Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson T29 - Sleeping Lingam (Audio)
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of this tantra yoga archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "What is tantra yoga?"
I was sitting in Siddhasana during meditation and pranayama, as you instructed: heel at the soft spot of the perineum, not too much pressure applied, pressing mainly up into the perineum. As usual, It didn't feel too awkward, or stimulated. Then, when I ended the session, I had quite a bizarre feeling: I realized that my penis is completely numb! Touching it, I didn't feel any sensation at all. Rather horrified, I immediately got up and started walking hecticly around the room (looking back at it from a few hours' distance, it all seems quite comical, but was definitely scary at the time). After about a minute I started to gradually feel it again. Now it still feels a bit weird, but I guess it should eventually be okay.
Obviously, I was doing something wrong, somehow cutting the blood supply to the area. Could you advise what had it possibly been, and how may it be avoided in the future?
A1: The numbness is from having the heel resting too firmly against the root of the penis compressing it against the back of the pubic bone, putting it to sleep. It isn't harmful. Just back up the heel a little on the perineum and it won't happen. More austere versions of siddhasana go for this all the time, killing any chance of erection during yoga. It isn't necessary. This was discussed in the last lesson on advanced siddhasana.
Q2: About putting the penis to sleep - are you certain it is not harmful? I do know that when an immense pressure is applied on a certain nerve for a long period of time, it may eventually lead to its corruption. I realize that in your recommended form of siddhasana, the pressure isn't very severe. Still, I don't know how may I monitor it during practice. I consider trying to get used to the traditional, "complete" siddhasana pose - in which the body appears to be more static and stable (not dependent on varying levels of back support and leaning back). Do you recommend it?
A2: The penis falling asleep is not more harmful than any other limb falling asleep. Anyway, I don't recommend you sit in such a way that it happens, and more formal versions of siddhasana without back support, etc., may do that. If you are asking me if it is okay to undergo physical effects from a way of sitting that I do not recommend, there is not much I can say. Neither the numbing effect or the formal way of sitting have much to do with our approach in the lessons.
The advantage of using back support is that we can more easily regulate both the angle and pressure of the heel at the perineum by sharing our weight with the pillow behind us. It is easy to get the right effect of siddhasana this way while maintaining comfort, so our attention can go to spinal breathing and meditation. This goes for both men and women.
If you want to go with formal siddhasana, that's fine, but I am not necessarily the right one to ask about it. For whatever it is worth, I think formal siddhasana is not harmful. I did it for many years myself with no ill effects. But, along the way, I found that the same results could be achieved without the extra effort, so I am for informalpractice of siddhasana, especially with so many people needing to learn it for their rapidly advancing yoga these days. Siddhasana is excellent tantra, so let's keep it as easy as possible for everyone.
The more preoccupied we are about things like that, the less attention we have for the very important core practices of meditation and spinal breathing. These require our attention. Siddhasana should not require any attention at all, once comfortably established. It is good to keep the priorities straight. I know you are in the formative stages, and are detail oriented. Still, try and be as easy about all this as possible. There are many more practices to come, and none of them has to be done perfectly. It is the basic principles we wish to take advantage of, without knocking ourselves out. This is supposed to be fun!
You are doing very well, and your feedback is appreciated. Keep going. Your persistence assures your success in yoga.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on the methods of tantra in relation to the broad scope of yoga practices and the enlightenment process, see the AYP Tantra book. For detailed instructions on siddhasana, see the AYP Asanas, Mudras and Bandhas book. Also see AYP Plus.
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