Yesterday we packed up our little people, a dish to share (my go-to hummus with freshly baked kale chips) and our open minds, and headed to our very first kirtan. I have been involved with yoga in one way or another for over a decade now and had never heard of a kirtan before last week. How is that possible? I suppose I have mostly been drinking the watered-down version of yoga that is so pervasive here in the United States. Although I still deeply value the hours I’ve spent on my mat learning from my previous teachers, this yogic community feels different. It rings more true for me.
I feel like I just took my first drink of the real thing.
My head is still spinning in ecstasy.
A kirtan is a form of call-and-response chanting accompanied traditionally by instruments such as the harmonium, hand drums or tingshas, among others. They are common in many of India’s devotional traditions. The adults sing and play music, incense burns, the children dance. Hearts open.
We were all a little nervous heading off to this new place, to this yurt that has been built by my new friend and yoga teacher Krista of Be Yoga. She has created such a safe and magical energy in this simple space that my nervousness was quickly released. I think right after my first bite of sambar (the most delicious Indian stew, which I will be learning to make) I forgot that I was supposed to be feeling shy and reserved. I relaxed and fell naturally into a loud and enthusiastic conversation with some lovely open like-minded women. I laughed like I haven’t in a really long time. The children immediately fell in step with their kindred spirits and were off to run amok – there were chickens to investigate and a rope swing to fly high on.
Being among a group of people who don’t question simple living or dreadlocks or free-spirited children filled me up. Some of the thirst that nags my lonely soul was quenched. I’m already craving more time within this new tribe.
Not long ago I threw my hands up to the sky and asked the universe to lead me in the right direction, to help me find my way on this journey. The universe has answered. Oh, how it has answered.