What It Is
Laughter Kirtan is a new technique which models itself after traditional Kirtan, a form of Call-and-Response (or Call-and-Echo) singing.
Traditional Kirtan: Accompanied by rhythm instruments, a vocalist (the Leader or Wallah) sings a line; the rest of the group (the Congregation) then repeats that line. Emphasis is on participation by all, with no separation between performers and the Congregation (“It’s the heart, not the art.” — Ragani).
In traditional Kirtan, the sung line is often words in the form of a sacred phrase or chant (frequently in the Sanskrit language of ancient India).
In Laughter Kirtan
the sung line consists of laughter sounds. These are rhythmic, but not always melodic. Laughter Kirtan Congregation “singers” are also welcome at any time to let go of trying to recall the sung line and instead to allow themselves to laugh freely.
Special Benefits of Laughter Kirtan
- Laughter is a universal language; there are no words so no cause for critical objection
- Easy to do; no need for memorization, melodic, or language skills
- Encourages relaxation of the Critical Mind and Present-Centered Awareness (Being “In The Now”)
- Supports Group Dynamic: Friendship, Community, Like-Mindedness (Being of “One Mind”)
- Laughter is contagious, playful, fun
- Everyone can participate; not associated with any religion or belief system (Everybody loves to laugh)
- Provides the health benefits of laughter: Relief of stress, strengthened immune system, improved breathing and cardiovascular health, etc.
Join us Laughing/Singing
Sessions with Laguna Laughter Club: Saturdays, 10:45am May 25 ; June 15 ; July 6 on the sand in Laguna Beach, California Free! www.JoyfulB.com
Where it Came From
Kirtan singing is part of the Bhakti (devotional) path of Yoga, with a history going back thousands of years. Some of the most renowned current performers/leaders in the western world include: Snatam Kaur, David Newman (Durga Das), Deva Premal and Miten, Ragani, Larisa Stowe, Dave Stringer, Jai Uttal, and Wah! Learn more here.
A friendly description of Kirtan:
“It’s like singing around a campfire.” “It’s like a hootenanny with meditation.” (From New World Kirtan ~ Click to visit their website.)
In 2006, Kathryn Burns (Laughter Yoga Teacher) created Gibberish Kirtan (Kirtan singing using nonsense words) as part of an All-Gibberish Party produced by and for the Laguna Laughter Club in Laguna Beach, California USA.
On Friday November 2 2012, Jeffrey Briar (Laughter Yoga Master Trainer) was on retreat at the Glen Ivy Center in Corona, California USA. Sitting by the freshwater creek, listening to the sounds of the cascading water and pondering the potentials of Hasya Yoga (Laughter Yoga), he received inspiration to create a practice which merged Kirtan singing with the unconditional joys of intentional laughter.
The first known Laughter Kirtan session…
occurred on Saturday December 15 2012 at the end of a meeting of the Laguna Laughter Club on the sand in Laguna Beach, California USA. Watch the video. The Laguna Laughter Club has hosted monthly Laughter Kirtan sessions ever since.