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 Kundalini Overload: Grounding/Front Channel Block
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2007 :  12:59:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Edited Jan 2010 to add a link to Yogani's "Solar" lesson (essential if you have a front body block), to add a significant new "tinkering" move (in the section titled "Tinkering Note"), and to lightly clarify some of the writing.

Edited Feb 2009 to add notes about Chi Nei Tsang, pilates, ayurvedic vs. chinese herbs, and, most importantly, I want to point to a posting I just made about how my interpretation of AYP pranayama instructions had been worsening the problem. read it here: http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....OPIC_ID=5135

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Many, if not most, kundalini awakening problems stem from a block in the front channel. The front channel is the pathway by which energy drains from the head down the front of the body to the root/perineum. If this channel is blocked when kundalini shoots up the back, the result will be an uncomfortable pooling of energy in the head (at ajna, crown, and/or top of the neck), which is unable to drain down.

Note that there is no practical difference between "opening the front channel" and "grounding one's energy". Energy grounds down the front channel. A block in front channel is a block to grounding.

It is possible to notice and deal with a front channel block before kundalini awakens, but, naturally, the problem becomes a lot more evident when energy really ramps up (i.e. kundalini awakening).

The following information is the result of 25 years of very hard work, including full-time attention for the past five years. I won't bore you with the details of my quest, but believe me when I say that I've tried every possible resource for opening a front channel. I'm not sure there's anyone alive who's worked harder on this issue, and I've found some solutions, which I'd like to share.

If you don't have a serious grounding issue, please ignore this (though you might want to bookmark it to point people to if they report these sorts of problems). One should go "under the hood" on this only if symptoms are serious. If your kundalini is awake and you have a front channel block, you will immediately recognize many/most of the symptoms below.


HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A FRONT CHANNEL BLOCK

You'll experience several of these symptoms

** feeling of trapped energy in head, headache, pressure between the brows or at crown

** weakened appetite and longer time required to digest (i.e. general cooling of the digestive fires)

** "upward" spinal breathing/pranayama is much easier than "downward"

** TMJ (pain in the jaw socket, sometimes radiating elsewhere in the head...this is from energy pooled in the jaw, unable to descend)

** feeling spacey and ungrounded

** water retention

** high blood pressure hard to explain by genetics, diet, and lifestyle

** sleep apnea

** difficulty (or, at least, mild aversion) with forward-bending asanas (which you perhaps have always chalked up to tight hamstrings)

** general kundalini overload symptoms (NOT symptoms of "wayward" kundalini, with very asymmetrical energy movements...for that, see my posting in this discussion: http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....OPIC_ID=3236 )


The first and best solution to front channel block and kundalini overload is the time-tested yogic solution: walking. Lots of walking, even miles per day. This gently grounds the energy down the front of the body and through the feet. Try this. It works well in light cases, and is really really good for you, and makes a fine counterbalance to meditation. Try to fix your attention, as you walk, onto the point of your heel the between the balls of your big and little toes. Press that point firmly into the ground as you walk. Another important element: engagement. Interacting with people is grounding.

If walking and interacting doesn't relieve the problem sufficiently for symptoms to be resolved (or you have medical issues preventing walking), there are some stronger measures to try, e.g. Tai chi and standing asanas. Anything grounding! But do try the following exercise (which I stole from Tai Chi):

--------
Stand with feet separated, knees comfortably bent into a slight crouch, pressing your feet firmly and evenly into the floor (advanced move: press down with the point in the lateral center of your foot, between the balls of your big and little toes, down right at the point where the arch starts to form). Keep your back more or less straight but tilt it forward, as if you were ready to pounce. Go for a low, stable, center of gravity, like it would be hard for someone to knock you over. But relax.

Bend elbows 90 degrees and extend forearms directly in front of you, parallel to each other and with palms facing, at navel level. Keep shoulders relaxed. Visualize a ball between your hands. Concentrate on that ball, and fill it with energy.
--------

The visualization is a fairly speedy solution, insofar as it works for you (the worse the block, the less fully helpful it'll be). Tai chi and standing asanas, of course, take longer to learn and implement. My advice would be not to invest TOO much hope on the intermediate solutions. If something seems to be helping a lot, great. But if not, keep reading.


NOTE ON PLACEMENT OF ATTENTION IN MEDITATION

It's important to bear in mind that AYP does not advocate placing attention on a specific chakra during meditation. But if you find that you can't resist focusing on ajna (between brows), then you may need to intervene (energy follows attention, and focusing on ajna, particularly during meditation, brings vastly more energy into the head, worsening symptoms). So, for a while, gently direct attention to the navel or the heart (i.e. "inhabit" the navel or heart). Make it a gentle change (no forcing!), and be ready to let go of this entirely once the habit of focusing at ajna is broken. In the end, meditation works best if attention isn't directed at all. It's better not to fool around with meditative attention (unless there's a serious health problem, per these instructions).

UPDATE:
Yogani has recently posted a lesson entitled "The Solar Centering Enhancement". http://www.aypsite.org/368.html
It is a must-try for anyone with grounding issues. Yogani recommends directing attention to the solar plexus, and that's a much smarter option than either navel or heart (both of which can be overloaded).

I've posted a modification to Yogani's enhancement which I've been using. It seems to bring many of the benefits with much less overt placement of attention. I call it "Solar Lite". http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....OPIC_ID=6715



THE SOLUTION

This is a two part solution.

#1: Dilate your throat to open the energy flow

Front channel block is usually concentrated in the throat. And Westerners , it is said, tend to have blockage at the throat. So even if you don't perceive a block in the throat (I never did), it's very likely that that's where the problem is.

Consider how you dilate your ear canals on an airplane to equalize pressure. Take time to examine that action quite closely. And apply that exact sort of dilation to the front portion of the base of your throat, near the collar bone (concentrating on the back of the throat will increase energy flow up and into the head, which is the opposite of what we're aiming for, though a good action to engage in pranayama for those without front channel block symptoms). Make the dilation feel warm and yawn-ish. If possible, invest the action with loving bhakti. And learn to hold the dilation for longer and longer (but please see the note on self pacing, below, before you start lengthening your hold time!).

You should feel (if not immediately, then soon) a flow of energy waves down the front of the chest and abdomen, down to the perineum. If it doesn't make it to the perineum, move the dilation down to just beneath wherever you perceive the flow to stop.

Practice this first in quiet solitude, perhaps after meditation. Then practice it at odd moments around the house. Then at work, while shopping, while driving. Get to the point where you can easily do this action at any time. It should come to feel like you're easily stretching outward a tight rubber band that otherwise constricts your throat. Again, don't forget to self-pace.

Two notes:

a. if you do feel a downward energy wave after dilating the throat, know that there's still more work to be done. Even a tiny opening in a bad block feels like total flow. More flow is almost certainly possible. This is true of many yoga openings. Even a bit of opening feels huge. This is the reason for self-pacing (and do self-pace these instructions!): if slight openings feel big, obviously, too much opening happening too fast can be overwhelming. Moral of the story: don't stop, but don't race, either! :)

b. you may experience diarrhea and flu-like symptoms after a major release of blockage in the front channel. While I'm usually very careful to suggest medical attention even to issues that seem clearly spiritual, in this one case I need to very emphatically insist that you not medicate. It's cleansing/healing....you are flushing a lot of long-held junk (the worse the block, the more severe the flushing), and the result will be worth some temporary discomfort! Let the healing process play out. Medication will drive the block deeper in. (I speak from experience: within a day after a powerful opening - due to a qi gong exercise - of a severe life-long front channel block, I experienced very high fever, bad diarrhea, and throbbing kidney pain. My doctor was mystified - kidneys checked out fine in blood tests - and prescribed Cipro antibiotic. The result was that I was forced to later put in a heroic amount of non-stop work to complete the work on my front channel block.)

The throat dilation alone may be sufficient fix. But if you find you must keep consciously dilating to create a flow, and it never flows spontaneously, then you can move on to the next step. Do so, too, if you find that the flow doesn't naturally continue all the way down chest and abdomen (i.e. there may be more blockage below). And, of course, more help is definitely needed if the throat dilation has little or no effect in the first place!


#2: Chinese herbs

Yes, I know. It's shockingly easy and dismayingly materialistic. But trust me. Do it. Go to a Chinese herbalist and you'll be given tea to open the front channel. And that's that. Sadly, yogis don't ever seem to think of this.

You needn't talk to the herbalist about yoga, front channels, or kundalini. In fact, it's much better if you don't, as it will only confuse her/him. Stick to listing symptoms (headache, etc). The herbalist (if s/he is a real Chinese herbalist) will diagnose you via your pulse, and your pulse will reveal the issue, though not in terms a yogi would use. I could go into detail about exactly what the problem is, how it arises, and how it's addressed, from a Chinese versus Indian perspective, but it's not relevant. The upshot is this: your front channel block is manifesting as an imbalance, and the herbalist will easily diagnose the imbalance, and herbs will correct it per protocols developed over millennia. It's a no-brainer for a good Chinese herbalist. This is a bread-and-butter case for them (though they'll probably consider you an extreme case).

The Chinese herbs that will be given to you are, in yogic terms, satvic. Unlike western pills, they will not interfere with your spiritual practice. And, unlike some other "cures" for kundalini overload, they don't add MORE energy to an over-energized system. You will, in remarkably short order, find the block starting to crumble and the energy flowing more freely. I'd strongly suggest continuing work on the throat dilation to help the process.

You don't need a particularly "good" herbalist (because, again, it's bread-and-butter for them). But make sure they're Chinese. That's very important. This particular sort of imbalance is well known in Chinese medicine, but I can't vouch for other systems. So either look for a practitioner who's Chinese (any Chinatown anywhere has one) or else a non-Chinese who is deeply and exclusively trained in Chinese medicine (i.e. you really don't need some independent healer's "woo woo" kundalini theories tested out on you!).

Also, I'd avoid acupuncture, which more directly and forcefully adjusts energy flow (with unpredictable or even negative results in your case). A good Chinese doctor will know to treat these symptoms with herbs rather than acupuncture. But again, it's important to refrain from delving into details on kundalini, etc, with the practitioner. Just tersely state your symptoms and let him take your pulse. Avoid "holistic" healers who want lots of background from you. The Chinese herbal guys are no-nonsense, and, again, can easily glean the problem via pulse diagnosis.


Here's what I'm not sure of: the Chinese herbs worked quickly and effectively for me. Was this only because I'd done so much intermediary work on the block? I'm not sure. But that's why I've structured this posting as I have. Please do try walking - lots of it! - first. And try the ball visualization. And consider standing asanas or tai chi. Not that the herbs are such a severe/radical step, but I think those preliminary moves may "set the stage" for the herbs to work more effectively. But if your symptoms are truly horrid, you may want to move toward herbs (and throat dilation) sooner rather than later. This is just a roadmap...as always, pace yourself to fit circumstance.

Note: I've been unsatisfied with Ayurvedic herbs used for this application, and others (including Yogani) report the same. I'd strongly suggest sticking to Chinese.


PILATES
One indication of the enormity of my front body block was that my belly started growing...even though my diet was modest and healthy and I was exercising a lot. And I at some point noticed I'd lost my muscular control in the area. When younger, I could retract my stomach (per nauli and various bandhas). I lost that!

I first noticed this at a pilates class, where the teacher told me to retract the navel back to the spine, and I couldn't activate it, energetically, much less contract the muscles. After following the advice given in this post, I recovered that sensitivity, and have become a loyal Pilates student (both mat and reformer) in an attempt to tone the area and enhance my energetic connection. Good Pilates teachers keep your attention on the energetic pathways, and don't just have you "crunch" the abs muscles. Note that when Pilates teachers have you say "CHOOOS" upon exhalation, you can substitute an ujiya breath, and an experience of downward pranayama through to root. All of Pilates can be seen as a way to train you to maintain this downward connection in spite of activity and resistance. I highly recommend Pilates for people who've made some progress on front body block, and who want to speed up the process.

CHI NEI TSANG
Chi Nei Tsang is a Taoist abdominal massage that is specifically intended to help dissolve blocks in the area. It's expensive (around $100 per session), but extremely helpful. If you're an experienced yogi, you'll quickly understand the principles and be able to apply them to self-massage. I had two chi nei tsang massages after years of working on the above steps, and it REALLY hastened my progress toward torrent-like openness in the front. Here's an incomplete list of practitioners: http://www.chineitsang.com/practiti...s/index.html
I recommend Karin Sorvik in NYC, who's not on that list. This is her operation:
http://www.taohealing.com/cnt.html


TINKERING NOTE
Energy shoots up the spine like a phallic snake, thrusting through the gaping channel of spine toward ajna. If you try to move energy down the front channel in similar fashion, you'll find it frustratingly ineffective. While energy up the spine manifests as a phallic thrust, energy down the front manifests as a more passive vaginal suck. In the back, a thrust from root pushes to pierce and penetrate ajna. In the front, a sucking from root cajoles, entices, and pulls energy down the front. While the imagery will feel less sexual over time (though not before it starts feeling a lot MORE sexual, as the thrusting and sucking are experienced simultaneously...an, um, interesting sensation), the sexual perspective is convenient for harnessing bhakti to work through blocks and complete circuits. In any case, the thing to remember is, you can't really push energy down the front, as you can up the back. You can only pull from below (from root/mula). Oh, and when doing front channel tinkering, lightly hold the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Just in back of your teeth is good, but do relax your jaw. Full kechari mudra, I've been told by a very reliable source, will stimulate at least as much back channel activity as front. So for purposes of tinkering with front channel block, don't go all the way to kechari even if you can.

Here's a tinkering step to try. It may or may not work for you ("work" being defined as an experience of greater connection downward to root from above). It's not recommended that you "work on" this as a practice; it's a move to try, and to explore if it proves helpful. It was the last thing I tried, after the many, many options mentioned here, and it made the last traces of my block quickly vanish (my kundalini rash, too). It may be that the other steps described in this posting must first "loosen" things up for this to be effective. Its deceptively simple, and for doing, rather than for intellectualizing: on an exhalation, gently but firmly direct prana downward to your root (in mulha banda) VIA YOUR KIDNEYS. Sort of like a bank shot. If that doesn't work for you, imagine (again, while exhaling) gently squeezing prana from your kidneys toward your root (in mulha banda). Again, if you try it a couple times without effect, skip it and use the other steps in this posting. You can always come back to it later. If it does work for you, it's a good thing to invoke for your first few rounds of pranayama. Once the connection is made, let it go and proceed with pranayama per AYP instructions.

If you don't have a front channel block, I'd like to caution that this tinkering will likely be counter-productive. This circuit completes in time, anyway, with nothing more than diligent practice of AYP. But those of us with badly blocked front channels can use all the help we can get!

***FINAL PACING NOTE ***
When front channel opens in those with awakened kundalini, a vacuum is created which draws more energy up the back. If you're newly kundalini-awakened and feeling raw and sensitive, pace slowly and carefully on your front channel opening, so that you don't draw a heightened roar of energy through burnt-out pathways! Everyone else needs to pace slowly, too! Bear in mind that blocks don't dissolve smoothly, they dissolve in chunks. So if front channel opens a little, flow increases to fill the vacuum, and front channel closes down again, then you'll find yourself slightly worse off than before you started (much worse, if you've really overdone it). So TAKE IT SLOW (this is reason not to go to herbs right away, not to over-tinker, etc etc). And, as with all practices, be sure to leave yourself headroom. Upshot: you don't necessarily want the front channel to open up suddenly/dramatically all at once (any more than, in retrospect, you wanted the back channel to!). You would, however, presumably like it to take less than the 25 years it took me. :)

FINAL OBSERVATION
As my front channel opens, and the downward flow increases, I find that I have a very slight aversion to the feel of that flow. It's the mildest thing in the world, but it rubs me (oh-so-minimally) the wrong way to have energy moving that way. And I'm pretty sure that's what created this block in the first place. Mild favoring over a very long time can produce huge effects (e.g. the Colorado River etching the Grand Canyon). It's something to consider in all aspects of life.

If you try any of this, please report back your experiences here.


POSTSCRIPT: GENERAL OVERLOAD TIPS
Since a lot of people with energy overload issues may see this posting, I thought I'd add in overenergization tips not directly related to front channel.

1. avoid spicy food and alcohol (this is very important...they increase the energy/fire overload in the body). That may be sufficient; if not, do a web search for "pitta diet" for more dietary suggestions. But spice and alcohol are the biggies

2. cut back on duration of any spiritual practices you're doing (and don't do anything to cultivate more energy!)

3. eat heavy (in richness and in quantity)

4. sexual orgasm (not to excess, though)

5. lots of engagement with the world...talking, bustling around, etc. This is not the time to go monk-ish...we're trying to roll back spiritual energy, not cultivate it!

6. avoid inspiration, be it art, music, spiritual books, etc. Anything that might wind you up more should be avoided. In fact, do the opposite of everything you've heard of as aids toward spirituality. The items above are examples. Aim for the mundane for a while. Back to Earth, not further into the ether. Seek balance!


Things may feel chaotic for a while, but it will all eventually "bake in". I know, in the meantime it seems like a do-it-yourself project gone awry, and (gulp!) there aren't any experts you can call to come fix everything, nor can you abandon the project 'cuz the project is YOU! But handling things that come up calmly and methodically is part of what yoga's all about. Lots of stuff comes up! It's not like the new agey people say, all love and light and natural fibers. There are challenges, and you quickly learn to be dispassionate and resourceful. One of the great things about asana training is that it teaches unflappable calm problem-solving amid what seems like adversity and chaos.

You'll eventually find (if you haven't already) that there will eventually follow the opposite dilemma: a chaos of ecstasy that also must be calmly transcended as you walk this path. And that one's actually tougher!

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Jan 04 2010 5:19:05 PM

emc

2072 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2007 :  3:49:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim, as I read your post, the front of my throat started to dilate and an energy wave came immediately going down to perineum, with a nice head pressure release as a consequence. Not that I was disturbed by the pressure in the head, but I quickly got the path of energy confirmed. Thank you for a very simple tool to have at hand when it really becomes necessary!

A question... About the (involuntary) focusing on ajna during meditation and leading focus (temporarily) to the heart instead... I have found myself to rather focus on the dan tien when I get too ajna focused. I have rationalized that to myself with the explanation 'the stomach can absorb energies much better than the heart', and it feels much more grounding. What's your association on that?
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2007 :  4:17:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I have no problem with stomach, emc. Taoists would agree with you...but they say "navel" rather than stomach. Anywhere past the restriction at neck is an improvement.

My sole issue is to get people with front channel blocks off of ajna fixation, especially during meditation. And I hesitate to say anything at all, because, really, NO part should be focused on during meditation. But some people can't help going to ajna (and others focus on it intentionally for some, though it's not suggested in AYP).

The dilation trick is very very handy. But better not to tinker with this stuff much unless you have a problem. As Yogani persuasively and eloquently states, fooling with chakras is under-the-hood stuff that's best left to a deeper wisdom. Of course, if you're unlucky enough to have a broken car, you might need to raise the roof and work inside.

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Dec 23 2007 4:38:24 PM
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Victor

USA
910 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2007 :  7:38:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Jim. Excellent advice in my opinion! I had this very throat block that you are referring to and have been making really good progress lately with just that same technique of opening the throat on the inhale especially the front. It seems that doing Ujjayi during the inhale can have the effect of aggravating this problem so long term pranayama yogis might want to look at that
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2007 :  8:08:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Victor, thanks, always glad to get your feedback. I think you and I discussed throat dilation a few weeks ago in another thread, in relation to pranayama. That, I'm sure you realize, is a back-channel throat dilation, as AYP pranayama goes up and down the back channel and the front channel is not directly addressed.

Ujjayi creates "back pressure"...a resistance in the air column. That back pressure can tamp down trapped energy, which explains the aggravation. The solution is to lighten up on the 'friction' in ujjayi. There's actually a wide spectrum of resistance that can be applied, and it makes sense for people with this problem to really lighten it up. All the more so with kumbhaka, which really pushes energy.

Also, I think you once said you focused on ajna in meditation. I think lots of front-blocked practitioners do. It's funny...people with this block (me included) seem drawn to things that aggravate it, sort of the way people crave the foods they're allergic to! Anyway, you might want to remove the ajna focus (in and out of practices) if you're still doing it. You may find that it makes a dramatic difference. just a suggestion.



Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Dec 23 2007 8:10:41 PM
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2007 :  8:17:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
One more thing, Victor...I know you're an advanced asana practitioner....how are your forward bends? They've always been my weak point. And as my front channel has opened, they've all of a sudden gotten much better (I've added this in to the symptom list in my posting).

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Black Rebel Radio

USA
98 Posts

Posted - Dec 24 2007 :  1:16:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Black Rebel Radio's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi folks.

Jim that is a really informative post.

Thank you.

I am not experiencing this but I started thinking about the throat dilation and started to feel something similar to what EMC experienced.

This in turn made me remember the first true spiritual experience that I had back in my barracks in 1992 in Germany. We had just come back from a long run and I was ironing my uniform before formation and listening to Soundgarden and singing along with it. I suddenly felt vast space within my being, much like Yogani and many gurus and yogis have described. At the time I had never heard of anyone else experiencing this and had no knowledge of Yoga. It was the first time that I truly felt God. The first time I was sure of it. No scientific analysis needed (which was a first for me as well). I've got a pretty wide vocal range and learned how to sing Army cadences using the diaphragm (the "command voice" which can be heard down the street) and dilation of the throat. Some of my most powerful experiences have been while singing along to vocalists such as Robert Plant and Chris Cornell. To make a long story longer, I thought I might add that singing (deep belly singing) might really help with this kind of blockage. While I write this it makes me think that it is a good form of pranayama. I have a hard time putting the rest of my thoughts into prose but it makes me think of gospel choirs and the energy and magnetism that so many lead singers of bands have. This makes me think of Om and how some think that the universe began with sound. I had not sang in a while and while riding my motorbike to work yesterday I was singing along to some Soundgarden tunes as loud as I could and thinking about how long it had been since I had done this and felt that level of prana. Woot!

Peace be upon you!
Mac
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Victor

USA
910 Posts

Posted - Dec 24 2007 :  3:52:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hmm. Well, I never had the worlds most flexible hamstrings but forward bends ahve always felt very soothing and good to me. Lately working more with Camel pose to help open up the throat area combined with polough to balance it out. Also I don't do so much of a focused visualization as that has always been difficult for me. I rather feel for little releases wherever they may be and just go with that and let the breath guide me.Its more of an intuitive practice within the AYP form than a technical one. Feels better that way
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sushman

India
86 Posts

Posted - Dec 25 2007 :  02:06:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit sushman's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Good post Jim. Thanks much for taking the time to jot down the best practices. it will be helpful for folks in need. (I don't need it yet).
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Dec 25 2007 :  2:04:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Victor

Hmm. Well, I never had the worlds most flexible hamstrings



Victor, keep open the possibility that it may not be the hamstrings after all. I've been blaming my hamstrings for 25 years!
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Dec 25 2007 :  2:51:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I've been polishing and adding to the posting....most importantly, added TMJ as a symptom of front channel block, and added a postscript with more general overload suggestions.
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Dec 28 2007 :  10:50:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Victor, if you're still reading along....try janu sirsasana and paschimotanasana, very very slowly, with this throat dilation at the base of the front of the throat. I just did today, and I think you'll be amazed at the results.
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Scott

USA
969 Posts

Posted - Jan 06 2008 :  11:47:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit Scott's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hey Jim,

Was the tea you got from the Chinese herbalist called "pu-erh", by chance? That's known for bringing energy down.
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Jan 06 2008 :  6:03:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Pu-erh isn't herbal...it's a resonous byproduct of black tea (and absolutely delicious!). No, i'm talking about old fashioned concoctions of bitter medicinal chinese herbs.

I don't think chinese medicine much aims to "bring energy down"....it's about bringing the various components (fire, water, earth, etc) into balance. It doesn't "map" very well at all against yoga thinking, and that's fine by me. I just let the dude take my pulse, hand me my bag of powder, and i'm on my way. I don't give him spiels about kundalini, and he doesn't expect me to buy into his paradigm. I just drink the tea. And it's helping a lot!

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Jan 06 2008 6:06:27 PM
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Scott

USA
969 Posts

Posted - Jan 07 2008 :  04:41:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit Scott's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Ah I see.
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emc

2072 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2008 :  08:17:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim, a thought...

** "upward" spinal breathing/pranayama is much easier than "downward"

Since the natural flow of energy is upwards in the spine and downwards in the front, I always thought that was the reason why upward breathing is much easier than downward. It feels as if it's pressing down the wrong channel in pranayama... Don't really get this. What's your view?
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2008 :  1:40:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Awesome question.

As I said to Yogani in another thread, this stumps me, as well. It may be unanswerable by 'experts' because this issue lies on the cusp between Indian (yoga) and Chinese (taoist)...right in the gap where they don't "match up". It's pretty new stuff, and I'm unusually situated to work on it, having worked pretty far in both models (and being particularly severely blocked).

I don't understand why dilating in the front of throat makes spinal breathing easier (as you say, spinal breathing's in the back), and I also don't understand why there seems to be a front-throat-chakra and a back-throat-chakra (there definitely is....my kundalini, from the beginning, shot cleanly through throat, up the spine, in spite of my horrendous front-throat block).

It's all under-the-hood stuff for most people. But I have a horrendous front channel block that has been causing me increasingly serious health issues, plus has me down to little more than 10 mins/day meditation, period. My inner guru clearly is spurring me to address the issue, so on this one thing I'm WAY under the hood. Sounds like you're in similar circumstance. So let's stay in touch :)

Oh, one thing: AYP advocates an openness at throat during spinal breathing. I'd always interpreted that to mean at the throat point along the spine (where the Indians place the chakra), and, indeed, that is an important part of spinal breathing, and even the Chinese consider that back-throat to be an important "pumping" station for higher energies.

And, having put a pretty unbelievable amount of time/energy into this issue, I believe one can greatly open that area, and effect that pumping area, with the front-throat remaining blocked up tight. There's not a lot of grey area. You can take that conclusion with a grain of salt, as I'm not sure anyone out there claims this. OTOH, I've been studying the issue as my top priority in life for a couple years now, because I'm very concerned about the health problems and the increasing restrictions on my sadhana, so this problem (and the work I've been forced to do to shed light on it) has offered me unique insight (lucky me...).

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Jan 28 2008 1:50:55 PM
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yogani

USA
5182 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2008 :  2:28:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jim and EMC:

The discussion on "front and back" in spinal breathing does not originate in yoga and is not mentioned in the AYP writings either, except when Taoist approaches are being considered.

It has been mentioned that spinal breathing like presented in AYP is "up and down the back." This is not true. The spinal nerve is more in the center of the body than in the back, and in the throat area it is right behind the back of the throat and esophagus (gullet). As ecstatic energy awakens and expands, it is found to be even more in the middle, and less following the physical anatomy of the spine, passing through the entire region of the throat instead. That is what happens as the spinal nerve awakens -- it expands from the center to become a large column of energy, eventually reaching far beyond the body itself. That is ecstatic radiance.

So all this up the back and down the front discussion does not resonate much with the yogic view, particularly as kundalini advances and covers a much broader swath through the body -- becoming one thing, not two things. Spinal breathing follows suit in this, working more or less from the center, and the front and back stuff is dissolved in it. From the yogic point of view, the front and back stuff was never there much in the first place and, in fact, drawing the distinction in mind and practices could become an obstacle to the natural expansion of the internal energies, much the way hanging on to a specific mantra pronounciation can become an obstacle to deep meditation. Spinal breathing works between the two poles of root and brow, and can be much less defined in-between as the energies evolve. In that situation, there is no front or back.

Which is not to say that the front channel symptoms are not real. Certainly they are. But I am not sure the answer will be found in continuing to define and manage the energies in front and back categories. As we know, attempts to categorize and manage the details of internal energy flows can lead to more problems than solutions. A more holistic approach may yield better fruit. A middle way?

Just some thoughts.

The guru is in you.
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2008 :  3:43:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, Yogani.

quote:
Originally posted by yogani
The discussion on "front and back" in spinal breathing does not originate in yoga and is not mentioned in the AYP writings either, except when Taoist approaches are being considered.



I tried to take pains to make that clear.


quote:
It has been mentioned that spinal breathing like presented in AYP is "up and down the back." This is not true. The spinal nerve is more in the center of the body than in the back, and in the throat area it is right behind the back of the throat and esophagus


I'm sorry I chose the wrong word, but it really is just a matter of wording. Whether we say AYP spinal breathing occurs in the back or center, it's certainly a different thing from the front channel, which runs down the very front of the body. You know this yourself (e.g. you mention it here: http://www.aypsite.org/133.html ).

I've experienced a great deal of ecstatic radiance, my spinal nerve is well-awakened and expanded. But while my spinal channel is quite clear and smooth, and pranayama happens in what feels like a greased chute, I was having rather severe grounding problems (the yogic term for "front channel block"). Since I started AYP, I've been accumulating conditions and maladies that have made this issue clear to me. The block is NOT in my back...again, pranayama is smooth and wide, and kundalini shoots straight from mula to ajna, with no discernible impediment.

I've heeded your suggestion not to look under the hood, and I wholeheartedly agree with that approach in most cases. However, that approach didn't so much as budge the problem. I've removed and shortened practices to the bone, and I've tweaked diet and lifestyle, and I've given it not days or weeks but months and years....but symptoms haven't reduced in an enduring way.

So I spent the past months working single-mindedly on solving this problem, and my findings (per above) have brought relief. My symptoms are improving, and I'm able to meditate twice per day (instead of one 10 minute session/day). I agree that drawing distinctions and tracing pathways is not the optimal way to approach spiritual practice. But it's better than ceasing spiritual practice entirely. And it's worked where the "holistic" route of modifications to pacing, diet, etc., have not.

I've tried to make clear that this is a last-resort approach. But I'm very glad to offer it to those who need a last resort. And, finally, beyond all the theory, what amounts to a suggestion of transferring the feeling of a yawn to the base of the front of the throat strikes me as pretty uninvasive. Does it really seem so extreme? (what I went through to reach that suggestion, of course, is a whole other thing...but the same could be said of some of the experimentation you did before you came up with AYP, no?).

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Jan 28 2008 4:12:14 PM
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yogani

USA
5182 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2008 :  6:10:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jim:

If it is working, facilitating balance and forward progress, then by all means go with it. I was not sure that was the case, given all the back and forth.

I do believe in the long run we have to let go of the mental categorizations though, and allow the process to unfold naturally. Whatever practice regimen we are using will morph accordingly. We will still use the same procedures of practice, but with much less deliberateness -- meaning in stillness with less mental baggage attached. I'm sure you know what I mean -- letting the cosmic barber do his thing. All we have to do is show up, assuming we are visiting the barber best suited for our needs.

As for Lesson 133 (http://www.aypsite.org/133.html), that is about the evolving neurobiology (the yogic view of it), which is refined and transcended in awareness as the process of spiritual transformation proceeds. Our practices refine along with it, including mudras, bandhas, pranayamas, etc. -- some of which facilitate frontal openings, as you know. The expansion of inner silence and the associated energetics, while emanating from the neurobiology, move beyond it. So, while we can talk about up the back and down the front on the physical plane, it all eventually dissolves as we move into identification with the product of that, which is Oneness.

Taoist approaches tend to hold on to the categorization and focus on physical components longer than yoga methods do. But in the end, both will dissolve into the same destination.

Well, none of this removes the issues at hand, and I understand that they have to be dealt with, using whatever practical means that are available. Just trying to add a little perspective.

Onward!

The guru is in you.
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2008 :  12:28:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yogani, I totally agree in spirit. I'm all about the Barber! :)

And I do intuitively understand that the ever-widening column of spinal nerve will eventually subsume all the sub-structures, making the distinctions moot.

But I reached a point where I really had to tweak, to protect my practice and my health. The work I did on the issue surely distracted and disrupted my sadhana somewhat, but the maneuver I finally came up with is pretty gentle and innocuous, so I have no regrets.

I'd like to stress that what I'm talking about isn't "Taoist". It is, again, at the gap between Yoga and Taoist practice. It mostly seems Taoist because I've lapsed into using the term "front channel". Again, the term "grounding" is the exact same thing, and is more yogic. Yogis understand the need for grounding, and use asana, walking, and pranayama for that. In my case, those tools were not up to the job...or, shall we say, could not keep up with the quantities of energy elicited by AYP.

Beyond the background theory and explanation, this is really a very gentle move (though must of course be self-paced). So if it truly works as a powerful way to ground (as appears true from my experience and that of several respondents), this may be a way for practitioners to raise the overdoing bar in cases where that overdoing stems from energy trapped in the head (which is pretty common, I think). And that'd be a good thing, no?

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Jan 29 2008 12:43:04 AM
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Wolfgang

Germany
467 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2008 :  04:24:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit Wolfgang's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Great discussion, thanks !
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Bill

USA
46 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2008 :  11:45:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim,

I may be off base here, but I have a few suggestions. One would be a standing qi gong or Tai Chi practice. Spinal breathing while standing?
Also Keith's essays on the front channel at www.alchemicaltaoism.com offer a great view on "opening" that are useful no matter what under the hood model is being used.
Bill
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2008 :  12:05:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Done qi gong (a perfect one for this issue shown me by Michael Winn). Worked a little, but far better in combination with throat dilation and with Chinese herbs. in fact, the dilation and herbs are so much more effective that the qi dong isn't really necessary. And, yeah, I've done spinal breathing in all sorts of inappropriate situations. I've really poured it on with this issue (I've not outlined all the dead-ends I've gone through), and I suspect what I've come up with is as good as I'm going to find.

But I didn't know about that web site, will surf now. thanks!
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selfonlypath

France
296 Posts

Posted - Feb 02 2008 :  11:16:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim,

There is a North Native American practice in emergencies to bury a person in a pit up to her neck for several hours and let the Earth heal her or give her assistance or wisdom. She is never left alone and the idea is that Earth's energy is the highest energy available to us.

I happen to have been initiated into quechua shamanism in Argentina and among many practices, there is a precise protocol when healing someone with stones (cuya). After using a mother stone for taking out heavy energy (hucha) from someone, it is required to bury all night the stone on earth then it will be ready for future use. In fact after this step, the healer has to make a specific whirling dance (gira) then falling on the ground to release whatever hucha got stuck in his vessel while transfering it to the cuya. The earth will then process all this heavy energy to make it light energy (sami) and re-sending through sacred mountains (apus) to sky.

What I mean is the only way to clean a mother stone is by burying it in the ground many hours. That kind of healing tool can NOT be cleaned by water, salt or other classical grounding technique because it can drain in no time SO much heavy energy when healing someone.

You might want to picture your body as a healing stone who has collected so many energies from others not meant to reside in you.

Just dig a big hole in the earth, bury yourself and stay there a few hours !

Albert

Edited by - selfonlypath on Feb 09 2008 12:13:59 AM
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Tibetan_Ice

Canada
758 Posts

Posted - Feb 03 2008 :  01:23:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jim, :o
I have been reading in Reiki Tummo that you are supposed to take the kundalini up through the crown chakra to a location above your head where the other higher chakras exist. The kundalini then mixes with Divine Energy and showers golden and white energy back onto the body.
Could it be that your kundalini is just bottled up? Have you tried passing it up through your crown? Have you ever done a top-down visualization/meditation of bringing in Divine White light down into your crown from above?
Have you ever tried this grounding exercise: ?
http://www.mysticalwonders.org/grou...ad.php?id=53


:)
TI
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