Yoga Vacation Program
May 13 — 16, 2024

An Ocean of Song: Mantra, Poetry, and Creative Practice

Jahnavi Harrison

Join Jahnavi Harrison for a dive into the limitless ocean of devotional song! Through workshops we will explore the words of both ancient and contemporary saint-poets and mystics; practice writing our own poetic offerings and begin to create a personal ‘song-mala’ – a string of beads that aids meditation on these musical treasures.

Evening satsang sessions will be dedicated to the practice of kirtan – the healing and energizing practise of call-and-response mantra singing. Deepen your connection with your own voice through collective singing; immerse in timeless wisdom in the company of a like minded group, and find rejuvenation and renewed inspiration in the pristine natural surroundings and devotional atmosphere. Jahnavi will be joined by accompanying musicians who will together lead you through a joyful and deep experience!

Offered as 3 workshops and 4 satsangs (subject to change).


Monday, May 13
8:00pm – Evening Satsang and Concert with Jahnavi

Tuesday, May 14 – Thursday, May 16
12:00pm -1:30pm Noon Workshop with Jahnavi
8:45-9:30pm – Evening Satsang and Concert Jahnavi

The presentations associated with this Yoga Vacation Program begin with an 8pm satsang on the first day of the program and conclude with an 8pm satsang on the last day of the program.  Click here to read more about the Yoga Vacation Program details and view the ashram schedule for yoga classes and meals during your stay. We suggest you arrive at least one day prior to the start of your program for the optimal experience.


What is kirtan?

What is kirtan? Kirtan is derived from the Sanskrit root meaning to call, recite, praise, or glorify. Put simply, it is the act of praising and glorifying some form of divinity. Kirtan involves joyous chanting often performed in a community environment with the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tabla, and cymbals.

The resurgence of kirtan in the 20th century in the East coincided with a renewed zeal or focus being placed on Bhakti yoga, the yoga of self-surrender and devotion. Swami Sivananda, one of India’s modern sages, did much to reignite the fire of kirtan in India by going from town to town and vigorously leading the entire town’s population into chants that lasted days. Since the mid-20th century, kirtan and the chanting of mantras has found its way to the West. Many find the chanting of mantras appealing because it doesn’t require intense focus and is often done in a collective environment that is supportive and uplifting.

What are the benefits of kirtan?

Chanting mantra has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, dependencies and many mental ailments. The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation recommends the chant Saa Taa Naa Maa for improving memory, developing greater attention, concentration, and focus, and bettering the mood. Other research studies also showcase the benefit of chanting for chronic pain conditions.

The practice of kirtan or chanting mantra regularly has been shown to bring our bodies back into balance, promoting holistic wellbeing: mental, intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Chanting helps us regulate our sleep, energy input and output, and, thanks to the stimulation of the vagus nerve, the “rest and digest” response of our bodies which is also responsible for regulating breathing, heart rate, muscles, digestion, circulation, and even the vocal cords. Simply put, chanting helps slow down the heart rate, lower blood pressure, relax different muscles and produce slow, regular, and deep respiration.


Jahnavi Harrison is a musician, writer, artist and practitioner of bhakti-yoga. She spent her formative years at Bhaktivedanta Manor in England, in a rich environment where mantra chanting and sacred art were a part of everyday life. With a background in both Western and Eastern classical music and dance, she has pursued a path of self realisation and service through artistic expression. For over 15 years she has offered her voice and violin playing in the performance of sacred music and call-and-response mantra kirtan, in venues as diverse as corporates, schools, prisons, theaters, hospitals, yoga studios and temples. She aspires to create art and facilitate experiences which heal, uplift and nourish the spirit. Now based in California; she regularly leads live gatherings, concerts and retreats around the world.


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