How Chanting Can Boost Your Wellbeing And Recovery
Discover how chanting is making a comeback as we strive to stay rested in stressful times
You’ve just about got your head around breathwork and meditation, what’s all this about chanting? We took a look at claims that chanting can boost wellbeing, support recovery, and even – maybe – help with long-term health.
What is chanting?
Think of chanting and you might have visions of yoga devotees on a mountain top retreat. Chanting has its roots in ancient Eastern practices, but it’s found its way into modern day wellness.
Chanting simply means rhythmically saying a phrase over and over again – usually dozens of times. The practice combines meditation, breathwork, vibrations, and positive affirmations which is why many people believe it’s great for your physical and mental wellbeing.
What does science say about chanting?
There have been lots of legit studies about the effects of chanting on heart rate, HRV, central nervous system, depression, anxiety, sleep and recovery. One of the most recent – Ganagarajan et al., 2022 – concluded that brief chanting has a positive impact on “parasympathetic nervous system activity, promote relaxation, and provide calmness.”
Is chanting a type of meditation?
Chanting can be used as a meditation, but we’re more interested in looking at its measurable effects on the body as part of our recovery strategy. In our research, we’ve found published papers and anecdotal stories that show a short amount of chanting lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves sleep quality, promotes relaxation, helps digestion, and can help manage stress.
How chanting is linked to breathwork
We’ve written about breathwork techniques for lung capacity and rehab (check the blog here.) Chanting can be considered a form of breathwork, and could be used as a way to tone the muscles of the diaphragm and lungs.
Chanting for training recovery
Does chanting really help recovery and adaptation from training? There haven’t been any specific studies into chanting in the athletic population, but there are plenty of papers linking chanting to respiratory vagal stimulation (Gerritsen, 2018), pulmonary function (Mooventhan, 2014) and autonomic cardiovascular rhythms (Bernardi, 2001). All of these things are important factors in recovering from intense training. So we say why not try chanting as part of your general wellness approach?
5 benefits of chanting
1 Chanting can quickly bring about a sense of calm and restfulness
2 Chanting slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure
3 Chanting can focus the mind on positive outcomes and goals
4 Chanting may help tackle symptoms of depression and anxiety
5 Chanting can support the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain
Your 3-step guide to start chanting
Have we got you interested in chanting? If you’d like to get started but don’t want to alarm the neighbours, here are some modern-day ways to practice chanting (no yoga mat required).
1 Find a quiet spot where you can sit (ideally on the floor).
2 Close your eyes and place one or both hands lightly over your chest
3 Inhale deeply then chant on the exhale (not sure what to chant? Start with the classic “ommm”
4 Try chanting with your mouth shut (to feel the vibrations) or with your mouth wide open – both have different effects on the mind and body
5 Keep practicing – even 5 minutes a few times a week will make a difference to your wellbeing
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