Kirtan is powerful – I share my experience
Kirtan is a Sanskrit word that means “telling, reciting” an idea or story. It is practiced by yoginis and yogis by repeating mantras and/or Vedic verses supported by music which is characterized by different melodies. Kirtan is an ancient practice, it is an inner journey of connection with the “Divine” present in each of us.
Kirtan is also described as the practice of praising and glorifying some form of deity. But it is important to understand what it is meant by divinity. In the context of yoga, devotion is a spiritual path characterized by a deep love for “God” understood as the Higher Self and Supreme Consciousness (Brahma in Sanskrit) present in everything in the universe.
Practicing Kirtan affects the physical and spiritual body, has a calming effect on the nerves and purifies the mind by directing emotions towards positive goals; it has a purifying and rebalancing effect by dissolving energy blockages. Furthermore, all the senses and motor organs are involved during this practice and consequently it is often preferred to meditation.
There is an infinite power in practicing kirtan, in fact it is said that kirtan and dance can cure the impurities of the mind, restlessness and ignorance which are considered to be the three hindrances of the process of self-realisation.
Here are additional benefits of Kirtan, particularly when practiced before meditation:
– calms the mind, creating a state of mind that facilitates the practice of meditation;
– prepares the body, frees it from tension so that you can sit cross-legged or in the lotus position during meditation;
-helps create ecstatic vibes;
– generates a positive state of mind;
– dissolves selfishness.
My first experience in practicing Kirtan was on New Year’s Eve between 2019 and 2020 in London. A group of yogis organized a special event dedicated to the practice of yoga (Jivamukti), a cacao ceremony and Kirtan. Besides practicing a class of yoga Jivamukti, I had no idea what to expect from the rest of the practices.
It turned out to be a beautiful experience.
Despite being at the beginning of my journey towards the world and philosophy of yoga, I remember being able to sing and repeat the mantras in Sanskrit. It all happened surprisingly naturally, the melody and the repetition of the words become part of you and you of them, the body begins to move guided by the melody and emotions of peace and love begin to expand from within.
My second experience in practicing Kirtan, this time daily, happened in January 2023, when I started the Raja Dhiraja Yoga course to become a teacher. Kirtan was part of the various Satsangs*, which we performed in the morning and in the evening, before meditation. Since the very first satsang, my body, naturally and without any impulse from the mind, started swinging following the rhythm of the melody, a smile spontaneously appeared on my face and my eyes closed to give space to emotions and subtle vibrations.
Practicing kirtan helps to open the heart chakra feeling more in connection to my higher self. Even just a few minutes per day, increases my vibration making me feel more serene and any sign of fear, stress disappear. During my most difficult moments, when sadness or stress prevale, I start singing “Baba Nam Kevalam” and after a few minutes an inner peace, stability, strength and smile return. I genuinely invite everybody to experience the power of Kirtan.
*Satsang means gathering, good company, company of good people, in this case: yogis and yoginis. Yogis come together and not only raise their energetic vibration as individuals but also as a society which as a result, positively influencing it.