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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson T33 - Q&A Spinal breathing during
Date: Thu Jun 10, 2004 2:48pm
New Members: 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?"
Q: There is a vama (left-handed) form of kriya that is practiced during copulation, called
Cobra breath, which has 4 stages of practice. This appears to be a fast-track method of
the regular kriya, with rapid benefits. Yet in these lessons you have told us to practice
the spinal breath in two sessions outside of tantra practice. But if spinal breath can be
done during tantra practices with immense benefits, then why have you not recommended
spinal breath with sexual practices?
A: Spinal breathing can be done during tantric sex. The reason it has not been covered in
the lessons yet is because I was waiting for someone to ask, and you did! There are
several reasons why we have not jumped into it already. The reasons have been touched on
in the lessons.
First, sexual relations do not lend themselves to being done by the clock -- not at a
certain time twice each day, and not every day without fail.
Second, sexual relations do not lend themselves to being regulated in duration -- so many
minutes of this practice and so many minutes of that practice.
Third, combining sitting practices with tantric sex can lead to additional releases of
obstructions that must be regulated in some way so as not to become excessive.
Fourth, the occurrence of sexual relations is most easily left to serendipity, which is
how it naturally happens. This is not in synch with any of the above, but can be
overridden by the discipline of mutually dedicated practitioners.
The time-related matters are of great importance in yoga. Without regularity and correct
measurement of practices, yoga can quickly fly out of control, and quite a few people in
the main lessons have commented in the Q&As on aspects of experience from sitting
practices related to this. In fact, most of the Q&As are about pacing practices to
accommodate experiences. It can be a tricky business to keep balance in advanced yoga
practices. For this reason, using sexual relations as a primary means for yoga is like
trying to row a small boat across the ocean in a hurricane.
Does this mean spinal breathing should not be done in sexual relations? No, it doesn't
mean that. It means that it should not be considered to be primary practice, which, in the
main lessons, is measured by the clock twice daily before breakfast and dinner.
If we engage in sexual relations, whenever that happens to be, then we can consider using
spinal breathing, or, for that matter, any other sitting practice. I'm sure many have
thought about this already, as you have. There are a lot of practices to choose from. But
there is a challenge, you know, and that is the matter of the possibility of stimulating
excessive release of obstructions in the nervous system.
We will know it has happened by how we feel later on after sexual relations that have been
blended with spinal breathing or other
Being in sexual union during spinal breathing is powerful indeed. But power does not
translate immediately into progress. After all, we have huge power available already in
our sitting practices, if we could only absorb and use it all. But we can only go as fast
as our nervous system can accommodate the release of obstructions, and therein lies the
limiting factor. There is no limit on power in these practices, with or without sexual
union. So, again, it gets back to regulation of practices through self-pacing.
The same thing applies in tantric sex, though not so much in using the holdback method to
facilitate long preorgasmic unions. This does not usually lead to excessive releases --
just more and more ecstatic bliss, which stays with us even as we enter our sitting
practices later on. This is why the focus here has been on holdback and long preorgasmic
unions. It does not usually cause imbalances in our internal energies, and sets up our
nervous system for wonderful sitting practices later on, the next day, or whenever our
sitting practice time arrives. This is the real payoff that comes from tantric sexual
union, and only long preorgasmic unions are necessary to produce it. There is a lot to be
said for doing tantric sex and sitting practices in series (separately), rather than in
With spinal breathing added to sexual relations, there will be additional release of inner
obstructions in the nervous system, and you will find a need to regulate the practice to
avoid the excesses that can happen. This is a bit tricky when in the throes of lovemaking,
unless two people are so in tune that they can sit in union face to face, propped up with
pillows in a "V" formation (or other semi-vertical position), doing spinal
breathing for 5, 10, 15, or however many minutes are suitable for both partners. It
doesn't sound very romantic, does it? Well, to let it go on and on could lead to too much
release for one or both partners, and much crabbiness later on after the lovemaking is
over. Try it and see. Powerful spiritual practices are powerful spiritual practices no
matter when they are done.
So, do you see why we have not gotten into this before? It leaves the door open for
complications and potential difficulties. In the lessons we want to stick with approaches
that are simple with minimal difficulties, while at the same time very effective for
purifying and opening the nervous system to divine experience.
So, instead, what we do is bring sexual stimulation gradually into our sitting practices
in a measured way using siddhasana, mulabandha and sambhavi (very sexy with ecstatic
conductivity). Practices such as nauli/uddiyana, chin pump and spinal bastrika become
quite sexual in the middle to later stages also. All of this we can regulate within our
sitting practices. There can also be good regulation when combining practices with
masturbation. But even that can get out of hand, leaving us crabby and with a headache. It
is all in the measuring. If we do too much we can be stymied and uncomfortable for a while
as the energy excess and imbalance corrects itself. Yoga practice is about releasing
obstructions in a way that we can continue day-by-day over the long run, with ecstatic
bliss gradually building up and overflowing into our daily activity.
If you have a partner you can work with in a measured way during sexual intercourse, you
may be able to self-pace practices in lovemaking with smooth results. If so, then by all
means go for it. But be mindful that lovemaking is a serendipity event, potentially an
extra boost on the path of yoga, and it is wise to always regard daily sitting practices
as the primary yoga.
If we can handle the huge extra energy generated by combining spinal breathing, chin pump,
spinal bastrika or yoni mudra kumbhaka with preorgasmic sexual relations, it can be a big
boost. On the other hand, it can end up fizzling for the reasons mentioned above.
Experiment and see what happens. And then -- apply self-pacing.
Or, just enjoy long preorgasmic sex with your lover whenever it happens, and be assured
that the ocean of ecstatic bliss you both have gained will still be available when you sit
on your respective meditation cushions for twice daily practices.
The guru is in you.
For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.
instructions on the methods of tantra in relation to the broad scope of yoga
practices and the enlightenment process,
see the AYP Tantra book.
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