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 Discussions on AYP Pranayama, Mudras and Bandhas
 I've Been Doing AYP Pranayama Wrong
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Feb 07 2009 :  10:21:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
In this thread:
I described a long odyssey I've gone through regarding grounding, and a number of unconventional tricks I discovered along the way. At the time I wrote that posting, I thought I'd solved the problem, but, as many of you have come to realize, there's opening and then there's OPENING. The metaphor of the lotus, infinitely peeling off infinite layers, comes to mind. But in yoga blocks, specifically, a mere pinhole in a nasty block can feel like Complete Flow. Then you keep working, and find how much there was still to go. You never know how open you can be until you've opened more and more and more (that, fwiw, is a big reason for bad gurus....many stop too early, deciding, quite earnestly, that they've "got it" when there's lots more mud to clear).

Working against me in my efforts, strangely, was my practice AYP Pranayama. Yogani has given an intentionally somewhat vague instruction in the spinal breathing lesson, refusing to precisely define where the energy is directed, aside from "up and down the spine". In most practitioners, the correct channel will naturally be found, and he wouldn't want to overdirect them (what a horror to contemplate beginners being all concerned about whether they're breathing up/down the right channel!). Also, it's really really hard to go literally up and down the spinal cord, in the back of the body, so it's unlikely many practitioners will take the instruction overly literally.

Two kinds of practitioners, though, may fail to find the right groove: 1. very experienced hatha yogis, who have exquisitely precise body awareness, and who WILL take the instruction too literally, and 2. those with front blocks, for whom other pathways are so jammed up as to be unavailable to them (for more on front blocks, see the posting linked to above). For them, shoving the energy back down the spinal canal on exhalation is actually the past of least resistance.

Again, it's actually pretty hard to do pranayama up and down that spinal pathway. I strained for years to make it work. It didn't do anything to balance my kundalini, because kundalini (like all types of prana) wants to drain/ground further forward in the body (toward the front, or center/front). The "downward" path I was establishing in pranayama was one kundalini can't will not go back down the same chute it comes up.

This mistaken spinal breathing was worsening my front block, and sabotaging my efforts to ease that block. Combined with my ardent kundalini, it led to health issues (high blood pressure, digestive problems, etc) and badly disrupted my meditation (I'd keep gasping as my head filled up with nowhere to drain, like a ratchet wrench, and find myself having to manually direct the energy down the front just to get on with the meditation).

I had dabbled as a kid with microcosmic orbit meditation, and for purposes of fixing this block (once again, per that posting....hope you've read it by now!), I had returned to the Taoist model of grounding happening down the front...but only outside of AYP practice. I was very careful about not "mixing models". When i did my AYP, I forgot all that and just "let it happen". But it always felt wrong.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to stop fighting what my inner guru was screaming at me to do. In pranayama, I inhaled energy up the back and down the front (i.e. through the breastbone) of my body. And it made everything better. Pranayama finally made sense. It finally left me feeling balanced and conductive. The meditation afterwards was sublimely silent. I didn't have to think about energy or anything else...just I am.

I've lost ten pounds in those two weeks, my blood pressure and heart beat have plummeted, and my AYP practice has grown smooth. The word "balance" keeps coming to mind. I'm balanced. My energy is balanced, and my whole body (and the universe beyond my physical body) feels fully conductive, not just in "certain spots". And the pranayama, both up and down, is starting to widen and be more central than extremely front/back.

If you're a beginner, ignore this. If pranayama leaves you feeling balanced, ignore this. If you're pretty sure you don't have grounding issues or front channel blocks, ignore this. But if you're grappling with this issue (and, for the last time, I'd direct you to that other posting...for a better definition of what this issue actually is and how to tell if you have it), this is an adjustment I'd strongly suggest you make. Note, though, that if your grounding/front channel issues are substantial, you may have to follow my advice in that thread for a while, because attempts to exhale down the front will feel impassable. Try it and see!

Good luck!

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Feb 08 2009 2:43:23 PM


United Kingdom
741 Posts

Posted - Feb 08 2009 :  04:14:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit riptiz's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jim,
Glad to hear you are making good progress now and sorting problems.Your story illustrates that the inner guidance should not be ignored and that one size does not fit all.The lessons are simply guidelines to start from(which is what yogani is stating on another thread)and inner guidance will lead you to what you need as an individual.
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225 Posts

Posted - Feb 11 2009 :  7:37:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jo-self's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally posted by Jim and His Karma

In this thread:

A couple weeks ago, I decided to stop fighting what my inner guru was screaming at me to do. In pranayama, I inhaled energy up the back and down the front (i.e. through the breastbone) of my body. And it made everything better. Pranayama finally made sense. It finally left me feeling balanced and conductive. The meditation afterwards was sublimely silent. I didn't have to think about energy or anything else...just I am.


I just posted at about a guru's method that consists of something similar. However, I think the direction was the opposite, inhale down the front, exhale up the back, but more in a reception/release mode, not a yogic effort. I can't recall the details.

- jo-self

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796 Posts

Posted - Feb 13 2009 :  8:05:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit Holy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jim,

I really like your honesty and the way to try really hard to make this whole stuff as clear as possible. I know, that it is not easy to find out everything by yourself. I have experienced many many times the very same as you, energy overloads with no ending, diggesting problems in the stomach and so on.

What I found out so many times is, that the energy is just burning you mad if you don't release it or transform it into joy (and then release it =P). As long as the energy is raw, it's not a fun thing. The moment it refines especially in the heart into joy and love, the whole mtter changes completly. When I am open hearted to my friends then this raw energy so often changes into joy and laugher and afterwards into even more refined love and acceptance, that you don't know who to thank for this. Since my childhood I have been told so many times(by sufis), love is the key, give away all you have,share all you have on all levels, especially socially. When the raw energy transforms into these refined energy there really is no problem when it comes to energetical-comfort. And also, the more I feel this love, miracly my health is perfect within little minutes. Nostrils open up, diggesting is boostet like something is switched on.

The main problem for me still is: intense mental faculty work(university) with ongoing silence in the mind =P Many times I start reading and the only thing I perceive is the sound of the words in my head without understanding the believe-content of the words. And the moment the words are gone, nothing remains. Nothing learned out of these words. This is not permanent, some hours the day it's so clear and some other hours you feel like in another country where another language is spoken.

Coming back to transforming grossly energy into refined - much more easily accepted - energyflow ;) like love and peacefull bliss, I found the biggest help in nadi sodhana with kumbhakka. Don't know why, but there is no other technique opening up my heart so peacefuly intensly. Also when it comes to diggestion, after a good session of this, I always have to go to the toilet =). Breathing deep into the stomach, holding the breath,this loosens the big ties in these areas (diggestion, chest, heart) very fast. Also in general, resting in unforced no mind, in this pure peace solves every kind of discomfort too for me as the energy is refined even more, but it is not as dynamic and outgoing like a joyfull laughter and the easy acceptance and love to everything that remains afterwards.

When it comes to your main thread, running did it or me too for some time. Intensly giving the energy out. Diggestion get perfect and all blocks open. Walking doesn't do the job for me. Hard physical work does the job too. If the energy can't be refined into more acceptable and easy flowing ones like love, then giving away the grossly energy was the only thing that worked.

I can't say much to your new found pranayama solution. Not being heavily physically active never refined the energy and made it flow to every part of the body for me. Anyway I am sure you'll find a longterm solution that is perfect for you.
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115 Posts

Posted - Feb 15 2009 :  9:07:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim, the thread you linked to clarified something for me. Sometimes I combine "energy work" with my aerobic workout. A couple of weeks ago during a workout I had a rather dramatic throat opening; even tho I was kind of aware that there was a blockage there, I hadn't really been doing any concentrated work on it, and this "clearing" was fairly spontaneous, and quite noticeable.

A couple of days afterward, I started feeling feverish/achy, had no fever but felt bad enough to take a day off from work. I think after reading the post in your other thread I understand why now :)

Thanks to all of you on this forum; I'm gobbling up the info :)

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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Feb 16 2009 :  12:18:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Gayle, after any serious opening you can expect some health bumps. After the first tiny break in my monumental front body block, I had two days of severe kidney pain and high fever. Scary!!! I was expecting something to happen, but not this severe, and was worried that maybe it was a real physical health issue that just happened to start up at the same time. So I went to doctor, who gave me a "What the HELL...!" look. She was totally stumped. I've learned that when a doctor is mystified by something I suspect may be a yoga symptom that I shouldn't push it. that's my strategy: check everything with doctor, but back off quickly if/when she acts mystified. Don't push for lots of tests, etc. Classic example was showing a dermatologist my kundalini rash (since healed). He prescribed steroid cream AND anti-fungal cream...just throwing everything he had. I tossed out the prescriptions.

Yoga symptoms mystify doctors. So just watch for the mystification, or else you'll wind up in the health care machine, and likely just make yourself worse...

re: energy work with aerobic workout, yep, I do likewise on the treadmill. Nose breathing only, long ujiya exhale, essentially a "down" pranayama, and nice big, well-distributed, slow inhalation. Inspiration was the book Body, Mind, and Sport, written by a guy trained in Ayurveda. I do my weight lifting with the same breathing.
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342 Posts

Posted - Feb 16 2009 :  09:43:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit themysticseeker's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
One thing that helps keep kundalini energy balanced is to begin every session with a dedication to help all beings by sending rays of love out in all directions of the Cosmos. When the energy balance issues arise, one good measure is to get out and provide selfless service to others. The love that one receives in return is very helpful to restore calm.


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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Feb 16 2009 :  7:48:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, TMS and Holy, your contributions are welcome and helpful to the discussion.

But I need to stress that what I'm describing is not necessarily a kundalini issue, though kundalini will make it worse. And most people who DO have kundalini issues do suffer from the sort of block I describe. But my kundalini symptoms are long gone (thanks to the work I've described in that other thread). What has remained, though, is sufficient energy (not kundalini per se) blockage to affect my health. Not in the usual "kundalini syndrome" fact, whether my kundalini is flaring or not doesn't make such a difference. Having achieved a point of friendliness with kundalini, in other words, I've returned to addressing blockage issues that date back far before all of that. And, per my first posting, I found that my following AYP pranayama instructions overly literally was making all that stuff worse.

Hope that's clear...

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Feb 16 2009 7:49:15 PM
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