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Opening Your Heart With Kirtan

Meditation may not come easy to a lot of people - trying to sit still and quiet may prove to make you cranky, irritable, and uncomfortable.
Kirtan might work better for your personality. Without the work of mentally quieting the mind, kirtan can carry us effortlessly to a place of quiet stillness.

One of the oldest sacred music traditions of the world, kirtan is in the form of call-and-response chanting. It comes from India, and uses Sanskrit mantras.

If you walk into a kirtan setting, you'll probably find people either sitting in a circle or in a big group. There are usually live musicians, playing tabla drums, a harmonium, and possibly a sitar (an Indian instrument, kind of like a guitar).

One person usually leads the chanting, singing a phrase, and then the rest of the group repeats it after. One mantra or chant could go on for 20 minutes or longer. It's amazing to be a part of - and you can really lose yourself in the music, which is why it can be used as a form of meditation.

Kirtan can be a casual group of people gathered let's say at a yoga studio or someone's home. But there are also entire concerts devoted to kirtan, like ones led by Krishna Das.

Fit's Tips: If you love to sing, I'd definitely recommend checking it out. Contact your local yoga studio to find out if they have kirtan.

Want to see (and hear) what I mean? Then

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Join The Conversation
Surabhi Surabhi 9 years
ooops, I meant to say ~ form of meditation ~
Surabhi Surabhi 9 years
I've gotten to spend hours at a time regularly in Kirtans. It really is a beautiful form or meditation. The Sanskrit mantras & music playing along are really captivating. It helps open up energy centers etc. (the word 'mantra' means ~ to free the mind ~ in Sanskrit) I'm into Bhakti Yoga, which (in a nutshell) is the Yoga Of Devotion (to God ~ I have also studied a lot of ancient philosophy from the Vaisnava perspective especially, during my study of the various Physical Yogas). And chanting really opens up those devotional, loving feelings, not to mention inspiration in action too. Along with just general well-being, love, peace, & even often joy. I read a cover article from Time magazine one time years ago, that pointed out how our brains are specifically wired to get a lot of benefit from mantra meditation.
Beaner Beaner 9 years
We have monthly kirtan at my yoga studio and it's amazing. Our studio is in a huge old mill, and you can can hear the music swirling down the hall. I usually join in late and leave early. A half hour is enough chanting for me, but they go on for hours.
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