Recently, Denver, Boulder, Estes Park and surrounding areas of Colorado were bombarded with rain, hail, and lightening for nearly a week straight.
Late last week, the resulting flash floods swept entire roads, homes, and business away. I was in Lyons, near Estes Park, Wednesday night – on 9/11 –when the deluge really let loose and thankfully, my friend and fellow yoga teacher, Tami, and I made it back from the Give Back Yoga Foundation’s fundraising dinner to Denver safely in the midst of the storm.
We saw cars that had slipped off the highway and were stranded in the median.
We drove about 30mph on a freeway with a speed limit of 70mph.
Reports of closures of the very roads we’d just traversed began soon after we got home.
Heart-breaking news began the next day, depicting destruction and loss.
The scale of damage has been more than anyone imagined.
And I hate to admit it, but when the flash flood alerts blared from people’s cell phones Wednesday night, many of us thought, “I’m sure it’ll be ok.” You really never think – rather it’s that we hope, I suppose – it’ll be that bad. Unfortunately, it has been.
So in this time of tragedy, I wanted to offer up something a little different, and hopefully fun and uplifting, as well: a mantra, a chant, a prayer.
Don’t worry too much about what you call it, or that it’s in Sanskrit. If you’ve never chanted before, no worries. Also, if you’re a Christian (I am, too!), there’s nothing funky or weird that I’m asking you to say. If you do, however, feel uncomfortable “chanting” in Sanskrit, perhaps just pray “strength, courage, devotion, service.” Find something repeatable and something you are willing to say out loud. The idea is to meditate on the words and their energy, and to send that energy out in a prayer-like fashion to those who need it. Please, whatever your beliefs, adapt this to make it authentic for you.
If you’re game for trying the “yogic version,” here it is – A mantra for strength and flexibility: Om shrim hanumate namaha
In a very small nutshell, the story of Hanuman is one where he stretches himself to save a friend’s wife because he is
devoted to service
has a heart for others
is full of courage and hope
He is a warrior and supporter of others
The “Remover of distress”
And repeating this mantra can bring more prana, more energy, into you.
After all the rain, death, and destruction, we need this!
Om = entire essence of the universe, the universal sound of life
Shri = veneration or “Mr”
Hanumate (described above)
Namaha = inward peace and purified intellect; surrender to God
So try repeating this mantra 54 times. You can do all 54 rounds out loud, or start out loud then transition to saying it silently in your heart. The value of saying these words out loud lies in the vibrational and energetic quality of the words. I recommend taking a big, deep, sweet inhale and saying the whole mantra on the exhale. So, inhale, gather your breath, your prana, and exhale, repeat the mantra. Easy peasy 😉
I chose this Hanuman mantra because Hanuman, Boulder, and yoga are all very closely tied for me (see the videos below). Again, though, I simply ask that you find a way to send positivity to those in need in a meaningful and genuine way even for a few moments today, and every day.
Whether we are flood victims, struggling with our health, at a life crossroads, or anything else in between, may we all find the wisdom to do as Shri Ramana Maharaj says, “Let what comes come. Let what goes go. Find out what remains.”
If you try this mantra out, please let me know how your experience with it was. I’d love to hear about it.
Blessings and well wishes to you and your family today, my friends. And if you’d like to contribute in ways beyond your prayers, as well, I recommend checking out, volunteering for, or donating to Team Rubicon which is deploying trained volunteers to aid in relief and recovery in Colorado this week.
Speaking in Boulder, June 2013, Hanuman Yoga Festival
Speaking in Lyons (right near Estes Park where some of the most severe flood damage is) September 2013, Give Back Yoga Foundation’s Seeds to Service fundraiser for providing yoga DVDs and booklets to veterans across the nation