Working with Subtle Energy and Chakras – Awareness Intensive Week 5


Thank you all so much for being here today. It’s such a pleasure to share this space with you. Most of this session will be guided meditation, and at the end we will open up space for questions or comments. Please refrain from hitting the bowl to my right as everyone can hear it and it will be used as a tool for the meditation. Thank you.

Let us take a moment to dedicate this practice to those who we want to remember. Please type the name or relation into local if it suits you.

Over the first few weeks we dealt with embodiment, feeling, or the felt sense, and lastly with breath. Let us start delving into our awareness by practicing these a bit. I will lead a guided meditation in voice. Please follow along if you’d like or you can mute sound and do your own practice. I will ring the bowl once to start and twice to end, so make sure your sounds are on so you know when we are continuing the practice.

Today we will bring our attention to a different level of awareness. In our bodies there are many energy channels. Depending on what tradition you come from these may be called nadis, meridians, or various other things. These carry the prana or qi thoughout your body. There are three main channels that run from the root of our pelvis up to our third eye centre. The main one is called the sushumna nadi. Energy moves with breath. Each time we breath we are sending energy throughout our bodies.

Today we are going to work with this subtle energy, prana or qi. Bring your attention to this central channel, running from your pelvic floor to the space of the third eye. Each time you breath in, the energy moves up this column, and each time you breath out the energy moves down this column.

When you feel comfortable with this, we will try expanding this awareness outwards horizontally. You can do this simply by expanding this central channel outwards, or, work more precisely. I will walk you through the more precise practice, but if you feel more comfortable just expanding it outwards please practice that way.

Bring your attention to the root of your pelvis, or the muladhara chakra. Imagine a glowing red light there. When you breath in, this light expands horizontally in a complete circle. The light should therefore expand in all directions, each diagonal, forward, backward, right and left. When you breath out the light will pulse back into centre, and continue this motion with the breath like a wave.

Next, moving up the channel, bring your attention to the heart level of this central channel, or the anahatha chakra. Imagine a glowing green light there. When you breath in, this light expands horizontally in a complete circle. The light should therefore expand in all directions, each diagonal, forward, backward, right and left. When you breath out the light will pulse back into centre, and continue this motion with the breath like a wave.

Next, moving up the channel, bring your attention to the eyebrow centre of the central channel, or ajna chakra. Imagine a glowing indigo light there. When you breath in, this light expands horizontally in a complete circle. The light should therefore expand in all directions, each diagonal, forward, backward, right and left. When you breath out the light will pulse back into centre, and continue this motion with the breath like a wave.

This is feeling yourself as Stillness, the formless in form.

Take your time slowly coming out of the mind-practice. Bring your attention back to your body. Deepen your breath. Slowly wiggle your toes and fingers, and when you feel ready, slowly open your eyes. As you are opening your eyes, try to notice how you are feeling.

What did you notice in this practice?
Has your definition of awareness changed doing this exercise?

Tantra: The Subtle Realities


Tantra: Subtle Realities October 8 2013

Welcome to Perfect Paradise! I’m so honored to have you all here with me today.

I’ve decided to host this as we do yoga postures because I’ve found it helpful on my journey. If you would prefer to sit please feel free to let me know and I can rezz some pillows for you. If you are choosing to do yoga with me you can feel the poses as they manifest in your RL body while we discuss. Allow the energy of the water and the full sky above us to fill you up, and give back to the earth below what you don’t need.

Before we get started I invite you to take a few deep breaths with me. Let go of the day, join me in the present moment. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let it out with a sigh. Repeat this until you are feeling relaxed…I’ll give you a few moments…Let me know when you are ready and we will start.

**

Tantra: The Subtle Realities

“Because every embodied individual is composed of a body, a mind and a spirit, the ancient Rishis of India who developed the Science of Life organized their wisdom into three bodies of knowledge: Ayurveda, which deals mainly with the physical body; Yoga, which deals mainly with spirit; and Tantra, which is mainly concerned with the mind. The philosophy of all three is identical; their manifestations differ because of their differing emphases.” Robert Svoboda Motilal Banarsidass

The human experience is more than just the physical body. Between the material universe and the ultimate Reality are the multiple layers of subtle (sukshumna) existence.

These other realms of existence are considered in the Vedas to be the home of deities, ancestral spirits, and other entities, including various kinds of demonic beings (elementals).

All beings participate in these other realms, although we are rarely aware of it. In fact, our existence is active in these realms simultaneously as it is in the physical realm. In this sense, these realms are called sheaths, or kosha. These kosha’s are said in some schools to conceal the ultimate Reality, although in hatha yoga they experience them as a natural extension of the human body.

The Taittiriya-Upanishad names them as follows:

1. Anna-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of food,” is our familiar physical body, by which we navigate in the material world.
2. Prana-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of life force,” is the energy field associated with and sustaining the physical body. It is the connecting link between the physical body and the mind.
3. Mano-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of the mind,” refers to the mind in its lower function as a processor of sensory input. Manas (thinking-mind) is driven by doubt and volition (or desire) and vacillates between externalizing our consciousness and with-drawing it into the realm of imagination. This aspect of the mind is governed mainly by the factors of inertia (tamas) and dynamism (rajas).
4. Vijnana-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of intelligence,” refers to the mind in its higher function as an organ of discernment between what is real and unreal, that is, as the seat of wisdom. Where the lower mind causes doubt and uncertainty, the higher mind (often called buddhi) also brings certainty and faith, as well as a sense of stillness, because the lucidity factor (sattva-guna) is predominant in it.
5. Ananda-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of bliss,” is equated in the Taittiriya-Upanishad with the transcendental Self (atman) itself, though subsequent Vedanta schools consider it to be the final veil surrounding the ultimate Reality, or Self. In any case, ananda (bliss) must not be mistaken for an emotional state, which is hierarchically higher than intellection or intelligence (vijnana). Emotions belong to the anna-maya- and prana-maya-koshas.

**

Within the subtle bodies is a subtle network of energy, which flows through the nadi’s (ie. meridians in TCM, or energy channels much like blood vessels but on an energetic level).

“This energy, called Prana in Sanskrit (Qi in Chinese), exists in many forms from the extremely gross to the infinitely subtle and life is an interplay of these energies. Metaphorically a cosmic dance of Shiva and Shakti, Yin and Yang, the Sun and the Moon. Within the human body these energies flow along a network of channels or lines (nadis or meridians).

Health in eastern philosophies is regarded as a state of balance between these energies, where all the systems of the body, including mind and spirit, function in harmony with each other. And disease (dis-ease) is seen as imbalance or disharmony in this flow of energies. But beyond feeling good physically an enlightened definition of health encompasses feelings of vitality, strength, inner peace and joy.” -http://www.adishakti.org/subtle_system/nadis.htm

nadis, the vast network of energy channels that makes each individual an integrated, conscious, and vital whole. The Sanskrit word nadi derives from the root nad, which means “flow,” “motion,” or “vibration.” Very similar to the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the sen lines of Thai Massage.

The nadis are our energetic irrigation system; in essence, they keep us alive. According to many Tantric texts, the human body contains 72,000 nadis that channel prana (energy) to every cell, each nadi having a specific function and energy that it deals with (although other sources vary, some in the millions!). When this system flows freely, we are vital and healthy; when it becomes weak or congested, we struggle with poor mental and physical health.

Three nadis are of particular interest to yogis. The sushumna (most gracious) nadi is the body’s great river, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, passing through each of the seven chakras in its course. It is the channel through which kundalini shakti (the latent serpent power) —and the higher spiritual consciousness it can fuel—rises up from its origin at the muladhara (root) chakra to its true home at the sahasrara (thousandfold/crown) chakra at the crown of the head. In subtle body terms, the sushumna nadi is the path to enlightenment.

The ida (comfort) and pingala (tawny) nadis spiral around the sushumna nadi like the double helix of our DNA, crossing each other at every chakra. If you visualize the caduceus, the symbol of modern medicine, you’ll get a rough idea of the relationships among the ida, pingala, and sushumna nadis. Eventually, all three meet at the ajna (third eye) chakra, midway between the eyebrows.

The ida nadi begins and ends on the left side of sushumna. Ida is regarded as the lunar nadi, cool and nurturing by nature, and is said to control all mental processes and the more feminine aspects of our personality. The color white is used to represent the subtle vibrational quality of ida.

Pingala, the solar nadi, begins and ends to the right of sushumna. It is warm and stimulating by nature, controls all vital somatic processes, and oversees the more masculine aspects of our personality. The vibrational quality of pingala is represented by the color red.

The interaction between ida and pingala corresponds to the internal dance between intuition and rationality, consciousness and vital power, and the right and left brain hemispheres. In everyday life, one of these nadis is always dominant. Although this dominance alternates throughout the day, one nadi tends to be ascendant more often and for longer periods than the other. This results in personality, behavior, and health tendencies that can be called ida-like or pingala-like.

Bringing ida and pingala into equilibrium is a major focus of hatha yoga (tantra)—so important, in fact, that the term hatha symbolizes this balance. Although the word hatha literally means “forceful” in Sanskrit, it is composed of ha and tha, two esoteric bija (seed) mantras that have arcane meaning and power. Ha represents the solar qualities, the vital force, of pingala; tha represents the mind and the lunar qualities of ida.

All the Nadis spring from the Kanda, the junction where the Sushumna Nadi is connected with the Muladhara Chakra. This Kanda is thought to be about 12 inches above the anus. Out of the innumerable Nadis, 14 are said to be most important. They are Sushumna, Ida, Pingala, Gandhari, Hastajihva, Kuhu, Saraswati, Pusha, Sankhini, Payasvini, Varuni, Alambusha, vishvodhara, and Yasasvini.

**

At the main points where nadi’s intersect are chakras.

In many styles of yoga and many practices of Ayurveda, the Chakra’s have great importance. There are said to be seven Chakra’s in the human body. They form a line up the spine, some say in the center of the body, others think these centers are “attached” to the spine. A chakra is a center of energy, the literal translation being “wheel” or, less commonly, “vortex.” The English terms for the chakras, starting from the bottom, are: root chakra (Muladhara), sacral chakra (Svadishthana), solar plexus chakra (Manipura), heart chakra (Anahata), throat chakra (Visuddha), third eye chakra (Ajna), and crown chakra (Sahasrara). As in most Eastern medicine systems, the goal is to have the energies in the chakra’s balanced in order to have the best possible mind/body relationship and health.

**

Pema Chodron says, “May we all learn that pain is not the end of the journey, and neither is delight. We can hold them both – indeed hold it all – at the same time…” What I take from this quote is that, among other things, within these layers of existence we can live outside of the boundaries of physical existence, therefore overcoming suffering. In the physical and mental bodies we live in this kind of see-saw with depression on one side and elation on the other. In the centre, when it is balanced, is calmness, or bliss. By taping into these other subtle realities, we can see the situation for what it really is, therefore not becoming depressed or elated by it.

By becoming aware of all five subtle bodies, we are able to undo the vehicle of karma, which lives in the causal body. It is said that this body enables continuity not only from life to life but even from one cosmic creation to another. The subtle bodies do not fall away when death occurs, but continue on to the next life, until full liberation when the individual drops all bodies and is present purely as the transcendental Reality.

When we experience life only from the senses of the physical body we see ourselves as separate from others. But when we can learn to experience life with awareness from all subtle bodies we can continuously see the connection between ourselves and all other beings, thereby making compassion more accessible.

It is shown in modern science that all beings are made of the same things – particles. When we test for properties of a particle, we see a particle, but when we test for properties of a wave, we see a wave. We can hardly say we understand the nature of things, but what we can grasp from this is that our bodies, despite us experiencing them as solid entities with definable boundaries, are always changing. If particles also behave as waves then we can safely say that our bodies are not defined by a finite boundary, but in fact must extend out past the physical “edge”. We also know that our bodies function off electricity and also emit it in waves. They also say that it can now be monitored that our heart beats and thought patterns coincide with those we are physically close to if we are positively relating.

So, next time you’re holding a loved one or having a conversation with a friend bring your awareness into your subtle bodies and see if you can feel their energy mingling with yours. You can also work with this experience in meditation by starting with embodiment – asking yourself “where is my body right now?” and feeling the floor beneath your feet, the air on your skin, your blood pulsing throughout your veins. Once you can feel that – be patient, it may take some practice – you can start to send your awareness out a bit, feeling the air around you, listening to any sounds and seeing how far away you can still notice things. Eventually you may be able to release the idea of having a solid body. In my own experience I’ve been able, through meditation, to stop feeling as though there was a boundary to my body and start feeling the whole world as one continuous experience. You may have a completely different experience. Play with your awareness as much as you are comfortable. You never know what other experiences are out there until you open yourself to them. Only do what is comfortable for you.

Let’s do a tantric practice to align the nadi’s, branching from kundalini yoga.

To practice Nadi Shodhana, the main practice of balancing the nadis, sit in a comfortable meditative position. Make a fist with your right hand, then partially re-extend your ring and little fingers. Lightly place the pad of the thumb on your nose just to the right and below the bridge; lightly place the pads of your ring and little fingers on the corresponding flesh on the left side of your nose. Gently pressing with the ring and little fingers to close the left nostril, exhale fully through the right. Then inhale fully through the right, close it with the thumb, release the left nostril, and exhale through it. Inhale through the left nostril, close it with the fingers, release the right nostril, and exhale through it. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.

I’ll leave you with a quote…

“…each one of us is a union of all universal energy. Everything that we need in order to be complete is within us right at this very moment. It is simply a matter of being able to recognize it. This is the tantric approach.” Lama Thubten Yeshe

Thank you all so much for coming and sharing your energy with us today! It truly was a pleasure. Namaste, hugs!

Sitting with Fear


Today was the first day of a six week Kundalini workshop I’m taking part in. I went in excited and thrilled to be there, and I came out wishing I hadn’t gone. This made me wonder. I hadn’t been to any Kundalini yoga classes before, but have practiced it minimally at home. I am familiar with the theory, and much less familiar with the practice. I’m much more familiar with Hatha yoga practice. Today I learned many things – chants, mantras, mudras, asanas. I even learned a bit about the chakras. Ultimately, I should have been thrilled when I left, just as I was when I entered. But, alas, here I was, a bit bummed, even.

So I asked myself, “What is wrong?” I followed the feeling. I learned two things. First, while chanting for the root chakra I had encountered a great fear. This startled me. Second, I was wary of the practice since it was unfamiliar, and I had experienced something new.

In yoga practice, especially when you go to class, you tend to experience a lot of the same things. The asanas are the same, the people are the same, the teachings are similar, and the energy is the same. What you encounter within yourself becomes familiar, and even welcome. So the experience of going to a new class with a new teacher from a different tantric background brought out this experience of fear for me that I hadn’t encountered in my practice before. After that, I was wary and uncomfortable for the rest of the practice. I kept thinking to myself, “Why did I sign up for this?” and “I wish I could just leave.”

I had to ask myself, “Why are you so afraid of encountering fear?” When it came up during the practice, I sat with it. It startled me, definitely, but I didn’t flinch. Kudos to the previous teachers for bringing to a point in my practice where I could recognize without becoming. I recognized it, for sure, but didn’t react. I was able to sit through it and continue the chant, even though with every sound the fear grew. I started wondering if it was the noise that was frightening me – usually I’m a very quiet person. Chanting is a bit out of character for me, though I’ve enjoyed it in the past.

For those who are unaware, I’ll give you a bit of background on the root chakra. Also known as the Muladhara or Mooladhara chakra, it is the chakra that sits at the base of your spine, near your coccyx. It is the chakra that deals with fundamental security and well-being, and innocence. Barbara Herring, from the Yoga Journal, says, “this energy vortex is involved in tending to our survival needs, establishing a healthy sense of groundedness, taking good basic care of the body, and purging the body of wastes.” It is the house of the unconscious. When opened, qualities that we have not realized were a part of us will emerge, “such as destructive rage, all-consuming passion, excessive desires or deep-seated anger.”(1) Others have experienced a closeness with God, great joy or freedom when activating this chakra. Because it is the home of the unconscious, emotions that we have hidden from ourselves, or that we may not even know we are feeling, arise.

In my case, the first thing to emerge was a great fear. It was the same kind of fear I experienced when I had night terrors. Thankfully, I don’t have them anymore, but that fear still lives in me. After class the teacher opened himself to any questions. Once people had left I told him of my experience and he nodded in understanding. He said that my reaction could be based on many things: a fear for my security or livelihood, fear for relationships, fear of uncertainty, or something that arose in my unconscious mind. None of those things really made me go, “Oh, yeah, that’s it!” But they definitely helped me understand that I have to work on my root chakra. He continued to say that through finding a chakra or practice I’m comfortable with, I can ground myself and work my way into the root chakra. I could chant the basic root tone: “Om Lam,” over and over just to slowly open it, and sit with whatever comes.

On the way home from class I listened to a podcast by Michael Stone, from the Centre of Gravity in Toronto. It was titled, “Feel the Fear (Heart Sutra 5)” released Mar 1, 2013. In it he mentioned the question the Dalai Lama was asked about how to deal with “deep fear effectively.” He answered:

There are quite a number of methods. The first is to think about actions and their effects. Usually when something bad happens, we say, “Oh, very unlucky,” and when something good happens, we say, “Oh, very lucky.” Actually, these two words, lucky and unlucky, are insufficient. There must be some reason. Because of a reason, a certain time became lucky or unlucky, but usually we do not go beyond lucky or unlucky. The reason, according to the Buddhist explanation, is our past karma, our actions.

One way to work with deep fears is to think that the fear comes as a result of your own actions in the past. Further, if you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.

Another technique is to investigate who is becoming afraid. Examine the nature of your self. Where is this I? Who is I? What is the nature of I? Is there an I besides my physical body and my consciousness? This may help.

Also, someone who is engaging in the Bodhisattva practices seeks to take others’ suffering onto himself or herself. When you have fear, you can think, “Others have fear similar to this; may I take to myself all of their fears.” Even though you are opening yourself to greater suffering, taking greater suffering to yourself, your fear lessens.(2)

Michael Stone went on to say that there are three steps to a mindfulness practice:

In one sit you can go from extreme bliss to extreme fear. What is interesting is not to know the bliss and know the fear, but to start to know the knowing mind. So to look at the mind that knows bliss, and to look at the mind that knows fear, and then to start to see that the knowing is stable. So when we’re fist meditating, we’re always focusing externally on the object of what we’re noticing. So if fear is arising there’s a sense of Me noticing the Fear. The second maturation of practice is when you can fully just feel fear, until there is nothing left of you – there is just Fear. There is just being terrified. And then, I would say, you could just keep going, one more level, where when you can really be in what you feel, you can then look at the consciousness that’s knowing the feeling. Look at that part of the mind that knows. Just like the Dalai Lama said to ask, well who’s knowing. So it’s like your turning around, and instead of looking at the object, you’re looking at knowing. And then you can see that the knowing is totally stable, like a mirror. It doesn’t take the shape of fear. The knowing doesn’t take the shape of bliss. It’s just knowing.

I’m sure in the following weeks we’ll be working with the chakras more, and I’ll encounter things in class that I may not be expecting, but I’ll be ready for them. In the meantime, I’m going to be doing a lot of sitting and chanting to explore what’s in here that I don’t know, and to work with this fear.

And here we think we can judge other people, when we don’t even know ourselves.

At this point, I am excited to go again next week.

1. http://www.chakras.net/energy-centers/muladhara
2. From, A Policy of Kindness: An Anthology of Writings By and About the Dalai Lama

Nadis in Yoga/Ayurveda


Nadi’s in Yoga and Ayurveda

Join us tonight, 7pmSLT at PDOM to discuss!

In order to understand the Nadi’s we must first have a basic understanding of the Chakra’s.

 

Within the body is a subtle network of energy, which flows through the nadi’s. At the main points where nadi’s intersect is a chakra. The purpose of the chakras differ depending on which body you are focusing on, but we’ll go into that more later.

 

In many styles of yoga and many practices of Ayurveda, the Chakra’s have great importance. There are said to be seven Chakra’s in the human body. They form a line up the spine, some say in the center of the body, others think these centers are “attached” to the spine. A chakra is a center of energy, the literal translation being “wheel” or, less commonly, “vortex.” The English terms for the chakras, starting from the bottom, are: root chakra (Muladhara), sacral chakra (Svadishthana), solar plexus chakra (Manipura), heart chakra (Anahata), throat chakra (Visuddha), third eye chakra (Ajna), and crown chakra (Sahasrara). As in most Eastern medicine systems, the goal is to have the energies in the chakra’s balanced in order to have the best possible mind/body relationship and health.

 

“The theoretical foundation of Thai massage lies in the concept that all of life at its most basic level is energy. This energy, called Prana in Sanskrit (Qi in Chinese), exists in many forms from the extremely gross to the infinitely subtle and life is an interplay of these energies. Metaphorically a cosmic dance of Shiva and Shakti, Yin and Yang, the Sun and the Moon. Within the human body these energies flow along a network of channels or lines (nadis or meridians).

Health in eastern philosophies is regarded as a state of balance between these energies, where all the systems of the body, including mind and spirit, function in harmony with each other. And disease (dis-ease) is seen as imbalance or disharmony in this flow of energies. But beyond feeling good physically an enlightened definition of health encompasses feelings of vitality, strength, inner peace and joy.” -http://www.adishakti.org/subtle_system/nadis.htm

 

nadis, the vast network of energy channels that makes each individual an integrated, conscious, and vital whole. The Sanskrit word nadi derives from the root nad, which means “flow,” “motion,” or “vibration.” Very similar to the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the sen lines of Thai Massage.

 

The nadis are our energetic irrigation system; in essence, they keep us alive. According to many Tantric texts, the human body contains 72,000 nadis that channel prana (energy) to every cell, each nadi having a specific function and energy that it deals with (although other sources vary, some in the millions!). When this system flows freely, we are vital and healthy; when it becomes weak or congested, we struggle with poor mental and physical health.

 

Three nadis are of particular interest to yogis. The sushumna (most gracious) nadi is the body’s great river, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, passing through each of the seven chakras in its course. It is the channel through which kundalini shakti (the latent serpent power) —and the higher spiritual consciousness it can fuel—rises up from its origin at the muladhara (root) chakra to its true home at the sahasrara (thousandfold/crown) chakra at the crown of the head. In subtle body terms, the sushumna nadi is the path to enlightenment.

 

The ida (comfort) and pingala (tawny) nadis spiral around the sushumna nadi like the double helix of our DNA, crossing each other at every chakra. If you visualize the caduceus, the symbol of modern medicine, you’ll get a rough idea of the relationships among the ida, pingala, and sushumna nadis. Eventually, all three meet at the ajna (third eye) chakra, midway between the eyebrows.

 

The ida nadi begins and ends on the left side of sushumna. Ida is regarded as the lunar nadi, cool and nurturing by nature, and is said to control all mental processes and the more feminine aspects of our personality. The color white is used to represent the subtle vibrational quality of ida.

 

Pingala, the solar nadi, begins and ends to the right of sushumna. It is warm and stimulating by nature, controls all vital somatic processes, and oversees the more masculine aspects of our personality. The vibrational quality of pingala is represented by the color red.

 

The interaction between ida and pingala corresponds to the internal dance between intuition and rationality, consciousness and vital power, and the right and left brain hemispheres. In everyday life, one of these nadis is always dominant. Although this dominance alternates throughout the day, one nadi tends to be ascendant more often and for longer periods than the other. This results in personality, behavior, and health tendencies that can be called ida-like or pingala-like.

 

Bringing ida and pingala into equilibrium is a major focus of hatha yoga—so important, in fact, that the term hatha symbolizes this balance. Although the word hatha literally means “forceful” in Sanskrit, it is composed of ha and tha, two esoteric bija (seed) mantras that have arcane meaning and power. Ha represents the solar qualities, the vital force, of pingala; tha represents the mind and the lunar qualities of ida.

 

All the Nadis spring from the Kanda, the junction where the Sushumna Nadi is connected with the Muladhara Chakra. This Kanda is thought to be about 12 inches above the anus. Out of the innumerable Nadis 14 are said to be most important. They are Sushumna, Ida, Pingala, Gandhari, Hastajihva, Kuhu, Saraswati, Pusha, Sankhini, Payasvini, Varuni, Alambusha, vishvodhara, and Yasasvini.

 

In the beginning I mentioned there are different body’s you can focus on. What I meant by this is that there are five different koshas (sheaths) that every living being has. “From the yogic point of view, the body/energy/mind complex is divided into five parts, the grossest being the physical body, the next being the energy body, the next the mental body, then the wisdom body and finally at the finest level the bliss body.” So, in essence, the koshas are “the sheaths or dimensions of human existence.” The chakras, when considered in the energy body are a kind of energy modulator or transducer, and in the mind bodies as a switch for the different aspects of the personality.

 

Different styles of yoga and ayurveda will deal with these connections differently, but basically one will do “work” in each chakra and body in order to develop that part of the being. Most commonly, practitioners will work starting at the root chakra and work their way up to the crown chakra. When this is completed successfully, it is said that one reaches enlightenment. But, the basic place to start is with Nadi Shodhana, to balance the nadis.

 

I’d like you all to try this exercise with me.

 

To practice Nadi Shodhana, the main practice of balancing the nadis, sit in a comfortable meditative position. Make a fist with your right hand, then partially re-extend your ring and little fingers. Lightly place the pad of the thumb on your nose just to the right and below the bridge; lightly place the pads of your ring and little fingers on the corresponding flesh on the left side of your nose. Gently pressing with the ring and little fingers to close the left nostril, exhale fully through the right. Then inhale fully through the right, close it with the thumb, release the left nostril, and exhale through it. Inhale through the left nostril, close it with the fingers, release the right nostril, and exhale through it. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/927

http://www.yoga-age.com/modern/kun4.html#_VPID_32

http://www.bigbookofyoga.com/hathayogabook/subtle-anatomy-101-hatha-yoga-book-3.php

“Practcal Yoga Psychology” by Dr. Rishi Vivekananda, Bihar Yoga School, Yoga Publications Trust

 

Are there any comments or questions?

Life Energy Around the World


Qi is a very important concept in Chinese medicine. As it turns out, it’s a very important concept all over the world! The following is an excerpt from “The Way of Qigong” by Kenneth S. Cohen.

Invisible life energy is a universal concept and is most commonly associated with breath, heat, air, and/or sunlight. Evidence of a shared, perennial philosophy of health can be found among all ancient cultures.

God breathes the “breath of life” (ruach) into Earth to create the first human. The Hebrew name “Adam” ids rived from the same root as Adama, Earth. The Breath of God (Ruach Ha Kodesh in Hebrew, Spiritus Sancti in Latin) is synonymous with the power of Spirit. A similar idea is expressed in the holy scripture of Islan, the Qur’an (Koran). The words nafas, meaning Allah’s own breath, and ruh, meaning Allah’s own soul, “are used to mean the human breath and human soul – confirming the fact that we are originally from Allah, of Allah, for allah, and in the end will return to Allah.” Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti says that “breath” is not the same as air or oxygen. Rather is is a divine energy that regulates human emotions and the equilibrium of the body. “Both the quantity and quality of breath have a definite and direct effect upon human health.”

In Greek, the vital breath is called pneuma, a word first used by the philosopher Anaximenes (ca. 545 BC). Anaximenes said that life begins with the breath. All things come from it and dissolve into it at death. The soul is breath and is that which controls and “holds together” (prevents the disintegration or decomposition of) human beings. As air or wing, it encloses and maintains the world. Cambridge University professors G.S. Kirk and J.E. Raven in their work The Presocratic Philosophers, label a section of Anaximenes’ writings “The Comparison Between Cosmic Air and the Breath-Soul,” ideas that are remarkably parallel to the Chinese words Yuan Qi, “Cosmic or Original Qi,” and hun, “breath soul.” Vital breath creates a unity between microcosm and macrocosm. In Kirk and Raven’s translation, “The life-principle and motive force of man is, traditionally, pneuma or the breath-soul; (pneuma is seen in the outside world, as wind) therefore the life-principle of the outside world is pneuma; (therefore wind, breath, or air is the life and substance of all things).”

Hippocrates (460-377 BC) considered the founder of medical science, believed that the forces of life, like qi, must flow. When chymos, the body’s fluids – principally blood, bile, and phlegm – are in harmony, one is healthy. In The Nature of Man, he writes, “A man enjoys the most perfect health when these elements are duly proportioned to one another in power, bulk, and manner of compounding, so that they are mingled as excellently as possible. Pain is felt when one of these elements is either deficient or excessive…” When a component of health is isolated and out of balance with the other elements, in excess in certain places and absent form others, the result is pain and illness. According to Hippocrates, balance is the natural state. The role of a physician is “not to manipulate the patient as one would handle something inanimate, but to remove, both from within and from outside the patient’s body, obstructions to healthy recovery.”

Among the Kung San, the indigenous people of Africa’s Kalahan Desert, life energy is num. The num is stored in the lower abdomen and at the base of the spine and can be made to “boil” through ecstatic dance. In Boiling Energy, by Harvard lecturer Richard Katz, an elderly healer explains, “The num enters every part of your body, right to the tip of your feet and even your hair.” Num makes the spine tingle and the mind empty, without thoughts. The healer of healers “see people properly, just as they are.” At this point int he dance, the healers can project healing num or pull sickness form those who are ill. Shamans, num kausi, the “masters or owners of the num,” might help a student enter the proper state of transcendent consciousness (kia) by “shooting” arrows of num into the student’s body, often by snapping the fingers. (Some Native American healers project energy in a similar way, by slapping the palms together.) LIke modern physicians, the Kung believe that people carry illness within the body. When disease flares up, it can sometimes be cured by accumulating num, increasing the inner reserve of healing power. The Kung are also willing to use modern antibiotics. No treatment is 100 percent effective. As healer Gau says, “Maybe our num and European medicine are similar, because sometimes people who get European medicines die, and sometimes they live. That is the same with ours.”

Some fifty or sixty thousand years ago, long before the Chinese spoke of qi, Australian aborigines were cultivating life energy as a key to healing and spiritual power. According to my friend, ruin Tribe elder and medicine man Gaboo, “People who had this energy could communicate telepathically across vast distances. They formed the aboriginal telephone line.” In Voices of the First Day, a classic of aboriginal spirituality, author Robert Lawlor notes that, like the Chinese, the aborigines concentrated on an energy centre four inches below the navel, “where they said the cord of the great Rainbow Serpent (kundalini) lay coiled. Through the same centre the Aborigines drew body heat from the ‘rainbow fires’ that helped them endure cold.” Aborigines, like other indigenous tribes, believe that people today have less of this life energy than in the past. Because life energy is the common source and link between people and nature, the loss of it parallels the loss of connection between human beings and their relations: the plants, animals, stones, water, sky, the earth, and all of creation. Restoring life energy to its original condition of fullness may be the key to recovering lost potentials and realizing that”the Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst.”

Native American tribes also recognize the existence of a subtle healing energy. The Navajo say that the Winds (nilch’i) gave life to human beings and all of nature. THus, James Kale McNeley, Ph.D., a teacher at the Navajo Community College, speaks of the “Holy Wind” in his Holy Wind in Navajo Philosophy. As the Winds swirled through the human being, they left their mark as lines on fingers and toes. The Winds are also sacred powers, sources of healing guidance. They are considered messengers of God or the Great Spirit. When Native Americans pray to the “Winds of the Four Directions,” they become intuitively aware of solutions to life problems. According to one Navajo elder, if the Winds’ guidance is not followed, if one refuses to follow God’s instructions, “…our Holy One takes out the Wind that was within us. He stops our heart.” In SiSiWiss, “Sacred Breath,” an indigenous healing tradition from the PUget Sound region of Washington State, healers project power to their patients through dance, song, and laying on of hands. Some SiSiWiss chants include specific breathing methods to either drive away disease or invite helping and healing spirits.

IN the Lakota (Sioux) language, the word for soul, woniya, is derived from the word for breath, ni. In 1896, the Lakota holy man, Long KNift (George Sword), told physician James R. Walker, “A man’s ni is his life. It is the same as his breath. It gives him his strength. All that is inside a man’s body it keeps clean. If it is weak it cannot clean the inside of the body. If it goes away from a man he is dead…” The Lakota sweat lodge healing rite is called inipi because it purifies the ni. “Inipi causes a man’s ni to put out of his body all that makes him tired, or all that causes disease, or all that causes him to think wrong…”

IN Hawaii, the most powerful healers are known as Kahuna Ha, “Masters of the Breath.” The sacred healing breath, ha, can be absorbed at power places in nature (heiau), through dance (such as the hula), and deep breathing exercises. Some Kahunas learn how to store healing energy in the heart. Then, when the healing energy is projected through laying on of hands, the ha is coloured by the healer’s love and positive thoughts. In traditional Hawaiian counselling and mediation, all parties in a conflict first calm their minds by breathing deeply. This helps them to be less reactive and to find a better solution. The ha can also be transferred from a healer to a patient by blowing directly on the patient’s body. When a Kahuna Ha is near death, he/she may transfer lineage and power by breathing the ha onto a student or family member. The Hawaiian word Aloha, often used as a respectful, heartfelt greeting, also means “love.” Love is the “meeting face-to-face” (alo) of the breath of life (ha).

Of course the closest parallels to qi are found in Asian countries, particularly India. In India, the life energy, prana, is described as flowing through thousands of subtle-energy veins, the nadis. one of the goals of Yoga is to accumulate more prana through breath control exercises (pranayama) and physical postures (asana). THe student is also taught to conserve prana, and not to waste either his inborn, genetic store or that acquired through meditation. Some yogis believe that we are given a certain number of breaths at birth. If we learn to breathe more slowly, we use up our endowment at a slower pace and thus live longer.

There are remarkable parallels between Yoga and Chinese yin-yang theory, the philosophy that health is a balance of complementary opposites: fire and water, mind and body, self and nature. Hatha Yoga balances the solar (Ha) and lunar (the) currents of life energy. By reversing the courses of the two pranic breaths, one fire-like, one water-like, longevity is assured. Fire is made to descend, water to ascend, thus unifying mind (fire) and body (water) and preventing the dispersal of life energy.

 

Chakra/Reiki Healing


The following is what I use for the saturday group reiki healing. Please use in moderation, and be very careful when you practice.

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Thank you for coming today! If you have any questions or comments please keep them in IMs until the guided practice is over. If you would like to be healed, or know someone who needs healing, please put the “@” symbol in local chat. This will let me know who wants to be on the table. I’ll call you up one by one.

In the following steps I will take you through a basic way of opening your chakras and manipulating the energy around you for the purpose of healing yourself or others. Please make yourselves comfortable, however that is for you. I suggest, for this practice, to align yourselves in a sitting position somehow, as this practice has strong visuals that work best in a sitting position. Any movements should be slow and steady with your breathing.

I will stand as the main healer at the table, while everyone else can grab a seat or stand around the table and focus their energy. As this is a new event, feel free to IM me with suggestions or comments about how you think this is working.

Feel free to have the sim music on, or any other music if you think it will help you.

Any movements you make should be slow and matching your breathe.

There is a chart against the wall to assist you if you are unfamiliar with the chakras.

If at any time you feel dizzy or weak, or strange in an uncomfortable way, please stop the exercise, close your chakras, and stop sending energy. If that happens, having a drink of luke warm water should help bring you back to center.

When on the table, please say something if you feel uncomfortable at any time. Remote healing can be very strong, surprisingly so.

Ok, I want you all to do these steps with me, as best you can.

1. Close your eyes. Take a deep breathe in. Get comfortable, whether its lying down or sitting, eyes opened or closed. Let the sounds of the world surround you; listen to the birds, the air, the children playing outside. Notice your breathing getting calmer, deeper, and steadier.

2. Keep your breathe at a steady rhythm. Try to breathe not into your chest but deep into your stomach. If it helps, lay your hands against your lower abdomen to feel where your breathe should reach.

3. While you are breathing, cycle through the chakras in your mind; starting at the crown chakra, just above your head, go down to the third eye chakra, to the throat chakra, heart chakra, solar plexus, sacral, and finally to your root chakra.

4. Now imagine filling each chakra with a white light that is streaming into your body from the sky. Imagine pulling from all the energy around you and bringing that light into each chakra, starting from the crown and working your way down to the root chakra. Pull that energy all the way through your body.

5. When you can feel the light inside your whole body, bring your hands together, palms touching as if in prayer. Once your hands are touching, bring them slightly apart and imagine filling the space between with the energy that is inside of you – that is coming from that light.

6. When you can feel it gathering there, move your hands to a position that feels as though you are holding a ball between them. Feel that energy manifest there, and feel it build until it feels almost like a solid object between your hands. At this point your hands are likely hot and somewhat tingly; don’t worry, this feeling is normal. If this is one of your first times and you can’t feel it, thats perfectly ok – it takes a lot of practice and concentration.

7. Now, you should be able to focus the energy towards a subject by positioning your hands to face them. In real life you could place your hands over the area of their body that is affected, but when remote healing, at first, you should just try to focus at the computer screen – use it as a connection between you and the subject.

8. What helps me to send the energy is to rotate my hands in a circular motion bringing them down from my third eye chakra to the solar plexus chakra – then pushing them out towards the screen while breathing out. Move with your breathe at all times. Breathe in while your hands lower, breathe out while they push the energy towards the screen and come back up to the third eye chakra.

9. Keeping that light coming into all your chakras from the energy around you, send it with the motion of your hands to the person you are trying to heal. Keep this going until you no longer need to use it as an aid.

10. When the healing is complete, or you need to stop, you need to close your chakras. To close your chakras, which you must do every time you open them, start at the root chakra and stop letting the light in, send it back up out of your body, one chakra at a time, as if slowly emptying the light from within you. I want you to do this with me: bring your palms back to face each other, let the energy manifest there. Now, bring the energy back inside you; let it pool in your chakras and let your hands rest on your lap or by your sides. Let that ray of light move upwards out of your last chakra – the root chakra. Bring it into the sacral chakra, now to the solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and finally to your crown shakra. Now, send it out of your crown chakra and close it.

11. Now, calm yourself with deep breathes. Close your eyes and let the world in again. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply, have a few drinks of water, and relax. If it helps you to center yourself, shake out your limbs, flex your muscles and relax them, become familiar with your body again. Wiggle your fingers and toes (dancing phalanges!), and relearn your body.

You can repeat this exercise as much as you’d like. It is a general introduction to the chakras and energy healing, so when you are comfortable with it you can change it up as much as you like to suit you best.

Reiki Healing Sessions


I have great news!

Thanks to all of your wonderful support I’ve saved up and bought a reiki table for the beach in SL!

I’m now booking either individual or group reiki sessions. I am not a professional reiki healer, and have only been trained casually. Pricing may vary, but generally it will be $500L ($2 USD) per half hour of healing.

If you would like to use the reiki table, please feel free to drop by at any time, but understand that if someone else is using it to be respective and wait your turn. I’ve also got a massage table, a hot tub, yoga mats, and tai chi balls, which are all open for your use at any time. I want this beach to be filled with positive energy, and that can only happen with your help.

Regular group reiki sessions held every Saturday at 8pmSLT. These will be free to attend. This Saturday, June 23, the group reiki session will be held at 1pmSLT due to RL commitments.

The reiki table is located inside the tent for privacy reasons. Feel free to come take a look before booking a session.

For those of you who have never tried manipulating your chakras or qi, please try this exercise, shared with me from a good friend:

How to focus and feel Chi/Qi/Prana

1) Relax, sit comfortably in a strightback chair. ( Be sure you are in a place where there is no significant breeze, or airflow. This is critical when feeling chi for the first time.)

2) Arms relaxed, move your hands, palms facing each other, shoulder-width apart.

3) Focus your attention on the palms of your hands.

4) Slowly move your palms together, not touching.

5) Slowly move them apart, then back together. At this point, you should feel a warmth, or pressure. You are feeling, your Chi/Qi/Prana/Aura-field.

6) Move your hands further apart, then back together until you get a feel for the Chi. It will start to feel like a ball, or balloon.

7) The next step is to focus the Chi, and “scan” your body with it. This may take some doing, but with practice, you can move the Chi to points of pain/illness within your body.

8) The next step is to focus the Chi, and move it through your Chakras.

9) Before going to sleep, use Chi-scan to cycle your Chakras, and do progressive relaxation.