Have you ever been convinced that your day was irreversibly ruined? One of those days where nothing seems to be going “right” and the stars just aren’t aligning in your favor? I’ve certainly had my share of days like that and know how hard it can be to turn it around. Of course, I’ve got my toolbox for getting through a funk, but I found a new one that I think you’re going to like!
I attended my first Kirtan class last week. The vibrations from our chanting knew no bounds; immense and limitless. With each repetition my body loosened, swaying side to side in sukhasana while the words moved freely through me. Something in me had changed, but what? I had gone from “woe is me,” to losing myself amongst a handful of strangers in the room. And I mean “losing myself” in the best possible way. I had to find out more about what had happened to me.
What is Kirtan?
Have you ever chanted Om in yoga class and felt a little tingly? Participating in a Kirtan is like that…x100! A Kirtan involves chanting in a group, usually with one person leading the chant while the rest repeat after him/her. The chants are ancient Sanskrit and include clapping along with a few musical instruments.
Hari Om // What does it mean?
Hari Om is known as the universal mantra to remove suffering. Yep, it’s official. The teacher had seen right through me and into the very depths of my soul. I had been in need of intense healing that day and the Universe provided.
Why should we chant with others?
I mean, isn’t it a little awkward? You’d think so. The idea of a group of strangers doing something foreign and uncomfortable can raise a few questions by way of our ego. “Am I doing this right?” “Is that person looking at me?” Through my experience, I found that it’s about letting the ego melt away. In fact, the word Kirtan comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “to cut through.” Kirtans are said to be a practice used to cut through separation, to unite us through sound vibrations. Here are a few reasons why chanting together is better than chanting alone:
- Community. Unity with your fellow tribe.
- Sense of meditative flow. Your words slowly dissolve into the other voices in the room. Everyone’s voice becomes one, flowing like a singular river.
- The ego is lost. Negative messages from your ego that set you apart from others melt away as your discover the existence of oneness. Your voice fuses to the other voices, and you may feel as if you are floating outside of your body on the sound waves of the chanting. The vibrations from the chanting are connecting you to your fellow man at a very fundamental level. In losing your ego, it’s as if you find your true self.
Lose yourself in the healing vibrations of a Kirtan! Check with your local yoga studio to see what kind of special events they hold for Kirtans and other chanting-based classes. If you can’t find a class and need a quick pick me up try singing and chanting in your car to brighten your mood. You might be surprised at how powerful these words can be as they wash over you!
Another thing that really helps me shift my mood is by connecting with what I need at that very moment with rituals and my divination tools, like my Ritual Deck.
Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.