#Meditation isn't easy for many of us. The mind wanders, the thoughts take over. We're constantly reminded of all of the benefits, but somehow it never makes it into our daily routine. This incredible practice will become your new best friend- it's quick, just 11 minutes, and the benefits are worth their weight in gold.
If you haven’t heard of Kirtan Kriya, you’re not alone. I speak of it often, because it has changed my life, and most people give me a kind of sideways look like “ummm, not for me”. But, hear me out. This ancient meditation practice stemming from the Kundalini Yoga tradition is anything but woo-woo. It has tangible benefits for people of any age, and it is simple and free medicine for the mind, body, and soul.
What is Kirtan Kriya?
“Involves chanting or singing a mantra while moving the hands through mudras."
Kirtan, in Sanskrit means “song”, or “praise”, and Kriya means “action”. It is often referred to as a “singing exercise”, and involves chanting or singing a mantra while moving the hands through mudras. A mudra is a symbolic gesture practiced with your hands and fingers that, in combination with breath work or chanting, can stimulate and direct the flow of energy, or #prana, through the body. Stay with me.
What does it look like?
This Kriya involves singing (or saying out loud) the sounds, Sa Ta Na Ma on repeat while practicing repetitive finger movements, or mudras. The best part about it is that a full practice is only 11 minutes, hello angel number, and come on…we can all carve 11 minutes out of our day.
Okay, now get to the benefits!
"This practice has the unique ability to increase blood flow to the brain and stimulate the nervous system, and can reduce instance and severity of depression and anxiety disorder."
Research proves that this practice enhances brain function, and even works preventatively by protecting the brain from degeneration that leads to #Alzheimers, #dementia, and memory loss. Because it involves the use of all of our senses, it activates all of the parts of the brain associated with those senses. It fires up parts of the brain that are not commonly fired and keeps us sharp. Kirtan Kriya has also been proven to increase telomerase levels in the body. Telomerase is an enzyme capable of reversing the cellular #ageing process!
And of course, like any form of meditation, Kirtan Kriya strengthens our #mindfulness muscle. Any practice that urges you to stay in, or make your way back to, the present moment is one that will bring out countless benefits in our everyday lives. I personally find this to be one of the easier forms of meditation because the mind has less opportunity to wander away to other things when it has so much to focus on.
And finally, HOW to practice Kirtan Kriya
Tune in: Always begin a Kundalini Yoga practice or meditation with palms pressed together at heart centre, and chant (or speak) the following mantra- Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, 3 times.
Posture: Sit straight, spine long, in Easy Pose (cross legged or lotus), or any seated position that allows you to sit comfortably with good posture. Can be sitting in a chair with feet flat on the ground.
Start: Singing (or speaking aloud) the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma. With each “Sa” press thumb and first finger together. “Ta”, thumb and middle finger, “Na”, thumb and fourth finger, and “Ma”, thumb and pinky. Do the mudras, finger exercises, with both hands. Repeat for two minutes.
Repeat steps above, but whisper mantra “Sa Ta Na Ma". Repeat for two minutes.
Say the mantra in your head while continuing with the mudras. Repeat for three minutes.
Whispering mantra aloud, continuing with mudras. Repeat for two minutes.
Singing/saying mantra out loud, continuing with mudras. Repeat for two minutes.
And there you have it, 11 minutes.
I personally always use a YouTube video to practice along with. It helps because It guides you through each 2/3 minute chunk without having to pause to look at your watch. Here is my favourite version. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried Kirtan Kriya, and what you think about it! I would love to hear from you.
Sending so much love and meditation-y vibes,