Still, it wasn't something I was interested in. That said, though not a Catholic, I do have a soft spot for latin prayer ( I was originally a Classicist before I transferred to philosophy) I like the age of it, the sounds, the rhythm and find it quite powerful. When I started getting into Vinyasa Krama I visited Mr Ramaswamis home page and found a load of mp3 Chant files. I listened to a few, kind of liked them and downloaded them on to my Itouch. I started listening to them as I cycled into work and before I knew it I was catching myself humming them or chanting little snatches of a chant, or more likely a bit from one and a bit from another all mixed up. I started to chant along with them in the bath, trying to hit the right pitch to make the bathroom vibrate, very cool.
Ramaswami stresses the importance of Pranayama, Meditation and Chanting and mentions how Chanting is excellent for regulating the breath. In that sense it doesn't really matter what you chant, a couple of favourite lines from a prayer or a poem or hell, even a line from a Britney song. But the old Sanskrit mantra's have done the job well for a few thousand years so you might want to consider them.
I have a soft spot for the Ganesha prayer (no idea what the hell it's saying but like the sound of it, the 12 Sury Namaskara chants, The pranayama chant below and of course the Yoga Sutras (good way to get into them).
I'm still playing with this in relation to my practice and mixing them around. I used to do Pranayama, Chanting and then Meditation thus my acronym PCM but just recently I've started ending my practice with a little chanting to bring the breath back down from all that Ujaii.
In the video below taken at the end of this mornings Full Vinyasa Intermediate, I do some chanting of the Pranyama mantra then go into 3 x 36 Kapala Bhati (snorty fire breath) then five to ten rounds of Viloma Ujaii ( in Ujaii throat, out left nostril, in Left Nostril, out ujaii throat, In Ujaii throat, out right Nostril, in right nostril, out Ujaii throat, then begin again...) Obviously I've trimmed the video, from the last chant to the first couple of Viloma's. During all the Pranayama I would engage the bandhas and even chuck in a little Nauli kriya. I tend to finish with ten to twenty minutes meditation on the breath. I start by focusing on the breath coming in through the tip of my nose and then after a couple of breaths try to focus on the breath as a whole, having fun with that at the moment.
Learning the pranayama chant
Here is a direct Link to Mr Ramaswami's' learn the Pranayama Mantra' mp3
And here's a link to a page that translates (below) and explains the mantra
AUM bhUH, AUM bhuvaH, AUM svaH, AUM mahaH
AUM janaH, AUM tapaH, AUM satyam
AUM, the primordial sound, resides in all elements of the universe. It permeates the earth (-bhUH), water (-bhuvaH), fire (-svaH), air (-mahaH), ether (-janaH), intelligence (-tapaH) and consciousness (-satyam).
AUM tatsaviturvarenyM bhargo devasya dhImahi
dhIyo yo nH prachodayAt.h.
We pay homage to Gayatri, the one who shines like the sun (tat savitur), the one who destroys all our sins through her everlasting and effulgent light. Dear Goddess Gayatri, please illuminate our path towards our higher consciousness and lead us to our true purpose in life
AUM Apo jyotiH rasomRRitaM
brahma bhUR bhuvaH svar AUM..
Please shine your light (-jyotiH) in our path so we may partake of the everlasting nectar (rasomRRitaM) of brahman while chanting the primordial sound, AUM'!