January 14 Restore Series

Rusty's New Beginnings - A Heart Widening Story

It begins with big brown eyes filled with experiences untold, maybe some sad, maybe some joyful.  It doesn't matter to a dog even one without a home.  Gratitude shows in the wagging of his tail, the ears perking up, a head resting on your lap, and the shyest hint of a smile.  I look at our foster dog, Rusty, with incredulous wonder.  He is a rescue from the fate of who knows what and he just loves with all his heart.  I sense that he was beaten at a point as he reflexively cowers if a hand approaches his head from above but boy can he love.  This experience is a lesson in how infinite the heart is.  No matter how much pain may fill our hearts, there is always room for love and the gratitude that goes with it.  If you want to feel the effects of your heart widening, take a glance at all of the adoptable dogs from homeatlastdogrescue.org.  Inspiration from our four-legged friends.  

The Inspiration 
Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation (source: http://anmolmehta.com/blog/2009/09/02/kundalini-yogas-highest-mantra-meditation)

Sa Ta Na Ma is considered the most fundamental mantra in Kundalini Yoga.  You will notice that the very greeting in Kundalini Yoga “Sat Nam” contains the Sa Ta Na Ma components.  Sat Nam is a seed mantra and it means True Identity or the True Divine You, while Sa Ta Na Ma is understood as Existence, Life, Death and Rebirth.  Kirtan Kriya uses this all important mantra as the centerpiece of the meditation.
Kirtan Kriya, like many of the other Kundalini Yoga Meditations, exploits the power of mantras, hand positions (mudras), mind power, naad yoga (yoga of sound) to work it’s magic and in the design section below, you will find details regarding these aspects of the meditation.  As with all kundalini yoga technique and meditations, it is important to go slowly and follow the guidelines
Benefits of Kirtan Kriya – Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra Meditation:
  1. Increases intuitive abilities and psychic powers.
  2. Clears the system of negative emotions, traumas and impressions.
  3. Heals, balances and uplifts the emotional body.
  4. Builds concentration and mental focus.
  5. Bestows peace and tranquility.
  6. Gives one awareness of one’s Divine Infinite Nature.
Design of Kirtan Mantra Meditation:
  • As explained above, uses the fundamental Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra to help one realize their True Divine Nature.  As indicated, this is considered one of the most important mantras for Kundalini Yoga Meditations.
  • Uses the power of visualization to activate the higher chakras and associated endocrine glands.  Specifically this mantra meditation is going to activate the Crown Chakra and the Ajna Chakra (Third Eye), thus it will stimulate the pineal and pituitary glands specifically.  These are the most important glands of the endocrine system and the highest chakras of the kundalini yoga chakra system.
  • Uses the science of Mudras or hand/body positions to create and complete certain circuits in the body.  The following hand positions are used, which bestow the benefits as I have indicated below.
Index Finger + Thumb –> Wisdom
Middle Finger + Thumb –> Focus
Ring Finger + Thumb –> Energy
Little Finger + Thumb –> Connection
In addition, Shambhavi Mudra is used, where the eyes are turned up to look through the center of the forehead, which stimulates and activates the Ajna Chakra (Third Eye).
How to Do Kirtan Kriya – Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra Meditation:
  • Sit in any cross legged posture.  You can also do this meditation sitting on a chair.
  • Elongate your spine and tuck your chin in slightly (like a soldier at attention).  Rest your wrists gently on your knees, with your palms facing slightly upwards.
  • Close your eyes, but turn them upwards such that you looking through the center of the forehead.  This is shambhavi mudra, and only hold it for as long as is comfortable.  Release it whenever necessary and continue with the meditation, reapplying it once ready.
  • While chanting the mantra as described below, follow the following pattern.Press the index finger + thumb for SA
    Press the middle finger + thumb for TA
    Press the ring finger + thumb for NA
    Press the little finger + thumb for MA
  • Begin to Chant the Mantra now.  Slowly chanting the sounds Sa Ta Na Ma repeatedly.  Do the following visualization as you chant.  Visualize the sound S, T, N, M entering through the top of the head through the crown chakra, while visualizing the sound “A” leaving through the center of the forehead through the ajna chakra.  Keep visualizing this flow of the mantra and keep making the finger movements as you chant the mantra in the following way.
  • Chant aloud for 5 minutes.
  • Chant in a whisper for 5 minutes.
  • Chant mentally for 10 minutes.
  • Chant in a whisper for 5 minutes.
  • Chant aloud for 5 minutes.
  • To end, sit completely silently and still for 1 minute and allow infinite to descend upon you.  The total time for the meditation is therefore 31 minutes.
Summary of Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra Meditation:
Although at first glance this mantra meditation might look complicated, it really is not.  You are simply chanting the sounds SA TA NA MA, visualizing them flowing through your crown and ajna chakras, and applying the appropriate mudra for each sound.  As far as Kundalini Yoga Meditation are concerned or for that matter any mantra meditation are concerned, Kirtan Kriya is one of the most profound and effective meditations you can do, so commit to it seriously and find out for yourself all the wonderful benefits of this timeless technique.
The Breath
Relief Breath - Take a shorter and relaxed in breath and a longer exhalation either through the nose or mouth. Try placing a hand on your belly and one on your heart, the belly expands with the inhale.

The Poses
Supported Forward Fold (using chair)
Props: chair, bolster, 2 blankets
Benefits: lengthen spine (spinal extension), grounding, comforting, stimulate the 3rd eye chakra (intuition), gently stretches the legs, aid in digestion (belly connecting to props).

Place the chair on your mat, facing you.  Lean a bolster lengthwise against front of chair, drape with a blanket.  Sit straddling the chair, torso leans against bolster or add blankets or pillow to fill in gap between torso and bolster.  Arms can drape down on legs or rest on seat of chair.  Tight hamstrings, place rolled blankets under knees or extend legs through legs of chair.  Sit on a blanket to take any pressure off of the back.  Stay 5 minutes or longer, breathing into the sensations and relaxing and releasing with each exhale.

Reclined Twist
Props: bolster, 2-4 blocks, 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: blanket for warmth
Benefits: Allows breath to come in to the rib cage and belly more freely. Detoxifying. Can reduce high blood pressure. Relieves fatigue and insomnia.  Safe for a Prenatal twist.
This can be a very prop intensive pose but once you are in it, it is worth it.  Begin with right side of body, place the bottom of your right foot against the wall with leg extended. Left leg is bent at a 90 deg. angle and propped up with two blocks and a bolster with maybe a blanket on top. at least two blankets, S-fold blankets, and/or pillows placed along spine for support, lengthwise.  Extend your left arm out to the left side and lay it on a smaller stack of blankets either s-fold or triple-fold out to your side.  Right arm extends out to the right.  This means the left arm is at a higher elevation than right. Head can remain neutral to ceiling or turn to one side.   Extra blankets can be placed in spaces that need more support.  Neck roll for cervical spine and eye pillow.
*we are digging placing the arms in Goddess pose (not pictured) so try that one out as well. Place blanket support under arms. 

Nesting Pose
Props: blankets, bolster
Benefits; Nurturing, sense of security, well-supported pose to regulate the nervous system, good for when you are feeling anxious, keeps body in alignment, supportive for the spine, hips, shoulders, head.  Allows for optimal healing and sleeping position. nurturing, sense of security, optimal for sleeping

Create a big enough folded blanket to place between the knees to align the legs in Tadasana. Add a folded blanket to rest your top arm on. Recline on a side that is comfortable, resting your head on a blanket. A neck roll can go under the ankles for support.  Bolster can rest along spine for further support and grounding. Finally, cover yourself with a blanket from head to toes.  Sink down with each long exhalation.  Mantra to accompany pose "I am safe, I am supported".



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