I don’t know what to believe- YOU!


What influences form your ideas and opinions? What makes your moral compass? How can you tell from wrong, good from evil, fact from fiction? Everyone has an opinion. But can they all be true at the same time? The pressures to conform are never ending! Once and for all I just need to know. What movement helps me be healthy and continue with sustainable movement? Is there more to life than being bored and browbeaten at the gym? What is my life purpose? I have to admit; I don’t know what I believed!

I know right! I have felt this way myself many times, and it is one of the reasons why I started Mind Body Balance LLC. I remember the day I was entering the gym in my early thirties and realized that I was going to have to do this the rest of my life. It was overwhelming and daunting my personal trainer at the time loved working me to the point that I could barely walk out of the gym to get home let alone function the rest of the day. Using my intelligence, I thought there has to be another way!

There is Evidence Informed Practice (EIP) which is designing a movement program using information about what research is showing that works. It means using evidence to identify the potential benefits, harms, costs of any intervention and also acknowledging that what works in one context may to be appropriate or feasible in another. As your Integrative Sustainable Movement Educator, I am reading research on a regular basis, I apply the research in my teaching practices as well as use my intelligence to observe when it may not work for someone and using creativity to adapt it to get the same functional goal and desired outcome.

For example, I have received some pushback lately because I chant and we teach chanting in the studio. I know I thought it was rather odd myself about eight years ago. However, one day I got up the courage to talk to someone about it. I am grateful for this courage because it helped me open up my meridian lines (channels which life energy flows) and improves my respiration. Sanskrit is a language like any other language other than English that you may choose to learn. Now I can barely speak English, but I challenge myself to learn words from Sanskrit and chant with those. Why? The English language has a lot of consonants, and Sanskrit has a lot of vowels. Those vowels have a vibration that vibration vibrates up and down my meridian lines, my HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). So it came down to me educating myself on something new and using EIP to improve my health.

The Canadian Alzheimer Society is now recommending Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation. This chant is scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short-term memory.

There are separate studies published that prove the Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation benefits. Two of the studies done at the University of Pennsylvania and one continuing studying is done at UCLA University of California. The University of Pennsylvania study was published in 2010 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (1). Another study was released in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine in 2010. The Canadian Alzheimer Society and Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation are now recommending the meditation as a daily practice to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is a Kundalini Kirtan Kriya (KEER-tun KREE-a) brought to North America by Yogi Bhajan. Kirtan Kriya is Sanskrit, a classical language of India. Kirtan means “song” or “praise, ” and Kriya means “to do” or “action.” It is recommended to do this a minimum of twelve minutes.

If you would like to practice the Kirtan Kriya singing exercise, here are the basic steps:

  • Repeat the Sa Ta Na Ma sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight.
  • With each syllable, imagine the sound flowing in through the top of your head and out the middle of your forehead (your third eye point).
  • For two minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  • For the next two minutes, sing in a whisper.
  • For the next four minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  • Then reverse the order, whispering for two minutes, and then out loud for two minutes, for a total of twelve minutes.
  • To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.
  • The finger positions, are very important in this kriya.
  • On Sa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Ta, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Na, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Ma, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

The meditation is a combination of chanting a mantra while moving the hands through mudras. Mantra and Mudra are also Sanskrit words. Mantra means “an often repeated word or phrase, ” and mudra means “a motion of the hands” or “a dance of the hands.” To fully experience the benefits of the meditation, a combination of singing, whispering and silently repeating the mantra are used. An essential visualization of concentration is used to cap off the meditation.

Let’s start first with understanding the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma. The sounds come from one of the oldest mantras Sat Nam which means “my true essence” or “true identity” and are designed to be uplifting. There are many interpretations for each of the sounds, one being that there is no meaning to the sounds at all, but merely a vibration, and a stimulation of 84 acupressure points in the palate of the mouth which occurs when singing and whispering the words.

I suggest getting quiet and learning the four pillars of health because they are EIP and chose practitioners that educate you EIP because you are worth it. Taking this path will be more expensive because your practitioner has spent tens of thousands of dollars on their education. It will not be the latest trend so you may not look cool with your friends. It will take a consistent practice which takes up your time, and you will not be perfect at it- so be it! You are worth investing in integrative sustainable movement!

  1. Newberg, A. B., Wintering, N., Khalsa, D. S., Roggenkamp, H., & Waldman, M. R. (2010). Meditation effects on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow in subjects with memory loss: a preliminary study.Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease20(2), 517-526.
  1. Khalsa, D. S., Amen, D., Hanks, C., Money, N., & Newberg, A. (2009). Cerebral blood flow changes during chanting meditation. Nuclear medicine communications30(12), 956-961

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