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Note: For the complete lessons, with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.

Lesson 206 - Q&A – Varieties of spinal breathing

From: Yogani
Date: Sat Jun 5, 2004 11:54pm

New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

Q: What are the different variations of the spinal breath? There are two different kriyas revealed by Paulsen; one of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya's original kriya is also available over the web (this involves breathing up and down the spine with chanting of OM at the spinal plexuses). It would be worthwhile to know the different varieties of kriya, as I think that everyone's optimal kriya is different.

A: The number of versions of spinal breathing is limited only by the imagination. The essential ingredient in all of them is the brow to perineum route of attention with slow breathing. 90%-plus of the results come from that. It is that simple. It is easy to make it complicated, and risk watering down the results by adding chakra imagery, sounds, colors, mantras, etc. Any or all of those additions don't contribute much. In fact, all that can distract from the essential function of purifying and opening the spinal nerve between the third eye and the root.

As you know, these lessons put separate attention on deep meditation, and we don't divide the mind by trying to do both spinal breathing and deep meditation at the same time. Of course, anyone is free to do as they wish in spinal breathing, and may have been taught spinal breathing differently elsewhere. In the lessons, we try and keep it to the least common denominator in all practices, so as many as possible can benefit from a straight-forward approach. That is why spinal breathing is taught in the simple way that it is here.

Assuming one is doing deep meditation right after, there is little that can be added to substantially improve the effectiveness of this simple form of spinal breathing. It would be very easy to add a few twists, and say, "Here is the best form of spinal breathing." Well, maybe we have done that. What you get in these lessons is spinal breathing without all the bells and whistles, and it works just fine. This is the essential practice that marries the root and third eye. That is what spinal breathing is about. Energetically, everything else in the nervous system flows automatically from that. There is no need to fiddle around much in the middle when we are effectively merging together both ends.

In this approach, instead of bogging ourselves down with a lot of detail in spinal breathing, we stick with the basics, and then take the opportunity to move quickly into many other practices (mulabandha, sambhavi, siddhasana, chin pump, spinal bastrika, etc.) that make a huge difference in our spiritual progress. So, instead of "gilding the lily" of spinal breathing, we bring in a lot more lilies. By doing this, we are able to develop a powerful and well-rounded integration of practices in a reasonably short period of time, without a lot of tedious and unnecessary detail.

So, I don't agree that each person needs a different form of spinal breathing. Certainly, each person may have a preference based on tradition, personal whim, etc., and that's okay. Just keep in mind that it is going between the third eye and root that produces the results. In the end, those two divine poles are merged and we are drowned in ecstatic bliss.

The guru is in you.

Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.

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