Kirtan Yoga Overview
Kirtan yoga is a form of Bhakti Yoga that focuses on the vocal chanting of mantras to connect with the divine. This ancient practice originated in India and has since become one of the most popular and beloved forms of yoga worldwide.
Kirtan is part of the larger tradition of Bhakti Yoga, which emphasizes the yoga of devotion or love. It is a devotional practice that encourages people to express their love and devotion to God through song and dance.
Unlike other types of yoga, kirtan is more spiritual in nature. It is a method of yoga meditation that uses the chanting of sacred mantras or Transcendental Sound to help clear out blockages in the Pranic body and promote a deeper sense of inner peace and happiness.
The practice of kirtan involves singing or chanting the names and mantras of gods and goddesses. These chants are very old and have been composed by sages and saints in the Sanskrit language.
Kirtan can have immediate and measurable effects on consciousness and experience. It can help to elevate one’s mood, promote feelings of well-being, and even reduce stress and anxiety.
Below is a table that lists some of the benefits of kirtan yoga:
|Benefits of Kirtan Yoga|
|Promotes feelings of inner peace and happiness|
|Elevates mood and reduces stress and anxiety|
|Clears out blockages in the Pranic body|
|Promotes a greater sense of spiritual connection|
|Enhances self-awareness and self-realization|
Kirtan yoga is accessible to anyone, regardless of their background or experience level. It offers a beautiful and meaningful way to tap into the power of sound and connect with the divine.
Bhakti Yoga and Kirtan
Kirtan yoga is a type of yoga that embodies the principles of Bhakti Yoga, focusing on chanting and singing mantras to express devotion to God. This ancient form of yoga is often referred to as the yoga of devotion, as it emphasizes the connection between the practitioner and the Divine.
Kirtan is a devotional practice that encourages the expression of love and devotion to God through song and dance. Unlike other types of yoga that focus on physical postures and breath control, kirtan yoga is focused on spiritual aspects, such as creating a meditative and sacred space for devotion and allowing the practitioners to connect with the Divine in a more profound way.
To practice kirtan yoga, you need a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and some forms of musical instruments such as a harmonium or drums. The musical instruments, along with the chants and songs, create a serene environment that is conducive to meditation and spiritual contemplation.
Bhakti yoga and kirtan can clear out blockages in the Pranic body and can have immediate, measurable, and pleasurable effects on consciousness and experience. By focusing on the heart chakra (Anahata Chakra), Bhakti yoga works on improving the practitioner’s capacity for love, acceptance, and surrender.
One of the unique features of the Yogic approach to spirituality is its tolerance of cultural differences and traditions. It promotes the idea of Unity in Diversity, recognizing that there are multiple paths to spiritual enlightenment and that each individual has their unique path of spiritual development.
The mantras featured in kirtan often contain the names of the myriad gods and goddesses identified by the ancient rishis, which have become central to religions such as Hinduism and Sikhism. These mantras have a profound effect on the mind, body, and soul, and can enhance the practitioner’s spiritual and physical well-being.
In essence, kirtan yoga is a beautiful and powerful practice that can help us to connect with the Divine, improve our spiritual well-being, and cultivate a more profound sense of love, acceptance, and surrender. So, embrace the practice of kirtan yoga and experience the joy and beauty of devotion!
Kirtan Chanting and Mantras
Kirtan is the practice of singing or chanting sacred mantras or Transcendental Sound, a method of yoga meditation that can help individuals to connect with their spirituality and inner selves. It is a practice of chanting the names or mantras of gods and goddesses in Bhakti yoga, one of the five main paths of yoga.
Kirtan differs from mantra in that it is intended for community use, while mantras are typically used in a personal practice. The practice is known for its transformative power and ability to heal the mind, body, and soul by removing negative energies.
The modern kirtan movement brings traditional spiritual practices to the West, and has been embraced by many Western musicians, including George Harrison, Deva Premal, and Krishna Das. Kirtan has grown in popularity across the globe and the practice is often performed in group settings in yoga studios, spiritual centers, and festivals.
Popular Kirtan Mantras
Some of the most popular kirtan mantras include:
- “Om Namah Shivaya”
- “Om Mani Padme Hum”
- “Hare Krishna”
These mantras often feature the names of the myriad gods and goddesses identified by the ancient rishis and became central to religions such as Hinduism and Sikhism. Mantras are defined as “a sacred sound formula that has a specific focus and energy.” They are considered mystical universal sounds that resonate with our chakras and can help remove negative energies from our minds and bodies.
It is believed that the chants contain a transformative power and healing energy that can help individuals connect with their inner selves and stay grounded in their spirituality. By taking part in the chanting of kirtan mantras, individuals can develop a sense of community and find peace and tranquility within themselves.
The Benefits of Kirtan Yoga
Kirtan yoga is a form of meditation that involves chanting or singing devotional songs or mantras. It is a popular practice in the Bhakti tradition of yoga, which focuses on developing love and devotion towards a higher power. Kirtan yoga is said to have numerous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Here are some of the benefits of practicing kirtan regularly:
- Reduces anxiety and depression: Kirtan chanting can have a calming effect on the mind and help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. It is believed that the vibrations produced by the chanting can have a healing effect on the nervous system.
- Improves sleep quality: Regularly practicing kirtan can help to improve the quality of sleep. It can help to calm the mind and promote relaxation, which can lead to better sleep.
- Increases feelings of happiness and well-being: The repetitive nature of the chants and the focus on devotional songs can help to promote feelings of happiness, inner peace, and well-being.
- Clears out blockages in the Pranic body: Bhakti yoga and kirtan can help to clear out blockages in the Pranic body, which can have measurable effects on consciousness and experience.
- Promotes mental clarity: Kirtan chanting can help to clear the mind and promote mental clarity. It can also help to quiet intrusive thoughts and promote feelings of peace and wellbeing.
- Relieves stress: Kirtan chanting can have a soothing effect on the nervous system and help to relieve stress. It can be a powerful tool for managing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
- Awakens innate wisdom and spiritual love: Regularly practicing kirtan can help to awaken innate wisdom and spiritual love. It can help to connect us with our true selves and promote a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
- Helps with emotional wounds: Kirtan chanting can be a powerful tool for healing emotional wounds. It can help to create a meditative state and promote feelings of peace and wellbeing.
- Uplifts the mind and opens the heart: Kirtan chanting helps to uplift the mind, open the heart and bring inner peace. It can be a transformative practice that can help to bring about positive changes in our lives.
Kirtan can be practiced alone or in a group and can be a powerful tool for deepening our spiritual practice. Whether you are looking to manage stress, improve sleep quality, or connect with your true self, kirtan chanting can offer a wealth of benefits for both the body and the mind. So why not give it a try and see how it can help you on your spiritual journey?
Practicing Kirtan Yoga
To practice kirtan yoga, all you need is a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and some forms of musical instruments like a harmonium or drums. Kirtan is a form of devotional yoga that involves singing or chanting.
Kirtan can be practiced alone or in a group and can be used as a form of meditation. It’s a great way to quiet your mind and connect with your inner self.
Kirtan is typically done in a group setting and involves call and response chanting. The leader of the group sings a mantra or a phrase and the group responds by repeating the same mantra or phrase. This helps to create a sense of unity and harmony among the participants.
Beginners can follow along in the Kirtan book and CD to learn kirtan. The books contain the lyrics and translations of the mantras and the CDs have the music. This is a great way to start if you are new to kirtan.
Kirtan is typically accompanied by Indian instruments such as the harmonium, tabla drum or mridamgam drums, and guitar or sitar. However, kirtan can be practiced with or without instruments and in any musical style as long as it’s devotional in nature.
Participants don’t have to sing but can still benefit from the sound waves and energy. The sound of the mantras and chanting can have a calming effect on the mind and body.
It’s important not to beat oneself up if singing something wrong or not knowing what is being sung. Kirtan is about the energy and intention, not the perfection of the singing.
Participants are encouraged to open up their voice and contribute to the sound, regardless of musical ability. This creates a sense of community and connection among the participants.
Standing in front of others during Kirtan can block their view, so it’s important to be mindful of one’s surroundings. It’s also important to respect the space and energy of the group.
|Pros of Kirtan Yoga||Cons of Kirtan Yoga|
|Can help to reduce stress and anxiety||May not be suitable for those who don’t enjoy singing or music|
|Can improve focus and concentration||May not be accessible to those without access to instruments or resources|
|Can create a sense of community and connection||May not be suitable for those with hearing impairments|
|Can help to quiet the mind and promote relaxation||May not be suitable for those who are uncomfortable in group settings|
Kirtan yoga is a great way to connect with others and with your inner self. It’s a practice that can bring a sense of community, peace, and relaxation. Whether you’re new to kirtan or an experienced practitioner, there’s always a way to benefit from this beautiful and devotional practice.
Kirtan in History and Modern Times
Kirtan is an ancient form of singing or chanting that originated during the Vedic period in India. It involves singing or chanting in call-and-response style, where the lead singer introduces a chant or mantra and participants respond back. The Sanskrit language, which is considered the “language of the divine,” is integral to kirtan and its ability to transport the mind from one state to another.
The modern kirtan movement brings traditional spiritual practices to the West, and has been embraced by many Western musicians, including George Harrison, Deva Premal, and Krishna Das. George Harrison was a fan of kirtan and particularly enjoyed the Krishna mantra. Since then, kirtan has been adapted and incorporated into many yoga studios and spiritual communities around the world.
Kirtan singing is not a private or exclusive activity, and requires an open heart and the understanding that everyone has different life experiences. It is for people of all ages and backgrounds, and anyone can practice it. Yoga practitioners are chanting in foreign tongues including Sanskrit, Hindi, and Gurmukhi, and even in English.
The Sivananda Organization, founded by Swami Sivananda, uses the method of call and response in kirtan. Musical instruments like harmoniums, tablas, and tambourines are used to create a rhythmic and uplifting atmosphere. Each chant revolves around a particular mantra, which holds profound spiritual significance.
Kirtan singing has been known to have numerous benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, boosting the immune system, increasing focus, and creating feelings of joy and connection. It can also help in developing a deeper sense of community and spirituality.
Kirtan yoga is a powerful tool for spiritual and personal growth. Practicing kirtan can lead to self-discovery, an improved singing voice, and a greater sense of inner peace. This devotional practice helps to uplift the mind, open the heart, and bring individuals closer to something higher than themselves. Here are some facts about kirtan yoga that you may find interesting:
|Kirtan as a Tool for Self-Reflection||Kirtan can be used as a tool for self-reflection and meditation. Through the practice of bhakti yoga and kirtan, individuals can explore their inner selves, become more self-aware, and connect with their spirituality.|
|Discovering Your Singing Voice||Regularly chanting kirtan can lead to discovering a singing voice you didn’t know you had. This can be a liberating experience and a source of joy for many individuals.|
|Creating a Temple Inside the Heart||The practice of kirtan creates a temple inside of our hearts, a place of refuge, love, and sanctity. Through the repetitive chanting of mantras, the mind becomes still, and the heart becomes filled with peace and love.|
|Uplifting the Mind and Opening the Heart||Chanting kirtan is a devotional practice that helps to uplift the mind, open the heart and bring inner peace. This can be especially helpful for individuals who struggle with anxiety, stress, or other mental health issues.|
|A Transformative Experience||Kirtan chanting is a collective performance that is a transformative experience. When individuals come together to chant, they create a powerful energy that can be felt throughout the room.|
|Spirit and Feeling over Aesthetics||Aesthetics don’t matter in kirtan; what matters is the spirit and feeling behind the chanting. It’s not about technical singing, but rather about sharing melody and love with others.|
|Being Present in the Moment||Being present in the moment is important during kirtan. Individuals must leave behind distracting thoughts and clutter in order to fully experience the practice.|
|Leaving the Ego Behind||The ego should be kept away during kirtan, as the practice is about sharing melody and love with others rather than showing off technical singing abilities.|
|Expressing Devotion to Something Higher||Chanting is a way to express our devotion to something higher than ourselves and to open our heart. Kirtan helps to cultivate a sense of humility and surrender, which can be transformative for many individuals.|
|Being Comfortable During Kirtan||It’s essential to be comfortable during kirtan. Individuals can bring whatever they need to sit comfortably, such as a cushion or blanket. This allows them to fully immerse themselves in the practice.|
Kirtan yoga is a beautiful and transformative practice that can help individuals connect with their spirituality, find inner peace, and cultivate a sense of love and compassion for all beings. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to the practice, there’s something for everyone in kirtan yoga.