Photo by Justin Kral.
For a while now, I’ve been practicing kirtan, which is a form of devotional yoga where you sing. Chanting divine mantras in community with our fellow yogis is a powerful practice, as we invoke something greater than ourselves.
Krishna Das, a famous kirtan singer and well-known musician in the yoga community, says this:
"The words of these chants are called the divine names and they come from a place that's deeper than our hearts and our thoughts, deeper than the mind. And so as we sing them they turn us towards ourselves, into ourselves. They bring us in, and as we offer ourselves into the experience, the experience changes us. These chants have no meaning other than the experience that we have by doing them. They come from the Hindu tradition, but it's not about being a Hindu, or believing anything in advance. It's just about doing it, and experiencing. Nothing to join, you just sit down and sing."
If I sing like I'm in the car, I'm good to go!
I have been hesitating for a long time to sing in front of the class when I teach. I often join other teachers at my studio and play the drum and sing with them, at the beginning and end of their classes, but I have not had the courage to lead a kirtan myself.
My goal during this fall season is to invite courage into my heart, and to just get up there and SING! Just like I do in my car every day! :)
When I offer the practice of kirtan as devotion, it does not matter how perfect my pitch is, or if I’m nervous in front of the class. The power lies in the intention behind the chants; at their core, the songs are really about love.
Beneath my fear and hesitation is my inner knowing, my love for Yoga and for my students.
Will you encourage me to sing? I invite you to hold space for me as I incorporate kirtan into my teaching. Thank you. Namaste.