<< return to a to z of yoga

Kirtan is a form of devotional chanting, originating in India. It's a form of Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion. Kirtan is a simple and powerful way to meditate. Simply immerse yourself in the sound, and when the music stops, your mind is quiet. Singing is often accompanied by musical instruments and rhythmic hand drums.

Good to Know

Chants are usually sung in Sanskrit. Don't worry about knowing the words, Kirtan uses a call and response format. The leader sings a phrase, then you repeat it back.

Nobody cares what you sound like, and after a while all the voices merge together.

Who's it for?

When you go along for the first time, you may need to step outside your comfort zone. If you're looking for a powerful, mind-calming, soul-soothing practice, it will be worth it.


Kirtan originated in India with the development of Bhakti Yoga in the 6th Century. Kirtan is a Sanskrit word, meaning 'to chant'. In the 1500s, the saint Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, known as 'the father of Kirtan' made long journeys across India, spreading the word and practice, inspiring hundreds of thousands of people.

Kirtan was introduced to the West in the 20th Century and continues to grow in popularity.

Perhaps the bigget name in Western Kirtan is Krishna Das, along with Bhagavan Das, Ram Das, Jai Uttal, Dave Stringer, Arjun Baba and many more.

Related Links

Can You Say Om Namah Shivaya?


Yoga Enthusiasts Hear the Call of Kirtan


Share this page

<< return to a to z of yoga