Light Up Your Brain – 7 Steps Kirtan Kriya Meditation

Light Up Your Brain – 7 Steps Kirtan Kriya Meditation

Kirtan Kriya Meditation

Light up your brain: Seven steps to performing Kirtan Kriya in 15 minutes a day.

Kirtan Kriya (Sa Ta Na Ma) Meditation is becoming scientifically recognised as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short term memory.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirmed that yoga and a form of meditation known as Kirtan Kriya improved brain functioning by increasing connectivity, improving memory, and decreasing mood aberration. There are more university studies been published and continuing study to prove the benefits of Kirtan Kriya. A number of health professionals are now sharing the universities findings in their publications.

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is a Kundalini Yoga Kirtan Kriya. The meditation is a combination of chanting a mantra while moving the hands through mudra’s.  To fully experience the benefits of the meditation, a combination of singing, whispering and silently repeating the mantra are used. A key visualization of concentration is used to cap off the meditation.

There are many artist that can support you with the mantra, however my favourite is Nirinjan Kaur – Kirtan Kriya (short version).

Let’s begin the Sa Ta Na Ma meditation:

Step 1. Start by finding a comfortable seated position (chair or yoga mat).  Your spine is straight and the core is open to receive full breaths.

Step 2.  Inhale and exhale long and deeply three times through the nose.

Step 3.  Close your eyes and rest your hands on your lap or on your knees with the palms facing upwards.

Step 4.  Begin to connect each finger to thumb on both hands as you chant each of the sounds.

SA – thumb and index finger

Ta – thumb and middle finger

Na – thumb and ring finger

Ma – thumb and little finger

You should feel pressure on the roof of the mouth with the sound and pressure on the finger tips on each touch.

Step 5.  Visualise the universe energy coming down from above the crown of your head and out through your third eye, located between the eye brows. Like the letter L.  

Step 6.  Begin a 12 minute practice sequence

  • 2 minutes out loud (full voice, mudra and visualisation)
  • 2 minutes whisper (soft voice, mudra and visualisation)
  • 4 minutes silently (internally, mudra, visualisation)
  • 2 minutes whisper (soft voice, mudra and visualisation)
  • 2 minutes out loud (full voice, mudra and visualisation)

 Step 7.  Inhale and release the mudra, and raise your hands above your head. Shake your hands so that your spine moves. This releases energy from the body. Exhale. Sit in complete stillness for one minute with your natural breathing rhythm. The inner stillness allows you to observe any sensations which move through the body and mind.

 Let’s explore this meditation a little more the Kundalini Yoga way.

The vibration of the sound has over time been a number of interpretations of what the sounds mean. One such meaning for the mantra sounds is:

SA is birth, the beginning, infinity, the totality of everything that ever was, is, or will be.

TA is life, existence, and creativity which manifests from infinity.

NA is death, change, and the transformation of consciousness.

MA is rebirth, regeneration, and resurrection which allows us to consciously experience the joy of the infinite.

The mantra sound stimulates the 84 acupressure points in the palate of the mouth when singing the mantra.

Then we add the mudras to the sound vibration.

Guyan Mudra 
SA Mudra
The connection of the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger (the Jupiter finger), held while chanting SA – brings us knowledge, expands our field possibilities and releases us from limitations.

Shuni Mudra 
Ta Mudra
The connection of the tip of the thumb and the tip of the middle finger (the Saturn finger), held while chanting TA –  gives us patience, wisdom and purity.

Surya Mudra 

Na Mudra
The connection of the tip of the thumb and the tip of the ring finger (the Uranus or Sun finger), held while chanting NA – brings us vitality and aliveness.

Buddhi Mudra 
Ma Mudra
The connection of the tip of the thumb and the tip of the pinky finger (the Mercury finger), held while chanting MA – aids clear communication.

Why did you visualise an L-shape?

The L-visualisation is said to awaken our pineal and pituitary glands. It is said that we can become emotionally and mentally unbalanced if our pineal gland is not activated. The visualisation with the cleansing of thoughts and a reduction in headaches.

Each part of the kirtan kriya meditation has an important part of the overall experience you will feel. You may experience a variety of emotions while doing the Kirtan Kriya.  I invite you to let these emotions also flow out through the third eye.

It may take a little while for you to put all of the components together, don’t be discouraged, continue to show up daily to do this meditation to  refresh your mind, body and spirit.

Dying with love in my hands.

Dying with love in my hands.

There are a number emotional and physical benefits when holding hands, especially when someone is sick or dying. A number of research case studies have found there is a lot of power and importance in hand holding. Our hands are one of the most sensitive and busiest parts of our bodies. The hands are like our talking stick – that is they are finely attuned to another person’s emotions, feelings and needs (let alone all the tasks they do). Who would of thought so much can transpire between the lovely act of holding hands and finding that deep human connection?

We are unconsciously communicating between each other when holding hands. Trust and security can be developed from how, when and why you are holding hands. Also there are signals from your perspiration, your pulse and many more non-verbal signals are being related to one another during the blissful act of holding hands.

Babies are born with a grasping reflex, where they reach out and grasp for someone’s hand, they are looking for the human connection. We continue this behaviour throughout our lives. It could be in love/romance, guidance, friendships or safety crossing the road. We learn the importance of holding hands in our childhood and continue this behaviour throughout our adulthood. One could make the assumption that holding hands with another human when they are sick or dying can also provide that same human connection that was innate at birth.  Simply because, we have been holding hands throughout our life, and as such why would it change at the final stage of our life’s journey. We can provide a feeling of love and security by holding the hand of a person when they are in need of human connection when dying.

These are some reasons why we would hold hands during sickness/dying:

  • Benefits physical, and mental health
  • Reduces both physical and emotional pain
  • Synchronising hand holders brain waves – for non-verbal communication
  • A great stress reliever
  • Reduces fear
  • Provides a sense of security
  • Boosts affection and intimacy

When our hands come together the nerves in the skin of our hands communicate, with our core nervous system – the hypothalamus and pituitary gland that activates the release of happy hormones. There are a number of studies showing that holding hands apart from making one feel nice, there is a biochemistry reaction that happens. Whereby oxytocin is released into the bloodstream – the good hormone. This benefits your physical and mental health. Oxytocin plays a key role in social bonding, it can make us feel loved, happy, cared for and respected. The release of oxytocin decreases feelings of fear and anxiety.

When holding hands with someone the breathing patterns of the two individuals (or more) become synchronised. We can mirror image the other person. Research has shown that by being calm in yourself can transfer onto the other person when holding hands. By knowing a number pranayama’s (breathing techniques) you can reduce the negative emotions such as fear and stress both within yourself and those that are sick or dying.

In a number of research trials there has been results that showed that holding hands can reduce pain. It is thought that the hands have a particular pressure point between the thumb and forefinger that may help with reducing the level of pain someone is experiencing. This maybe something you would like to discuss with an acupuncturist on your next visit. With the holding of hands and the synchronisation that happens with the breath, it appears the brain waves also align and research is showing some evidence that this may reduce pain levels.

The level of empathy that is displayed through touch can potentially reduce pain levels. Studies have shown without communicating through touch your empathy is not fully received by the other person. Holding hands during the dying process can provide the person with non-verbal communication for when words are no longer available. Sometimes there are no words required, just like at birth, the only thing that is required is the love and support that comes through human touch.

Next time, you are with someone who is sick or dying reach out and provide a hand of love.

Breath and Mantra Walking Meditation

Breath and Mantra Walking Meditation

This 20 minute practice is based on Breathwalk, from the Kundalini Yoga tradition, incorporating pranayama (breath) and mantra (sound) techniques to improve cardiovascular health, tone the nervous system, boost energy, stabilise your mood, quiet mental chatter and enable you to “be in the moment”.  Once you are familiar with the techniques you can extend the time to 60 minutes.

1.  Start in Tadasana pose (stand straight with arms beside your sides)

Begin to walk…

Walk at a normal pace, observing your bodily sensation.

Then tune into your breath:

  • Are you breathing with your chest muscles or with your diaphragm?
  •  Is your breath shallow and erratic or smooth and deep?
  • Noisy or quiet?
  • Through your mouth or your nostrils?

Adjust breath to: nasal, diaphragmatic, quiet and regular.

2.  Match your breath with your stride:

  • Inhale for four steps – one puff through the nostrils for each step to the count of four.  Fill your lungs with air.
  • Exhale for four steps – one puff through the nostril for each step to the count of four.

Continue for five minutes

 

3. Walk and breathe normally for three minutes.

 

4.  Repeat step 2 and add the mantra this time.

With each breath mentally say the mantra SA – TA – NA – MA, one sound for each step.

 

5. Stop and stand in Tadasana for a few breaths and enjoy the benefits of your walking meditation.

 

Mantra Sa Ta Na Ma means:

SA – birth, the beginning, infinity, the totality of everything that ever was, is, or will be.

TA is life, existence, and creativity which manifests from infinity.

NA is death, change, and the transformation of consciousness.

MA is rebirth, regeneration, and resurrection which allows us to consciously experience the joy of the infinite.

What is spirituality?

What is spirituality?

This question of “what is spirituality?” means different things to people and that includes the scholars. For some it means religion for others it has a completely different meaning far removed from religion.

There are many types of spirituality that people sometimes base their beliefs around and also many different reasons people practice spirituality.

What we do know is that the meaning of spirituality has changed over time. 

What is your definition of spirituality?

Spirituality is a word that is sometimes used loosely and as such is often debated and commonly misinterpreted.

Some people confuse spirituality with religion and so with that their belief system comes along into the discussion. Religion does emphasis spirituality as being an important part of faith, it is possible to be ‘spiritual’ without necessarily being part of an orgainsed religious community.

These are some simple definitions of what defines spirituality and religion.

Spirituality

  • Beliefs around meaning of life
  • Sense of peace and purpose
  • Individual practice

Religion

  • Specific beliefs
  • Specific practices
  • Belief and practices shared by a common group/community

Why do people practice spirituality?

Many people see spirituality as a way to find solace and peace in their life. (My pilgrimage to Mt Kailash was to find solace and peace after major life turmoil.)  It can be practiced beside Kundalini Yoga, which ultimately focus on control of breath, an expansion of energy and alignment of chakras. The goal is not truth in the sense of possessing the correct theory, but a certain form of practice, a spiritual practice.

Spirituality can bring a connection with Universal Consciousness and therefore your soul. When you are in total balance with all aspects of your being and therefore reflected in everything that surrounds you, this can feel like there is  a connection to something larger than yourself.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” -Carl Jung, author of The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga

Spirituality is also used as a way of gaining perspective, recognising our role in life has a greater value than just what we do every day. It can separate a person from dependence on material things and establish a greater purpose.

The spiritual stance is an ethics of inner action for the sake of self-knowledge. Spirituality helps you trust in life and yourself even when managing difficult situations. When you’re connected in the self, inner peace grows. You will find you are more capable of caring and loving for yourself and others and you’ll experience the joy of being who you are by deepening your yoga practice.

Some people seek spirituality as a way to cope with change or uncertainty. 

Are there different types of spirituality?

There are plethora of thoughts that spirituality may be defined in a number of forms such as:

  • Mystical spirituality – thoughts around there is something outside the material world, beyond senses, ego and time. Unity with all things.
  • Authoritarian spirituality – common in religious practices and looks at definitions and rules.
  • Intellectual spirituality – focus on analyising history and spiritual practices.
  • Service spirituality – common in religious faiths to serve others.
  • Social spiritualty – a connection to others.

Kundalini Yoga and Spirituality? 

You don’t have to have a particular faith to practice Kundalini Yoga. As the “yoga of awareness” the philosophical purpose of Kundalini Yoga is to awaken your higher self. That is to give you an experience with your soul.  

Kundalini Yoga is not a religion. When we apply the technology of Kundalini Yoga to our bodies and minds, it has the effect of uplifting the spirit. It is for everyone. It is universal and nondenominational.

“Kundalini Yoga is not a religion. Religions come out of it. Kundalini Yoga is not a fad, and it’s not a cult. It’s a practice of experience of a person’s own excellence, which is dormant and which is awakened.” -Yogi Bhajan, 7/26/96

By using the technology that the Kundalini Yoga masters have created over thousands of years, we are able to disconnect from the worldly ego and connect with a higher creative consciousness. This higher creative conscious is within all of us. Kundalini Yoga is a method to shake off our false ego narrative of separation and experience the true nature of our existence.

“The primary objective [of Kundalini] is to awaken the full potential of human awareness in each individual; that is, recognize our awareness, refine that awareness, and expand that awareness to our unlimited Self.  Clear any inner duality, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper and deliver excellence in all that we do.” -Kundalini Research Institute

We have the challenge and blessing of navigating in perhaps the most chaotic times this world has experienced. I feel it is a primal time to embrace your spirituality. We have the opportunity to bring peace to the world and protect the resources of our earth by connecting with your truth.

 

Sat Nam

(Truth is my name)

This is not a scholar’s paper, it is  a collection of  my thoughts captured during this time of uncertainty. If you would like to read scholar’s papers on spirituality and religion there are experts who have written amazing in-depth papers and books on this subject. Some of this  information was sourced from such sources. 

I look forward to sharing my spiritual story on the dream that became a reality… Mt Kailash pilgrimage.