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 Other Systems and Alternate Approaches
 An alternative Spinal Breathing practice
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2017 :  03:28:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Moderator note: This discussion has been split from here.


Hi azurikai,

I can share only my experience with spinal breathing.
I believe the advice from Christi is very good, which is namely, to not care so much about the path as much as the end points.
My experience in spinal breathing got a lot better as I stopped worrying about feeling the path between these two points so much.
I also found that for me, reversal of the direction of breathing helps not to get out of breath.
To me, this direction is more natural, and aligns the breath with the movement of attention.
Yogani made a lesson on this topic, http://www.aypsite.org/46.html, where he says why he thinks the direction he advises is better.

Wishing you all the best in your practices!

Ecdyonurus

Switzerland
479 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2017 :  04:02:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi azurikai, welcome!

The advice you received from Christi worked very well for me in the beginning, so I would suggest to follow it and see if things improve after some weeks. It took me maybe 2-3 months to experience a smooth tracing up and down.

However, similar to Mykal K, after a couple of years of SBP as per AYP I found out that my own natural attention is not breathing in upwards and breathing out downwards but the other way around. That's one of the reasons why I stopped doing SBP. This is not at all to say that SBP as per AYP is not a useful practice - it's just that I did not want to experiment what happens by doing SBP with inverted directions (I consider pranayama very powerful and potentially harmful when practiced wrong, so I am very cautious with it and would not try any freestyle approach to pranayama techniques).
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Christi

United Kingdom
3235 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2017 :  04:49:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal,

quote:
I also found that for me, reversal of the direction of breathing helps not to get out of breath.



You should not be getting out of breath during Spinal Breathing. If you are, that is a sign that you need to breathe less deeply. That would be far better than reversing the direction of the flow of attention which could make things problematic later on.

Hi Ecdyonurus,

quote:
However, similar to Mykal K, after a couple of years of SBP as per AYP I found out that my own natural attention is not breathing in upwards and breathing out downwards but the other way around.


It is really a question of cultivating a habit. Everything can become a habit if it is done regularly enough. There is a natural flow of prana in the body, where prana rises on the inhalation and falls on the exhalation. This happens for everyone. So the practice of Spinal Breathing in AYP is in line with the natural circulation of prana in the body.


Christi
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2017 :  05:53:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Christi

Hi Mykal,

quote:
I also found that for me, reversal of the direction of breathing helps not to get out of breath.



You should not be getting out of breath during Spinal Breathing. If you are, that is a sign that you need to breath less deeply. That would be far better than reversing the direction of the flow of attention which could make things problematic later on.

Hi Ecdyonurus,

quote:
However, similar to Mykal K, after a couple of years of SBP as per AYP I found out that my own natural attention is not breathing in upwards and breathing out downwards but the other way around.


It is really a question of cultivating a habit. Everything can become a habit if it is done regularly enough. There is a natural flow of prana in the body, where prana rises on the inhalation and falls on the exhalation. This happens for everyone. So the practice of Spinal Breathing in AYP is in line with the natural circulation of prana in the body.


Christi




Hi Christi,

would you clarify your answer a bit?

First, why do you say that reversing the breath direction could be problematic later on?

And second, there are many people, even on this forum, who have experienced spontaneous pranayama breathing being done in the "reversed" direction. Even Yogani talks about it in his lessons.
Do you say that this is then "unnatural flow"?

Please clarify.

Thank you,

Mykal
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Christi

United Kingdom
3235 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2017 :  07:37:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal,

As I mentioned above, there is a natural flow (circulation) of prana in the body which goes up with the inhalation and down with the exhalation. To be more specific about it, this flow of prana actually precedes the breath, so when we are breathing naturally, it is the rising current of prana that causes us to inhale, and the falling current of prana which causes us to exhale. So we do not need to think about breathing, it just happens naturally following the natural circulation of prana in the body.

So if we reverse the flow of spinal breathing, we are going against this natural flow of prana.

This would not be an issue for beginners, because the flows of prana involved are often too small to make any difference. The natural flows of prana in the body will be light and any flow being produced by Spinal Breathing will tend to be light as well. Later on though, as the flows of prana become stronger, going against the natural flow could be more problematic.

For example, when kundalini is active and the higher centres are being purified, prana will sometimes rise spontaneously, with a rush, up to the higher centres in order to activate them. This will cause the breath to inhale sharply and then suspend inside the body (antara kumbhaka) for a period of time. If we are practicing Spinal Breathing the way it is recommended in the lessons, we would then have our attention at ajna chakra, so we would be "with" the centres that are being activated and this would increase the purification taking place. If we were reversing the flow of attention, then we would end up with our attention at the root chakra whilst this is happening.

The same would be true in reverse, when the breath naturally suspends externally (bahya kumbhaka) after exhalation and the lower chakras are being purified.

It would also be problematic when we come to take on more advanced practices such as Yoni Mudra Kumbhaka and Dynamic Jalandhara. These are combined with Spinal Breathing and are practiced at the end of an inhalation with the attention at ajna chakra. If someone was reversing the direction of Spinal Breathing, they would need to reverse it again, during these practices which would be confusing.


Christi
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2017 :  3:48:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi,
Thank you for the answer.
Would we feel then that the prana is going in the opposite direction, then, when it would be problematic?
I mean, if it were to be against the natural flow, it wouldn't feel right, would it?
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Christi

United Kingdom
3235 Posts

Posted - Mar 09 2017 :  5:59:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal,

It just means that the practice is not going to be as effective. If the prana is naturally rising from root chakra to ajna chakra and someone is moving their attention from ajna chakra to root chakra, then it's a bit like swimming upstream instead of swimming downstream. It is going to take longer.

It would be more of an issue with naturally occurring sahit kumbhaka (breath retention after inhalation or exhalation), happening during Spinal Breathing, as the attention will be in a less advantageous place. With spontaneous breath retention after inhalation, often the attention is drawn naturally to the higher centres (ajna and crown), so again, that would go against the direction of the practice.

I am not saying that reversing the flow of the attention would make the practice ineffective, but I would certainly advise people strongly against trying it for the above reasons.


Christi
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 10 2017 :  02:31:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi,
thank you for the answer.
I can only say what I feel. I respect your point of view, but, I have learned over the years to respect what my body is telling me more.
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Blanche

USA
344 Posts

Posted - Mar 10 2017 :  8:27:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal, Christi, and All:

My experience supports Christi's explanation. The flow of prana and the breath retention at the end of inhalation purify and activate the center where the attention goes. It makes more sense to purify and activate ajna, and expand its energy, than muladhara. In fact, when I started to practice spinal breathing I had the same questions as Mykal. Thus, I tried SB on reverse circuit (from ajna to muladhara). It felt like a flower was opening and growing rapidly at the root - and the vibrations were getting lower. It became obvious that SB was meant to bring prana to ajna, and not the other way around.

Best wishes for your practice!
Blanche
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 11 2017 :  03:28:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Blanche

Hi Mykal, Christi, and All:

My experience supports Christi's explanation. The flow of prana and the breath retention at the end of inhalation purify and activate the center where the attention goes. It makes more sense to purify and activate ajna, and expand its energy, than muladhara. In fact, when I started to practice spinal breathing I had the same questions as Mykal. Thus, I tried SB on reverse circuit (from ajna to muladhara). It felt like a flower was opening and growing rapidly at the root - and the vibrations were getting lower. It became obvious that SB was meant to bring prana to ajna, and not the other way around.

Best wishes for your practice!
Blanche



Hi Blanche,

I have no such problems here, as I can rest easily in both ends. So maybe it is body to body thing, who knows...
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Dogboy

USA
1287 Posts

Posted - Mar 11 2017 :  1:18:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
A recent asana teacher guided the class in the reverse direction. I just substituted it with SBP, no one was the wiser
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Christi

United Kingdom
3235 Posts

Posted - Mar 11 2017 :  7:22:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal,

quote:
I have no such problems here, as I can rest easily in both ends. So maybe it is body to body thing, who knows...


As Yogani mentions in lesson 46, if problems do arise, then they would tend to arise later, when the sadhana is more advanced.

From the perspective of AYP, it would be the practitioner's own experiment and it would be difficult to give advice if problems did arise. See lesson 384:

Lesson 384 - Baseline Systems of Practice and Research on Modifications

If problems did arise for you later on, then it would be possible to switch direction at that time. There would be a period of adjustment of course, but it would be possible.


Christi
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 12 2017 :  06:07:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Christi,

it is more fun for me this way.
You see, I am an explorer in core -> following some instructions without feeling was never my thing.
I do not say my way is better than the AYP way.
As Yogani says:

quote:
If we share our explorations and experiences openly and honestly, letting go of the need for external validation, then some practitioners will resonate with what we share and others will not. That is how it is, even for the AYP system. One size does not fit all. So, we begin with the basics and go from there, connecting with knowledge, practices and experiences in ways that best suit our nature. We will know it when we see it.


I share my thing, and with some it will resonate .
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azurikai

Germany
13 Posts

Posted - Mar 12 2017 :  08:02:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Whatever works, works. But keeping an open mind to advice from differing points of view is always healthy.

Thank you everyone for the perspectives and advice! I have been not focusing so hard on the spinal breath, and have instead been feeling it naturally and things seem to be falling in place better.

I wish everyone a wonderful practice and thank you for the multitudes of advice!

Namaste,

The guru is within you.
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Herb

Canada
71 Posts

Posted - Mar 14 2017 :  02:03:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal
Please check your email in box. I just sent you something.

Herb
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 14 2017 :  05:39:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb,

My mail is not active anymore. I found I like it that way.
If anyone whishes to contact me, they are able to do so, out in the open.
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Blanche

USA
344 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2017 :  08:32:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Mykal K


I also found that for me, reversal of the direction of breathing helps not to get out of breath.
To me, this direction is more natural, and aligns the breath with the movement of attention.
Yogani made a lesson on this topic, http://www.aypsite.org/46.html, where he says why he thinks the direction he advises is better.



Hi Mykal,

Practicing SB in the reverse direction will direct prana toward the root chakra (Muladhara, at the perineum), away from the higher energetic centers, and will lower the vibrations. This is not desirable, as will make more difficult to transcend to the pure bliss consciousness in meditation. It makes sense to learn SB in the correct direction, going from the perineum to the space between the eyebrows on inhalation, and from the space between the eyebrows to the perineum on exhalation.

The details are important in the advanced practices. If you change things around, you are doing your own variation of the practice, with unpredictable results. Better to follow the marked path and practice as instructed.

Best wishes,
Blanche
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2017 :  10:49:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Blanche,

I do not follow your reasoning.
Prana goes upwards here, as the sambhavi and root lock are active.
Even without those, I do not see how what you say would hold true. For me it doesn't, anyway.
It is not as if I hold attention in mulabandha. I follow the breath, just like you, just the other way around.
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Blanche

USA
344 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2017 :  11:16:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal,

My statements are not based on reasoning, but on practice. Going up the spine on inhalation and down on exhalation energizes Ajna chakra - and as the purification increases the energy spreads naturally toward the crown chakra. If practiced in the reverse direction, SB energizes Muladhara, and the vibrations are experienced as getting lower and lower. This is enough to convinced me that SB should be practiced as instructed, going up on inhalation, and down on exhalation.

The fact that you do not detect any difference when you change the direction is a red flag. While all roads (and practices) will lead us home eventually, it is not necessary to walk on all the roads to get home. It is better to follow the shortest road.

Best wishes for your path!
Blanche
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2017 :  12:47:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Blanche,

I find your statements intriguing.
What can I say, my experience says otherwise.
But thank you for kind wishes, wishing you all the best, likewise.
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Ecdyonurus

Switzerland
479 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2017 :  1:15:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Mykal K
I follow the breath, just like you, just the other way around.



Hi Mykal, did you really mean FOLLOWING THE BREATH? This would explain why you feel comfortable by tracing downwards on the inbreath and upwards on the outbreath.

However, if I remember well, SBP as per AYP is not about FOLLOWING THE BREATH but TRACING THE SPINAL NERVE - and I personally believe that these are quite different practices.

This is not to say that one is better than the other - just different practices.

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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 19 2017 :  05:40:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Ecdyonurus,
Yes, I follow the breath.
I follow it from muladhara all the way to ajna, and back.
I follow it in the sense that I follow the natural rhytm, and I do not impose depth or duration.
I am only able to speak from my xp. I found new depth and ease in practice. I find it more than worthwhile.
As far as the conductivity goes, I have noticed no 'lowering of vibrations', or any other reason to be vary.
I have noted the opinions of Christi and Blanche, however, I also have my own experience which I take in account.

Edited by - Mykal K on Mar 19 2017 05:43:02 AM
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Ecdyonurus

Switzerland
479 Posts

Posted - Mar 19 2017 :  07:26:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal, given the way you describe your practice (following the breath as it happens naturally), maybe you are more in the field of breath meditation than in pranayama - which is totally ok if you feel comfortable that way.

By the way, I do breath meditation as main meditation technique, and my natural feeling is also that attention goes downwards on the inbreath and upwards on the outbreath. I don't try to trace anything during breath meditation, but attention moves up and down by itself.
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 19 2017 :  10:19:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Ecdyonurus,
I really do not know what to say.
I am at the point where I feel the flow of prana just by thinking of sambhavi or mulabandha.
For me that is already pranayam.
Following the breath gives depth to it, like a gentle massage.
I understand what you mean, because of the depth I would also call it meditation.
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Ecdyonurus

Switzerland
479 Posts

Posted - Mar 20 2017 :  03:52:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mykal, we are probably doing very similar practices.

Edited by - Ecdyonurus on Mar 20 2017 05:17:50 AM
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Mykal K

Germany
264 Posts

Posted - Mar 20 2017 :  06:25:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Ecdyonurus,

Could be.
You have not spoken very much about your practice, so I am not sure.
Do you also have kumbhakas occurring on the end of an exhalation?
I ask because, I have practiced breathing meditation in one period, but it was some time ago, and I do not remember that phenomenon happening.
I have a theory that it is something that happens because we go with our attention to/through ajna,
and would like your take on it, since if I understand it rightly, you do not go to/through ajna.
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