Twelve minutes a day can help protect the brain from neurodegeneration, improves memory and attention and counteracts anxiety, stress, depression and their harmful effects on the immune system. Twelve minutes… the time dedicated to practicing Kirtan Kryia, a type of yoga meditation to which various benefits are attributed. And it's not just about beliefs. In fact, the properties of this meditation have been proven by scientific studies, as we will see later in the article.
Kirtan Kryia improves memory, attention and cognitive function
Meditation requires you to perform multiple actions simultaneously, as we will see in the last paragraph, and this allows you to activate different brain areas associated with attention and executive functions, such as the frontal area and the cingulate cortex (Marciniak et al, Front Behav Neurosci., 2014). These areas are affected by a greater blood flow with a consequent improvement, after two months of regular practice of Kirtan Kryia, in the ability to speak fluently, attention, memory and cognitive functionality (Newberg et al, Conscious Cogn, 2010).
Kirtan Kryia against neurodegeneration
There are indicators that can predict the health of our brain, such as the length of telomeres and plasma levels of beta amyloid proteins. Telomeres are a kind of sheath that protects the end of the chromosomes. As cells duplicate, telomeres shorten. At a certain point, however, the telomeres are too short to allow further cellular duplication, the cell gradually loses its functions and ages.
Therefore, longer telomeres indicate a longer cell life cycle, while short telomeres indicate accelerated aging but also a greater risk of developing age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration. As far as amyloid beta proteins are concerned, their aggregates in the brain are toxic to the brain while, as it seems based on studies, an increase of these proteins in the blood would indicate a lower risk of cognitive impairment, probably due to the fact that, being in the blood, these proteins are not found in the brain, where they would be harmful (Innes et al, J Alzheimers Dis, 2019). Well, studies have shown that, in people with cognitive impairment, the constant practice of Kirtan Kryia for at least 3 months, 12 minutes a day, has made it possible to improve both of these indicators. The volunteers, at the end of the three months of meditation, showed a lengthening of the telomeres and an increase in the plasma levels of beta amyloid proteins. This improvement in indicators was associated with an improvement in memory, cognitive function, perceived stress, mood and sleep quality (Innes et al, J Alzheimers Dis, 2019). It is believed that Kirtan Kriya can stabilize brain synapses, increasing certain neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and norepinephrine (Khalsa et al, J Alzheimers Dis, 2021).
Kirtan Kriya against anxiety, stress and depression
Two months of regular practice of Kirtan Kryia have been shown to bring significant improvement in cases of anxiety, depression, inner tension and fatigue, even in people with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's (Marciniak et al, Front Behavior Neurosci., 2014). Not only that, stress and anxiety can weaken the immune system and increase inflammation. The practice of Kirtan Kryia has instead been shown to reduce pro-inflammatory substances and to support the defenses, making the body more resistant to viral infections (Black et al, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2013).
Kirtan Kryia to improve sleep quality and mood
Kirtan Kryia meditation also has effects on sleep quality and mood, even in the case of people subjected to great stress at work, such as healthcare staff. Studies have shown that after two months of constant practice of Kirtan Kryia, in addition to memory, also blood pressure and sleep quality have improved, with a lengthening of the time spent asleep, less use of sleeping pills and less daytime fatigue.
Moreover, an improvement in mood was also observed, with a reduction in irritability, anger and hostility and an increase in the feeling of strength and energy (Innes et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012).
Kirtan Kryia, how to practice it
Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and place the backs of your hands on your knees, the palms of your hands facing upwards. Now you will have to perform three actions, which will then repeat simultaneously for the duration of the meditation. The first action is to speak, that is, you will have to pronounce the syllables SA, TA, NA, MA, which represent the life cycle, one after the other. For the first two minutes the syllables must be pronounced aloud, then for another two minutes, whispered, for 4 minutes enunciated silently in the mind, for 2 minutes whispered and for another two minutes enunciated aloud. The second action is to visualize a ray of light entering from the crown of the head while pronouncing the first letter of each syllable and exiting from the forehead, in the space between the eyebrows, while pronouncing the second letter of each syllable. The third action is to move the fingers, joining the index and thumb while pronouncing the first syllable SA, middle and thumb while pronouncing the syllable TA, ring and thumb while pronouncing NA, little finger and thumb while pronouncing MA. It is precisely the concentration while carrying out these actions simultaneously that activates different areas of the brain and brings the benefits just seen. In all the meditation lasts 12 minutes. If you wish, in the Yoga and Pilates section, you can find the video of the practice, explained step by step, with the title Kirtan Kryia, the meditation that saves the brain.