Kirtan Yoga

Jack Utermoehl

Kirtan Yoga is a devotional practice involving the chanting of mantras and sacred hymns, often set to music. This form of yoga emphasizes the collective expression of devotion (bhakti) and elevates spiritual awareness through sound, frequency, and vibration. Kirtan sessions typically involve call-and-response singing, creating a communal and uplifting experience.

Kirtan Yoga uniquely combines music, chanting, and communal participation to create a deep sense of spiritual connection and joy. This method of devotional practices creates a deeply emotional and connected meditation practice.

The repetitive nature of the chants helps to quiet the mind and open the heart, allowing practitioners to experience a sense of unity and devotion.

Origins of Kirtan

Kirtan Yoga has its roots in Indian spiritual traditions, particularly within the Bhakti movement, which emerged around the 6th century CE.

This movement emphasized the path of devotion and love towards a personal deity or divinity, making spiritual practices accessible to all, regardless of caste or background. The practice of kirtan has been an integral part of Hindu devotional rituals for centuries.

The philosophy of Kirtan Yoga is deeply rooted in Bhakti Yoga, which is one of the four main paths of yoga described in the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhakti Yoga focuses on love and devotion towards the divine. The repetitive chanting in Kirtan Yoga helps to cultivate a deep emotional connection with the divine.

Kirtan Practice

The main principles of Kirtan Yoga include devotional chanting, collective participation, and the use of musical instruments. The practice emphasizes surrender, love, and devotion, allowing practitioners to connect with their inner self and the divine through the power of sound.

Common Poses: Seated Posture (Sukhasana/Padmasana), Pranayama, Mudras

Suitability

Experience Level: Mixed Level (Suitable for All)

Physical Demand: Gentle Movement

Mind-Body Engagement: Primarily Meditative

Adaptability: Highly Adaptable

Focus Area: Spiritual Growth and Emotional Connection

Kirtan Notes

Kirtan Yoga can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, create emotional well-being, and enhance spiritual connection. The practice also includes a sense of community and belonging, as participants share in the collective devotional experience.

Some practitioners, if we can even call them that, will sing chants, dance, or meditate. How one practices Kirtan on the Bhakti path is open and free. It comes straight from the heart and connection with the divine.

Similar Styles

Related Styles: Bhakti Yoga, Nada Yoga (Yoga of Sound), Mantra Yoga, Japa Yoga

Equipment Needed

Required: None (optional instruments can be used)

Nice to Have: Musical Instruments (Harmonium, Tabla, Cymbals)

Optional: Comfortable Cushion or Blanket for Seating

References

"The Yoga of Sound: Tapping the Hidden Power of Music and Chant" by Russill Paul

"Chants of a Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold" by Krishna Das

"Bhakti Yoga: The Path of Devotion" by Swami Vivekananda

"The Nectar of Devotion: The Complete Science of Bhakti-Yoga" by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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