Advanced Yoga Practices
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Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 193 - Extending Practice Time Safely  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
193.1 - Why Not Meditate Every 2-3 Hours?
193.2 - Can I Make it with Deep Meditation and Samyama Only?

From: Yogani
Date: Tue May 18, 2004 2:08pm

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: On last Sunday, I had much spare time. During meditation, I doubled the duration. At last, I could feel and hear the heart beat in my head. Should I always meditate longer than 20 minutes for better result?

A: Thank you for writing and sharing.

Your spiritual enthusiasm (bhakti) is wonderful, and you can use it to enhance your practices for sure. However, it can be hazardous to suddenly lengthen your meditations greatly beyond the 20 minute guideline. Any change should be done very gradually, only five minutes at a time, with each step stabilized and sustained as part of your regular routine over weeks and months, with 30 minutes meditation time being a reasonable limit. It is not good to jump the meditation time around every day and week. If you overdo beyond that, you could have too many obstructions coming out and run into discomfort, irritability in daily activity, etc. See Lesson 159 for an example of this kind of difficulty in meditation time management.

There is a way to systematically increase meditation and all practices if you have no responsibilities on a weekend, holiday, or are retired. This is to repeat your entire routine a second time in the morning -- adding one routine of practice for one or two days on a weekend or holiday, or possibly doing this ongoing if retired or on extended retreat. This adds huge purification and deeper momentum in spiritual progress. Being free of responsibilities is very important to do this, or it can also lead to discomfort and unpleasant experiences because so much is being released from inside. If you do three routines in a day it is important to have some light activity, like casual walking and gentle (social) satsang during the afternoon and evening. This light activity helps balance the process of release of obstructions from the nervous system. 

For two morning routines, the sequence of practices is asanas, pranayama (all doing to date), meditation, samyama (if doing), yoni mudra, rest (at least 10 minutes lying down)... and then start over.

In the evening only one routine should be done, so it is three full routines of practice in a day. 

So, if you are ambitious, you can try that. Don't be surprised if a lot is coming loose inside. Advanced yoga practices are deceptively simple and very powerful -- especially deep meditation. If releases are ever too much, then back off practices to a more stable routine immediately. 

Always keep self-pacing in mind, especially when you are undertaking new practices or stepping up to longer times of practice. 

I wish you all success on your chosen spiritual path. 

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on building a practice routine with self-pacing, and on increasing practices during retreats, see the AYP Eight Limbs of Yoga book and the AYP Retreats Book, and AYP Plus.

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