mixed feedback on the article. Some people expressed that it resonated with them deeply, while others felt that by omitting the chant I was failing to do proper justice to the tradition.

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Why I don’t chant


I am often asked why I don’t lead the traditional opening and closing mantras in my Ashtanga Led and Mysore style classes.When I read the above quote from Indian classical vocalist Bombay Jayashri, I was reminded of some of the reasons for this.This quote from a musician reminded me of my yoga practice because Indian classical music and Ashtanga vinyasa yoga share some common features: An Indian Classical raga has strict structural rules that need to be followed by the performer, just as there is a strict vinyasa count and sequence to be followed in the Ashtanga system. In both practices surrender to this structure is essential to access some of the aspects of self-encountering.

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