Updated: Jul 28, 2022
The first time I tried chanting, was when I started to practice Hawaiian Hula in 2005. A part of their tradition is called Kahiko, which includes storytelling by voice, together with dance and drum. It's meant to be pronounced a certain way further back in your throat, as opposed to singing. (You can hear some here.)
A couple of years later in 2008, I was asked to learn the Gayatri Mantra by an Indian yoga teacher who reached out online on the Daily Om. I chanted this one for about six years, including when I was detained 2011-12.
The one that stays with me now, is called Nam Myoho Reng Kyo, a Japanese Buddhist mantra that is chanted to cultivate our Buddha nature. I was introduced to this by a dance teacher in Sweden in 2009. Have a listen:
And in Stockholm, I've been part of chanting this Tibetan Buddhist Mahakala.
So, why do we chant? To me, it's a sort of prayer that aligns spirit with heart, especially with a foreign language, we can bypass our intellectual need to understand, and thus softening our Egos in favor of the translated meaning of wishing well, focusing on the sound and its pronunciation. It brings the meditation into centeredness and focus.
When we meet to chant different chants together in a group, it's called Kirtan. Something I hope to offer at Telluselle Living Center.