Yesterday I introduced some of the health benefits of singing and what would be more fun than getting healthy through the use of our voices? Today, on my drive into the country, I sang along to the songs on the radio. I have to admit, I wasn’t singing very loudly so I’m still working on reaching the point where I’m really working my abs and facial muscles - and maybe even strengthening my immune system.
Another form of singing that has tremendous effects on our bodies and emotional well-being is chanting. If you practice yoga and/or meditation, then you’re probably familiar with this form of song. From the website of Russill Paul, he explains that we have 82 reflex points located in the palate and through the combination of the positions of the tongue in the mouth and vocalizations, we stimulate the meridians associated with these points, which generates energy throughout the body.
Here are some of the physiological events that can occur when we sing certain sounds:
- Short A - can lift the mood by stimulating the brain to release endorphins
- Long E - increases alertness by stimulating the pineal gland, which controls the body’s biological clock
- Short E - stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones and regulates many bodily functions, including digestion
- Long O - can help to regulate blood sugar by stimulating the pancreas
- Double OO sound - can activate the spleen and help to strengthen immunity
I’ve participated in some beautiful chanting when visiting The Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA, but I’m definitely a novice at it. Here’s a video that introduces a very simple chant practiced in Kundalini Yoga. There are four sounds/syllables using the short A as described above. Try it to see if it lifts your mood. You may be one chant away from better health!