What is Kirtan?
If you followed a yoga class and gave the “om” sound together with the other participants, you experienced Kirtan in its simplest form. Kirtan is essentially the rhythmic repetition of words, phrases or syllables. Since it occupies your mind with psalms or songs of sounds, it blocks your normal line of thought and frees your mind.
Some forms of Kirtan also include clapping to engage more senses. Often there is accompanying music that improves the rhythmic pattern and creates a deeper meditative experience. It can be done alone or in a group using a call-and-response model.
Traditional mantras are often based on the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. While some chants of Kirtan have roots in Hinduism, like other forms of meditation, the practice itself has no innate religious implications.