Kirtan Kriya (Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation)

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In Kundalini Yoga, there is an exercise known as “Kirtan Kriya”.  This is also known as a meditation technique called “Sa Ta Na Ma.”  The reason why it is called “Sa Ta Na Ma” is because that is what the meditator chants throughout the meditation.  It is a very easy and quick meditation that anyone can do.  Its also a very symbolic meditation, where every chant and mudra (finger position) represents something.

The Technique:

This meditation is a tad different from the techniques on this site.  The other techniques, for the most part, have you sitting still in silence while you meditate.  In this technique, you chant out loud during the majority of it, and move you fingers.

To begin this meditation, sit comfortably and put your hands in what is called gyan mudra.  This is where you rest your hands on your knees and have the thumb and index finger touch.  Close your eyes, and have your eyes focus to the center of your forehead.

Sa Ta Na Ma Mudra

How to move your fingers during the meditation (Sped up).

Next, take in a deep breath, and on the exhale, chant “Saaa Taaa Naaa Maaa”.  When you chant “Saaa”, touch only your index fingers and thumb stogether.  When you chant “Taaa”, touch only your middle fingers and thumbs together.  When you chant “Naaa”, touch only your ring fingers and thumbs together.  Lastly, when you chant “Maaa”, touch only your pinky fingers and thumbs together.  Inhale, and repeat the cycle over again.

After a period of time, instead of chanting out loud, you now whisper “Saaa Taaa Naaa Maaa”.  The whisper should be soft, but still audible.

Then, after another period of time, you chant “Saaa Taaa Naaa Maaa” in your head and do not say it out loud.  Eventually, you’ll start to chant in a whisper again, and then you finally end the meditation by chanting out loud.  All throughout this meditation, you are touching one finger with your thumb, depending on where in the chant you are.

How long you do each of the 5 stages of the meditation depends on how long you decide to meditate for.  Below is a table of suggested times.

12 Minutes Total 30 Minutes Total 60 Minutes Total
1. Chant out loud 2 Minutes 5 Minutes 10 Minutes
2. Chant in a whisper 2 Minutes 5 Minutes 10 Minutes
3. Chant Silently 4 Minutes 10 Minutes 20 Minutes
4. Chant in a whisper 2 Minutes 5 Minutes 10 Minutes
5. Chant out loud 2 Minutes 5 Minutes 10 Minutes

For beginners, 12 minutes is probably a good duration starting time, while more advanced practitioners can increase their time.

What does it all mean?

Sa Ta Na Ma is Sanskrit.  When translated, each word means:

  • Sa – Birth
  • Ta – Life
  • Na – Death
  • Ma – Rebirth

The three types of chants represent three languages:

  • Out Loud – Human, the world.
  • Whispering – Lovers, the longing to belong.
  • Chanting in Head – Devine, infinity.

The four hand positions represent:

  • Gyan Mudra (Index finger and thumb) – Knowledge.
  • Shuni Mudra (Middle finger and thumb) – Wisdom, Patience.
  • Surya Mudra (Ring finger and thumb) – Vitality, energy of life.
  • Buddhi Mudra (Pinky finger and thumb) – Communication.

Guided Meditation

Into guided meditations?  Below is a good 32 minute guided meditation from YouTube user Sat Nam Europe.

Happy Meditating!

-Seth

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