One thing I hadn’t expected is that the silence between chants is as affirming and joy-inspiring as the chants themselves. You see, I’m in Milagro, sacred space at The Ranch for meditation, prayer, or other reflection. Instructor Jill Thiry has arranged the chairs so we’re all equal distance from each other and in a perfect circle.
“With this chant session, you are meditating through and after the chant,” Jill says. “This is a sound healing where you are the instrument, and what a miraculous instrument you are.” And with that, she begins to form a deep “Om,” sound and leads us through many Sanskrit based chants, and sometimes one or two in English. I can hear myself repeating the sound as it joins the sound vibrations and breath of others in the room. We are relaxed and having fun as our voices weave together to create a tapestry of tone. It’s a fantastic moment of letting go of my self-consciousness and fear of my inability to sing.
This isn’t singing. “As long as it’s rhythmic, repetitive and in community,” she explains, “you get the benefit of chant. Though best practiced in community, sometimes people chant while they hike or stop to meditate on a rock along the trail. There’s something about getting out of your head when you chant and into breathwork that pretty much drops you into a cleansed mental place that is ideal for meditation.”
I squint to see what everyone else is doing and I’m happy as I see everyone sitting similarly with their hands in their lap, palms up, and open to the moment. “You’re allowing your body to become a sound container and operate in a different way. And because many don’t know the meanings of the sounds they are making [though Jill gives broad translation guidance] they allow their container to express the phonetics as accurately as possible, and as you vibrate, you feel the beautiful benefit of deeper breathes, loosening of your posture, and an emotionally cleansing process.” Jill says.
“It’s so simple and beautiful.” She tells us between chants. “The words and chants are self-loving, allowing you to be in your body and breathe with no ego and no thoughts.” And with that, I take a deep breath and relax to become a vibrating vessel again.
Learn more about our mindfulness program and activities.
Join Jill’s sessions!
Visit jillthiry.com/reserve-a-class to join Jill’s 45-minute Wednesday Zoom chant at 7:00 am (PDT). You can also request permission to enter her Club Change Facebook group, which has chant recordings and live 15-minute Facebook chanting sessions on Monday and Friday at 7:00 am (PDT).
Jill’s Set Your Intention program is offered free of charge at 3:00 pm PDT on the second Sunday of each month. Reserve a space by visiting jillthiry.com/reserve-a-class.