Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania are studying this Kundalini Yoga exercise to determine whether and how it creates actual changes in the brain. While waiting for definitive research results, you can do your own study at home and see if this exercise doesn't quiet and focus your mind.
- Come to a comfortable sitting position with a straight spine on the floor or in a chair. Rest the backs of the hands on the knees.
- Inhale deeply and begin to chant aloud the mantra: Sa ta na ma.
- On the syllable sa, touch the index finger of each hand to the thumb; on ta, touch the middle finger to the thumb; on na, touch the ring finger to the thumb; on ma, touch the pinkie to the thumb. Continue these finger movements throughout the exercise (use enough pressure so that the fingers blanch slightly).
- Chant the mantra aloud for 2 minutes, imagining that the sounds come in through the crown and exit through the third eye in an L shape. Continue the chant in a loud whisper for another 2 minutes. Next, say the chant silently and internally for 2 minutes. Then say it in a whisper for 2 more minutes. Finish by chanting aloud for 2 minutes. The entire meditation takes 12 minutes.
- To finish, take a deep breath and reach your arms overhead. Exhale, and draw your hands to your chest in prayer position. Affirm: Sat nam. "The mantra means 'Truth is my identity,'"Khalsa explains. "When you meditate on it—in the form of Sa ta na ma—you are meditating on your own highest Self. Your brain can't help but be improved."