Wanting to start a daily meditation practice and don’t know how to get started? Try Kirtan Kriya. Approximately 6 months ago I decided it was time to get serious about my own personal meditation practice. I meditated here and there when in a yoga class but I wasn’t doing it regularly.
Over the last four years I had been holding short, 5 to 10 minute meditation sessions with my primary school students at a local school. They were getting their daily dose of meditation and reaping from the benefits, but I was distracted by monitoring them. There I was, telling them to meditate in order to reduce anxiety, to remain calm and stimulate the brain, but I wasn’t practising what I was preaching. I tried to meditate on my own at home, but I found that sitting in a room by myself was actually more distracting than sitting in a classroom full of 30, nine year olds. Quieting my mind was like trying to quiet a teenage girl at a boy band concert.
Enter the Kirtan Kriya, a 12-minute meditation that is often practised in the Kundalini Yoga lineage. I first came across this method while reading the book, The Telomere Effect, by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel. I was amazed to discover it has been scientifically proven that 12 minutes a day of Kirtan Kriya improves cerebral blood flow, improves quality of sleep and increases activity in the frontal lobe which is the area of the brain responsible for concentration and memory.
What drew me to this meditation technique is the fact that it involves chanting, or what I like to think of as singing, and your fingertips move in time to the rhythm. Not having to remain perfectly still was a definite bonus for me. As the months progress I’m getting better at it and I can even silently meditate (sans chanting) for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. However, I still do the Kirtan Kriya a couple of times a week since I still struggle with the inner dialogue forever turned on in my mind.
If you’re interested in having a go at Kirtan Kriya, visit the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation website that gives a thorough explanation as to how to practise the Kirtan Kriya.