Tag Archive: Awakening


Khechari mudra diaries

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There is a sense of deep peace and clarity after the practice. When my eyes open I feel like a new born baby looking at the world and seeing everything for the first time. There are no labels. There is no prejudice. Everything just is.

The following are notes taken from my personal diary. They offer a first hand account of my experience with the practice of khechari mudra and give some insight into what goes on in the body and mind when the tongue is repositioned into the nasopharyngeal cavity.

At first there’s a burning sensation under the base of the tongue and in the pit of the throat (like the beginning of a sore throat) accompanied by tension that spreads from the front of the neck up into the jaw and temple area.

When the tongue first touches the nasal septum there is a light electrical sensation in the tip of the tongue and a sensation in the nasal septum that is so intense it’s as if you’ve snorted a pint of fizzy soda up your nose (think of the sensation you get in the back of your nose just before you sneeze and multiply it by 10). After some time there are various tastes that become noticeable on your tongue, as if a very delicate liquid is trickling into your throat. It’s salty at first but becomes increasingly subtle in it’s taste and consistency. Some of the tastes are metallic (almost like blood), and sweet (but not like sugar, there’s a delicate intensity to the sweetness).

The breath becomes very shallow and slow, almost imperceptible. Breathing out is particularly strange. The out breath is long ( just when you think there’s no more air in your lungs more comes out. It’s like wringing water out of a sponge). When all the air is emptied from the lungs there is no feeling of wanting to inhale. At this point the soft pallet begins to go into spasm and lightly pulsate around the base of the tongue.

There’s a warmth that moves up from the back of the throat, through the head to settle behind the eyes. The warmth grows in intensity until it feels as if your eyes are glowing like hot ambers under your eyelids – it’s not an unpleasant feeling, in fact it’s quite comforting.

The forehead feels as if it’s being sucked into one point between the eyebrows. It’s a strange muscle tension – difficult to recreate without the help of Khechari, but not impossible (I think it’s a naturally occurring form of shambhavi mudra). This is accompanied by a light in the head (that grows in brightness) and a strange warm breeze that constantly blows against the forehead along with a tugging sensation from inside the head that is somehow synchronized with a pulsation of the perineal muscles. The feeling generated by this is similar to a genital orgasm (there is no ejaculation, rather it’s as if the ejaculation becomes internalized and continuous), but it spreads, like an intense warmth, instantly up the spine.

The heart and chest area feel as if they are filling up with excitement (as if you’re about to hear the best news you’ve ever been told, like exciting anticipation). This culminates in the feeling of the heart wanting to explode with love and happiness. In this state there’s love for everything.

There’s a sense of being in your head, as if the rest of your body is separate. This progresses into a feeling of your head expanding like a balloon being pumped up, as if there is infinite space inside your head. And finally, all barriers dissolve to give a sense of infinite expansion and being inseparable from everything- in this moment it’s as if you are one with everything, you are the universe.

There is a sense of deep peace and clarity after the practice. When my eyes open I feel like a new born baby looking at the world and seeing everything for the first time. There are no labels. No prejudice. Everything just is.

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Enlightenment, Awakening, Nirvana, Satori, Samadhi, the list goes on. All these words are synonymous and refer to an event that takes place in an individual’s consciousness, an event of such magnitude that it permanently changes that person’s perception and understanding of reality. It’s the moment where the unreal falls away to reveal a direct perception of REALITY.

For some this awakening comes in an instant, without warning, while for others it happens over the course of a lifetime of meditation and arduous yogic practices. While, to the outsider, this can seem like some mysterious esoteric fantasy designed as an elaborate form of escapism, it is, in fact, a scientifically validated process that yields measurable results.

On a physical, brain, level to understand what goes on in the head of someone going through the process of awakening take a look at the video I posted above. It’s an hour and a half long lecture that’s worth watching for the insight it offers 🙂

Infusing the mind with love

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For the most part people tend to approach life either from a rational, intellectual level or an intuitive, emotional level. It’s rare to find a fully integrated person capable of living life and seeing the world from both perspectives, simultaneously feeling, intuiting and rationalising what they see and do. This is because for most of us there’s a clash between the heart and mind. Yet there doesn’t have to be a clash, we don’t have to choose the heart or the mind. As humans, we’re capable of integrating the rational and the emotional centres of being, and when we do, an entirely new perspective begins to develop, and a new type of intelligence emerges. This is Yoga, a process of joining together and integrating all aspects of our being, a process that happens on a psychological, physiological and energetic level.

Although there are many methods used to integrate our mental and emotional states of being, those ingenious yogis of the past, using their reverse engineering insights gleaned from lifetimes of meditative practice, developed a very simple technique. This technique, capable of building a bridge between heart and mind, is called Jalandhara Bandha.

Practice:

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  1. Sitting in a relaxed posture, begin by focusing on your breath.
  2. As you inhale, tilt your head forward, allowing your chin to drop down onto your chest or as close to it as feels comfortable.
  3. As you exhale, slowly lift your head and tilt it backwards.
  4. Continue in this way for ten breaths. Then relax. Slowly increase the length of time spent doing this exercise and make sure not to move your head too fast as you can damage your neck if you do.

Energetically, Jalandhara Bandha is said to seal the upward flowing prana and reverse its flow in the body, sending it down into the heart. This is an important aspect of yogic theory. Using the language of energy, yogins say, when the upward flowing energy and the downward flowing energy reverse their direction, they fuse together. When these two energies fuse, a third energy is created, that energy is known as kundalini. As kundalini rises, the mind expands into Samadhi. When Jalandhara is integrated with the other bandhas, we create this reverse flow.

Neurologically, Jalandhara stimulates the nerves of the heart and throat, and lights up the frontal lobes and emotional centres in the brain, while on a more physical body level, moving the head in this way increases the pumping action of the other bandhas on the cerebrospinal fluid, further sharpening and clearing the mind while detoxing the brain.

Integrated practice:

  1. As you breathe in, apply Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, and Jalandhara Bandha.
  2. As you breathe out, release all three Bandhas. Continue in this way for ten breaths. Increase the number of breaths slowly. This practice has much deeper effects than are immediately obvious.

Personal experience

My own experience of Jalandhara Bandha was a little uncomfortable, as all of these spontaneous things tend to be. I woke up one morning with a stiff neck. Initially I thought it was caused by a draft in the room or a bad sleeping position. So I got up and went to work. I sat down to begin my workday, and over the period of about half an hour I noticed my neck becoming increasingly tense. Eventually it got to the point where I couldn’t even turn my head. So I went home sick and got into bed. And that’s where I spent the next three days, lying there, in complete stillness. On the third day, I woke up and all the tension in my neck had completely disappeared. It was the morning of that third day, after a short breathing and meditative practice that I had my first kundalini awakening, the awakening I’ve described in my earlier posts.

Awakening the Heart

This is a short animated video I made to Illustrate the flow of energy during the practice of Uddiyana Bandha.

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The body’s innate intelligence is always inclined towards awakening and evolution. We just have to allow it to do what it does best by not getting in its way. 
 
I was nine years old when I first discovered that I could do Uddiyana bandha and nauli kriya, although at the time I had no idea what they were called. In fact, I didn’t even think there were names for these weird belly gymnastics I was able to do. I just started doing them one day and thought they looked cool. I also got a kick from freaking out  my friends and family. It wasn’t till much later that I found out these odd belly maneuvers were actually practices from yoga used to cleanse the organs and stimulate the brain and nervous system as part of the awakening process. With this understanding of what I’d been doing came the realisation that I’d been practicing yoga and preparing my body and mind since before I was even aware that something called yoga actually existed.
 
Awakening the Heart
When we begin the practce of uddiyana bandha, Nauli Kriya, and agni sara, we’re using the diaphragm and abdominal muscles like a pump to draw kundalini up into the heart. Energetically this has an opening or awakening affect, the result of which is a type of hyper intuitive and empathic state of being.
 
As the heart opens it can feel as if it’s simultaneously melting and exploding. This is a sensation that comes in waves, where it builds up, explodes and slowly fades into an after-glow. Then the cycle begins again. As this is happening there’s a sense of a complete outpouring of love from the centre of your being. 
 
Physically, these practices are unmatched in their ability to tone and strengthen the diaphragm and core muscles while massaging all the internal organs, including the heart. Other physical benefits include weight loss and correcting of the posture (another essential element of martial arts and yoga).
 
Awakening
Uddiyana Bandha stimulates and wakes up the mid brain structures, the emotional centres of the brain.
 
Martial connection
In the Warrior traditions of Japan there’s special emphasis placed upon the abdomen. In fact it plays such an important roll not only in martial arts, but in daily life, that the Japanese developed an entire set of exercises and practices which they called Haragei (belly arts).
 
I’ll post more on this subject tomorrow including instructions on how to do Uddiyana, Nauli and agni sara. But before I do that I’m just going to finish a short animation that illustrates the flow of energy during Uddiyana practice, which I’ll include a link for here in just a few minutes 🙂
 

Deepening the energetic flow

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Awakening Kundalini

We can greatly enhance the effects of mula bandha by altering the angle of our pelvis during our practice. To do this, we simply tuck our pelvis forward as we draw the perineal muscles up during the inhalation phase of our breathing cycle.

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Awakening Kundalini

Then, as we exhale and release the muscle contraction of mula bandha, we tilt our pelvis back by sticking out our bum (just a little).

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Awakening Kundalini

This simple, dynamic structural addition to the muscle contraction of mula bandha dramatically increases the stimulation of the pelvic nerve structures, while acting as a pump for the cerebrospinal fluid. The resulting effect is a dramatic increase in the energy flow in the spinal channel (sushumna) along with stronger stimulation of the lower brain structures, resulting in a deeper, more expanded state of mind.

*I just wanted to add this bit of information before moving on to the other bandhas. There are a few other things we can do to enhance the energy flow when practising mula bandha, however, these become more applicable at a later stage.

Enjoy the practice and the energy and peace it brings into your life 🙂

A digital sketch I made to illustrate the flow of Prana induced by certain yogic and martial practices. In yoga they’re called bandhas (seals). I’ll share my understanding of these internal practices during the coming weeks.

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When reading the ancient yogic texts, many references to khechari mudra can be found. All of which indicate that its practice leads to a state of immortality, in which the yogin no longer fears death, disease or suffering, and enters a state of Samadhi.

Disease, death, and sleep do not trouble him who knows khechari mudra, nor hunger and thirst, nor swoon.

-Yoga Chudamani Upanishad

Immortal liquor is the nectar exuding from the moon (pineal gland). It is produced by the fire, which is generated by inserting the tongue into the nasopharyngeal cavity.

-Hathayoga-Pradipika

Always practicing it (kechari) let him drink the ambrosia daily. By this he obtains Vigraha-siddhi (perfect body), and conquers death even as a lion overpowers an elephant.

-Shiva-Samhita

In my own experience of Kechari mudra I’ve yet to experience the absence of hunger, thirst or disease. However, as with many ancient texts, these words aren’t to be taken literally.

Personal experience

For me, in the first few weeks of experiencing kechari mudra, each time my tongue entered my nasopharyngeal cavity, to touch my nasal septum, it felt like an explosion in my brain. If you’ve ever had snuff, it’s a similar sensation, although, at the same time, very different. The thing is, with snuff, you sneeze once or twice and the explosive feeling passes. With Kechari it doesn’t pass, it intensifies until it reaches a point where your brain feels like it’s bubbling over with ecstatic energy. Over time I got used to this sensation and it became a new state of being.

In those early days of my Kechari experience, when my tongue entered the nasopharyngeal cavity, there was a salty taste (probably from post nasal drip). However, to my surprise, this soon changed. Over the following months, various tastes began to manifest. They went from salty to bitter, then mildly sour,  but eventually stabilised to become sweet. This new intense sweetness was accompanied by the sensation of a very light liquid, almost like liquid air, flowing onto my tongue. This is a sensation comes and goes to this day. And I believe it is what the texts refer to as soma, or the liquor of the gods, although I’m not sure if its effects should be taken literally. Such as invulnerability to poison, and conquering death within 15 days. Yet, again, there is some truth to be found in these claims.

Kechari induced realisation

To understand what the yogic texts mean when they refer to kechari as being a means for gaining immortality and overcoming all disease, we need to look at the effects it has, not on the body, but on the mind.

Referring back to my first experience of Kechari mudra, during my initial awakening, the expanded state of mind initiated by the kechari mudra led me to a sense of being beyond, or before, time. It made me realise, through direct experience, that I am not the body or mind; these things are simply manifestations of my LARGER SELF. In having these realisations, the fear of death completely died. The experience of kechari mudra expands the mind and wakes the yogin up to the realization that he/she in his/her pure state, is immortal and impervious to illness. One who’s mind is absorbed in such a state can never die.

Liquor of the gods

In relation to the sweet nectar like liquid that begins to trickle down the tongue we need to think about the process of meditation. With meditative practices, the idea is to train the mind to become one-pointed and focused to the point where it completely dissolves in its object of focus. At this stage we enter Samadhi.

Because of the intense sweetness, I can say from personal experience that absorbing the mind becomes an easy process when focusing on the taste of the body’s very own ‘nectar of immortality,’ the body’s own fountain of youth.

The martial connection 

In Bushido the aim of the warrior is to become one with his/her opponent, blending with his/her thoughts and actions, dissolving any attack before the thought to attack even arises. Similarly, the aim of Yoga is to unite the body and mind and dissolve into the oneness of everything. One method of achieving this is through the practice of Kechari mudra, which generates a deep feeling of love and connectedness to all beings, with the barriers that seperate the yogin from the rest of the world (identifying him as an individual) dissolving in the advanced stages of the practice, resulting in a sense of oneness with all things.

Interestingly, a variation of Kechari mudra is used in many of the warrior traditions, where the tongue is placed in an alternate position, pressing on the point just behind the teeth, on the hard pallet. In Yoga this is called Nabo mudra, which has a much milder effect than Kechari, but is very beneficial all the same.

Have a look here to read about some other experiences I’ve had with Khechari mudra.

FREE Accidental Yogi’s manual/course will be available to read/print on February 3rd 2014. Here’s the link: FREE MANUAL/COURSE

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