Yoga Vacation Program
November 28 — 30, 2022

Tools for Awakening

The Divine Names and the Divine Feminine

Acharya Mangalananda

Kirtan is believed to have psychological and spiritual powers to uplift, purify, and heal. Great saints have devoted their lives to the remembrance and repetition of mantras through practices such as kirtan. Engaging in these practices has helped practitioners deepen their mantra meditation practice daily.

In this program, you will not only discover how to brandish the great benefits of kirtan and mantra in your own life, incorporating the practices uniquely so as to better fit the problems you have and the solutions you seek. You will also learn more about this ancient and deep practice, uncovering the first-hand experiences of those who have attained high levels of realization through mantra repetition. By diving more deeply into the the Divine Names of the yogic tradition, you can enhance and elevate your own spiritual practice.

This kirtan program is specifically focused on repetition of the names of the Divine Feminine and her 3 (most common) manifestations as Divine Mother Durga, goddess of knowledge Saraswati, and goddess of beauty and wealth Lakshmi. Fall head first into the exploration of chanting these names as a spiritual practice and uncover the importance of the Divine Feminine in both your own life and in society at large. Discover the many different manifestations of the Divine Mother and engage in guided meditations to feel her healing presence in your heart. The interactive instruction that will help you build a foundation in kirtan and mantra repetition will also help you witness the profound healing effects these practices can bring. Plus, with personalized attention and guidance in our smaller workshops, you will be well-equipped with the knowledge and in-person practice you need to continue these practices for even larger benefits in your daily life at home.

Offered as 3 satsangs and 2 workshops (subject to change)

What you’ll learn:

  • How to release emotions through chanting
  • How to foster concentration and create one-pointedness in the mind
  • Stress management through devotional singing
  • Increasing positive mood, feelings of relaxation and focused attention
  • Promote internal self-healing on spiritual, mental, physical, and intellectual levels with communal and individual chanting practices

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.

Acharya Mangalananda is a direct disciple of Sri Anandamayi Ma, a venerated Indian saint of the 20th century. Though an American by birth, a lifetime of Indian culture has given him a deep immersion into the traditional spiritual music of India. He is now a kirtan singer well-versed in the traditional kirtan style of India’s rural villages.

Devoted to Sri Anandamaya Ma and her direct disciples, he helped establish a spiritually-based school for local village children after living in her ashram. After teaching in the school for twelve years, he toured internationally to give kirtan presentations and spiritual workshops. In 2013, he returned to the United States and now hosts a small ashram in the San Francisco Bay area, sharing kirtan and classes.

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