You do not need to be a musician, or even into music, to enjoy the benefits of kirtan. Like meditation, anyone can practise kirtan and experience a sense of peace in just a short amount of time.
What is Kirtan?
If you are a yoga practitioner, you know that yoga means much more than just the exercises. Yoga also encompasses an understanding of truth, of our own inner nature and of the nature of God.
In the Yoga Sutras, one of the ancient foundational yogic texts, Patanjali says that hatha yoga consists of asana (postures), pranayama (breathwork), dhyana (meditation), and mantra (chanting). Kirtan is a form of bhakti yoga - the yoga of devotion; jnana yoga - the yoga of wisdom; and mantra yoga - the yoga of chanting mantras repeatedly until they become integrated into our consciousness.
Kirtan is one of the easiest yet most powerful ways for you to commune with your true Self and experience the union of your soul with the divine consciousness of love and bliss.
This form of meditation began in India centuries ago as a spiritual practise. It served as the layman's way to connect with the Divine. The simple idea behind kirtan was to sing praise to the divine in its many forms.
Devotional singing does not belong only within any one spiritual path but rather serves as an expression through which we can access higher states of consciousness.
How does Kirtan work?
Kirtan works on every level, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It harmonises every aspect of your being and helps you to manifest your highest potentials.
When we chant mantras during Kirtan, we are focusing our minds on a specific sound or vibration.
This can help to quiet the chatter in our minds and bring us into a state of relaxation and inner peace. The repetition of the mantra also helps to synchronise our breath with our movements, which can have a calming effect on the nervous system.
The Benefits of Kirtan
Kirtan has been shown to have a variety of benefits for both the mind and body. Here are just a few:
Reduces stress and anxiety
The calming effect of Kirtan on the nervous system can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. In fact, studies have shown that chanting mantras can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
Improves brain function
Kirtan has been shown to improve cognitive function, including memory, concentration, and attention. One study found that participants who practiced Kirtan for just 12 minutes a day for 8 weeks showed significant improvements in cognitive function compared to a control group.
Kirtan has been shown to increase feelings of happiness and well-being. This may be due in part to the release of endorphins, the body's natural "feel-good" chemicals, that can occur during chanting.
Enhances spiritual connection
For many people, Kirtan is a way to connect with something greater than themselves, whether that be a higher power, the universe, or their own inner wisdom. This can provide a sense of meaning and purpose in life, which can have a positive impact on mental health.
How to Practise Kirtan
If you're interested in trying Kirtan for yourself, here are some tips to get started:
Find a Kirtan group or teacher in your area. Kirtan is often practised in groups, which can provide a sense of community and support.
Choose a mantra that resonates with you. There are many different mantras used in Kirtan, so choose one that feels meaningful to you.
Sit comfortably and focus on your breath. As you chant the mantra, try to synchronise your breath with your movements.
Let go of any expectations or judgments. Kirtan is a practise, not a performance, so don't worry about doing it "right."
Practise regularly. Like any form of meditation, Kirtan requires practise to reap the benefits. Try to practise for at least a few minutes each day.
Without a doubt, Kirtan is a method of yoga and meditation that is certain to empower your self-development. By raising the level of vibration in your body and chakras (universal energy centres) you will find that the powers of concentration, intuition and creativity are enhanced tremendously.
So why not give Kirtan a try? Join our upcoming Kirtan Academy Trainings. You may just find that it becomes a beloved part of your daily routine, providing a sense of peace, clarity, and connection in your life.