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

Lesson 223 - Q&A – Kechari Stage 1 and-a-half? (a dialog)

From: Yogani
Date: Thu Aug 12, 2004 7:32pm

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: Thanks to your instructions (lesson #108) I have made some progress from stage 1 Kechari, but did not find exactly what I expected yet.

After some experimentation and feeling my way about, I am thinking I am in a sort of Stage 1 and-a-half, with my tongue longer than needed for stage 1, but not quite long enough for stage 2 yet. I don't know if perhaps the existence of this intermediate stage is a feature of my own particular anatomy, which other people would not experience because of a slightly different layout.

Here is what I experienced:

By stretching the tongue upwards and to the right I was able to find what seemed like a hole through which I was just about able to push the tongue. I tried using a finger, but I seemed to be unable to make use of it since the tongue was already at the limits of its stretch.

However, through that hole I sensed tissue of a type that I had not felt before. I could sense this because it was salty! Salty probably because of a thin layer of salty mucous on it.

I kept the tip of my tongue on that special tissue and moved it towards the center. (The experience was dramatic and ecstatic.) In the earlier days (it's been over a week now) it always slipped away before I got near the center but with practice I was able to get it to the center.

However, there are no nostril-openings to be found at this point, and no septum between them. The organ I am resting my tongue on is relatively flat, with a hint of a ridge in the middle. It is normally covered by the uvula but I have gotten my tongue under that covering. When I turn my head to the right, the right side of that organ bulges towards my tongue, and correspondingly when I turn my head to the
left.

I believe the nostril-openings and septum are just **above** where my tongue is currently able to reach on that organ. Therefore I think I am in a sort of transitional stage between 1 and 2.

Do you think this is right?


A: Yes, I think your description of what is happening is pretty accurate. Congratulations on getting behind the soft palate! It is the beginning of a new world of progress and advanced experiences.

Maybe I can add a few clarifications that will be helpful. It sounds like you are feeling the back edge of the hard palate from behind the soft palate (behind uvula). The septum comes down to the center of the edge of the hard palate. That would be the "hint of a ridge" you feel in the middle. So, yes, you are still shy of the septum, eustachian tubes, inner nostrils, etc. But you'll get there.

To go higher, it might be helpful to think not only about length, but also about releasing the tongue from the floor of the mouth bit by bit. Most people have the length already, but are limited by the tether (frenum) tying the tongue to the floor of the mouth. By focusing on length only we are, in effect, taking a detour back and around the soft palate with length to compensate for the tongue being tied down toward the front. If we untie the tongue, it goes up much further much faster. That, combined with lengthening (milking) yields the optimum progress in kechari. All of this is covered in detail in lesson #108.

I'll not tell you what to do on this, as it is a very personal journey, dependent on each person's bhakti and preferences. I'll point out the mechanics. The rest is up to you.


Q: Thank you very much again for your response.

I used to pull the tongue but I found that a lot of pulling seemed to be required to make even a little progress. I've been quickly converted already by your posting to the idea of nicking the frenum with a cuticle scissors. So when I say 'length' I really mean 'length as allowed by the frenum'.

The only thing I'd like to mention is that I do make a number of tiny nicks rather than only one (I make about 10) and I make them at separate spots along the frenum surface). I expect that this greater number speeds up the process. Actually, it seems to; after one nicking session I can already feel a greater extension.

This larger number of nicks heals just as quickly as a single nick, that is, in about three days.

Making more than one nick might be inappropriate in maybe the most typical case because of the effect of the extra speed. But I feel ready. Behind me I have twenty years of yoga and meditation, including about 14 of Kechari. If you had any comments on that I'd be interested.

I agree with you that nicking is ultimately less traumatic on the tongue. The frenum is only a tendon, relatively insensitive tissue with a simple task, while the tongue itself is muscles and nerves largely.


A: You are on your way, knowing what you have to do. Bravo!

Regarding snipping, I don't think simultaneous multiple snips along the edge of the frenum will speed up the process much. The reason I say that is because the strings of tendon are piled up on top of each other in the frenum by the thousands, and snipping in multiple places at the same time may be snipping mostly the same string multiple times, which will not produce additional new freedom for the tongue once the string is snipped in one place. Except for a slight increased risk of infection, it certainly doesn't hurt to try though.

It takes some time for new strings of tendon to come up and present themselves once a string has been snipped. It is an interesting phenomenon that occurs with snipping which is mentioned in lesson #108. Once a snip is taken, then there is healing for a few days. At the same time, kechari practice stretches it out. Then the unsnipped tendons underneath are stretched to the surface, presenting a clear target for the next snip. The more days that pass, the more prominent the edge of the new tendon string becomes. Taking this snipping, healing, and stretching new strings to the surface approach results in steady progress over time, and with little to no pain or bleeding, because the stretched tendon strings come up to the surface with an edge like a callous that can be snipped easily. It is as though the frenum was designed to be trimmed in this way.

All the while we are going higher, and soon ravishing the secret spot!


Q: Ah, is that the way it works?

I had imagined that the pieces of the broken strings separate but join again with scar tissue, the scar tissue producing extra length. For that reason, I had thought that multiple-snippings along the length would help. Do you know that idea to be wrong? (You know, it might be. I think I heard that tendon never heals....)

Your description of how it works is very helpful. This tells me that whereas there may be little to be gained by snipping **along** a tendon, if I were to do a series of snips in a line **across** the tendon, in that way snipping distinct fibers, it would probably speed it up...

To help avoid infection, I use antiseptic mouthwash before and after the snipping, and I position the snipping between meals so I don't eat for a few hours after. This way I have not experienced even the mildest infection, even in the early days when I made a mistake and snipped a larger piece than I should have. When the snips are small enough I find that the surface is never even sore, it is just slightly more sensitive.

"...All the while we are going higher, and soon ravishing the secret spot!"

Oh yes! I'm looking forward to that! : )


A: Without kechari practice for weeks or months, there can be a tightening up of fleshy tissue under the tongue. This is easily stretched out again once kechari resumes. Once a tendon string is snipped, it won't reconnect to itself or anything else that presents a strong limitation. Once a tendon string is snipped there will not be much there to hold the tongue down that can't be easily stretched at any time in the future.

Make sure you stay in the middle when snipping. It is recommended that you not venture far from the center edge. The path of least resistance in the stretched tendon is there. If you go too far to either side, you run the risk of getting into the arteries in the tongue. It is not very likely, but that is obviously not the direction we want to be going in.

Someone wrote a few months ago suggesting that there is risk of cutting an artery when snipping any part of the frenum. It is not so, as long as we stay on the stretched edge of the tendon string in the center with our tiny step-by-step snipping.


Q: That makes it really clear to my engineer's mind. I'll make afew snips across the tendon. I'd never go near the blood-vessels, don't worry.

I only snip what shows up as taught when I pull out the tongue. In fact, I've taken to pulling it out, drying the underside and marking the taut, hard high-tension spot with a non-toxic laundry marker! Then only the marked spot is eligible for snipping. I find the actual snipping is easier when the tongue is not pulled out. I use a hand-held cosmetic mirror in strong light, turn the tip of the tongue to the roof of my mouth and put the cuticle scissors in and snip the marked spot.


A: Sounds good (except you probably don't need the laundry marker). Carry on at your own safe speed.

The guru is in you.

Note: For instructions on kechari mudra, see the Asanas, Mudras and Bandas book.

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