Kirtan Kriya, often referred to as SA TA NA MA meditation, is the most important meditation in Kundalini Yoga. It was one of the first meditations taught by Yogi Bhajan and remains today as a foundation meditation recommended for every student. Yogi Bhajan said that if you can do only one meditation, this is it. It does everything for you in the order that you need. It is your teacher. And as you practice it, you will come to realize that it is your best friend. Whatever you need at the moment, it will readjust and align you to bring balance into your mind and thus your life.
Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is becoming scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short term memory.
There are three separate studies that have been published that prove the Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation benefits. Two of the studies were done at the University of Pennsylvania and one continuing studying is being done at UCLA University of California. The University of Pennsylvania study was published in 2010 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (1). Their second study was published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine in 2010. The Canadian Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation is recommending the meditation as a daily practice to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s
The meditation is a combination of chanting a mantra while moving the hands through mudra’s. Mantra and mudra are also Sanskrit words. Mantra means “an often repeated word or phrase” and mudra means “a motion of the hands” or “a dance of the hands.” To fully experience the benefits of the meditation, a combination of singing, whispering and silently repeating the mantra are used. A key visualization of concentration is used to cap off the meditation.
Let’s start first with understanding the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma. The sounds comes from one of the oldest mantras Sat Nam which means “my true essence” or “true identity” and are designed to be uplifting. There are many interpretations for each of the sounds, one being that there is no meaning to the sounds at all, but simply a vibration, and a stimulation of 84 acupressure points in the palate of the mouth which occurs when singing and whispering the words.
SA is birth, the beginning, infinity, the totality of everything that ever was, is, or will be.
TA is life, existence, and creativity which manifests from infinity.
NA is death, change, and the transformation of consciousness.
MA is rebirth, regeneration, and resurrection which allows us to consciously experience the joy of the infinite.
When using the mantra in the meditation there are three “voices”. The singing voice, which represents the voice of action. The whispered voice, which represents the voice of the inner mind or the voice of your romantic nature. Finally the silence where you repeat the mantra mentally to yourself, representing your spiritual voice.