Saying my chants is a part of my daily spiritual practice. I say them as soon as I wake up and while doing my morning chores. Then, when I do my morning walk-my combined practice of walking and chanting gives me physical exercise and a good spiritual base to begin my day.

The peaceful milieu of the park that I walk in is my spiritual sanctuary. The cool, clear morning air aids my practice and the mantras start flowing. As I look around and see the blue sky, the green trees, the flying birds and the other natural wonders, the harmony of nature and the importance of its upkeep seem nonnegotiable. Physical peace, emotional calmness and prayers are interrelated.

I start with the easier chants that I have grown up saying. It is the Gayathri mantra and the Shanti Path– some of the most sacred mantras in Hindu practices. I softly say my thanks to the Almighty for his benevolence and blessings.

Then, as my walking gains pace, different chants for world peace and harmonious living among all living beings just flow.

Distracting thoughts do enter the mind but with deliberate and persistent effort, I have been able to reduce the interruptions and bring my mind back to my recitations. The multitude of gods and goddesses in Hindu pantheon and the numerous hymns written in their praise and their deeds of bravery and fortitude aid and help me maintain a good variety in my hymns.

From prayers for peace, harmony and happiness in the world to invoking the Almighty to guide my way-my prayers enrich me spiritually while in parallel keeping me grounded and in gratitude. I look forward to my morning ritual.

It has taken me months of persistent practice to reach this point. The advantages of this daily morning routine are multi fold. I start my day with calmness and away from other worldly thoughts that would have otherwise enveloped by mind.

Earlier, before I had started chanting as a daily morning ritual, thousands of thoughts on different things would tire me mentally and emotionally.

After beginning this routine, I find myself more at ease and centered. It is great to begin my day with gratitude and grace.

Similar to exercises, entertainment choices and other myriad activities, spiritual practices are also a matter of personal choices. What works for one person, might not work for another.

Find your personal spiritual practice that brings you peace and harmony. Like any other exercise, persistence paves the way for lasting happiness and success for continuance of a practice.