Amrita - The Nectar Cycle, Kechari Mudra, and Opening the Heart Centre

By Tristan Dorling

Q.

  One of the things I have noticed happening is that when kundalini becomes strong, I find myself burping. I guess burping can be an automatic yoga? It’s one thing to feel surges of energy moving, but it gets really socially awkward when your brain shuts off, spine straightens, and you start burping! Of course, it’s not so involuntary that I can’t suppress it, if I absolutely have to, but it is really uncomfortable to keep pushing through as though nothing is happening instead of letting the energy move through (which is of course cleansing and awesome).

A.

  This is not uncommon and is related to the production of soma and amrita in the body, as the kundalini process deepens. The body needs air in the stomach, to mix with other pranas, to create the amrta. So involuntary swallowing happens, and burping can be one of the side effects. Strange rumblings in the belly can also happen, different to the noises of simply being hungry. It is all a good sign of awakening happening and gathering pace.

  The first thing to do in this situation would be to cut back on the practices that you are doing. If you are using any mudras or bandhas, or advanced pranayamas, then these would be the first to cut back on. If you are still getting symptoms of discomfort, then reduce the timings of your practices until you find a comfortable level that works for you.

  Some people can be very sensitive to mantras. Or, that sensitivity can develop as they progress with their practice, to the point where the vibratory effect of the mantra is too stimulating for the subtle neurobiology. If cutting out the most stimulating practices and cutting back on the timings of the basic practices still does not help, then you can switch temporarily to using the breath as an object for meditation.  

Q.

  Fascinating! I do feel such a release of tension in my body as a result, increasing spaciousness, followed by an upward surge of energy, that sends me straight into meditation. Where can I learn more about the production of Amrita and soma?

A.

  That is one easy way to tell that what you are experiencing is something spiritual, when it throws you automatically into a state of meditative absorption. I wrote a short article on soma and amrta a while back which is here. There are links to further reading at the bottom of that page.

Q.

  I’m so glad you shared this Tristan, as I was wondering what specifically was happening when the burping/swallowing/yawning happens. I’ve noticed my mouth fills with saliva rather quickly too sometimes, which leads to more swallowing than usual.

A.

  Yes, the production of saliva is involved in the process of swallowing air, and is involved in the nectar (amrita) cycle.

Q.

  That makes so much sense because my tongue sometimes starts doing these motions involuntarily, as if it’s stirring something. Hard to explain.

A.

  That is a common experience for people who have an awakened kundalini. It is sometimes referred to as automatic kechari mudra. The tongue is being gradually drawn upwards, towards a place inside the nasal pharynx which is spiritually ecstatic. The nadi in the tongue is also wanting to come into line with the sushumna and brahma nadis. For these two reasons, people often find their tongue moving up and back in their mouths, at a certain stage. If the tongue does not come back and up, that is when the prana can build up around the teeth and jaws.

Q.

  That’s exactly what’s happening. Sometimes it turns towards the top of my mouth.

A.

  When it turns towards the top of your mouth, you can bring the tip of the tongue to the point where the hard palate at the front of the roof of the mouth meets the soft palate at the back. If you push up there, you may feel an ecstatic connection going up into your head. This is the ecstatic connection of kechari mudra. It is very powerful and will activate the higher chakras (ajna and sahasrara). It also influences the production of amrita. If you do not feel this ecstatic connection at first, it will come at some stage. If it causes too much ecstasy to rise, then you can back off for a while, whilst things settle down. Kechari mudra is an advanced tantric practice, so it should be taken on sparingly at first, building up slowly. And be sure to be remaining active and grounded in your daily life.

Q.

  I’m familiar with that mudra, and it’s really interesting when it starts to happen to me. It just sort of happens, like the kriyas. I’ve been walking about 10,000 steps a day, and I take a lot of hot showers.

A.

  In my experience the walking is the most important thing, for remaining grounded, along with effective self-pacing of practices. Then we can let everything unfold as it unfolds. The opening of the higher chakras takes time. Many years. It is a very beautiful journey into pure bliss consciousness and unconditional love.

Q.

  I agree with you on walking! It has become a very important part of my daily routine. What I’m struggling with right now is frustration. I know this is a process of energy unfolding, but a part of me feels very frustrated ‘it’ hasn’t happened yet, whatever ‘it’ is (samavesa, etc). It seems to turn on right when I’m meditating and the energy is in my head area, so I wonder if it’s related to the energy being in that area, or if it’s just me being/ feeling impatient.

A.

  In my experience, on the spiritual path, “it” never happens. Enlightenment is not something that happens at a certain stage on the path. It is much more subtle than that. It is more a gradual letting go. Letting go of expectations, letting go of forms of false identification with objects of the mind, and so on. Even letting go of the idea that there is such a thing as enlightenment, or the idea that there is someone who could become enlightened. So the letting go (yajna), happens at increasingly deeper levels of the mind. But the actual experience is one of gradually coming into silence, stillness, peace, bliss, joy and unconditional love, over a period of many years. Holding out for “it” to happen, or expecting something to happen (anything at all), can actually be detrimental in the process of letting go. Expecting something to happen is a movement away from being at peace with what is, right now. But yes, the strong flows of prana in the body and in the head, can actually cause this sense of frustration. Prana flowing through the nadis, when the nadis are not wide enough yet, can cause feelings of irritability, anxiety, frustration, and so on. If that is happening, you can either sit with it, if it is manageable, or back off a bit on your spiritual practices for a while. The prana flowing through the nadis will cause the nadis to widen over time, and when that happens, these feelings of frustration will not appear in the mind any more.

Q.

  That makes a lot of sense Tristan! I find that happens often in terms of the irritability coming and going, as well as the frustration. I have another thing that happens. I always feel energy moving through my body, usually in my upper back, neck, and head area. It moves in a sort of double helix pattern. Sometimes when I feel it move in certain areas (almost always in the left side of my back) it feels like a somewhat negative emotion. This feels even more negative when I have some sort of physical issue, such as hormonal fluctuations (I have ADHD, and we tend to be very sensitive to hormonal changes like low oestrogen). Any idea why this happens?

A.

  The sensation of energy moving up through the body in a double helix formation is caused by prana moving through the side channels, ida and pingala. On diagrams these are often shown with one on the left side of the body and one on the right, but this is only a diagrammatic representation. In reality they flow up through the body around sushumna as a double helix. The ida and pingala are related to the first six chakras from root to ajna. The chakras from svadhisthana (2nd) to ajna (6th) each have a front and rear aspect. So, the back of the heart chakra is on the back of the body. When the heart is opening we can sometimes feel negative emotions, such as grief and despair. So, this could be what you are going through. We can also feel unconditional love at times, as this is related to the same chakra. and there can be a period where we are constantly fluctuating between grief and despair in some moments, and feelings of divine love in other moments. There can be a lot of tears when this is happening, and a lot of laughter too. Eventually it all settles down and we move on to the next stage in the process of awakening. Fluctuations in hormonal levels can affect flows of prana in the subtle body, and vice-versa. So, it is nothing out of the ordinary.