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Yoga Vacation Program
March 1 — 3, 2025

Kirtan and the Bhakti Mandala

Healing Through Chant

David Newman (Durga Das)

Join chant artist, best selling author, and inspirational teacher, David Newman (Durga Das) for a healing journey into the art and practice of Kirtan and the ancient yet timely practice of Bhakti Yoga, ‘The Yoga of Love’. Kirtan, a transformational and joyful mantra practice, uses the power of sound and devotion to uplift the mind and open the heart! In addition to group chanting, David will offer insight into the meaning and therapeutic healing applications of Kirtan and practical guidance for embracing the Path of Love as a way of life.

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

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.

 

David Newman , Durga Das, is a renowned sacred mantra artist and inspirational teacher.
His album Love Is Awake was #1 on iTunes World Music, and his book The Timebound Traveller was #1 on Amazon. He brings his mission of peace and universal love into many charitable endeavours, including bringing mantra into institutions such as prisons, psychiatric centres and homeless shelters.

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