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 99 - Practices - Front End and Back End
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: Wed Jan 28, 2004 0:39pm
Q: Want to give you some feedback and seek some further guidance from you.
Firstly, the pranayama had an almost immediate calming effect, reducing the intensity and wildness of the emotional storms I was experiencing. I am currently, and so far, comfortable with the practices up to and excluding Yoni Mudra kumbhaka. Comfortable in the sense that whilst the practices are still somewhat clunky I have not been experiencing any surges and imbalances.
I did try Yoni Mudra Kumbhaka for one day, and 3 days later after a ‘severe’ emotional rollercoaster ride it felt as though my entire nervous system had been fried – I was utterly exhausted. So I have very quickly backed off from that for the time being.
Firstly, whilst I have had what I could describe as 2 peak experiences (1 of these before I had had ever meditated) – I do not experience feelings of bliss or anything similar. For the most part meditation is just ‘meditation’. If I slip into any form of expectation, it then very quickly becomes an exercise in frustration. Suggestions, comments?
Secondly, I am in general able to direct energy at will, including Kundalini yet my ‘body’ seems unable to cope with the energy if I do so. Kind of like having a race-car with no oil in the engine. If you start it, the engine just blows. Again any suggestion or comments you may have would be most welcome.
A: I am very glad that the spinal breathing helped. It is a wonderful practice, not only for balancing, but for gradually and safely awakening the shiva/shakti union in the sushumna and everywhere — experienced as the rise of ecstatic conductivity. And, of course, spinal breathing is a powerful enhancer of meditation as well, a primary reason we do it.
If you have taken on mulabandha, sambhavi and siddhasana in such a short time with no overloads, you are doing really fantastic. Yoni mudra kumbhaka is another big step. It turns up the volume on everything. Even just a few minutes of it goes a long way. When you feel like trying it again, just do one repetition and see what happens. There can be a delayed reaction with kumbhaka, as your experience confirms. You have to feel your way along with it very carefully. For now you are taking the pause that refreshes. There is no rush. You will know when you are ready to try again.
This business of “directing energy” wherever can be a two-edged sword. It can bring some ecstasy, or it can fry us inside. It is really premature to be doing it if it leads to the difficulties you describe. It is questionable if it should be done at all outside the structure of practices, though we all are curious to see what we can do inside.
Whether you are moving energy yourself or in structured practices (as in bandhas, mudras, siddhasana and kumbhaka), what is needed is much more “global purification” of the nervous system. This is done with meditation and spinal breathing. If meditation is rough (boring, frustrating, uncomfortable, etc.) at times it is a sign that much cleansing is happening — the very thing that is necessary to remove the source of the blockages you have been running into. The discomfort can be minimized by following the guidelines for practice. Check the early lessons on how to deal with the various things that can come up in meditation. Remember, expectations are regarded as any other thoughts that come up in meditation, and we easily go back to the mantra. Always take enough time when coming out of meditation. If you don’t, there can be some irritability or other discomfort during the day.
Meditation is where you will get the most done to allow you to eventually do more on the back end of practices (yoni mudra, etc.) So, consider doing more on the front end of practices to help you on the back end.
There is much you can do to enhance the depth, power and smoothness of your meditation. The length of meditation now is okay. Twenty minutes is optimal for most people. If you put asanas in front of pranayama, that will give you an extra step going inward, and help smooth things too. Then, if pranayama is smooth, you can inch it up in time to take you even deeper before you get into meditation. Try adding five minutes to pranayama. If it is smooth for a few weeks, then try another five minutes. Spinal breathing will not only help meditation, but “direct energy” in a more balanced way for inner awakening. Do your energy directing up and down the sushumna between third eye and root in spinal breathing and you will accomplish the most, with the least chance of problems.
If you can get to ten minutes asanas, twenty minutes pranayama and twenty minutes meditation, you will be doing global house cleaning by the truckload. If all that stays smooth, you will be pouring lots of oil into that racecar of yours — cleaning and lubricating your nervous system to enable more flow of prana. You will know it is working when you can do yoni mudra kumbhaka with no emotional upheavals, but ecstasy instead. You will experience more pleasure from the other practices as well. It could take a while to get to that stage, but you will be on the right track if you focus more on the front end practices. You seem to be a bit ahead of your nervous system with your energy flows. So you have to go back and take care of cleaning out the vehicle. There really isn’t any way around it, unless you want to go the Gopi Krishna route of having too much energy running around inside, and spending years in difficulties, until finally the nervous system is burned clean inside and the smoke clears. That isn’t a very good short cut. It can be much more fun than that.
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.