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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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