By: Alanna Kaivalya
Close your eyes and journey back to the very first yoga class you took. If you are anything like I was, every little thing was so foreign and so interesting – and yet took me so far from my element. The first class I barely opened my mouth during the chant, the second class it seemed my voice continued to escape me. Each time though, I was in awe or captivated. The resonance, the harmony it was unlike anything I had ever heard. Far from the office coming together to sing a pathetic happy birthday, this was a room of near strangers sounding like a well rehearsed choir. That is the power of sound, that is the power of yogic chanting. Recently I have had the opportunity to read and review Alanna Kaivalya’s Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth and Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan. This quick read is an amazing resource for anyone, practiced or novice, looking to learn more about the power and meaning behind sound.
Alanna’s expertise shines through these pages like a yogi’s inner light. Her explanations are complex yet attainable, enlightening and entertaining – who else can use Starwars or The Matrix to accurately describe our yogic journey and the powerful of this auditory tool? There are different many different mantras so Alanna has broken them down or organized them by type, provides their sanskrit and english transcriptions and meanings, as well as their historical derivation or context. I told you, there’s a lot crammed into this powerful little book! Mantra and Kirtan can be powerful additions to your yoga or meditation practices and Sacred Sound makes it easy to start incorporating them. Pick up a copy of Sacred Sound and you will immediately see what I am talking about. The book starts with a quick but explanative overview of sound, its relevance and power in our lives, and then jumps into mantras.
Mantras can be practiced almost anywhere and anytime. Whether you are laying in bed starting or ending your day, in the shower or driving to work, or sitting down onto your yoga mat a simple sound can make a world of difference. Whether you are a yogi or have one in your life, Sacred Sound will make a great addition to any book shelf and enhance the life of anyone who cracks its spine and flips through its pages. Don’t just take my word for it. Pick the book up for yourself, but be prepared to learn and grow from page one.