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The practice of kirtan, call and response chanting, is a participatory music experience that originated in India about 500 years ago. It is a devotional practice known as Bhakti Yoga.
Like other forms of yoga, Bhakti Yoga, is about connection. Connection to divinity, connection to our true selves, connection to others.
Kirtan uses the repetition of Sanskrit mantras, mystical vibrations encased in a sound structure, to help us to tap into sacred energies that serve to quiet our mind and open our heart.
My journey with Kirtan began during a Yoga Teacher Training in South India in 2009. There was something about chanting the names of the Divine on a daily basis that stirred something deep inside me. Having grown up in a strongly religious environment in the South, I was very familiar with devotional practices. However, nothing had ever touched me the way that Kirtan did. I witnessed its power to open the heart and to transcend both culture and religion. In India I sat with Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, and people with no religious affiliation, all singing these sacred Sanskrit mantras with such joy and devotion.