Advanced Yoga Practices
Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Lesson 104 - Stubborn Energy Blockages
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, “Why This Discussion?”
Date: Tue Feb 3, 2004 4:33pm
Q: I have a couple of questions I’d appreciate your feedback on… if someone is having some rough kundalini energy experiences, do you think it would help to go see a healer that works on the energetic level, like a reiki master or something, or is this cheating or like taking a shortcut that won’t really pay off in the long run? Assuming that one continues with the practices of course, just looking for a little outside assistance in removing blockages.
When I meditate I do get a fairly intense pain in my back, which could be posture related but it could also be a blockage (my suspicion) – I have tried all sorts of support and leaning on things and props but I haven’t found anything that works yet. I can meditate while lying on my back, I get enough rest that I can stay for half an hour and not fall asleep, but intuitively it feels like there is something special about the vertical position, something about the up/down relationship that feels important and that I’ll miss out on if I do it in a horizontal position. What do you think?
Also, I’d like to know if mulabandha, sambhavi and siddhasana can be carried over from pranayama into meditation. Is that ok?
A: If there are rough kundalini experiences, chronic blockages, or anything like that, whatever means that can be found to relieve them are okay. We’d like our journey to be as comfortable as possible, or we may not wish to continue it. So if reiki, massage, energy healing, chiropractic, tai chi, or any other means are available that can help relieve a stubborn energy blockage, by all means go for it. You may want to go back and review the lesson on kundalini remedies from a few weeks ago. Don’t forget yoga asanas. These are particularly good for spinal blockages, assuming there is no medical problem. If you think there could be a medical problem, be sure to seek medical advice.
Of course, we can also manage our practices to mitigate discomfort if it is energy related. This is really the first place we look to make adjustments if our energy is running into an uncomfortable wall. The evolutionary energy comes from within, loosening and pushing obstructions out, and there is much we can do to accelerate or temper this process in practices. It is the whole game, really. Each of us is different in how we respond to spiritual practices. We’d like to be chipping away at those obstructions in our nervous system with gentle nudges each day, rather than with a sledgehammer. So gauge your practices to accommodate your experiences. What we do here is “experience-based.”
If you are meditating more than twenty minutes, that is too much. Sometimes less than twenty minutes is necessary when lots of obstructions are coming loose.
As for posture in meditation, yes, vertical is better than lying down, but we are not fanatic about it here in the lessons. Meditation should be comfortable first, otherwise why bother with it? So, until the back situation eases up, lean back as much as you have to. But have the goal to work your way gradually up straight. Maybe add one pillow this week, two next week, three the week after. See if you can gradually inch your way up to a comfortable sitting position with back support. If the back pain is an energy blockage, it should clear up sooner or later.
As for what to let carry over from pranayama to meditation, only the things that do not divide the attention to do them. At this stage, that is only siddhasana, because it takes no extra attention to sit in it. Of course, it can be distracting in the beginning stages with the stimulation at the perineum, so leaving it out of meditation is okay until it becomes a familiar and easy habit in pranayama. It is your call. Mulabandha and sambhavi require attention to maintain at this stage, so we don’t try and do those in meditation. The idea is to keep our attention free to follow the simple procedure of meditation. This is very important.
As time goes on various yogic things will spontaneously occur during meditation as the processes of yoga become more fluid in our nervous system. Some may be familiar to us. Others may be brand new. We don’t encourage such things, but we do not resist them either. If we find ourselves standing on our head in the middle of meditation, what do we do? Yes, we easily go back to the mantra.
Well, we probably won’t find ourselves standing on our head spontaneously very often, but other unusual things can and do happen. It is all part of the connectedness of yoga. The nervous system knows what to do if we give it the opportunity to open up. The nervous system is the source of all yoga. We are just lending a helping hand here and there. Facilitating the automatic process of enlightenment, you know.
The guru is in you.
Note: For a detailed overview on building a daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.