Twelve minutes a day of meditation to counteract stress and insomnia, to prevent and, in some cases, even reverse the process of age-related cognitive decline. Kirtan Kriya is the name of the yoga meditation technique that has been shown to have these benefits, as evidenced by a recent research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease by an American team (Khalsa et al, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2021).
Meditation and brain health
Exercise and diet are important to prevent neurodegeneration, as well as being able to achieve a state of well-being of the mind, which counteracts inflammation and cardiovascular problems. For example, it was observed that those who had a clear purpose in life, a condition associated with mental well-being, were twice as likely not to get Alzheimer's compared to those who had not. Meditation certainly helps to achieve mental well-being.
Kirtan Kriya, what is it?
Among all the meditation techniques, one in particular has been demonstrated to be particularly beneficial for protecting the brain and counteracting memory loss, anxiety and even insomnia. This technique is called Kirtan Kriya and is a meditation technique that includes gestures, visualization and mantras to be repeated. It should be performed for only 12 minutes a day and, unlike other meditation techniques that take longer, it has been found to improve cognitive function and, in some cases, even reverse the process of memory loss.
How to practice Kirtan Kriya
The strength of this meditation technique is that it can be practiced by anyone, anywhere. Sit cross-legged, your back is straight and your hands are resting on your knees. At this point you have to say out loud a mantra, given by the syllables SA TA NA MA, which indicate the life cycle. The syllables are pronounced in succession. As you say SA the thumb and index finger of both hands press against each other, pronouncing the syllable TA the thumb and middle finger press against each other, then it is the turn of NA, in this case you should press against each other the thumb and the ring finger. Finally, saying MA press your thumb and little finger together. As you pronounce each syllable visualize the energy that enters from the top of the head and exits at the point between the eyebrows. Repeat this sequence for two minutes. Then, for another two minutes repeat the whole sequence but in a low voice, whispering the syllables, the visualization and the gestures with the fingers are the same. Then, for four minutes, repeat the sequence without saying the syllables but repeating them in your head, always press the fingers as you did until now and visualize the energy passing through your head. For the next two minutes, repeat the sequence whispering the syllables and then, finally, for another few minutes, saying them aloud. The gestures and the visualization are always the same.
Kirtan Kriya against insomnia, anxiety and cognitive decline
Kirtan Kriya has been observed to improve blood flow in several brain regions, including the hippocampus, which in the case of Alzheimer's is one of the first areas to be affected, and the prefrontal cortex, whose activity decrease is related to cognitive impairment. Not only that, Kirta Kriya increases the volume of gray matter and slows down brain aging. It also appears that this meditation technique helps stabilize the synapses between neurons, improves mood and sleep, reduces chronic inflammation and strengthens the immune system.