Like many people her age, Judy was losing the gift of memory. As a 54-year-old dentist, Judy shared that what worried her the most was trouble remembering her patients’ names. Beyond that, she often got confused about which tooth had the problem: was it number four or fourteen? She was also having other memory issues, such as not being able to summon the correct word and difficulty spelling.

She is not alone. Millions of aging people struggle with memory loss issues that stem from a loss of brain cell connectivity called neuroplasticity, a decrease in brain blood flow, a plummeting of energy dynamics especially in the mitochondria, which is the brain’s “power plant”, and a shortening of telomeres – the protective cap of our DNA. Shorter telomeres are a severe risk for accelerated aging and cognitive decline. A major underlying factor triggering these brain complications is chronic stress – from utero through childhood, teenage years, and throughout one’s adult life. Research reveals that prolonged exposure to stress leads to loss of brain cells in the hippocampus or memory center.

In fact, in this regard Judy’s history strikingly fit the chronic stress profile. She was a survivor of childhood trauma and sexual abuse. When asked to describe her upbringing, she said her childhood was “very stressful” with little nurturing support that left her feeling neglected much of the time. Judy’s traumatic childhood history correlates clearly with the factors that are so damaging to the brain.

Upon the diagnosis, Judy’s neurologist told her that there was not much she could do except take a drug, which Judy quickly dismissed. She was familiar with memory loss research that focused on a powerful practice from the Kundalini Yoga tradition and wanted to try it, “I feel deep in my heart that this meditation program will really help me,” she said. “I have a deep longing in my soul that I believe this program can help me fill.”

She was excited to begin and worked the program with drive and determination. In a matter of weeks her doctor reported she exhibited good improvement and by two months was shown to be well on the road to recovering her memory. She stayed on the plan and began enjoying life again, effortlessly continuing her dental practice. In addition, she said she felt she had grown spiritually and began volunteering to read to disadvantaged children at her local public library.

Bringing Science and Soul Together

This protocol is an unique approach to reversing memory challenges – a blend of ancient and modern Western and Eastern healing techniques, which involves a practice that works on balancing the brain hemispheres. It calls for twelve minutes a day of practice.

There’s solid and growing research on this – out of places like Harvard Medical School and UCLA. Studies show this practice correlates directly with improvements in Alzheimers. The protocol includes “chant sounds” that create vibrations that send blood flow to the brain in vital areas that are concerned with mood, anxiety, depression and anti-aging. Eastern psychology and spirituality (these disciplines are combined in the East – along with philosophy) claims it works to deeply clean the subconscious mind through creating balance in the mind while it resets the pituitary and pineal glands. The sounds are said to help the mind focus and help release stress. In short: it’s very healing to the brain.

The lead physician on this work, also a highly respected kundalini yogi, Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, began his research in 2003, resulting in 30 papers published in prestigious medical journals such as The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. This work has also been presented at major medical meetings including The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation helped design and fund this cutting-edge research on memory as it relates to this “chanting” practice called Kirtan Kriya.

The Research

Here is what the work on Kirtan Kriya indicates:

The Antidote to Crazy Times

What words describe the times in which we live? Anxious, intense, and chaotic –  just a few that come to mind. Meditation is our best antidote to chronic stress. Practicing the Kirtan Kriya for only 12 minutes a day is a scientifically proven way to reduce stress, boost cognitive function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This training is the only yoga-based program in the world to prevent and reverse cognitive decline.

If you’d like to try it, I often include Kirtan Kriya in my monthly online [free] event Advanced Techniques to Strengthen Your Mind, Brain and Nervous System as it’s good for overall brain health. Since my work is focused on supporting people in healing from difficult emotions, these practices are central to stimulating brain health. Often, people I work with find that the judicious addition of cannabis and/or psilocybin microdosing helps to amplify the stress release in my Emotional Liberation 8-week programs.

How to Do Kirtan Kriya
This practice is said to bring a total mental balance to the individual psyche. Practicing this meditation is both a science and an art. It is an art in the way it molds consciousness and in the refinement of sensation and insight it produces. It is a science in the tested certainty of the results it produces.

Posture: Sit in a crossed legged pose with a straight spine, with the neck pulled back. Wrists are on the knees, arms and elbows straight, put the hands and fingers in Gyan Mudra, a hand position where the tips of the thumbs and the index fingers touch each other and form a circle.

Eyes: With eyes closed, look up between and just above the eyebrows.

Finger Position with Chant: You’ll be chanting what’s called a mantra: Sa, Ta, Na, Ma.  You will be doing this while you move your thumb and fingers. With each sound, alternate through four finger positions with the thumbs touching each finger as you chant:

  • On Sa, touch the first finger
  • On Ta, touch the second finger
  • On Na, touch the third finger
  • On Ma, touch the fourth finger

Each repetition of the finger positions (Sa, Ta, Na, Ma) takes 3 to 4 seconds. In Eastern psychology, the vibrational tone of Sa,Ta,Na,Ma is soothing and healing to the brain. (As a sacred mantra it means the cycle of creation: Sa means infinity, Ta is life, Na is death, and Ma is rebirth, which returns to Sa, the infinite cycle.

Mantra: Now for the chant – there are 3 parts to it … you’ll start chanting out loud Sat,Ta,Na,Ma, then you’ll move into a strong whisper of it, and then finally mentally chant in your head.  As you chant, keep the time proportions the same. So if you do 12 minutes, you’d divide the segments into 4 minutes, 4 minutes, 4 minutes.

When practicing for 30 minutes, chant out loud for 10 minutes,  in a strong whisper for 10 minutes and then chant mentally for 10 minutes. Divide your practice time by 3.

Time: 12 – 30 minutes.

To End: Raise your arms over your head, spreading the fingers wide, and shake them out. Stretch up, circulate the energy, inhaling and exhaling several times while shaking the arms and hands vigorously.

Guidance from Eastern Psychology:  

• Each time the hand and finger motion is closed by joining the thumb with a finger, the ego “seals” the effect of that mudra in the consciousness.

• Vibrating on each fingertip alternates the electrical polarities, which causes a balance in the electromagnetic field.

• Chanting out loud, whispering, and silence are the three “languages of consciousness”.

• If during the silent part of the meditation, the mind wanders uncontrollably, go back to a whisper, to a loud voice, to a whisper, and back into silence. Do this as often as you need to.

Let me know how it goes!

With Love, Becca

Here is a melody of “Sa Ta Na Ma” that will guide you:

Kirtan Kriya (Short Version)