Tag Archive: Love


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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To be a Bhakti Yogi is to be utterly in love with life itself.

Drunken Krishna plays the drums

A few weeks ago I passed a Krishna devotee on the street. As I passed him I noticed a natural and completely subconsciously occurring smile creep onto my face. Then I looked around and noticed everyone else passing him had that same warm smile on their faces too. That was a nice experience but what was even nicer was watching what happened when a drunk guy walked over and started playing on the devotee’s drum.

Instead of walking away or getting angry and pushing the drunk guy to the side, the Krishna devotee allowed him to use his drum (which sounded awful, I might add), and as the drunk guy began to play, the Krishna devotee changed the rhythm of his singing to match the new dodgy drum beat. After a few minutes they both ended up laughing and having a great time, as did the crowd that gathered to watch 🙂

Reflection

It was only later when I reflected on what Bhakti yoga was that I understood what happend that day. The Bhakti yogi is in a constant state of meditation. His mind flows towards the object of his devotion like a river towards an ocean.

For the realised devotee, playing that drum and singing with the drunk guy was like playing and singing with Krishna himself, because the true Bhakti yogi sees his beloved in everyone and in everything.

The Yogi Science of Bhakti

In Bhakti Yoga the idea is to find a thing (an object, person, deity, guru, concept) that you feel infinite love towards, and to focus your love and devotion on that thing for every waking moment. Every thought, word, and action reminds the yogi of the object of his devotion. For example, you may be a follower of Krishna (although you don’t have to be a follower of anyone, Krishna is just an example). You focus your mind on Krishna no matter what you are doing. If you’re singing a song, you imagine you’re singing to krishna. You imagine that the song is Krishna. If you’re eating, you imagine that the food is Krishna. As you breathe, you imagine billions of particles (at the centre of each is krishna) flowing in and out of your lungs.

When the Bhakta feels intense love and devotion towards his chosen object, and he thinks of that object every moment of the day, he becomes infused with the emotions he feels towards it. His mind becomes focused and one pointed until it merges with the object of his attention. Bhakti is indeed a fast-track path to achieving yoga, if you’re so inclined.

Have a look at this previous post on meditation see just how this works.

Adding more Bhakti yogins to the world can only make everyone’s life better 🙂

To finish the title of the post. Put a little love in your heart, and the world will be a better place…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh1-ObRCsps 😉

If your mind is your reality, and mind is a stream of thoughts, then your state of mind (the thoughts you’re having) is reflected back to you by your reality. Smile, not just with your lips, but with your mind too 🙂

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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.

Choosing a better reality

Isn’t it amazing how our inner state is always reflected in our outer environment. It’s like, if you wake up in a grumpy mood, your entire reality seems to reflect that grumpiness, whereas, if you wake up feeling happy and energised, the world seems like a brighter and much more welcoming place.

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Well, according to neuroscience, if we repeat a thought often enough, that thought becomes a belief, which manifests as a state of being. So healthy, happy thoughts generate a happy, healthy state of being. And because our outer reality reflects our inner state of being… well, the effects speak for them selves.

With this in mind, I’ve set myself the intention of spending at least two minutes generating a happy, peaceful state of mind every morning before I step one foot out of my bed. Then at night, just before I go to sleep I plan on doing the same thing.

*The photo is of my very cool, happy two year old daughter, Aoife. A great reminder of this principle 🙂

A very short video I just made, to demonstrate kechari mudra (since I’ve been talking so much about it). I’ll post a bit more about it over the weekend, and then move on to other interesting practices 🙂

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I’d been meditating from the age of 12, and over the years had heard rumours and whispers of some mysterious place in the body that, when found and activated, was capable of unlocking the untapped potential of the human mind, catapulting the meditator into states of inner bliss, where he/she would experience oneness with all things. Since I first heard of its existence, I thought such a point was nothing more than a myth, just another story told to encourage spiritual seekers to stay on their path. That was until, as if by some strange twist of fate, at the age of 26, I experienced the effects of this point directly for myself.
 
 
It is said in the ancient Yogic texts of India that when the spiritual force, called Kundalini, rises up through the body, the tongue rolls back and the eyes turn in as the spiritual eye opens and the yogi enters through the door of Brahman to realise his/her true self. Ok, so that’s all a bit esoteric. Let’s see if we can get our heads around what I just wrote by changing our perspective and looking at it in terms of reverse engineering the body and mind.
 
Reverse engineering the awakened mind
As the mind begins to expand and wake up, its physical counterpart, the brain, goes through many structural and functional changes in a process called neuroplasticity. While these changes are happening in the brain, the body responds by changing and refining its own biological processes. As Yogis and Yoginis of the past went through the natural awakening process, catalysed by their meditative practices, they noticed many physical phenomena occuring in their body, phenomena that were caused by changes in their brain. Yogis, understanding that the brain and body are interconnected and comunicating in a two way process, realised that just as the awakened brain can change the body, an awakened body could just as effectively change the brain and, incidentally, trigger the expansion of the mind. It was from this understanding that the physical sciences of yoga were born.
 
So what are the physical body symptoms of an awakened mind? Well, the list is long, far too long for a single blog post, so instead of listing and explaing them all, I’ll name a few important ones and then focus on one that’s particularly significant to the awakening process. The following are a few important awakening symptoms of the physical body:
 
  • Spontaneous postures (asanas) and hand positions (mudras).
  • Severe, spontaneous changes in breathing patterns, ranging from rappid to extremely slow respiratory cycles.
  • Complete cessation of the breathing cycle for long periods of time.
  • Extreme changes in body temperature.
  • Spontaneous internal muscle contractions, called Bandhas.
Of all these symptoms, the one I’ll look at here is the spontaneous, internal muscle contractions called Bandhas. There are many Bandhas that have been recognised by traditional Yoga as vital ellements to the awakening process. The most important of these are Moola Bandha (contraction of the perineal muscles), Uddiyana Bandha (Contraction of the abdominal muscles), Jalandhara Bandha (contraction of the neck muscles), Kechari mudra (contraction of the tongue), and Shambavi mudra (contraction of the eyes). And of these, it is said that Kechari mudra is the king.
 
As the nervous system undergoes cleansing and physical changes, various muscle groups within the body are stimulated to contract in very specific ways. These contractions are what I’ve described as the Bandhas, above. As the bandhas are engaged, various parts of the brain and, therefore, mind are stimulated, which, over time, leads to expanded states of awareness. 
 
Kechari Mudra
Kechari mudra, described as king of the mudras, is the name used to describe a peculiar phenomenon in which the tongue moves back, behind the soft palate, and up into the nasal cavity where it rests against a point on the septum, otherwise known as the door of Brahman. It is this point on the septum that can catapult the yogi/yogini into super conscious states of extasy and bliss.  
 
A personal experience of Kechari Mudra
My experience of Kechari was a spontaneous one. But I’ve already described that experience in my previous post. So instead of writing it out again, let me talk about the after effects of the Kechari experience.
 
For months after my initial awakening, my tongue would spontaneously move into the kechari mudra position. During these mini awakening episodes, which often lasted for half an hour or more, I experienced dream like states accompanied by wave after wave of blissful, orgasmic energy washing over my body. All of these effects are great when in the safety of a meditation room, but not so safe, as I would come to realise, when they happen in the outside world. While in those dream like states, there were many occasions where I was brought back to my normal senses by the distant sound of a car horn, to find myself wandering across a busy road.
 
After a few months of spontaneous Kechari, I gained control over it, and was able to apply it at will. But by this time I’d gotten used to the energy flow it induced and was able to function normally while in an uplifted state of awareness. 
 
Some of the other notable things triggered by the practice of Kechari only began to kick in at a later stage, about six months after I first experienced it. One such effect was the unusual but definite connection made between my head and genitals. This was experienced as a type of orgasm. When my tongue entered the nasal cavity to touch the door of Brahman, it triggered a spasm of my perineal muscles. This would last for as long as I left my tongue in that position, and was enhanced by turning my eyes inward to look up at the location of my thrd eye. For all you knowledgable Yogis, this perineal muscle spasm is a dynamic form of moola Bandha, but very subtle and completely unforced.
 
Accompanying the activation of my perineal muscles was another unusual spasm, which I haven’t been able to find a name for in Yogic scriptures. This was the spasm of my soft pallet, which would contract and pulsate around the base of my tongue as my breathing slowed and almost came to a full stop.
 
The accumulated sensation of the kechari mudra practice was what I can only describe as a brain orgasm. This effect resulted in deep states of bliss and inner tranquility which continues to overflow into my surroundings to this day. Ultimately, Kechari leads to a feeling of connectedness to all beings and an ensuing feeling of love towards them.
 
In my next post, I’ll look at some of the other effects of Kechari Mudra and explore its connection to the path of the warrior. Plus, I’ll see if I can upload a short video clip of myself demonstrating Kechari mudra 😉
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND MUCH LOVE TO ALL OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES 🙂
 
P.S, The image in this post was taken from www.sanatanamitra.com
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