How meditation changed my mindset
1000 days with Kirtan Kriya
Meditation is a long-term practice. Those who have meditated for a long time will surely agree that while you can experience short-term benefits every day, you can see real and lasting benefits only after consistency and commitment.
This has been my personal experience. Meditation brought transformational change into my life, but it didn’t happen overnight – it took time, many attempts to go to my mat, lots of different types of meditations, and a disposition to cultivate the soil where the seeds of change would grow.
Kirtan Kriya was a catalyst for that transformation. I noticed this from the first time I practiced it 10 years ago, thanks to a girlfriend who invited me to join a group of meditators committed to reaching 1000 days of meditation.
Yogis in my close circle shared with me Kirtan Kriya’s powerful benefits: mental clarity, change of habits, understanding emotions, and letting go of past experiences…. “It changed my life,” someone told me. I was a beginner at that time – and yearning to experience that spiritual high, so I got hooked on the 31-minute practice and committed to completing 1000 days of meditation.
Kirtan Kriya is a meditation that includes: a repeated Kirtan or song (repetition of the chanting of the ‘Sa-Ta-Na-Ma’ mantra), a mudra or physical/motor component (touching each fingertip with the thumb in sequence with the singing), and a visualization component (imagine sound energy entering the top of the head and exiting between the eyebrows, in an ‘L’ shape).
My journey started with maybe dozens of attempts to reach a week of practice – “This is my 1000 days of trying to start Kirtan Kriya!” was my inside joke. Because creating a healthy habit was not easy: after 364 days of daily meditation, I forgot to do it once and had to go back to day one.
It was frustrating but a life lesson. I let go of the expectation of reaching 1000 days, committed to doing it at the same time every day, and just marked the day I started on my calendar and continued without counting the days.
One day the alarm on my calendar rang to remind me that I had reached the 1000th day. I felt surprised and empty at the same time. I was looking for something, but I felt like: “Ok, now what? What’s next?”. I was feeling “the same me,” even seriously sick days before, and not enlightened, for sure!
But time showed me little by little the benefits of doing a daily meditation practice: I noticed myself more grounded, able to make decisions with clarity, remembering memories of my childhood and teenage years, taking more pauses and fewer impulse reactions, listening to myself and others in a deeper way.
Even I had changes on a physical level: My digestive system changed, and I could notice how my mental habits were impacting my stomach and gut (now considered by science as our second brain).
These benefits may sound abstract, but science has proven the benefits of practicing Kirtan Kriya. Research has shown that it helps improve cognition and activates parts of the brain that are essential for memory.
The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation promotes Western research, which has revealed that using the fingertip position in conjunction with the sounds enhances blood flow to areas in the motor-sensory part of the brain.
It also has revealed that a 12-minute Kirtan Kriya practice has the following benefits:
- Reverses memory loss;
- increases energy levels;
- improves sleep quality;
- up-regulates positive genes;
- down-regulates inflammatory genes;
- reduces stress in patient and caregiver;
- improves psychological and spiritual well-being;
- activates significant anatomical areas of the brain;
- increases telomerase, the rejuvenating enzyme that slows cell aging by 43%, the largest increase ever recorded.
Other scientific research has confirmed this and proven that Kirtan Kriya helps combat stress, has positive impacts on mood and anxiety in patients with memory loss, improves memory and cognitive function, and other mental health benefits:
- Kirtan Kriya and meditation and music listening are feasible and well-accepted practices for adults with Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD).
- These practices can significantly enhance both subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance in adults with SCD and may offer promise for improving outcomes in this population.
- 88% of the meditators have shown improvement in psychological well-being and multiple domains of mood and sleep quality.
- Notable improvement trends in mood, anxiety, tension, and fatigue in patients with anxiety and memory loss.
Kirtan Kriya has played a pivotal role on my path as a Kundalini Yoga instructor and as a human being. With this practice, I’ve learned how to relate with compassion to my mind and its games, to observe my emotions and not be afraid of them, to lower my anxiety level – or even better, to recognize its symptoms and prevent them before it hits me.
So, I invite you to learn how to practice Kirtan Kriya for 12 or 31 minutes at your own pace every day, just click here to access The Library of Teachings where this meditation is available.
Have you ever practiced for 1000 days straight? Me and everyone at KRI would love to hear or read about your experience, and it can be inspirational for many others. Share your stories with us by reaching out to [email protected] 🤍
If you or any of your beloved ones show any signs of stress, anxiety, depression, memory loss, or Alzheimer’s symptoms, please seek professional health care.