This beautiful simple sound meditation practice invites our awareness to rest with different sacred sounds from nature. These sacred sounds, handed on through many lineages of yoga and other ancient traditions, are repeated (often in call and response format). This repetition helps the mind settle into its essence of bliss.
Kirtan is a Bhakti Yoga practice in which the mind is merged in the beauty of nature which allows for deep purification of the emotions. We can bring any feelings confusions or unsettledness to our Kirtan practice and allow this beautiful practice to wash them back to nature.
Kirtan is a process through which one can come to know the essence of oneself. The great Sage Narada defines Bhakti in the Narada Bhakti Sutras as the highest form of love (sutra 2):
Ass tvasmin paramapremaroopaa
This experience of love that can occur through the practice of Kirtan, is the connection to the essence of oneself as peace, balance, kindness. Without trying too hard, this love can be experienced as a kind of melting into the bliss of the heart.
The more we are able to pay attention to the sound in the kirtan, the more the awareness or consciousness begins to resonate in coherence with the natural sounds of the mantra. And through our practice of kirtan we can learn to surrender to this predominance of heart in our lives.
Of the many fruits of this Bhakti practice when practiced regularly, is the experience of balance between the pairs of opposites, loss and gain, praise and criticism, comfort and discomfort, pain and pleasure. We can enjoy increasing steadiness under all the conditions of life through the practice of kirtan alongside our other practices of yoga.
Kirtan is a natural antidote for stress and anxiety as it helps free us of our identification and absorption with tendencies, patterns and confrontations of the mind.
Swami Niranjanananda explains that how this happens is that the vibrations of kirtan awaken the pranas and its bhava (heart of the kirtan that can be felt) transforms the consciousness. This is why, he suggests, Kirtan is the first sadhana the scriptures prescribe to bring the mind under control. “Just as the dissipated and scattered rays of the sun are integrated and focused through a magnifying glass, in the same way, the scattered tendencies of the mind are focused by the mantras in Kirtan”. There can a sense of melting of perceived limitations of the body so that we can become more in harmony with ourselves and one another.
Kirtan classes at Uprising are on the second Friday of each month. The classes are provided by Uprising for free, we ask that any attendees make a koha to Conservation Volunteers NZ. You can donate on their website at conservationvolunteers.co.nz.
Please book your Kirtan class at our Yoga Timetable page.