Over the years I've been to lots of different classes that have incorporated elements of chanting and various workshops dedicated to the exploration of mantra and kirtan. However, last night I had a new experience when I joined a group of people to chant just for the joy of it.
There was no lengthy explanation of what the words meant or practising of the 'tune' beforehand: we just did it. After a short pranayama to settle us, we had a few quiet breaths then someone led us into some Om repetitions. A pause, then another person led something - and so on for about an hour. It reminded me of a Quaker meeting, where there is no structure to a gathering and anyone can step up when moved to do so. Some of the chants were unfamiliar and during those I simply sat and listened, which was a rare treat. Some were call and response; for others we just jumped in when we were ready. It was spontaneous and natural.
It reminded me that there is so much more to yoga than the physical practice.