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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.
Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.
Lesson 288 - Yoni Spinal Breathing Pranayama
Balancing Energy in the Head
Date: Mon Nov 6, 2006 4:13 pm
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
You 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 dont
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 spinal
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 well.
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 moderation.
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 practitioners 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 wed 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 drivers 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.
For instructions on
mudras and bandhas, see the Asanas,
Mudras and Bandas book.
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