Tag Archive: Awareness


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.

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 🙂

Be Still

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One connection I’ve become acutely aware of from my meditation practice, and more recently from a half hour stint remaining completely still under a gamma x-ray machine,  is how the body mirrors the mind.

As the mind quietens, the body has a tendency to become less active. When the mind becomes completely still, all outer, gross muscle movements in the body seem to stop. Stillness in the mind seems to permeate both the mental a physical levels of being.

I took this understanding and applied the concept of reverse engineering to it. The idea here being that if I still my body through a process of systematic relaxation, that stillness should work its way into my mind. And guess what? It worked. Stilling my body stilled my mind. Though I have to say, it didn’t surprise me in the slightest. After all, the body and mind are intimately connected, locked in an unending dance with one another from birth until death. A dance in which the mind sometimes leads the body, and the body sometimes leads the mind.

Give it a try.

BE STILL 🙂

samurai

Joy and combat. Trust a martial art enthusiast to make a connection between those two words. But interestingly, they go together, hand in hand. You see, when someone is engaged in combat, their attention is fully focused on their opponent’s every movement, as it happens in the moment. When in the heat of combat, there simply isn’t any time to reminisce on the past or worry about the future. There is only what’s happening now. Learning to fight, counter-intuitively, taught me how to relax and be present. Combat, for me, has become a type of meditation.

There’s an unexpected serenity to be found in the heat of battle.

Because the warrior’s mind is focused in the present, combat induces an unexpected calm, a type of joyful serenity in the mind of the warrior. This is probably why most people are pleasantly surprised when they meet someone training in the warrior arts. Instead of the aggressive, testosterone fueled monster they expect to meet, they’re greeted by a calm, and unusually present individual.

Of course, you don’t have to go out and start a fight just to experience a serene, and joyful mind. You just have to focus on what you’re doing right now. Mindfulness. That’s the key to a happy life.

The simple path

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Sweeping the floor, watching your breath, drinking a cup of tea; whatever you like to do, pay attention to it.

The more focused on the present moment we become, the more our state of awareness expands. When the mind is caught up in thoughts of the past or future, it can’t be fully aware of what’s happening in the moment. Training the mind through focused concentration, brings us into that rare moment where we experience full awareness. Training the mind to do this is as simple as bringing your attention to what you are doing. Although, that’s not really as simple as it seems, is it? 🙂

What is reality?

Brilliant video. We really don’t know shit!

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Many years ago, when I first became interested in the esoteric elements of yoga, I remember looking through dozens of texts and noticing a strange recurring theme. Throughout the texts I saw paintings of yogis depicted as being in a deep state of Samadhi, with their eyes crossed and directed up towards the centre of their forehead.

It turns out that the yogis in those images weren’t just pulling funny faces, they were applying a simple yet powerful consciousness expanding technique known as shambavi mudra. Applying this simple technique of turning the eyes up towards the centre of the forehead allowed these explorers of consciousness to open their mind’s eye and see the unity and the oneness of everything.

Shambavi mudra can be looked at on two levels; they are the external, physical level, and the internal, mental level. In this post I’ll describe the physical level, as understanding and learning how to apply it lays the foundation for practising on the mental level.

The Physical level of Shambavi

In the same way that Yogis noticed the other bandhas and mudras occurring spontaneously throughout their body as their mind began to awaken, they also observed how, when they entered a deep state of meditation, their eyes would naturally roll up and in towards the centre of their forehead. It seems that this natural movement of the eyes, in response to the mind entering deeper states of awareness and expansion, has the affect of bringing the two hemispheres of the brain into harmony with each other, creating a unity and synergy between all parts of the brain.

With this understanding of shambavi mudra, it’s interesting to see how an awakened mind is often symbolised by closed eyes turned up towards a single, opened eye in the centre of the forehead. Symbolically, this represents the neurological integrative affect shambavi has upon the brain, and the subsequent awareness of unity and oneness that arises in the mind.

Practice:

  1. Sitting or lying in a comfortable position, bring your index finger to a central point in front of your face, level with your eyes.
  2. Focus your eyes on the point of your finger.
  3. Keeping your eyes focussed on the tip of your finger, slowly move your finger to touch the point just above the bridge of your nose, where the third eye is often depicted as being situated.
  4. Once you have reached the position described in step 3, maintaining your eyes in that position, close your eye lids as your remove your finger and bring your hand to rest in your lap.

The effects of this practice, although happening mostly in the background, manifest in a specific way. Over time, as the eye position of shambavi integrates the brain’s hemispheres and begins to stimulate and activate specific areas of the brain, the practitioner begins to see a light in the centre of his/her forehead. The longer the practice is used, the stronger the new neurological connections become. The affect of this neurological strengthening is a growing intensity in the brightness of the inner light in the head.

Integration

When we integrate shambavi mudra into our bandha and meditative practices we are greatly enhancing their affects on the awakening body and mind. Eventually, when we practice our meditation in conjunction with shambavi, the mind becomes completely absorbed in the light in the head. When we reach this point in our practice, the mind expands and we see ourselves in everything and everything in us.

One Love ❤

My disappearing body

All this week I’ve had the feeling of living in a dream, of being completely disconnected from what I would normally call reality. And although I can’t find the words to portray exactly what I’m experiencing, I can best describe it as a type of doing without doing, thinking without thinking. It’s like this body is moving, acting and reacting, and the mind is thinking, but it’s not me. I’m simply watching it all happen. Even thinking about these words I’m typing, and the act of physically using the keyboard on the laptop in front of this body I call my own, doesn’t feel real. It’s like I’m observing it all from behind the curtain of the mind. 

Oh words are so meaningless. They completely fail me at times like this.

Dissolving in light

Tonight, during meditation, as I felt my body becoming lighter, I perceived a brightness, an intense light, filling my physical form. It was like my body was a balloon filling with helium. Becoming lighter and lighter with every breath. Soon after this, I began to notice parts of my body disappearing, until eventually there was no body. There was only light. I was light.  

As I regained the sense of body, it was as if I was in the body but at the same time all around it. It is a strange sensation. It feels similar to the awakening I experienced a number of years ago, only the intensity is far milder. Anyway, I just thought I’d share. 

Next post will be on Shambavi Mudra, an important step in reverse engineering the awakening process. 

Although I’m feeling separate from everything at the moment, paradoxically, I’ve never felt so connected. With this, there comes a feeling of immense love and compassion welling up from the depths of my being. 

Wishing every one of you much love and happiness 🙂

Namaste

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.

IMG_1151Uddiyana bandha awakens the emotional centres of the brain and allows the heart to expand. It can be applied in one of two ways. The first and most commonly used method is to apply it while holding the breath out. While the second method is to apply it while the breath is being held in.

Here’s the basic method:

  1. Sitting or standing, place your hands on your knees.
  2. Take a deep breath in, then fully exhale all of the air from your lungs.
  3. Holding the air out, bend forward slightly and, pushing down on your knees, draw your abdomen back in and up, towards your spine.
  4. Hold this position for as long as is comfortable. Then contract your abdomen and slowly inhale. Repeat steps 1 to 4.

When first starting this practice stick with five repetitions t the most, then gradually increase. While the effects on the physical body are obvious, what’s happening to the nervous system, brain and subtle energies isn’t so obvious. As I said before, Uddiyana bandha lights up the emotional centres of the brain. So it’s probable that you’ll experience an emotional type of cleansing once you start using the practice regularly. Although in the beginning this can feel a bit like regressing back to your teenage years, it eventually settles down and when it does your emotions become much more stable and are expressed without attachment. So slow and steady is the best practice.

Now for the second method:

Sitting or standing, place your hands on your knees.

  1. Begin to inhale, and as you do, draw your abdomen in and up towards your spine. Hold this position for as long as you can comfortably hold your breath.
  2. Exhale while allowing your abdomen to relax into its normal position. And that’s it.

So why use the second method? Well applying uddiyana bandha in this way allows us to combine it with mula bandha to create a powerful pumping action on the subtle energies of the body. this way Uddiyana becomes a very dynamic practice that has a powerful stimulating effect on the mind’s evolution and expansion into self realisation.

Tip

I like to do a few rounds of the basic form of Uddiyana bandha first thing in the morning before any other practices. This creates space for the lungs to expand during breathing techniques and calms the mind in preparation for meditation.

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