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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kirtan Yoga: Moving Out of the Studios and Into the Hospitals

 I am so very excited to have my first guest writer on It's a Yoga Thang! As someone  who is in-love with chanting/singing and understands the healing power behind these mantras, I am grateful that Allison Brooks reached out and wrote this article for me to share on this Blog. Thank you Allison!

Kirtan Yoga:
Moving out of the studios and into the hospitals
Kirtan, as most of you probably know, is the sacred expression of the language of the heart through sound and word. The exotic sounds and the “call-and-response chanting”, promote inner-peace, inner-transformation, and divine peace throughout the world. To intensify this mind+body revitalization, traditional yoga poses are practiced while the kirtankars perform, hence Kirtan Yoga.
Though a familiar term amongst avid yogis, the general public probably has no clue what Kirtan Yoga is or what benefits it can bring. That is why many practitioners and teachers have started moving their classes from their studios to hospitals, schools, nursing homes and so on.  So far the public reception of this healing art has been positive. Many students claim that they feel more open and revitalized after a Kirtan yoga class and some say they just go for the music.
The best part, the therapeutic effects of Kirtan not only touch the patients, but as well as the doctors and nurses of the patients. Jennifer Canfield, founder of the Call and Response Foundation, reminisced on one of her Kirtans at a local mental hospital and talked how the staff was moved to the point of tears by the chants. 
“I talked to one staff member who said that their job puts them in a constant state of tremendous stress, and as a result, many of them develop their own serious health problems,” quoted Jennifer.
Some of the staff member at that hospital and other facilities around started purchasing hand drums and other instruments to have local kirtankars come in and give lessons. Many hospitals and nursing have been incorporating weekly Kirtan session in their agendas to promote healing and stress-relief. The staff and patients acclaim that the session make them more positive and open-minded towards treatments, and more opt to work with the nurses.
Multiple Cancer treatment facilities consider Kirtan a complementary therapy and now recommend it for patients, especially those with a serious prognosis, like pancreatic or mesothelioma cancer. This should not undermine the use of Kirtan for any medical necessity, but doctors know that aggressive cancers need aggressive treatments, and that this sudden change leads to stress and reluctance towards treatment. Kirtan as well as other forms of yoga are able to positively combat these negative side-effects naturally, and help ease the physical and mental pain of treatments.

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