Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Introduction to Creation Level Exercises in Nadi Yoga

As some of you have experienced recently, we are now taking the Nadi Yoga to a much deeper level.

I call this level of the work Srsti Yoga, or the Yoga of Creation.

Are the many nadis or rivers of awareness places that we discover? Are they real outside of our own consciousness?

Or are they pathways that we forge through our own attention, inseparable from that very attention itself?

My recognition is of the latter.

It took me many years to figure out that the many deep level processes of Hatha Yoga were not about seeking to find the subtle but actually involved creating pathways in the field of mind/consciousness and working with what arises when we shape and construct those pathways.

Consciousness has an infinite ability to shape and manifest itself according to intention. Where does our intention lie? Do we even have to rely on the traditional sources to manifest these pathways? Not really, but I do think that some of the pathways that have been described in the past can be both valid and original corridors if we pay attention to our direct instrumental sensory level of awareness in shaping them.

However ultimately, the work has to become our own if we are to truly understand this level of yoga. Can we step outside of our habitual and unconscious constructions to truly allow these creations to unfold?

I feel that it is important to have a basic grasp of mudra when undertaking the creation level work. This is because mudra allows for a dissolving of mental constructions to take place, akin to wiping a blackboard clean before we draw on it. Mudra allows for us to ground in the central point of lucid clarity. See my other posts on mudra if you are unclear.

So lets try some techniques.

Try standing with the feet apart about 3 to 4 feet wide. Turn the feet out slightly. Keep the legs straight. Push into the shins and feet to establish the normal force (see the post on physics of yoga if you don't know what the normal force is) through the bones. Relax all musculature above the kneecaps, including the hips to allow for the normal force  to be felt upwards through the navel into the spine and arms. Raise the arms to about shoulder level to feel the uprising of the normal force. Use mudra to maintain clarity and the center. Wait until you feel the contact/normal force flood the bones.

At this point open from the navel to the sole of the foot like you would open a tube. Don't worry about whether you are getting it right. Just allow yourself to experience directly the opening in what ever way that comes. Feel the tubes of the legs expand into the ground. Now let the opening of the tubes continue from the navel up through the 'trident', the spine and two arms. Is there any place that the tubes feel more closed? Open them up.

Now begin to expand outwards from the navel downwards with blue fire. Why blue? It is higher frequency than red. And anyways, why not? Feel it come back from the earth purified and stabilizing the base of the position, simultaneous with the normal force generated by the shins. Feel the connection of the navel to the earth.

Now draw the blue fire up into the trident, the arms and spine. Fill the spine and take the fire out the arms to hold it in each hand. Like you are a strange 5-limbed spider made out of blue fire.

See it clearly in the mind eye. To stabilize the image in the mind eye, utilize Shambhavi mudra and recognize the union of clarity/emptiness and form. Don't attach to the form. Let it become clear in the empty lucid sky of consciousness. Let it burn.

Let the legs bend as the top of the shin presses out, allowing yourself to come down into horse. Open the fingers and let the palms face each other. Now, maintaining the continuous stream of fire in the legs and spine, release the continuous stream in the arms. Let the fire in the arms condense into a blue fire ball between the hands. Let it hover there for some time. Then absorb the fire into the left hand, draw it down into the navel and then let it rise through the right arm and come out from the right palm. Let it leave the palm, feel it as it moves from the right to left palm and then absorb it again into the left. Continue, letting the ball travel from right to left hand and moving the blue fire ball down into the navel and up through the right palm and out again. Repeat this several times. Then reverse the direction, taking the fire ball in through the right palm and bringing it out from the left palm. Let it travel in reverse direction several times, completing the circuit.

As you do this try to simultaneously see and feel the blue fire traveling through you. Sharpen the clarity of the form with the Shambhavi mudra.

If you decide to stop at this point, dissolve all forms back into natural lucidity and rest there for awhile.

If you want to continue, try the following, keeping in mind to stop the activity if you start to feel overwhelmed at any point:

Take the ball of blue fire above the crown of the head about 12 finger widths. Hold it there and then draw it down behind the body in an arc to 12 finger widths below the feet under the floor. Let it rest there a moment and then draw it up the front of the body in an arc back up over the head. Let it rest for a moment. If you like you can continue this movement with the breath, inhaling the ball down and exhaling it up. Or your can exhale it down and inhale it up. Or you can just focus on the movement of the ball separate from the breath. Mantra can also be used here simultaneous with the movement (more on that another time).

Once you've established the movement and the two points above and below, start to move the ball rapidly, basically forming a quickly moving ring of blue fire around the front and back of the body, like a rapidly spinning wheel going backwards. Hold the form clearly in the mind eye and feel it simultaneously. Use the Shambhavi mudra to sharpen and stabilize the form.

Then quickly and immediately stop the ball above the head. Hold it there briefly and then reverse the direction, taking it down in the front to below the feet. Hold it there. Take it up the back to the crown. Hold it there. Repeat several times. When it is stabilized, begin to move it rapidly in the 'forward' direction like a blue wheel of fire. Stabilize the movement and unify it with the clarity of Shambhavi mudra. After some time with this stop it immediately above the head.

For the second phase, try moving the ball down to the right and up on the left. Let the arc down and up go completely to the outside of the body to right and left, between the crown and foot points. Go between the two points holding at the points briefly and then begin to spin rapidly again. Hold this for some time. Then stopping at the crown, reverse the direction again, this time moving the ball down to the left and bringing it up on the right side in the same way as before. Stop the ball above the head when you are ready.

The third phase involves taking the ball down in front of the navel several feet out. We are going to circle the navel horizontally this time, beginning with moving the ball around the right side of the waist to several feet behind the spine, holding it there briefly and then bringing it around forward to the left back in front of the navel. Go back and forth around the body between the two points for awhile and then rapidly begin to circle it around the waist. This variation might get you hot. Stop the ball when you are ready in front of the navel and then reverse the direction this time taking the ball back to the left and forward to the right. Repeat as above until the ring of fire is spinning "counterclockwise". Hold for some time and then stop.

The fourth phase involves taking the blue fire ball down to the outside of the left ankle. This variation is influenced by the middle pillar exercise, described by Israel Regardie. We are going to take the ball on a counterclockwise spiral journey around the body and up from the ankle, circling the body counterclockwise and up until it reaches the crown. When the ball hits above the crown, it explodes into a shower and falls down like liquid fire through the body, pooling at the base and condensing again at the left ankle. You can do this in discrete movements with or without the breath, drawing it up and then showering and then you can do it in a constant flowing movement when you are ready. See the blue fire turn to white over the course of this activity. Unify the creation with the clarity of Shambhavi mudra.

When you are done with these practices, dissolve all forms into innate clarity and rest for some time. Then exit the position and rest briefly. If for any reason you are ungrounded by the activity, send everything down, connecting spine and navel to the earth. If this doesn't work, sit and repeat 'lam' (sounds like 'lum') over and over or go put your bare feet in the earth. You should feel energized and alert if you have managed to keep the forms stabilized with the clarity of the mudra.

The exercises described above are a very tiny sampling of the creation level work of the Nadi Yoga and give an example of how we can shape the mind space with our consciousness. Horse stance is nice but not necessary. We can also do these techniques from seated or pick another stance that works.

We are always creating whether we realize it or not. Working with this level of the work consciously allows us to recognize more and more our own unconscious creations and begins to build new pathways, simultaneously purifying our mental and energetic corridors.

I find this level of the work profound. Try it out for several weeks, and take note of the effects in your life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Creation vs Seeking

I wanted to write a few words on intention in our practice and life.

For many, the 'path' of yoga is one of seeking. Seeking to find our true nature, enlightenment, the nature of subtle energy, power, or any number of things. That which we seek is influenced by culture, religion, spirituality, books, teachings, teachers, traditions, and 'other' sources than our self.

The Bhagavad Gita says "You are entitled to action but never to its fruit." Many interpret this as a statement that tells us that our fruits are God's alone, as if God is something outside of our self. What this statement says to me is that we need to perhaps emphasize the movement of action itself and not  desired permanence of forms. Forms are changing. There is nothing stable in form to rely on.

Why do we consider ourselves bound? Does this come from someplace outside of ourselves?
What are we truly lacking? Anything? Where is it that we get this idea in our mind consciousness that we are somehow limited and lacking? Do we really need to improve our selves? Do we need to become better or more than we are? Do we need some experience to validate our sense of self? Why?

Ego. Non-ego. These are just concepts. Forms in the sky of consciousness. What happens when these forms relax?

Where does movement come from? What initiates it? There is so much present in movement itself that can reveal itself if we pay attention.

Where is the center of movement? What is this center? It is the bindu.
What if we were to start from the place of perfection? What if we were to start every moment from a place of acceptance? What is it inside of ourselves that resists this? Is it so hard to accept our rightful place at the center of our our yantra, to take our place at the bindu of creation?

If we allow ourselves to be at the center of our own mandala, one of the first things that might strike us is that we ARE the center. Can we accept our own self-reliance? Can we take responsibility for our life around us? Are there really 'outside forces' imposing on us, forcing us to move this way or that? Are we relying on God and fate to govern our actions? Can we accept our own divinity and examine our intentions, our direction of movement at every moment?

It might be scary to come to center. It involves dissolving and dying to what we thought we were. It may destroy our concepts of God and the world. Perhaps we have confused the forms of the periphery with the true stability of the center point. Responsibility and self-reliance might be terrifying as we are so used to blaming, worshiping, submitting to something outside of our own selves.

From here, at the bindu of the yantra, we find authenticity. We find the truth of movement's origin that presents as 'us'.

From center, we find the possibility of authentic creation.

At this center, the distractions and confusions of the peripheral forms are not present. It is like the eye of a storm. We can move in any direction unimpeded. We don't need to rely on others or traditions. We don't need to conform. True creation is possible here, uninfected by the stain of what we feel we 'should' be or become.

True creation allows the periphery to unfold with its center at the bindu. The bindu and the periphery are in perfect alignment. Form and emptiness are recognized as one and simultaneous. Clarity is present with movement and appearance.

There is a deep joy and playfulness with creation. All is right. Let go of shame, guilt, and fear to truly let creation unfold from center. We don't need to act for another.

Some have the feeling that it is all about finding center but then what? Our natural ability to create is just pushing inward on itself. Are we reacting to empty forms? Why? What are we telling ourselves? The forms are empty in themselves. Do we want the center or bindu to remain only as a point singularity? Are we a black hole? No. Once we recognize the center point, let the bindu unfold. Let it expand outwards.

In and out. Contraction and expansion. Dissolution and creation. Shrim Hrim. Heaven is united with Earth. The Mother and the Father are one. There is no need to judge form. Form is divine expression. And it is never separate from the center. We ARE that center.

Do we realize this? What movement wants to come forth?