What is Kirtan?
Chanting kirtan is a devotional practice that helps to uplift the mind, open the heart, and help us to remember the meaning to our life. It is the fastest, easiest and most joyful way to achieve peace of mind.
The mantras are mystical universal sounds that resonate with our chakras and remove negative energies. So, it is important that we chant so that we can benefit from this powerful healing energy.
It is not about our ego or our self, but it is about chanting the name and the glories of God.
Benefits of Kirtan
We need to chant to express our devotion to something higher than ourselves to open our heart. We need to open our heart daily to the Supreme so that we can live in Peace and Compassion with all.
These kirtans are very old chants composed of mantras which have been given to us by sages and saints. They are in the Sanskrit language which is the language of the Gods, a universal language with pure vibrations corresponding to the vibrations of our chakras, our vital, subtle energy centers.
See the section on Bhakti Yoga to get a more detailed explanation on this method of devotional yoga.
The Sivananda Organization uses the method of call and response, where the leader of the kirtan chants first and the rest of the group follows out loud.
The musical instruments generally used are the harmonium, tables, tambourines, and other percussion.
To learn to chant, you need only close your eyes, and practice following the sounds, without worrying about how you sound.
Kirtan for Beginners
Beginners can follow along in the Kirtan book, but the book needs to be held so that you can sit erect and connect to the breath.
It may be best for you to buy the Kirtan book and CD so that you can bring it home and listen to it daily. Don’t worry that it is in Sanskrit or that it is culturally foreign or that you are not a good singer and you don’t have a good voice.
Eventually you will pick up the chants, and develop a liking for particular chants that correspond to your own inner vibration. It is a devotional, intuitive approach to meditation and not an intellectual one. By signing up for a Yoga Vacation you will experience Kirtan twice a day, morning and evening.