Monday, December 15, 2014
A Time for Kirtan
This week I participated in a Kirtan at my local Yoga school. It was the end of year occasion which also celebrated the time and effort of graduating Yoga teachers this year. It was of course a special celebration for all who gathered together. Kirtan is a traditional form of call and response chanting that invokes aspects of our higher selves by chanting and calling forth the names and presence of Hindu deities. Even if you have no particular faith or if you choose to express your belief in a higher power through another god, or no god at all, there is something to experience and take away from a Kirtan. It is a special nourishing and uplifting practice that will enhance your experience of Yoga in new ways. You can find out more about Kirtan on the web but you may also be lucky enough have a local yoga school or meditation centre where you can ask about or try out a Kirtan.
I started going to Kirtan about a year and a half ago, first on my own, then with my first child and later in a role as kirtankara, who leads the singing. When I first began, it seemed a lot like the experience of playing or enjoying music together with others. I enjoyed the rhythm and the sense of being in harmony with others expressing the same song. It was uplifting and connecting, and of course it had a most joyous aspect to it, leaving me feeling more confident and with clearer voice.
It has become more devotional as I continued the practice with a growing sense of Kirtan as an act of singing Gods name and at the same time cultivating or invoking the presence of God within the room and within the heart centre. There are of course other benefits to the chanting itself which have to do with the vibrational energy of the ancient sanskrit words. This has nothing to do with any particular god.
It is a chance to let go, to truly experience that which we hold as our higher self and the higher selves of countless other beings both in the room and across the universe. This is a very important practice and awareness right now in our world and I am fortunate to have the chance to join in the singing.