Kirtan Kriya: Chanting To Uplift

how to do kirtan kriya meditation

Kirtan Kriya is a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition. It is sometimes called a singing exercise, as it involves singing the sounds Saa Taa Naa Maa along with repetitive finger movements, or mudras. The meditation can be adapted to several lengths, but it is typically practised for 12 minutes and has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase activity in areas of the brain that are central to memory. To practice Kirtan Kriya, sit with your spine straight and eyes closed. With each syllable, imagine the sound flowing in through the top of your head and out of your third eye point. Start by singing in your normal voice for two minutes, then whisper for two minutes, then silently repeat for four minutes. Then, reverse the sequence by whispering for two minutes and then singing aloud for the final two minutes. To end the meditation, inhale deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly as you exhale.

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Chanting 'Saa Taa Naa Maa'

Kirtan Kriya is a guided meditation from the Kundalini Yoga tradition. It involves chanting or singing the mantra "Saa Taa Naa Maa" along with imagery, specific finger movements, and focus. The meditation is non-religious and can be adapted to different lengths, but it is typically practised for 12 minutes.

The mantra "Saa Taa Naa Maa" is derived from the Sanskrit phrase "Sat Nam", which means "my true essence" or "my true identity". Each syllable of the mantra has a specific meaning:

  • "Saa" represents birth or infinity.
  • "Taa" represents life, existence, and creativity.
  • "Naa" represents death or completion.
  • "Maa" represents rebirth or regeneration.

Together, these sounds represent the cycle of creation.

When practising Kirtan Kriya, it is recommended to sit in a comfortable position with the back straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing to get focused. Keep your hands on your knees, with your arms extended away from your body and your palms facing the ceiling.

Now, touch your index finger to your thumb while saying 'Saa' aloud. Then, touch the tip of your middle finger to your thumb and say 'Taa' aloud. Next, touch the tip of your ring finger to your thumb and say 'Naa' aloud, followed by touching the tip of your little finger to your thumb and saying 'Maa' aloud.

Continue this sequence, chanting 'Saa Taa Naa Maa' for about two minutes. As you say each syllable, focus between your eyes and imagine that each sound is descending from the cosmos into the top of your head through the crown and going out between your brows. This is called L-form concentration.

After chanting aloud for two minutes, move to whispering the mantra while continuing the finger movements for another two minutes. Then, continue the kriya but this time, chant the mantra silently for four minutes. Finally, reverse the order, saying it silently for two minutes, then whispering for two minutes, and finally chanting aloud for two minutes. The entire sequence should take a minimum of 12 minutes to complete.

The mudras, or finger positions, are an important part of this kirtan kriya. Each finger position corresponds to a specific mudra and has a unique meaning:

  • Gyan Mudra (knowledge) - Touch the index finger to the thumb.
  • Shuni Mudra (wisdom, intellect, and patience) - Touch the middle finger to the thumb.
  • Surya Mudra (vitality and energy) - Touch the ring finger to the thumb.
  • Buddhi Mudra (enhanced communication) - Touch the little finger to the thumb.

Practising Kirtan Kriya for just 12 minutes a day has been shown to have numerous benefits, including improved cognition and memory function, reduced stress levels, increased blood flow to the brain, and activation of brain regions associated with memory.

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Sitting with a straight spine

To begin, sit in an easy pose with a straight spine and a light neck lock. Place your wrists on your knees, and keep your arms and elbows straight, starting with your hands in Gyan Mudra. This means your fingertips should be touching, with your hands facing up, resting on your knees.

As you sit, focus on your spine and imagine a glowing light flowing up and down your spine with each breath. This will help you maintain a straight spine and good posture throughout the meditation.

It is important to note that the straight spine is not the only aspect of the posture that is important. In Kirtan Kriya, the wrists, arms, and elbows are also kept straight, and the neck is held in a light neck lock. This means that the neck is held straight, with the chin tucked in slightly, which helps to lengthen the spine and maintain good posture.

By focusing on the spine and maintaining this posture, you create a strong and stable foundation for your meditation practice. This can help to improve your concentration and focus during the meditation, as well as promoting a sense of balance and alignment in the body.

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Using mudras (finger positions)

Kirtan Kriya is a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition. It involves singing the sounds "Saa Taa Naa Maa" along with repetitive finger movements, or mudras. The practice can be adapted to different lengths, but it is typically performed for 12 minutes and has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve cognition and memory.

The mudras, or finger positions, are an important part of this kriya. Here is a step-by-step guide to using mudras in Kirtan Kriya meditation:

  • On "Saa", touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs. The index finger is also known as the Jupiter finger and is associated with knowledge.
  • On "Taa", touch your middle fingers to your thumbs. The middle finger is the Saturn finger, representing wisdom, intelligence, and patience.
  • On "Naa", touch your ring fingers to your thumbs. The ring finger is the Sun finger and is associated with vitality and energy.
  • On "Maa", touch your little fingers to your thumbs. The little finger is the Mercury finger, which facilitates clear communication.

Each time you practice a mudra by joining your thumb with a finger, the effect of that mudra is sealed into your consciousness. This helps to channel the energy flow during the meditation. The way you move your fingers is just as important as the sounds you chant.

In addition to the physical finger positions, it is important to focus on the energy flow during the meditation. As you chant, visualise the energy flowing through each of your chakras in an "L" form, starting from the Crown Chakra and moving down through the Third Eye Chakra, Throat Chakra, Heart Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra, Sacral Chakra, and finally the Root Chakra.

Kirtan Kriya is a powerful meditation practice that stimulates all the senses and the areas of the brain that control them. The finger movements in particular activate the sensory and motor areas of the brain due to the dense nerve endings in the fingertips. By mastering the mudras in Kirtan Kriya, you can help reprogram your subconscious mind and mould your consciousness.

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Chanting volume and duration

Kirtan Kriya is a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition. It is sometimes referred to as a singing exercise, as it involves chanting the sounds "Saa Taa Naa Maa" along with repetitive finger movements, or mudras. The practice can be adapted to different lengths, but it is typically recommended for 12 minutes, which has been shown to reduce stress and improve cognition and memory function.

Regarding chanting volume and duration, the Kirtan Kriya meditation is practised in a cycle, where the volume and duration of chanting change at specific intervals. The traditional practice involves the following sequence:

  • Begin by chanting aloud for 2 minutes.
  • Chant in a strong whisper for the next 2 minutes.
  • Mentally vibrate the mantra for the next 4 minutes.
  • Whisper the mantra for 2 minutes.
  • Finally, chant aloud again for the last 2 minutes.

This completes the 12-minute meditation cycle. However, the duration can be extended up to 30 minutes by increasing the length of each phase proportionally. For example, to practise for 30 minutes, each phase would be 5 minutes long, with 10 minutes of silence in the middle.

It is important to maintain the correct volume and duration during each phase of the meditation. Chanting out loud, whispering, and silence are considered the three languages of consciousness in Kirtan Kriya. If you find your mind wandering during the silent phase, you can return to a whisper or a loud voice and then back into silence as needed.

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Benefits of Kirtan Kriya

Kirtan Kriya is a powerful meditation technique that offers a multitude of benefits for both physical and mental health. Here are some of the key advantages of incorporating Kirtan Kriya into your daily routine:

Improved Brain and Mental Health

Kirtan Kriya is scientifically proven to enhance brain function and mental well-being. Clinical studies have shown that just 12 minutes of this practice daily can improve cognition, boost memory, and sharpen the mind. It is particularly beneficial in preventing and managing Alzheimer's disease and geriatric depression. The meditation's ability to reduce memory loss and improve mood makes it an effective tool against cognitive decline.

Stress Reduction and Relaxation

Kirtan Kriya is an excellent stress management technique. The combination of chanting, finger movements, and visualisation helps individuals relax and release tension. By stimulating specific areas of the brain, this meditation practice reduces stress levels, promoting a sense of calm and improving overall psychological well-being.

Enhanced Sleep Quality

The regular practice of Kirtan Kriya improves sleep patterns and quality. By balancing the nervous system and reducing anxiety, this ancient technique creates feelings of peace and calm, which are essential for a good night's rest.

Increased Energy and Vitality

Kirtan Kriya meditation is an energy-boosting practice. It helps individuals feel more energised and vibrant throughout the day. The meditation's ability to reduce stress and improve sleep also contributes to increased stamina and vitality.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Kirtan Kriya has positive effects on cardiovascular health. It helps lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain, thereby reducing the risk of heart-related issues.

Emotional Balance and Well-being

The practice of Kirtan Kriya helps individuals achieve emotional balance. It reduces anxiety, depression, and stress while increasing self-esteem and overall happiness. By cultivating a sense of peace and enhancing self-worth, this meditation technique promotes emotional resilience and a positive outlook on life.

Frequently asked questions

Kirtan Kriya is a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition. It is sometimes called a singing exercise as it involves singing the sounds "Saa Taa Naa Maa" along with repetitive finger movements, or mudras.

To practice Kirtan Kriya, sit with your spine straight and your eyes closed. Chant "Saa Taa Naa Maa" aloud for two minutes, then in a whisper for two minutes, then silently for four minutes. Then, reverse the sequence: whisper for two minutes, then chant aloud for the final two minutes. End with one minute of stillness or silent prayer, then inhale and stretch your hands above your head before sweeping them down slowly as you exhale.

Research has shown that practicing Kirtan Kriya for just 12 minutes a day can improve cognition and memory function, reduce stress levels, and help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

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