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.

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. 

Have you ever wondered how to stay focused during your meditation practice? – Kundalini Yoga

Have you ever wondered how to stay focused during your meditation practice? – Kundalini Yoga

If you struggle to stay with a meditation then you are not alone. Our minds are very quick to wander off and start a whole lot of mind chatter.  I know that I can create a large  list of tasks that need to be done, while in my meditation practice.  When our mind does canter off  like a free-roaming wild brumby we are not receiving the delightful ‘pause’  that we want to feel through practicing meditation. 

So how do we find the pause? 

This is one way…

Nose tip gazing.

 

A meditation drishti point or gaze point in Kundalini Yoga is staring at the tip of the nose.  This eye point allows you to quieten your mind and opens sensitivity to the third eye point. 

Our optic nerve can send a mulititude of messages to our pineal gland and we can become over stimulated and not notice the messages that we receive. 

If your mind is roaming-free then you can try this method to quiten it, so that you can focus during your mediation practice.

 

Nose Tip Gazing

  1. Sit in easy pose or in a chair.
  2. Hands in a mudra of choice or on your knees.
  3. Back straight.
  4. Shoulders relaxed.
  5. Breathe normally.
  6. Look along the bridge of your nose to the tip.
  7. Eyelids are light and relaxed, leaving a small opening between them.
  8. Start with three (3) minutes then over the months the duration can be increased.

As you hold the gaze at the tip of your nose notice how your mind slows down.

TIP: Put an object in front of you as this can help keep the gaze in position.

Like with other Kundalini Yoga practices it  does take some practice to master this eye gaze, so just know some days it will be easier than others. 

Sat Nam!