Just Breathe

A Basic Kirtan Kriya Meditation

Okay, I know you must be going just what in the world is Kirtan Kriya meditation and just why should I want to know?! Stick with me for a moment, though, and you might just discover that Kirtan Kriya is actually kind of neat and practicing it, while a bit odd at first (chanting aloud is strange if you are not used to it!), can help keep your memory strong and your mind, body and spirit well-aligned.

Find Your Center

To start, Kirtan Kriya meditation is a principle component of Kundalini or Laya yoga. This form of yoga centers on the expansion of sensory awareness and intuition in order to raise individual consciousness and self awareness. The Kirtan Kriya meditation focuses on the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma – Sa (birth), Ta (life), Na (death), Ma (rebirth).  This mantra helps you to tap into your spiritual center and when you meditate with it you you are focusing on your own highest self – how awesome is that?! Each part of the mantra has a hand movement to go with it – On “Sa,” touch your index fingers to your thumbs. On “Ta,” touch your middle fingers to your thumbs. On “Na,” touch your ring fingers to your thumb. On “Ma,” touch your pinky fingers to your thumbs. Each of these gestures is called a mudra, a symbolic movement meant to facilitate the flow of energy throughout the body.

Kirtan Kriya Hand Motions

Now that the basics have been explained, I shall walk you through a very gentle, easy meditation that lasts about 12 minutes…

  • Sit comfortably, back straight and spine comfortably aligned. Rest your hands, palm up, fingers relaxed, on your knees.
  • Begin to breathe ~ slowly inhaling all the way down into your belly, and then, gradually exhaling fully.
  • Now, begin to chant Sa (birth), Ta (life), Na (death), Ma (rebirth) and with each syllable do the coordinating hand movement. On “Sa,” touch your index fingers to your thumbs. On “Ta,” touch your middle fingers to your thumbs. On “Na,” touch your ring fingers to your thumb. On “Ma,” touch your pinky fingers to your thumbs.
  • Repeat the chant and gestures through a flowing cycle – Chant aloud for two minutes, softly for two minutes, silently for three minutes, softly for two minutes and aloud for two minutes. You can adjust the times, but the important concept to keep consistent is the cycle – aloud, soft, silent, soft, aloud. I know it may seem a bit strange to chant aloud, but you don’t have to shout. It can be a quiet sort of chant, then a whisper, then silent, etc. Chanting can actually be very soothing and can allow for a certain degree of relaxation and mental clarity – give it a try even if you feel weird at first.
  • at the end of the meditation, bring your hands together in front of your heart and say “Sat nam” – this means means ‘Truth is my identity’. It’s a verbal acknowledgement of the sacred truth that lies within you and a very nice way to end this meditation.

This meditation really does help improve your focus and can even strengthen your memory, at least I’ve found it to do so. I know that the chanting part can throw a lot of people off because it is not a very “normal” thing to do, but I really recommend at least trying it a few times before you decide it’s completely not for you. Between the hand motions and the mantra, the Kirtan Kriya meditation is really a great experience and practice.

What Calm May Come

If you try it, let me know what you think – good, bad or indifferent!

Namaste ~ Ella

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