How should you breath while chanting?

Hare Krishna.

I have a few questions regarding breath and chanting.

It seems to me that in instruction on how to chant this topic is overlooked.

I find it difficult to work breathing into chanting, either running short of breath if i try to squeeze too many repitition of the mantra or breathing uncomfortably by taking quick breath after each repetition. Whatever I do i find myself having to take a long breath from time to time disrupting the the rhythm of the chanting.

The most successful technique I have found is to combine breathing relaxation with the mantra. That is taking a long abdominal breath in and chanting on the breath out. I find this quite relaxing and focussed, but it is very slow.

Does anyone have any tips on breathing they can share with me?

Is it ok to chant on the inward breath? (I sometimes do this unitentionaly to keep rhythm while breathing).

Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.


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  • Hare Krishna Prabhu ji,

    Initially when we start to chant we find ourself gasping and find it difficult to take breaths.  I suggest you  to do some breathing exercises like taking deep breaths holding for 1-2 seconds releasing and observing the breaths for 5 min or so before you start to chant. And If in case you are having any family history of Asthama, allergies and emphysematic condition in lungs running in the  family histroy rule out them. In case you need to have anti allergics just check it.  Find out some causes that are causing you shortness of breath. Maybe you are allergic to peanuts or some nuts without knowing. Rule out those.

    Secondly, sit in a airy and roomy place like open windows and doors.  Do some stretching exerises and pranayam before you start chanting to make your lungs expand.

    Don't rush and squeeze in more number of mantras in one min.

    Take you time to slowly building up the pace and don't rush to make a mala in 5-6 min.  Let it take its time maybe 8 min a round or 10 min a round is also fine. Because once you make a habit of sitting  routinely to chant regularity will somehow build the speed without consciously trying to squeeze many number of mantras per min.

    relaxed and focused chanting is more important then rushing. It will slowly improve .. No need to worry.

    Just like when you start exercising ( only 10 min on day one.) ..first day there is pain in joints second day there is tenderness. then slowly slowly you get used to it. Then after one month you will be able to do for more hours of gyming. It is the same way, here even the breath gets adjusted as you go on. The mantra will glide on the tongue it became one with the breath after long practise. 

    That is time when it goes on easily and smootly.

    Initially you will feel this all. I see in you profile you have stated you are doing 3 malas. That means you are in the initial phases. Don't worry just keep doing it you may do relaxed and focussed chanting for few months. Even if it is 3 rounds also.. make it a regular habit. Don't leave any day gap between. You are infact training you chest muscles by doing daily practice. 

    Whatever is making you easy to chant you can do that.. like if you are finding it easy to chant while inhaling air /exhaling air out.. whatever suits your body. There is no hard and fast rule.

    Keep a bottle of water aside. Take some sips in between if you feel tired or breathless. 

    Enjoy chanting. :-) 

    Krishna bless you.

    Hare Krishna.

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