Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 118 - Strong Pulse in Meditation
Date: Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:00pm
Q: Is it possible that energy is getting stuck in my solar plexus? To give you background, I have faithfully done the practices twice a day for about two months. During breathing, I include Sambhavi and Siddhasana. I do not include Mulabandha, because I found I was not able to take a deep breath without releasing the lock and that was distracting. I will focus on Sambhavi until it is automatic and then try again. I’m doing 15 minutes of pranayama. During meditation I stay in Siddhasana and meditate for 20 minutes.
Lately I have noticed during meditation a very strong pulse in my solar plexus that distracts me from the mantra. It can be quite a strong series of jolts. I do go easily back to the mantra but with nearly every breath I am distracted by the deep pulse. The pulse is strongest after I begin to exhale. (It is noticeable when I inhale and sometimes during pranayama) If I hold after exhaling – which I did just to see what happened – it subsides a bit. It does seem to grow stronger throughout the meditation and I often feel it up to my ears. It does not go below my navel at all. I guess I wouldn’t mind if I could remain focused on the mantra, but it does distract. The occurrence of the pulse did not follow any new practice, I have been doing pretty much the same things throughout. Most days I also do some yoga before pranayama. The yoga does not have any affect on the pulse. I’m not sure if you have any suggestions. I seem to be at a point where I could relate to your discussions of bliss were it not for this issue. I appreciate any thoughts you might have and thank you for your time and consideration.
A: Sometimes pulse can happen like that in practices for a few days or weeks. It can happen almost anywhere in the body. Usually it will settle down as the nervous system adjusts. The solar plexus can be the blockage, or it could be something elsewhere in the nadis (subtle nerves). I presume the pulse is not prevalent in daily activity. If it becomes so and doesn’t clear up, make sure to cover the medical angle. Not to be alarmist, but we don’t want to be blind to potential health issues.
You might review the lesson on physical sensations that can come up in meditation — #15. There is a specific technique in there to deal with distracting physical sensations during meditation, which would include a distracting pulse.
After using the method in lesson #15, if it continues to distract you, you might consider backing down a bit on your pranayama (and siddhasana and sambhavi, if necessary) for a week or so and see if that helps. Then slowly come back when the symptom subsides. Self-pacing you know. (You did not mention yoni mudra kumbhaka — it goes without saying that backing down on that is also in order if symptoms become excessive.)
Also, you could do some uddiyana (and learn to do nauli) as part of asanas before pranayama and meditation. Those can help clear the solar plexus. We will be doing nauli (special churning of the abdominal muscles) in the lessons in a week or two, and then another physical technique higher up that will bring energy up through the solar plexus and chest. So, we will be working on it from a few more angles.
On mulabandha, there is no need to keep it locked throughout pranayama. It will naturally go through its own pattern of pulsations as our inner spiritual biology comes up. Yes, it is distracting when the mulabandha comes alive. But the distraction gradually turns to ecstatic bliss as the inner processes in us come up. It is part of the process.
The first order of business is to get comfortable in your routine, and that could mean backing off temporarily on the things mentioned, until you get through this bump in the road. It is up to you.
Real yogis and yoginis are hungry to stay on the leading edge of their journey, and I admire you for it. Your bhakti is terrific. But we want to avoid having it become the “bleeding edge.” It should be fun. In time it becomes much more than fun. It becomes infinite joy!
The guru is in you.