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Advanced Yoga Practices
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 75 - Siddhasana - Living in a Fountain of Ecstasy (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
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?"
Okay, we are ready to move on to some more advanced yoga practices.
We are crossing over here into practices that are decidedly more aggressive. Before taking on any of these, it is essential that you be stable in the practices previously undertaken. If you jump right into these new practices without meditation, pranayama, and the rest very comfortably in place, not much good will come of it. Make sure you are in tune with your unique time line. You may spend years in the other practices before you feel ready for these very advanced yoga practices coming up, and that is perfectly all right. Rome was not built in a day.
By "aggressive," we mean more focused on stimulating prana in the body. While this means more pure bliss consciousness moving and more ecstasy coming up in us, it also means more purification in the nervous system. More purification means more stuff loosening and coming out from inside, and discomfort is possible. Always gauge your practices and lifestyle to keep at a stable rate of purification. We are always looking to balance our routine so it results in maximum spiritual progress while maintaining smoothness in daily life. How we feel outside practices during the day is the best measure. This has been said over and over, and can't be said enough. It is a fact of life for anyone seriously treading the path of yoga. You could call it the fine art of housecleaning without making a mess.
Having said all that, let's delve into it.
If you are still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after all we have been through so far, you will be a natural for what is coming up. And you will love every minute of it. Either that, or you will be crying, "This is outrageous!" Maybe you will be doing both at the same time - loving the outrageous.
Siddhasana is the next step in our integration of practices. It means, "seat of the perfected ones." You will recall way back in lesson #33, we talked about "a new way of sitting" in meditation. You may wish to go back and review that lesson now.
We are going to take what was discussed in lesson #33 a step further. We said there that it would be good to become comfortable using a cross-legged position while meditating, tucking the toes under the opposite legs a bit with the feet turned partially upside down. This is best done on a soft surface, like a bed, and with back support. This applies in both pranayama and meditation.
Now we are going to bring the inner foot further under and put our heel under our perineum. We will be sitting on our heel there with the top of our foot lying almost flat on the bed. It is not a good idea to try this while sitting on a hard surface.
It is not necessary to put all of our weight on the heel. If we are using back support, as recommended, we can lean back a bit and find a reasonably comfortable position where we are sitting with our heel firmly against our perineum. Not too firm, not too light. We can use either foot underneath, and can switch them for comfort as necessary, as discussed in lesson #33. As with all new practices we take on, there will be a "clunky" stage, where it feels a bit awkward. This one may feel a lot awkward. Don't let that stop you from learning. It should not take long for you to find that this position is sexually stimulating, and that will add to the clunkiness of it. In the beginning, it will probably be clunky and sexy combined.
We will keep the other foot where it was, tucked under the shin of the leg going under, or we can leave that second leg out straight on the bed at times if this is more comfortable. This is a simplified form of siddhasana. The formal version has the second leg up on top of the first, as in half-lotus, with no back support, and maybe sitting on a hard rock somewhere. It is not necessary to do all that to get the correct effect. That effect is a constant stimulation of sexual energy upward from the perineum during our sitting practices of pranayama and meditation. We want that, and we sit with pressure at the perineum in such a way to deliberately foster it. It is supposed to feel good.
"How can I ever meditate while doing this?" you say. You can. Maybe not in the beginning without some distraction, but it is something you can work into gradually over time. Maybe at first you will only want to be in siddhasana during pranayama, and leave it out during meditation. In time, you will become completely comfortable in siddhasana and even forget that you are doing it throughout practices. It is a training that you are embarking on, a gradual buildup of a habit. There are two kinds of training going on at once, which is what makes learning siddhasana tricky.
First is the physical part of culturing the body into it to the point where it is completely comfortable physically to be in siddhasana. We all know that we can gradually coax the body in a particular direction. If we have managed to get comfortable in crossed legs before now, we know it can be done. If we have not gotten into crossed legs, this form of siddhasana won't be happening easily right now, not in the way just described. But there are other ways to do it. More on that below.
The second kind of training that is going on can be more challenging. That is riding through the sexual feelings that siddhasana creates. What we are doing in siddhasana is training our sexual energy to be comfortable flowing up, opening previously dormant pathways in our nervous system. We do siddhasana during our spiritual practices for two reasons. First is because we are sitting there for our time of pranayama and meditation, and that is automatically a certain amount of time of being in siddhasana as well. That makes siddhasana a regular daily practice like everything else, and we don't have to add any time to our practices to do it. Second, pranayama and meditation interact with the effects of siddhasana to greatly expand the flow of prana and pure bliss consciousness in the nervous system. In addition, we are also doing mulabandha and sambhavi. The integration of all these practices supercharges the process of evolution going on inside us.
Think of sexual energy as being like a wild horse. We want to use this horse for a useful purpose. So what do we do? We get on the wild horse and ride it. It jumps all over the place at first - the proverbial "bucking bronco." But pretty soon, the horse figures out who is in charge, and begins to settle down. It finds a new way of being within the conditions we have created. Then the horse becomes very useful for whatever our purpose has been in training her. This is exactly what siddhasana does. It creates a condition that sexual energy has to accommodate itself to, to our benefit. Our purpose in yoga with regard to sex is to expand its use upward, adding something more in addition to the externally oriented reproductive function. We want to train sex to support our inner spiritual transformation. We have covered this principle in the lessons before when we first discussed kundalini and mulabandha. Now we are taking it a step further. When we cover tantra yoga methods, we will add other things, also leading in this same direction.
As the bucking bronco of sexual energy in siddhasana begins to calm down, our experiences in pranayama and meditation will change dramatically. What was before crazy sexual energy going this way and that, becomes a smooth upward flow of delightful energy, much like a fountain coming up from our root. It is peaceful luminous energy, ecstatic energy that we can sit in indefinitely with comfort. No more bucking bronco. When we get up and go about our daily activities the energy will still be there, even when we are not sitting in siddhasana. Our inner biology relating to prana flow inside will be changing to something much more. We will feel natural with it, being filled with divine light. We will become more self-sufficient in every aspect of life. Then we are in the best position to give to others, because our basic needs will be filled by an overflowing bliss from inside.
So, siddhasana is a very important practice. A tricky one to get established, but well worth climbing the learning curve for.
How long does it take to train the bucking bronco? It depends on the person. It is gradual for most. The first week or two can be crazy. In a month things will be settling a bit. In three months, it will be getting comfortable. In six months to a year there will be stability, and it will become a natural part of everyday life. After a few years, we are used to being bathed in ecstasy all the time, but never taking it for granted. We can sit in siddhasana anytime we want without any distraction - just normal ecstatic bliss. It is normal life with a spiritually awakened nervous system.
All of the effects of advanced yoga practices that have been discussed in these lessons are greatly enriched by siddhasana, and we can go on to more and more. That is the important thing, for there is always more progress to be achieved. A true yogi or yogini never stops, no matter how terrific the experiences get.
During all of this change brought on by siddhasana, we will be keeping our daily pranayama and meditation going just as before. The feelings that come up in siddhasana are treated just like other thoughts and feelings that come up in pranayama and meditation. We just easily favor the practice we are doing, as always. We also keep our practices of mulabandha and sambhavi as before. Siddhasana has a huge effect on the opening of the spinal nerve, and the rise of ecstatic conductivity in it.
For those who are unable to get into crossed legs for any reason, there can still be siddhasana, with the effects created by different means. You can use a prosthetic wherever you sit for pranayama and meditation. Maybe a rubber ball, or a hard little pillow, something that will approximate the pressure of your heel pressing up on your perineum. This is perfectly adequate. You can do it that way. You can avoid having to train your body in the physical bending and so on. You will still be training your sexual energy, which is the point of siddhasana. Everything else will be the same as discussed above. You will just be using a different method to achieve the same results.
If at any point the stimulation is just too much, and it is not possible to meditate or do anything comfortably in practices, it is important to back off. That goes for all advanced yoga practices. We back off when we know we are overdoing, because this is how we avoid falling off the wagon of practices completely. We don't try and be heroic and suffer through excessive difficulties. Always retreat if it gets to be too much. Find your best stable platform of reduced practice, and relax there before trying to move ahead again. You can always come back and pick up where you left off another day.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on siddhasana, see the AYP Asanas, Mudras and Bandhas book, and AYP Plus.
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