Experience the beauty of traditional kirtan and the bliss of Bhakti Yoga. Using your voice as the main instrument of this devotional spiritual practice, you can awaken your own inner fire and love toward the Divine. Join us in singing, dancing, and celebrating stories of the deities. You will also deepen your connection with the deep and profound traditions of Bhakti Yoga, as described in the Bhagavad Gita. Led by a dynamic pair of musicians and kirtanists, you will be guided to open your heart and voice in the experiences of inner and outer music.
Offered as 2 satsangs and 2 workshops (subject to change)
Free day of music, dance and festivities! Prajna will be performing Odissi classical Indian dance with Shakti Bhakti Ensemble
Among the many practices of Bhakti Yoga, Kirtan is one of the most accessible and beloved. The experience of sitting in community, singing to the Divine in call, and response, can be profoundly moving. The practice of kirtan arose many centuries ago during a spiritual renaissance in India, when common people began embracing a more personal and intimate relationship with the Divine. Throughout the years it has flourished and grown into a worldwide phenomenon. In this intensive we will focus on harmonium and vocal, developing foundational skills for both leading and supporting community kirtan.
The harmonium is a unique instrument that was originally brought to India by European missionaries. Indian musicians reconfigured the design of the instrument so that it could be played seated on the floor, and over time it became an extremely popular accompaniment to many different styles of Indian music. Western kirtan artists often play it in a western musical style—in this intensive we will learn from both Indian and Western musical systems. The vocal portion of this intensive will also draw from both Indian and Western techniques. You will learn how to open up and free your voice, how to cultivate subtlety, range, and expression. And you will learn about the dynamics of kirtan, how to lead, and how to support.
No experience or talent is required for this course! Many of us have been told somewhere along the line that we weren’t good singers. The truth is that singing is part technique, and part self-expression. Part of it is learned, and part comes from inside you. Anyone can learn to sing, in time, with the right tools and steady practice. You won’t ever be put “on the spot” in this course, but you will have lots of opportunities to step into the unknown.
“Sing from the depths of your heart. Let your heart melt in prayer. Leave aside all shyness and open your heart to God.” – Amma.
NOTE: If you don’t already have a harmonium, you can purchase or rent one from David Estes. There is generally a waiting list to purchase, so be sure to let him know asap if you plan to buy one.
Sometimes you have to create the thing you’re seeking! After years of playing at various kirtan, yoga and conscious music festivals, we were longing for a festival dedicated solely to traditional bhakti arts, sadhana and culture. And here were are planning Prasada Festival for the second year! I’m so honored to be part of this profoundly beautiful and unique event. More than a festival, it is a 2 day immersion in the depths of devotion, sacred ceremony, and loving community. I’ll be offering kirtan with the Mukti Kirtan Ensemble, and performing with a number of other artists. The lineup is an absolute dream. Come! You can also make a donation or sponsor a scholarship ticket for someone else. www.prasada-festival.com
This training is for those who aspire to lead kirtan, those who wish to enhance their yoga teaching with chanting, and those who simply wish to immerse themselves in the vast ocean of Bhakti.
Info coming soon...
We are delighted to offer this experience of sacred pilgrimage to a small group of students and friends. It is our desire to share some of our most beloved holy sites, ancient temples, and traditional ceremonies that have touched our hearts profoundly in our previous journeys. Our intention is to support you spiritually with daily meditation, yoga and chanting practice, temple blessings and sacred ceremonies, and with time and space to connect to the profound energy of these places. Together with our expert local guides, we will look after every detail so you can relax and focus on taking in the experience fully. Along the way we will also have many wonderful adventures, eat delicious traditional foods, enjoy shopping, and see some of the unique arts, history, and culture that make “Incredible India” so very incredible.
Registration will open soon, stay posted!
Mukti Kirtan Ensemble singing Mahishasuramardini Stotram (Andi Shankaracharya), with original Odissi choreography and performance by Revital Carroll
Prajna Vieira is the lead singer of the Mukti Kirtan Ensemble, and is also known for her work with world music pioneer Jai Uttal and other artists. She was introduced to kirtan and bhakti yoga as a child when her father returned from a spiritual journey to India and began taking her to a local satsang where the melodies and rhythms of kirtan and bhajan, and the timeless wisdom of Sanatana Dharma, stole her heart and set her on the spiritual path. She met her Sadguru Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) in 1998, began teaching yoga in 2000, and began singing kirtan publicly (outside of the temple) in 2008 when Mukti first came together. She has dedicated her life to studying, practicing and sharing traditional yoga practices and bhakti arts. Prajna lives in the SF Bay Area, where she teaches yoga asana, yogic philosophy, and kirtan vocal and harmonium. She also studies and performs Odissi Classical Indian Dance, and Harikatha (a traditional, devotional art of storytelling). She is committed to compassionate activism and social justice, and is accountable to the source traditions of yoga through the ongoing work of decolonizing her own practices and presentations.