I attended a beautiful Kirtan evening a few nights ago and still feel warm in my heart from the experience so I thought I’d share with you some of the key things I took away from this.
Before I explain what Kirtan is, I want to ask you not to judge me for loving something so strange! Sharing this experience with you, dear friend, is in part a step towards acknowledging and owning my experiences, regardless of what other people think of me….but, if truth be told, I’m still feeling slightly anxious about the reception I’ll get from this post.
Ok, so Kirtan is one of the practices of yoga and is call-and-response singing. The songs are mostly in the ancient language of Sanskrit and are mostly about Hindu gods and what we can learn from the legends involving them. Although I had no clue what I was singing during the 2 hours of singing, I loved that so many of the words were made up of consonants that reverberated and hummmmed in my chest.
It was a beautiful experience to be in a room with 20 strangers connected only by singing voices. It’s not this that has stayed with me the most from this evening, it’s the lesson I learnt about yoga, and this is what I want to share with you today.
Did you know that the word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’? I didn’t until I was told this at Kirtan.
For me, yoga has always been about getting sweaty on a mat, contorting myself into various different noodley shapes, which I don’t do well as I’m about as flexible as a breadstick. So it was a surprise to hear that yoga is about forming a union between your body and mind. A union that allows you to be truly present in the moment, not stuck in the past or worrying about the future.
This realisation took so much weight of my shoulders and I wasn’t so sure why this was the case at the start. But after I sat with the feelings for a while, I knew it was because I’ve felt like a bit of a failure in the past for not liking yoga, but I realise I do like yoga….only in a different form.
For example, I now meditate daily and this brings my mind and body into union as I slow my breathing and experience the present moment. I also find union when I go running or walking in nice weather as it slows my mind down and allows me to just be in the moment. I also find this feeling of union when I’m wrapped in the arms of my love. I’ve even realised through my amazing yoga friend Nadine, that writing this blog post to you, dear friend, is a form of yoga – focusing on the words, not what I’ll be doing this evening or thinking about something that went wrong last week.
So why am I sharing this with you?
Perhaps it’s to find union through mulling over the meaning of yoga for a while.
Perhaps it’s because I have experienced how important it is to find that magic spark that allows my mind and body to be in union and I want to encourage you to find more of that spark in your life, dear one.
I know there’s still a niggle that I should have been able to just not like yoga without needing justification so perhaps part of this post is to also drive that message home to myself. I can be uninterested in physical yoga and that’s ok. So thank you for listening as I learn to have the courage to accept myself just as I am, to know that who I am is who I am meant to be right now, and it is that self-acceptance that will bring greater happiness and peace to my life.
Want to experience Kirtan?
The sessions I attend in Brighton are at Unity Studio – they take place every second Friday of the month. I’ve also started to listen to Snatam Kaur on Youtube – her voice is beautiful!