You know how life seems to be getting more and more intense; like it is moving at warp speed and going crazy? Well, it is not an illusion: a human being processes more information in one day now than they did in an entire lifetime 2000 years ago! This increase in intensity and information provides amazing opportunity, but also leads us to feel overwhelmed, disillusioned, and disconnected if we are not taking steps to create internal balance and strength.
One of the most esteemed yogis of the modern age is Yogi Bhajan, was a master of many forms of yoga, but believed that Kundalini Yoga’s ability to work with the nervous system, glandular system, and subconscious mind was what the Western world needed most. When asked to choose one practice of the thousands he knew, Yogi Bhajan stated he would teach the Kirtan Kriya (keer-tan kree-ya) meditation to help us develop the mental balance and fortitude for these trying times.
You can read on to find out more, of if you want to jump right in, click here to sign-up for our free meditation program 10 Days of Kirtan Kriya and you will receive an instructional video and downloadable printable teaching you how to do Kirtan Kriya, as well as 10 daily guided meditations. Or you can click here to learn more).
Kirtan Kriya Scientifically Proven Benefits
And, it’s not just yogis who love it: this meditation is starting to be studied by Western medicine as a treatment for all sorts of medical and mental health ailments. Once such study conducted by The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF) found the following benefits to consistent practice of Kirtan Kriya:
- Improved memory
- Reduced Stress
- Enhanced Brain Blood Flow
- Increased Healthy Brain Size
- Improved Brain Chemistry
- Increased Telomerase (parts of genes that keep us young)
- Decrease in Bad Genes
- Improvement of Good Genes
- Improved Sleep
- Less Depression
- Clarity of Purpose
- Spiritual Well-being
While these are awesome benefits- and enough reason to start the meditation today- it is helpful to learn some of the more subtle- yet to be studied and fully understood- benefits. The technology and tradition of yoga are based on a deep understanding of the structure of the psyche, and the effects of specific sounds, movements, and postures, and has a far deeper and energetic understanding of human beings than Western science.
As with many Kundalini meditations, there are four components to the Kirtan Kriya meditation: the mantra that you chant, the positions you hold your hands in (mudra), the different volumes you chant in, and the visualization. We will share the mechanics and benefits of each below.
Kirtan Kriya Mantra
The chant for Kirtan Kriya is Saa Taa Naa Maa, which each syllable having a specific vibration or meaning:
- Saa: Beginning, infinity, cosmos
- Taa: Life, existence
- Naa: Change, Transformation, Death
- Maa: Rebirth
Thus, to chant Saa Taa Naa Maa is to go through the cycle of creation: from the infinite comes life and individual existence, from life comes death and change, from death comes the rebirth of consciousness, from rebirth comes the joy of the infinite which leads back to life. While many yogis believe in reincarnation, the meaning of the words is not literal and can relate to any cycle of growth that is experienced. Taking a relationship as an example: from nearly infinite possibilities of partners comes the dating or beginning of a potential relationship, then the relationship takes on a life of its own, then something changes and there is a transformation (i.e., breaking up or getting married) and the death of that relationship (as you knew it), which leads to a period of growth and rebirth, and then the beginning of a new relationship (with someone new, with yourself as a single person, or as a married couple).
Furthermore, these sounds are the basic components of the word Sat Nam, which means “true identity”. The “truth” referred to when someone says Sat Nam is a little different for everyone. For me, to say Sat Nam serves as a reminder that my true identity is that of my soul, of my highest self, of my heart center without my mind mucking it up all the time with fear and doubt and judgment of self and other.
With these multiple levels of meaning, the impact of chanting these sounds is to reprogram the subconscious mind on a very elemental level. Maladaptive patterns or belief systems you hold (often along the lines of “I’m not good enough” or “I will feel better if I eat this cake/ lose 5 pounds/ make x amount of money”) can be reprogrammed by the chanting of this mantra.
And- by reprograming the mind- our perspective and behavior start to change. Our subconscious mind drives around 80% of our behavior, so if you can start cleaning the maladaptive beliefs and programming that have been wired into subconscious minds, then it becomes easier to make the changes and live with a clear view of the present moment, and of ourselves. Changes like eating healthier, being more vulnerable in relationships or having more success in business become easier to make.
Kirtan Kriya Mudra
In this meditation, we alternate touching the thumb to the pointer, middle, ring, and pinky finger in order to stimulate the nerve endings of each finger, sending specific messages to the ego that elicit specific effects:
Furthermore, as you vibrate each fingertip you alternate polarities (index and ring are electrically negative as compared to the others), which balances the left and right brain, as well as your electromagnetic field/ aura. This positively changes your habits and helps free you of insecurities.
Kirtan Kriya Visualization + Volumes
While chanting and doing the mudras, the mantra is changed in equal times aloud, at a whisper, and silently in the mind. And, lastly, we are also visualizing the sounds coming into the mind through the top of the head, taking a turn and exiting through the third eye. The combination of these two things creates a frequency and energy flow through the energetic pathway that connects the pineal and pituitary gland.
As you can see, this meditation has a lot of moving parts and is incredibly valuable (and actually pretty easy when led through it). It is understood to mold consciousness, refine the senses, and produce insight.
If you have not done so already, click here to sign-up for our free meditation program, 10 Days of Kirtan Kriya. You will receive video instructions on how to do the meditation, as well as 10 daily guided Kirtan Kriya meditations delivered to your inbox.
With Abundant Love,
Ramtin + Jen