Not quite the Occupy Wall St. blues: Is kirtan the ‘poor cousin’ of yoga?

We’re apolitical here at The Confluence Countdown (no, we aren’t really), but it isn’t politics that brings us to the video below.

It’s a different debate, one that maybe could lead to a whole Occupy Yoga movement.

It’s this: Is kirtan the ‘poor cousin’ of yoga?

That’s the question the folks at the Bhakti Beat ask. You can probably guess their answer:

Kirtan’s definitely not for everyone. That’s a given. But even as it becomes more widely embraced by the public — we’re now seeing mainstream media showing live kirtan and kirtan flash mobs popping up in places like Burlington, Vt. — there still seems to be this odd schism with at least some in the yoga world. Am I imagining it?

No, I don’t think you are.

I’m likely the perfect audience for this question. Kirtan does not come naturally to me, and I think if I had first encountered it to any depth through someone other than Tim Miller (as I’ve talked about before), I’d be among those dismissing the kirtaners. But I’ve seen, and deeply felt, Tim’s honest and unaffected devotion. That to me is compelling, and thrilling. (Not so much, really, the more public displays.)

That’s why I’ve spent about three hours this week making the harmonium in our house sound like a wheezing Model T.

I suppose I can only wish I had the comfort to do what these folks are doing.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

2 thoughts on “Not quite the Occupy Wall St. blues: Is kirtan the ‘poor cousin’ of yoga?”

  1. Steve,
    Great blog! Finally found it as per the Wife’s directive.

    Kirtan may be Yoga’s “poor cousin,” but bhakti yoga — devotional yoga — from which kirtan derives is, as Douglas Brooks points out, the “Big Tent” on the fairground!

    It’s where everyone who leans away from the asceticism of early Classical Yoga inevitably heads.

    The “smaller tent,” filled with hucksters, charlatans and fakirs is, of course, Tantra.

    See you in March,

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