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Ida, Pingala and Kundalini
AYP Plus Additions:
381.1 - Gopi Krishna
and Unbalanced Kundalini Awakenings (Audio)
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
and Pingala Related Lessons Topic Path
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.