Kirtan comes from the yoga path of Bhakti (love and devotion). It is the chanting of traditional Sanskrit mantras synergized with dynamic melodies. It is the calling, the yearning, the crying to connect with the divine. The beauty is that chanting shows us we are already in this state of "oneness;" it's just about dissolving the maya (illusion) of separateness. Kirtan is for anyone and everyone regardless of background. It is the universal language of the heart...
It has been an honor to lead Kirtan and has been beautiful to see the explosion of Kirtan at yoga studios and festivals around the world. Outside of being a father and yoga teacher, it passionately fuels my life. Singing Kirtan has pervaded and transformed all aspects of my existence. I have had the pleasure of singing kirtan within the confines of my bedroom, singing to my daughter with tears of joy soaking my cheeks, I've traveled and sang in yoga centers throughout California, I've chanted deep in dark caves underneath the mountains of Kauai, I've sang at many sunrise kirtans on picturesque beaches in Thailand and India, and sat around the fire singing with sadhus and saints in the holy city of Vrindavan. It continues to lead me to many amazing places.
Scientific studies show the following benefits of chanting.
1) Relaxes Muscle Tension
2) Reduces Stress Related Hormones
3) Increases Levels of Melatonin
4) Enhances the Senses
5) Releases Endorphins
6) Increases Lymphatic Circulation
7) Oxygenates the Cells
8) Lowers Blood Pressure
Of course, the positive vibrations of sound resonate through all our organs, tissues, cells and atoms. It's also a powerful way of activating the Vishudda Throat Chakra which allows us to express what we feel in our guts and what we know within our hearts. Lastly, it builds community... in Kirtan we sing together, breathe together, move together, and this lifts us out of isolation and into connectedness.
Whether it’s finding a live kirtan at your local yoga studio or singing along with one of the many amazing Kirtan albums, go ahead and get your chant on; it's some real powerful medicine!
Check out the following Kirtan video with me...