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Advanced Yoga Practices
Main Lessons
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Lesson 381 - Ida, Pingala and Kundalini Awakening  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
381.1 - Gopi Krishna and Unbalanced Kundalini Awakenings
  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: February 4, 2010

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 This Discussion?"


Q: It has been my understanding that before kundalini starts up the sushumna (central channel), the ida and pingala nadis must "balance," indicated by both the nostrils flowing easily all the time. Is this understanding right? The reason why I am asking this is, for as long as I can remember before starting AYP, one of my nostrils used to be blocked all the time (alternately). However, probably due to the intensity and regularity of practice for 18 months, I notice that both nostrils are clear most of the time now. I have more peace, but still no kundalini awakening here. Can you comment on the importance of balancing ida and pingala, and their role in kundalini awakening?

A: In the AYP approach, balancing of the side nadis (ida and pingala) is regarded more as effect than cause with the all-encompassing practices we are using deep meditation and spinal breathing pranayama especially. Focusing on managing particular energy relationships in the neurobiology is not much a part of AYP. We do it in big (global) ways that cultivate natural awakening. Ecstatic conductivity will come when it is time. With the cultivation of abiding inner silence, it too is effect.

The more important measurement of your practice is in how you are feeling in everyday activity. Is there more peace, happiness, productivity, inclination to inquire and serve others? These are far more important indicators than energy symptoms. The symptoms of energy movement are only signs of friction from remaining inner obstructions, after all. When the obstructions become much less, there is just unending happiness and outpouring divine love, no matter what may be happening around us in the temporal world.

The opening of your nostrils sounds like a good sign, a symptom of inner balance. An effect. Not that we should be monitoring our nostrils all the time, or anything else. Just practice and go out and live fully. That is the ticket.

The thing about enlightenment is that it is not something we can acquire or manage. It is something that happens as we let go in stillness as we remain engaged in daily life. In active surrender mode it is something we are constantly giving away.

Letting go does not mean we drop our practices or our activities. In fact, we may be doing more of both as the flow of bhakti and divine love increase. It gradually becomes less about our doing (even while doing) and more about our surrender to the process occurring within and through us.

So, perhaps release a bit on wanting a particular outcome, and let go more into the doing. It is a paradox ... a complete loss of control is the gaining of everything. This is where our practices are leading. It is okay to relax with it. Let it go and enjoy.

My experience has been that, like most things in life, kundalini awakening is not all or none. It is a matter of degrees. Progress depends on a willingness to proceed on that basis without a guarantee of the "perfect awakening."

Kundalini can be active to one degree or other whether ida and pingala are balanced or not. On one extreme, kundalini can be much more in one of the side channels than sushumna the case of Gopi Krishna (a pingala imbalance) is a notable example. On the other extreme, there can be perfect balance between ida and pingala and it is all seamlessly flowing in the sushumna (central spinal channel). The vast majority of kundalini awakenings fall somewhere in-between, with things gradually finding balance over time in relation to our activities in life. No one starts with a perfectly balanced kundalini awakening. At least I am not aware of anyone who did. Rather, it evolves gradually from wherever it starts, as we integrate our inner developments into our outer life.

So when a someone says, you must balance your ida and pingala before raising kundalini, or you must do it in order to raise kundalini, they are talking about an idealized path that does not exist. It simply doesn't work like that.

First, we cannot manually manage the minute details of our inner energies. If anyone ever tells you they can do that for you, run the other way! Second, we do not decide when kundalini will become active. When it is ready to happen, it happens, ida and pingala fully balanced or not.

What we can do is attend to the overall purification and opening of the inner neurobiology from the deepest levels within us in a balanced way, which will facilitate all of these things to occur naturally over time. In this case, the degree of overall purification, opening and balance in the nervous system (including ida and pingala) will be sufficient to support a progressive and safe kundalini awakening.

Some have argued that, in order to balance ida and pingala, nadi shodana pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) should be undertaken for an extended period of time before any other forms of pranayama are learned. These arguments come even though experience has shown again and again that spinal breathing pranayama is highly effective for balancing ida and pingala, and is a much more effective and safe ecstatic conductivity stimulator as well. For more on this, nadi shodana is discussed in relation to spinal breathing pranayama in an addition to Lesson 41.

Ida and pingala were discussed previously in Lesson 90 from the AYP point of view more about their role in the natural emergence of ecstatic conductivity and radiance than about trying to manage them. Ida and pingala play a key role in manifesting the fruit (effects) of the natural evolutionary process that we call human spiritual transformation.

The guru is in you.

Ida and Pingala Related Lessons Topic Path
Gopi Krishna Related Lessons Topic Path

Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum

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

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