Kirtan – call and response chanting – can seem a bit strange initially, but just like yoga, skydiving and falling in love, it’s one of those things you need to experience to truly understand what it does and how good it can feel.
Kirtan refers to chanting – one of the main practices of yoga. Classic Indian instruments, such as the harmonium and drum accompany the chant, while simple Sanskrit mantras are repeated in a call-and-response fashion, from the leader to the group, building in energy and tempo.
There’s no need to be shy as everyone’s voices blend together alongside the rhythm from the drums and the melody from the harmonium.
Many people find it challenging to sit and mediate, but with kirtan, the struggle of ‘turning off’ or ’emptying’ your mind melts away as you focus solely on the singing, sound, music and mantras. A sitting of the mind is an easy, welcome effect of this practice as well as a natural feeling of uplifting joy and inner peace.
what are the benefits of chanting?
- Chanting is amazing at releasing stress and pressure – mentally, emotionally and physically. Just think how great it feels to belt out a tune in the car or sing in the shower! The vibrations of each chant move throughout the body, giving us a rush of energy to replenish and rejuvenate us.
- Through chanting from our heart, we can better connect with the infinite supply of energy within us – sometimes described as our inner self or 'source' within. With a regular chanting practice, we can begin to feel more open, receptive, energised and naturally connected to others around us.
- Changing the power of our natural voice, helping us find inner freedom and full self-expression. Many people who are anxious about public speaking or singing, or feel shy in social situations, say that chanting has improved their confidence and released their inhibitions, leaving them more empowered and better able to express themselves.
- Since chanting uplifts us and brings a sense of inner peace, it naturally helps us be more productive and creative in all areas of life. It can help us feel much brighter, warmer and calmer; thereby, creating more harmony and peace at home, at play and at work.
kirtan at camden + chelsea
Nikki Slade is one of the leading global pioneers in the field of voice, chanting and sound. Chant with Nikki weekly at the following times:
Friday 7.00 — 8.15pm in Chelsea
Saturday 6.30 — 7.45pm in Camden
kirtan at soho
Join yoga teacher Durga Devi monthly for a Friday night kirtan that is guaranteed to leave you feeling inspired and uplifted. Stay tuned for her next session.