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Chanting on the Hill


According to Buddhist and Hindu traditions, chanting “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti” invokes peace, and it represents peace in the body, speech, and mind.

I introduced Hills Neuroscience Team to artists like Krishna Das, western chant artist of all time, who stated,

“Chanting is a way of getting in touch with yourself. It’s an opening of the heart and letting go of the mind and thoughts. It deepens the channel of grace, and it’s a way of being present in the moment.”

At Hills Neuroscience’s gathering, I invited a band that played this type of music to perform to all to have an opportunity to participate and experience the healing effects of group chanting. In my life, chanting plays a significant role in my healing journey and my connection to self, others, earth, moon, sun, and stars.  Sharing this experience with people brings great joy to my life.

After the event, a team member reflected, “I could not believe what I was missing after hearing this style of music. The magic that we all felt in chanting together on an evening under the stars was one of the most memorable evenings I have ever experienced. For me, I felt a strong connection with those that I had only met a time or two before this gathering. I also felt the energy in me that brought upon feelings of safety, comfort, and love in just a couple of hours.”

Before we go into the science of chanting, let’s start with the first question:

What is chanting?

Chanting means singing rhythmic speaking of certain sounds or words (Routhan & Ruhela 2014). According to Snelling (1996), using mantras or chanting is believed to resonate with the body and mind with the voice’s frequency in organizing states of consciousness and thoughts. Om chanting is a universally recognized mantra called Pranava, which means that it sustains life and is the cosmic sound. In Sanskrit, chanting Om creates vibration and is known to mean source or supreme.  Om comprises three letters: A, U, and M, which impure the body, speech, and mind.

Now for the SCIENCE:

According to Dr. Alan Watkins, while chanting, the heart rate and blood pressure decrease to their lowest of the day. He also stated that it promotes bonding among individuals, especially when the chanting practice is in a group setting. Dr. Marian Diamond from the University of California reported that chanting helps prevent the release of stress hormones and increases the functioning of the immune system (Routhan & Ruhela, 2014).

Dr. Stephen Porges reported that the facial movements occurring during chanting “om” regulate the heart through the vagal pathway. Our 10th cranial nerve is responsible for the rest and digest response when stimulated. According to an fMRI scan study, participants chanting Om showed brain deactivation of the emotional and fear center of the brain, the amygdala (Kalyani et al., 2011).

A study at The University of West Virginia also found that 12 minutes of mantra chanting a day for 12 weeks improved participants’ cognitive functioning, sleep, mood, and quality of life.

At Hills Neuroscience Integrative Psychology, we offer group therapy interventions that incorporate chanting practices supporting healing and the need for connection.


Om Shanti Shanti Shanti,


Dr. Kellie Delli Colli


Innes, K. E., Selfe, T. K., Brundage, K., Montgomery, C., Wen, S., Kandati, S., Bowles, H., Khalsa, D. S., &

Huysmans, Z. (2018). Effects of Meditation and Music-Listening on Blood Biomarkers of Cellular Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease in Adults with Subjective Cognitive Decline: An Exploratory Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease: JAD, 66(3), 947–970.

Kalyani, B. G., Venkatasubramanian, G., Arasappa, R., Rao, N. P., Kalmady, S. V., Behere, R. V., Rao, H.,

Vasudev, M. K., & Gangadhar, B. N. (2011). Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study. International journal of yoga, 4(1), 3–6.

Routhan, T., & Ruhela, S. (2014). Chanting: a therapeutic treatment for sports competitive anxiety. International

Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 4(3).

Snelling, J. (1991). The Buddhist handbook: A complete guide to Buddhist schools, teaching, practice, and history.

Inner Traditions/Bear & Co.



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