But when I heard of the Sa Ta Na Ma meditation (also known as the Kirtan Kriya) and its benefits I was like YES, finally something for that those who doubt that it can do any good. Those who think meditating and chanting is only for hippies!
This meditation is proven to help those suffering from Alzheimer´s disease. It is proven to improve short term memory, reduce stress, enhance brain blood flow, improve sleep and help to lower chances of depression.
What is especially beneficial for those suffering from Alzheimer´s is that the telomeres get longer. Now, I am no expert in what goes on in the brain, but what I understand is this:
Telomerase is an enzyme that controls the length of the telomeres, which is the cap of your DNA. And if you have longer telomeres, that is better for your health. Those who suffer from Alzheimer´s have shorter telomeres. But with this meditation, just 12 minutes a day for 8 weeks, showed an increase of the length of the telomeres of 44 percent!
(Source: Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D. Founding president and medical director of The Alzheimer´s research and Prevention Foundation)
There have been several separate studies of the benefits of the SaTaNaMa meditation, two at The University of Pennsylvania and one at UCLA University of California, and the Canadian Alzheimer´s Research and Prevention Foundation is recommending this meditation as a daily practice to slow down the effects of Alzheimer´s. (Source: https://agelessartsyoga.com)
The practice was brought to North America by the spiritual teacher Yogi Bhajan (1029-2004).
The meditation is a combination of chanting a mantra and moving the hands through mudras. A mantra is a sacred word or phrase and a mudra is specific ways to hold your hands.
The mantra SA TA NA MA comes from Sat Nam which means my true essence. The mantra is sung, preferably using the notes A, G, F, G. The vibrations are said to stimulate 84 acupressure points in the mouth.
The different sounds also have different meanings.
SA is the beginning, the infinity, all that is and was and will be.
TA is existence and life
NA is transformation of consciousness and death
MA is rebirth
For the 12 minute meditation the mantra is sung at first out loud for 2 minutes, then whispered for 2 minutes and then said silently within for 4 minutes. Then 2 minutes whispered again and 2 minutes out loud.
There is also a 6 minute and a 30 minute version of this. The 6 minute version is below:
1 minute out loud
1 minute whisper
2 minutes silently within
1 minute whisper
1 minute out loud.
As you chant the mantras you also move your fingers in the different mudras.
SA - (The Guyan Mudra) tip of thumb and tip of index finger touch.
TA - (The Shuni Mudra) tip of thumb and tip of middle finger touch.
NA - (Surya Mudra) tip of thumb and tip of ring finger touch.
MA - (Buddhi Mudra) tip of thumb and tip of little finger touch.
The research has shown that using the mudras in combination with singing the mantra increases the blood flow to the areas in the brain that control motor sensory and memory.
During this meditation you should also visualise energy or light coming in through your crown chakra at the top of your head and going out through your third eye, at the centre of your forehead. These chakras are connected to our intuition, spiritual connection and enlightenment.
On one of the sites I read for the research they said that this connects and awakens the pineal and pituitary glands, which are our primary hormone producing centres in the body. If these are unbalanced we can feel imbalanced.
When you are finished raise your arms in the air and shake it all out.
There are many recordings of this online so you can follow one of these if you like as well.
(See links below.)
The practice is often done either for 12 minutes or 30 minutes, but as I said you can also start with 6 minutes.
This meditation can bring up different emotions, so please contact a medical professional if you need to.
Sing the mantra and do the mudras while visualising the L-shaped light/energy.
When you are finished, shake it all out.
You can use a timer on your phone to get the timings right, or follow a recorded one from YouTube, for example.
There are so many reasons to try this meditation! If you are new to meditation and chanting it might feel strange. But I also think that it is easier to start with something like this instead of sitting in silence not knowing what to do!
I hope you feel inspired to try it, and let me know how you get on, if you like!
With love, Elin xx
Links to recorded SaTaNaMa meditations:
12 minute version
30 minute version
You can also find a beautiful recording by Nirinjan Kaur on her record Meditations for transformation.