A Practice To Help Prevent Alzheimer Disease
Kirtan Kriya meditation is part of the ancient Kundalini yoga tradition. Current clinical research dealing with prevention of Alzheimer disease supports its use in medical meditation. As G. Harrison (The Beatles fame) noted: As you move attention beyond yourself, you may find peace of mind is there. Sanskrit root words for kundalini include meanings such as spiraled or coiled, earth (or single cell), bestows perpetual consciousness expressing beginning and end. Sanskrit translations for Kirtan Kriya include such things as sound with movement to balance mind-body emotions/energies to a higher self and true essence. The sounds used come from Sat Nam, which are interpreted as my true essence. Kundalini practices like Kirtan Kriya open up our experience to the inner and outer life forces. Some refer to this experience as spiritual uplift. Since the Kirtan Kriya meditation requires ONLY 12 minutes to do, there is NO EXCUSE about not having time to practice. Today neuroscientists suggest that the hands, fingers, and finger tips have much larger representation (the homunculus) within the power and functions of the human brain. Apparently, like so many other ancient meditation and yogic traditions, early practitioners were quite advanced regarding their understanding of mind-body-brain interactions.
Current Research Finding regarding Kirtan Kriya Meditation
According to research (multiple studies) completed by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, the 12 minute Kirtan Kriya meditation improves memory loss, sleep quality, inflammation (down regulates inflammatory genes), psychological well-being, spiritual well-being, telomerase level (enzyme that slows cell aging), energy level, and stress response. Furthermore, there were no negative side effects using kirtan kriya meditation; in some people emotional emergence or Kundalini crisis can be experienced as highly uncomfortable. Instructions appear below.
Kirtan Kriya Meditation in Kundalini Yoga
- You will sit in meditation position (pillow or chair) with your back straight and eyes closed.
- You will breathe naturally and remain calm.
- You will place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth (84 acupuncture points influencing blood flow, motor-sensory, and occipital parts of the brain).
- You will be saying the sounds of: Saa, Taa, Naa, Maa. This will be like gentle singing.
- You will be saying these sounds in various ways (silent, out loud, etc.).
- As you say the sounds, you will be touching specific finger tips to the tip of your thumb (mudra).
- As you say the sounds, you will imagine/visulaize the energy coming into the top of your head, descending into the midbrain, and leaving your head via the mid-forehead (third eye area). This is the important L-Form.
- At the end of the 12 minutes meditation, you will inhale very deeply, move arms/hands up over your head, then exhale fully and move arms in a sweeping motion back down.
You may want to review these steps before actually doing the meditation as noted below.
Operational Instructions for Kirtan Kriya Meditation
1) Sit with your back straight and your eyes closed.
2) Breathe naturally without manipulation of the breath.
3) Gently place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, and keep it there.
4) Bring your visual imagery to “see” the L-Form.
5) For two minutes say out loud Saa, Taa, Naa, Maa with these formats. Touch tip of thumb with the tip of the index finger for Saa; touch thumb tip with middle finger tip for Taa; touch thumb tip with ring finger tip for Naa; and, touch thumb tip with small finger tip for Maa. Remember to visualize energy flow via the L-Form.
6) Repeat the same process for two minutes (sounds and touching thumb tip with finger tips), for but this time whisper the four sounds. Visualize the L-Form.
7) Repeat the same process for four minutes as you touch thumb tip with finger tips, but this time say the four sounds silently to yourself. Remember the L-Form.
8) Repeat for two minutes whispering the four sounds while touching finger tips with thumb tip. Use the L-Form.
9) Repeat for two minutes out loud, including the same hand mudra steps while visualizing the L-Form.
10) Inhale very deeply and raise your hands/arms over your head.
11) Exhale fully and with a sweeping motion move hands/arms back down.
12) Simply sit quietly for about one minute. Reflect on your experience.
For more information refer to Dharma Singh Khalsa (2014). A White Paper: Yoga and Medical Meditation as Alzheimer’s Prevention Medicine. Tucson, AZ: Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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