Perhaps you have found yourself intrigued by that music in Yoga class in a different language you can't quite understand. It feels good. Maybe your favorite part of asana practice is the chant of the sacred mantra "Om." Energies shift inside of you.
Is something calling you toward mantra repetition? Is your heart longing to be filled with a settled, trustful love? Kirtan is a practice of devotional chanting which externally expresses an internal love of life. It's one path of uniting ourselves with divine consciousness, called Bhakti Yoga, and one way to awaken an often dormant state of bliss which lies within us. Where do we begin along this path?
We begin by simply listening. We open our ears and hearts as we gravitate toward chanting. As we listen, these mantras, these divine syllables, begin to settle within us. They make an imprint, an impression. They shift our energetic vibration and make us smile. I have created a playlist of some of my favorite chanting artists and some particularly powerful mantras with a variety of relaxing and upbeat energies. This is a great place to start. Listen in the car while driving, during a yoga session, or as you clean your home. Get curious as you listen: How do you feel? What shifts?
Check out these bhakti yogis in particular to dive deeper:Krishna Das is the legendary voice of kirtan. He is a leader in the community and has a deep devotional practice that began in India in the 1960s with Neem Keroli Baba, his guru, and spiritual friends like Ram Dass. He tours worldwide and shares a wealth of resources on his website.
Girish is a rock-star of chanting! I particularly love his album of remixes. This collection of mantras is perfect for an upbeat vinyasa yoga practice.
Wah! is a personal favorite of mine for an especially divine listening experience. Her music is luscious and well suited to a restorative yoga practice or a bedtime bath to nourish and relax.
And then we must seek. Follow your intrigue and learn more.
Find a local kirtan event. There is something so special about sharing the bliss of singing with others. A collective energy is created that is powerful beyond measure. Experience it for yourself. Ask your local yoga studio or check the touring schedule of any of the artists on the playlist.
Peruse a book on mantra or kirtan. Chanting is so much about the experience and yet it can help to deepen our knowledge to see the mantras on paper. Thomas Ashley-Farrand's Healing Mantras dives into many different mantras to provide a translation and how they might be used in your life, while Girish's Music and Mantras speaks more directly about kirtan, the philosophy behind it's practice and some Hindu mythology associated with specific mantras.
Enjoy. Feel into it. Spread the love.