Kirtan always revives me.
No matter how exhausted, stressed, or grumpy I am, after just a few minutes of chanting Kirtan, I’m reinvigorated. If I’m chanting in a group, the effect is amplified and I start vibrating with bliss.
What is it about Kirtan that reinvigorates us?
Turns out, Kirtan works specifically on the brain and the body.
Research shows that chanting effects the electro-chemical parts of the brain, increasing overall electrical conductivity. The more conductivity there is, the more energy you feel. Then the brain sends healing signals throughout the entire body, even regulating breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. This is the overall sense of well-being you feel.
These “bliss impulses” effectively tone and balance the entire body. The limbic and endocrine systems release stress relieving hormones. The parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation) and the sympathetic nervous systems (alertness) both activate and harmonize. This explains that simultaneous feeling of calm and excitement we experience during Kirtan.
Kirtan is so effective, researchers have begun to study its health effects. They have found that doing Kirtan 12 minutes a day for 3 months improves cognitive function, sleep, mood, and overall quality of life. Other researchers found that regular Kirtan improved symptoms of depression and chronic pain. These findings have gained so much traction that the Alzheimer’s Association recommends chanting for 12 minutes a day to improve memory and cognitive functioning.
Science is catching up to what the yogis have known for centuries: Kirtan effects your whole being — mind, body, and soul. When practiced in a group, Kirtan creates a collective euphoria, a transcendent peak experience where separation dissolves — far beyond what any empirical data can explain.
The purpose of Kirtan is greater than its health benefits, and even our own self-interests. We sing for our own well-being, yes, but in a group we are singing for everyone around us (“Joy is contagious”). And when we chant “Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu,” we’re chanting for the upliftment and happiness of the entire world as well.
Sources: (davestringer.com; brainfingers.com; udaya.com; psychologytoday.com)
Join Me for these Upcoming Kirtan Events:
Kirtan with Neil Martin and Friends featuring Kimberly Haynes, Vito Gregoli, Christo Pellani, and Darby Orr.
Saturday, February 23rd, 8:00pm at Bhakti Yoga Shala.