Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 114 - Kechari - Throat Jamming in Stage 1
Date: Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:58am
Q: I am one of those whose tongue has been rolling back. Your recent lesson on kechari is wonderful, a real eye-opener. My question regards some difficulty I am having as the tongue goes back on the roof of the mouth. In the beginning I was having a gag reflex in my throat, which seems to be getting less. Sometimes when my tongue is back during meditation, my breathing gets blocked temporarily. Are these normal experiences?
A: These are transitional experiences that can happen in stage 1 kechari. The reason for them is something I call, “throat jamming.” It is a temporary phenomenon that can occur between stages 1 and 2.
Because the tongue cannot go up beyond the roof of the mouth in stage 1, the further back it goes, the more the base of the tongue will tend to be pressed down into the throat. This can create a “jamming” effect deep in the throat that can lead to some gag reflex and/or some closing of the epiglottis over the entrance to the windpipe (trachea). The epiglottis is a trap door-like flap connected to the root of the tongue that closes the windpipe when we swallow, and also when we hold our breath in the normal way.
Everyone has a slightly different physical anatomy, so some may experience these transitional experiences during stage 1, and others may not. In any case, the experiences should be temporary. As the frenum under the tongue stretches out, or is trimmed, the tongue will eventually go up behind the soft palate into stage 2 kechari. When this happens, the throat jamming should naturally end, because the tongue goes up into the nasal pharynx and will no longer be pressing down into the throat as much. I say “as much” because with the frenum still pulling down on the tongue, there could still be some throat jamming in stage 2 kechari, though much less, and less likely to create any distracting experiences in the throat. As the tongue goes higher up, the frenum will continue to be stretched, or trimmed, and the tendency for jamming will go away.
As mentioned, for anatomical reasons, only some people may experience the throat jamming symptoms mentioned above, while others will not have them at all. Whatever the case may be, the phenomenon is a transitional one as kechari evolves upward in us.
The experiences of ecstatic bliss we find in stage 2 kechari far outweigh the inconveniences we may encounter on the way there.
Take your time with kechari. Approach it in your own way. Your bhakti will take you up when the time is right.
The guru is in you.