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Kirtan Yoga – A Yoga Of Hymns and Music

Kirtan, which is a Sanskrit word for praise or eulogy. Kirtan Yoga is a type of yoga done through chanting and doing finger exercises. The person doing the Kirtan is a kirtankar, while the person who leads the chanting is known as the Kirtan Walla. The practice of Kirtan Yoga makes use of chanting hymns, as wells as mantras, accompanied by musical instrument.

Information about the Kirtan

The Kirtan may have similarities to the Bhakti Yoga(Yoga of Devotion), Mantra (Yoga of Sound) and Jnana Yoga(Yoga of Wisdom). Most of us are probably familiar to mantra – the repetition of certain words until they become ingrained in our personalities. Yogis in India created the Kirtan as their act of commitment, dating all the way back to some two thousand five hundred years ago. They made it as their way of communicating with the higher deities such as Ram, Shiva, Lakshmi and Rama.

How does one Practice the Kirtan?

Kirtan yoga is usually done in groups. The Kirtan Walla says words or phrases, and the other participants would repeat the words back to him. Done with accompaniment of musical instruments, everybody who is present is expected to join in.

If one is worried that he cannot speak the language of the ancient Indians, it isn’t a problem – all he has to do, after all, is to repeat what the Kirtan Walla is saying. Since the Sanskrit alphabet is filled with strong energies and vibrations. With this, chanting the words will send a powerful vibration through the body, which gives energies to the mind and spirit. It can give a sense of exhilaration, which can leave a person feeling bright and relaxed.

The Kirtan yoga gatherings generally last for a few hours. A single song may last anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, depending on the Kirtan Walla or the common vibe of the group. The Kirtan Walla, who is the chant leader, is the one who decides the pace and feel of the Kirtan gathering. He may lengthen or speed up the rhythm and tempo of the kirtan.

After a certain song, do not initiate applause, because normally no applause expected by the group. In its place, a short spell of attentive silence should be practiced. This allows the vibrations to be felt and meditated upon by the person. The end of a chant or song brings about a certain “buzz” or blissful experience after chanting. This feeling is best understood through direct experience.

Kirtan Yoga In The West

Kirtan yoga is growing increasingly popular in the West ever since Paramhansa Yogandanda chanted Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s “Oh God Beautiful” at Carnegie Hall on the year 1923. Krishna Das, another Kirtan yoga leader, is credited for introducing this practice in many yoga studios all around the west. Today there are yoga centers that hold Kirtan Yoga sessions in the United States and Western European countries. Many of these yoga centers have reported an increase of practitioners over the years.

Start practicing Kirtan Yoga by finding a Kirtan Yoga class near you using Yogiseeker's easy to use yoga search engine.

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