Blog posts tagged with 'brain'

Use Your Three Brains for Stress Relief - Part 1
While we have three brains, and all three are important, this post focuses on one; your heart and its role in stress relief.
Our Brains on "Kirtan Kriya" Meditation

As I mentioned in "Our Brains on OM" individuals exploring yoga often are adverse to using mantras. Research validates that our brains prefer to stay with established neural networks because it uses less energy, even if it is not healthy for us. And we all have unhealthy stress habits.  It's just a part of everyday modern life.  And research shows our cognition and memory suffer. However mantras, and specific mantras can aid with building better resilience and regulation of the areas of the brain that can serve us and diminish the effects of stress and some of the health issues related to stress.

Would you like to increase cognitive function, achieve a 50% or greater improvement of overall mental health, have a 50% or greater reduction of depressive symptoms? A recent study showed that just a daily 12-minute Kirtan Kriya Meditation  can improve cognition and activate parts of the brain that are central to memory for the majority of the participants in the study. And it is even being explored if it can benefit with Alzheimer's Disease ( Published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease).

Kirtan Kriya (which is pronounced KEER-tun KREE-a) is a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition and has been practiced for thousands of years.

Here are the steps for practicing Kirtan Kriya Matra Meditation:

The meditation consists of repeating sounds (or mantra) of "Saa", "Taa", "Naa", and "Maa" while using a hand gesture (mudra) with each sound.

1. Sit with your spine straight, your chin level and head straight. Close your eyes.

With each sound and gesture, imagine the sound flowing through the top of your head and out through the middle of your forehead (third eye).

2. For two minutes, sing the Saa, Taa, Naa, Maa sounds in your normal, with each exhalation; while adding the hand gestures (mudras) listed below. The mudras or finger positions are important in the Kirtan Kriya meditation.

The sequence is as follows:

  • On Saa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Taa, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Naa, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Maa, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

3. For the next two minutes sing with a whisper

4. For the next four minutes, say the sound to your self silently.

5. The reverse the order, whispering for two minutes, then aloud for two minutes,

The total sequence is twelve minutes. To complete the meditation, inhale deeply, stretch with your hands above your head, then bring them down slowly in a steady sweeping motion as you exhale.

Clinical research has shown that practicing Kirtan Kriya for just 12 minutes a day can improve cognition and activate parts of the brain that are central to memory. Source: Alzheimer's Research & Prevention Foundation

Also, it quiets the parietal lobe and brings symmetry to the thalamus and possibly structures the brain to experience the effect every day, even when we are not meditating.

The Kirtan Kriya meditation seems also to balance the hemispheres of the brain to create a sense of clarity and peace.


 Our Brain on "OM"

Kirtan Kriya Meditation: 12-Minute Brain Boost for Stressed-Out People

3 New Ways Kirtan Kriya Helps Keep Your Brain Sharp

Source for "Kirta Kriya Meditation Study" image (at top) slide 12 of "Moving Toward Wholeness: The Relationship Between Spiritual, Physical, and Mental Health"- Andrew Newburg M.D.


Keith Engelhardt A.S., B.A., MYT

"NeuroYoga" Zone ™
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The Paradox of Change
Life is constant change, however, change can jerk us out of our comfort zone. We can also resist it to the point of making ourselves and others miserable or making ourselves sick. There are things we don't want to happen, but have to accept; things we don't want to know, but have to learn; people we can't live without, but have to let go. And some things we can get ready for only after they've already happened. The paradox of change is that change is constantly happening - we are powerless over the changes in life, yet we have the power to change, when we accept it and choose to change or are just allow ourselves to flow with change (Mindfulness helps us do that). If anything were possible, what would you most like to welcome into your life? What would that be like? How would it show up? What would you create the room, space, and possibility to show up? How would you show up? How would you change?