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Lesson 288 - Yoni Spinal Breathing Pranayama
- Balancing Energy in the Head
Date: Mon Nov 6, 2006 4:13 pm
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
will recall from lesson 281 that we combined the nose
closing aspect of yoni mudra kumbhaka with the chin pump (dynamic
jalandhara) technique to create "yoni chin pump," a compact and powerful
hybrid practice. You may wish to review that lesson before continuing here.
Now we will offer the option to take another element
of yoni mudra and add it to our spinal breathing pranayama practice.
The element of practice
we will use is the gentle nudging of the eyes with the index fingers from
the lower outside corners of the eye sockets inward and upward toward the
point between the eyebrows, or the center brow, as we sometimes call it. See
lesson 91 for the particulars of this aspect of
practice. We don't close the nostrils in this case, or use other aspects of
yoni mudra practice. We just use the finger/eye maneuver and continue with
our spinal breathing practice as originally instructed in lesson 41.
We can continue with whatever other
practices (siddhasana, mudras & bandhas) we have been doing along with our
Regarding what to do with
the arms while doing the finger/eye maneuver during our spinal breathing
pranayama, the answer is - whatever is comfortable. Some may like to keep
the elbows up, or resting on something. Others may like to let the elbows
hang down to the sides of the torso, or rest easily against the torso.
Whatever works best for us is what we should do. The only criterion is that
we be comfortable so we are not unduly distracted from our spinal breathing
practice. Like with any other practice we add for integration during spinal
breathing (and we have added a bunch), there will likely be a "clunky
period" where things feel a bit strange - new physical positioning, new
energies flowing, etc. We just ease in and not force anything, backing off
if it is too much, and come back to the practice addition as and when we
feel inspired to. We keep it as light and easy as possible. Gentle
persuasion over time is how we develop the habits of effective application
of additions during spinal breathing, and in all of our other practices, as
What do we gain from adding the nudging of the eyes
during spinal breathing pranayama? Well, several things.
First, at our option, we are increasing the time
that this element of yoni mudra is applied. If comfortable, we can use it
for the full duration of our spinal breathing session, which can be five,
ten, or more minutes, depending on what our current practice is, based on
what the build-up of our practice has been over time. If it is not
comfortable to use the finger/eye maneuver for the full duration of our
spinal breathing session, we can discontinue it at any time along the way,
and complete our spinal breathing without it. This is how we handle the
addition of any practice during spinal breathing - no forcing.
Second, if there has been
some ecstatic conductivity rising in the nervous system, the finger/eye
maneuver will tend accentuate it, sometimes dramatically. This happens
because gently nudging the eyes in this way (along with adding a slight
furrow of the center brow via sambhavi mudra) greatly increases stimulation
of the ajna (third eye) area of the brain. This is the neurobiology
extending from the center brow (in front of the pituitary gland) back to the
center of the brain (pineal gland) and down into the medulla oblongata
(brain stem). As we know, the physical positioning of the eyes can have a
dramatic effect on the energy flow in the head. The finger/eye maneuver
increases this effect.
Third, if there have been some energy obstructions
in the head, which spinal breathing alone has not been able to dissolve in a
timely fashion, adding the finger/eye maneuver can help to dissolve such
obstructions and improve the balance of energy flow in the head. Common
energy symptoms like pressure at the brow, at the back of the head, or
elsewhere in the head, can be relieved by adding the finger/eye maneuver, in
Like with any other practice we discuss, self-pacing
is very important in considering adding the finger/eye maneuver to our
spinal breathing. We should be well established in our routine of spinal
breathing and deep meditation practice, and should also be comfortable with
yoni mudra kumbhaka and the other mudras and bandhas, as well. In other
words, this new hybrid practice is for those who already have good
experience with all of the practices discussed previously in these lessons.
What we are doing here is refining our practice to be more effective and
efficient. As with all of our practices, our comfort and safety with this
new addition will depend primarily on our ability to self-pace what we are
doing in relation to resulting experiences. If our current practices are not
smooth and stable, we should not take on new practices. On the contrary, if
there is roughness in our practices or daily living, we should be
self-pacing - reducing practices until our routine has become stable and
daily living is reasonably smooth.
A question may arise, if we are already doing yoni
chin pump, and are now enhancing our spinal breathing to include the
finger/eye maneuver, is it still necessary to be doing yoni mudra kumbhaka
as a separate practice? This is really the practitioner's call. Yoni mudra
kumbhaka may be continued in the established time slot during the overall
routine of practices. Or it can be discontinued if both yoni chin pump and
yoni spinal breathing are in use. Between these two hybrid practices, all of
the elements of yoni mudra are covered - finger/eye maneuver (in spinal
breathing) and kumbhaka (breath suspension in chin pump) integrated with
siddhasana and the rest of the mudras and bandhas. So it is up to you. For
those on the go, there can be a time savings in using the two hybrid
practices and not doing yoni mudra kumbhaka as a separate practice. If we
choose to save some time by not doing yoni mudra kumbhaka as a separate
practice, we can still maintain the time of the elements of yoni mudra by
using them in chin pump and spinal breathing. In fact, we can increase the
time of finger/eye maneuver by using it in spinal breathing, because, for
most of us, spinal breathing is a longer session in our routine than yoni
mudra kumbhaka is.
On the other hand, those devoted to the practice of
yoni mudra kumbhaka should not feel they must streamline their practice with
the hybrid methods. In fact, both kinds of practice can be done in a single
routine. Just make sure to self-pace as necessary. Adding the hybrid
practices while keeping yoni mudra kumbhaka in place will be equivalent to
"doubling up" yoni mudra practice. While we'd all like to go as fast as
possible along the road to enlightenment, sometimes less will be more in our
practice routine. All who have been doing this for a while know this from
direct experience. Self-pacing in practices is very important to maintain
good progress with comfort.
Finally, yoni chin pump and yoni spinal breathing
pranayama are not being presented as core practices in AYP, and can be
passed by entirely, if need be. In fact, this is true of everything in the
lessons. This is a self-directed approach, and the practitioner is always in
the driver's seat. Like everything else in the lessons, the hybrid practices
are optional enhancements we can use as we may be inspired by our own bhakti
More refinements and
additions to practices will be offered as we continue to step forward along
the road of applied yoga science.
Wishing you all the best
on your chosen path. Enjoy!
The guru is in you.
See this complete instructional lesson and all the expanded and interactive AYP Plus lessons at:
Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.
For instructions on
mudras and bandhas, see the Asanas,
Mudras and Bandas book. Also see
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