(Russill Paul) For thousands of years, Hindu spirituality has understood the profound effect that sound has on our well-being, an insight that western medicine is rapidly rediscovering today. In the treatment of Alzheimer’s, cancer, pre and post-surgical trauma, insomnia, and even the dissolving of kidney stones, overwhelming clinical studies have verified that the use of sound (particularly through chanting) can stabilize heart rate, reduce blood pressure, improve circulation, produce endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers), nourish DNA, and generate important proteins in body, such as, interleukin-1 and 2.
Vocal chanting is particularly effective because the palate and the human ear function as blueprints for the body’s nervous system, much like the hand and foot in reflexology. Today, many of us are aware of how the body can be manipulated through pressure points on the hands and the foot – through massage as well as through acupressure and acupuncture. Now, take into consideration the 82 reflex points that are located in the palate: 60 on the hard palate and 22 on the soft palate. The tongue positions in the mouth, as well as the inflections of sounds caused by our speech and vocalizations, stimulate the meridians associated with these points and awaken dormant parts of the brain, thus bringing energy to various parts of the body.
Sanskrit chanting is especially efficacious because it is a language constructed to stimulate a tremendous spectrum of energy and consciousness possible through speech. The rich phonetics employed in the language and the varying complexity of tongue placement stimulates a variety of energy frequencies. These “asanas (yoga postures) of the tongue,” have direct health benefits because they serve to stimulate the pituitary gland located just millimeters away from the roof of the palate. The pituitary governs our immunity as well as our sexuality, aspects of human life that are particularly enhanced by mantras.
Vocal sound production is also known to affect the vagus nerve, which is the single most important nerve in the body. This nerve passes through the neck and services the heart, the lungs, intestines and intestinal tract and back muscles. It has also been determined, through the phenomenal work of molecular biologist Candice Pert, that emotional toxicity can remain lodged in the neuropeptides that line the walls of our intestines, particularly since most of the time we breathe shallow. Since chanting naturally embodies cycles of deep respiration, a significant amount of this emotional toxicity can be released from the body, which is why people enjoy it so much. Chanting is therefore a sort of “Divine therapy,” a means of cleansing the soul of unwanted psychic residue, and a process that has corresponding physiological effects.
Chanting is much simpler than singing and far more energizing than regular speech. This is why spiritual traditions from around the world have successfully employed it in their religious life and rituals of healing for thousands of years. It is now ours to reclaim, reinvent, and reemploy this great gift to our species, aware that it has nothing to do with having a good voice or being musically competent.
Russill Paul has been presenting world class concerts and leading edge seminars across the US and Canada for the last 25 years. His expertise, “The Yoga of Sound”, blends art, education and spirituality in a holistic and evolutionary approach toward enhanced health and well being. He is recognized as a forerunner in this field. Russill is the author of the ground-breaking literary work The Yoga of Sound: Tapping the Hidden Power of Music and Chant (New World Library) and Jesus in the Lotus: The Mystical Doorway between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality (New World Library). He is also the music producer of several acclaimed chant CDs through The Relaxation Company, NY, now part of Sounds True, including Shakti: Tantric Embrace and Shabda: Mantra Mysticism. Russill’s unusual background includes training as a monk and yogi in India as well as performing music professionally and recording in the film music industry in India. After moving to the U.S.A., he served on the faculty of leading edge educational institutions in California, teaching in gradutate and post-graduate spirituality programs for 15 consecutive years. Now, his innovative Yogic Mystery School allows students from any part of the world to study with him.