An ancient type of group chanting called Kirtan is giving participants a deep sense of well-being. No singing skills or religious beliefs are required, but the practice can relieve stress.
This may not seem like a place where people who works on Wall Street would hang out,
But it’s where they and others often unwind after a long day. What’s going on here is called Kirtan, an ancient Hindu practice that’s helping people cope with the modern world.
“It’s chanting, it’s chanting Sanskrit and it’s music. The combination of those things brings me to a place where I’m very happy.”
In the United States, Kirtans are often performed at yoga or wellness centers and are open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.
“Kirtan is simple. A child can do it, an old infirm person, and anyone can chant.”
You don’t need to have a band and a sound system to have a Kirtan, traditionally a Kirtan is at temple or at people’s homes. In the west we have to be a little more structured.
Kamaniya Devi left her job in the fashion industry for a new career path as a Kirtanist.
“It got my heart. And I rapidly got addicted.”
Research shows that chanting may slow heart rate, increase blood oxygen levels and boost brain chemicals that affect mood.
“It’s very spiritual, it grounds you, it’s very healing.”
“My mind was very quiet, it was a great feeling, a wonderful Friday night!”
And for some, the way to end a stressful work week on a high note.
“Blissful, happy, ecstatic, however you want to put it. I’m just joyful.”