Kirtan kriya is another deceptively simple yet powerful yoga set unique to Kundalini yoga. It is great for relieving stress, balancing the mind and improving concentration.
You will start by sitting in easy pose, arms stretched out in front so that the sides of your wrists fit comfortably into the little groove near your knee that is formed by your legs being bent. At this point, your hands are opened and relaxed, fingers at ease.
Start with 3 minutes and gradually work your way up to 11 minutes. You may wish to have a timer nearby to help, or use a recording you have made of the mantra to help time yourself as you go along.
You will be chanting Sa Ta Na Ma at a tempo of 1, 2, 3, 4. You need to plan out how long you will be in the pose because you start chanting aloud, then lower it to a whisper, then chant silently, move back to a whisper, and finally return to chanting aloud once more. So if you were changing for 3 minutes, 180 seconds, it would be roughly 36 second per form of chanting. If you were going to do it for 11 minutes, it would be 132 seconds for each segment.
But try not to get too hung up on the numbers. The main thing is to try to maintain focus and concentration. Roll your eyes up to focus on the spot between your eyebrows, the third eye point.
As you chant, touch the fingers of both hands at the same time with their respective thumbs, working your way along the fingers from index finger to little finger in this pattern:
SA: Infinity, cosmos, beginning-index finger
TA: Life, existence-middle finger
NA: Death, change, transformation-ring finger
MA: Rebirth-little finger
Do apply some pressure when your thumb touches each finger. Change the volume of your chanting after the allotted time. If your mind starts to wander during the silent section, whisper the mantra again to bring your focus back.
If you get headaches after doing Kirtan kriya, there is probably an imbalance in your solar plexus, or willpower chakra. Balance it and try to move more energy up to the third eye chakra. Tapping on the space between your eyebrows can help. Or, cover your head with a hat, scarf or shawl. Make sure your spine doesn’t sag while you are doing this kriya.