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Lesson 131 -
Coordinating Sambhavi and Spinal Breathing (Audio)
Date: Tue Mar 2, 2004 5:37pm
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
Q: I am facing a problem
in doing Sambhavi and Spinal breathing simultaneously. I think when I
concentrate on spinal breathing my eyes do not stay between the eye brows.
My eyes go wherever the attention goes. If I do Sambhavi separately, I don't
have any problem. But when I start spinal breathing since the attention is
in that, the eyes tend to traverse the spinal column. Can I imagine the
picture of spinal column between the eyebrows to resolve this? If I
concentrate on the physical position of the 'sushumna' my eyes won't stay
between the eyebrows. Could you suggest a way to synchronize these two
A: It is a good question, and an important one. I
think many have this same challenge to one degree or another. Coordination
between sambhavi and spinal breathing is something that evolves over time.
It is forming a habit in the beginning, and then it becomes very easy later
on due to the rise of inner sensory experiences that draw the physical eyes
and attention naturally to their optimal functions for rising ecstasy.
We have lived all our
life with our attention going through our physical eyes. To expand our
horizons to the inner spiritual life it is necessary that we develop the
additional ability to have the physical eyes going one place and the
attention going other places. Imagining the spinal column at the point
between the eyebrows does not accomplish this, though it is a clever idea.
To fulfill its function
in spinal breathing, the attention must traverse the physical length of the
spinal nerve (sushumna) from the root at the perineum to the point between
the eyebrows, again and again. Done with long slow cycles of breathing, and
other aspects of spinal breathing practice, this is what induces the
balanced movement of prana in the spinal nerve, and the cultivation of the
entire nervous system. At the same time, the physical eyes are stimulating
in a physical way the neurological and biological processes that begin in
the brain and reach down through the spinal nerve to the root. So, while the
attention is going with the breath in the spinal nerve, the eyes are
physically stimulating the brain, which also is affecting the spinal nerve
all the way down. Also, there is the furrowing of the brow (pulling the
eyebrows slightly together) which is involved in the physical stimulation in
the brain. This is the other half of sambhavi. The only time sambhavi
involves attention, besides for the physical positioning, is when the
attention comes up and goes to (or through) the point between the eyebrows.
But even this is not engaging the attention through the eyes. The eyes just
happen to be there too, but we are not looking through the eyes. We are
looking through the spinal nerve, which is the same as the third eye at that
In spinal breathing, and at the times we fix our
inner gaze through the point between the eyebrows (like in yoni mudra), we
are not giving our attention to the physical eyes. We are engaged in inner
seeing. The physical eyes are not used for inner seeing at all. The eyes,
along with the brow, perform a physical function, squeezing the inside of
the brain in a certain way, and that is all.
This separation of attention and the physical
eyes is very important for the development of inner spiritual experiences.
When Jesus said, "If your eye becomes single,
your body will be filled with light," he was talking about two things: The
physical centering of the eyes, and the attention in the spinal nerve,
functioning through the third eye. These, done in concert, fill the body
with light once ecstatic conductivity comes up in the spinal nerve and
spreads out through the rest of the nervous system.
So, how do we achieve this separation of
attention and the physical eyes? Sensory feedback is an important factor in
it. The ecstatic sensations inside the body are the best sensory feedback.
But what if we don't have the inner ecstatic conductivity yet? Then how do
we separate the attention from the eyes? We still can use sensory feedback
to develop the habit, and developing the habit will help bring up the inner
Pick an object on the
other side of the room and gaze at it. Don't examine it, or even "see" it.
Just put your eyes on it and leave them there. As you are doing that let
your attention go to your perineum. It isn't hard to do, is it? Now, keeping
your eyes on that object, let your attention go up the center of your spine
to the point between your eyebrows. Don't worry about your breathing. Just
do the gaze on the object and move the attention. When your eyes wander off
the object, and you notice, just easily put them back on it. Use the object
there in front of you as a visual feedback. Go up and down the spine a few
times with your attention without taking your eyes off the object. Practice
this for a while, until you can go up and down your spine with your
attention without moving your eyes off that object very much. If the eyes or
attention go off, then easily bring them back to the task at hand. It is a
habit you are developing, much like learning to pat the top of your head
with one hand while rubbing your belly in a circle with the other hand.
Keep doing the exercise until you can move your
attention up and down the spine while keeping your unseeing gaze on the
object. The object is your sensory feedback that enables you to keep your
eyes in one place while your attention is going somewhere else.
Once you have good success doing that, then try
it in actual spinal breathing. The furrowing of the brow produces a
sensation at the point between the eyebrows that can also be used as a
sensory feedback for the eyes. See if you can use that to bring the eyes
centered and up while your attention is going up and down the spine. It is
not a visual sensory feedback, so it may not be as easy in the beginning to
use as the object across the room was. But try it. If it is too big a jump
from using the object, then there is always the tip of your nose, or looking
upward with your eyes partly open so you will have some visual feedback for
sambhavi during spinal breathing. These are not ideal, but if you need
visual feedback, then use it until you are ready to go up to the sensation
at the slightly furrowed brow.
What we need in sambhavi
is something the eyes can get sensory feedback from, something we can gently
bring the eyes back to when we realize they have wandered elsewhere. As
mentioned, later on, it will be ecstatic pleasure inside our body that will
cause us to raise and center our eyes. For now, we are using other sensory
feedback that will enable us to train the eyes and separate them from the
attention going up and down the spine.
If the attention keeps
coming back into the eyes while we are doing all this, it is not such a
difficult thing. We know how to deal with the wandering attention from our
training in meditation. When we are doing spinal breathing the attention can
end up anywhere -- In the eyes, off in thoughts or emotions, at the grocery
store, or even half way across the galaxy. Anywhere. When this happens in
meditation, what do we do? We just easily come back to the mantra. In spinal
breathing it is just the same. When our attention goes to the eyes or
anywhere else, and we notice, we just easily go back to our spinal
breathing. If we get lost on where we were in the spine, it doesn't matter.
It doesn't have to be exact. We just pick up with the breath. If the breath
is coming in, we go up the spine. If the breath is going out, we go down the
spine. And so we continue. When the attention goes off somewhere again, we
just pick up spinal breathing again. It will happen many times. It is
normal. The eyes will wander many times too. It is normal. We never strain
or struggle for perfection. There is no such thing. The practice works best
when we are easy about it, favoring the procedure we are doing when we
realize we have gone off it.
So, sensory feedback for
the eyes, and easily favoring attention moving up and down in the spine are
the keys to developing the two separate functions. It will evolve slowly.
Rome was not built in a day. Eventually we will be doing lots of things at
the same time during spinal breathing. They are habits we develop one by one
that become automatic.
Somewhere along the line
we will feel some pleasure coming up our spine from the root. Then we will
notice it is affected by sambhavi. We will also notice that spinal breathing
spreads it up and down and all through us. Then these practices will have
very nice sensory feedback inside. We will be rewarded with ecstasy for
doing them. We will become conditioned to respond to ecstasy very easily,
and then all the elements of practice become a breeze. We all have this
built-in ability. So, we start at the beginning with whatever sensory
feedback we have, knowing that a whole new world awaits us inside. Before we
know it, our body will be filled with light and we will be bathed all day
and all night in the ecstatic bliss of God.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.
For detailed instructions on
sambhavi mudra, see the AYP Asanas, Mudras and
Bandhas book. Also
see AYP Plus.
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