Mantra chanting is an integral part of an authentic yoga practice. What do I mean by "authentic"? In today's world, yoga has very much been reduced to a physical practice, i.e. the postures or asana's in Sanskrit. Which is perfectly understandable in a world where we all are so much conscious of our bodily image and in need of counter postures for long days spent at our desks and computers.
Just look at it this way: yoga offers great tools to improve our health and overall consciousness. Just as our body is the external layer of our being, and can be improved by asana's, as our practice evolves with time, we feel it has much deeper impact on how we perceive:
- our own body and the way it works: what is the impact of movement, breath, food, drink, etc on our bodily functions;
- the external world through our senses;
- our own emotions through a combination of the different practices: asanas or postures, pranayama or breath, dharana or concentration, dhyana or meditation.
One of the aspects of mantra or vedic chanting is that it touches all of these layers: body through how we sit, breath through the simple act of breathing in and out - whilst chanting, concentration through the way we use our voice and respect the different rules of vedic chanting (see also "What is Vedic chanting").