Alignment and Flow in Kundalini Yoga.
Attitude and Energy
There are many claims made for healing at an energetic level and many claiming ‘everything is just energy’
Thankfully most people don’t expect to be completely healed by visiting a health practitioner and often the most stubborn health issue/s (usually one or two) don’t ever completely resolve however long you have treatment for and however many practitioners you try.
Despite this because the flow of energy improves so does your overall energy levels, some other symptoms and perhaps there is some shift, however small in the most stubborn complaint (that is manifesting at the soul/genetic level). So, for example you feel less tired, your digestion and sleep improve and you feel better, even though the original complaint, that bugs you the most, does not ever really resolve. These are often issues that run in a family, and so run deep in the genes. Some people therefore conclude that holistic medicine does not work. For others they are happy to enjoy the often unexpected benefits of other things improving.
Blocks to the healing process
When considering blocks to the healing process it is honest for the practitioner and liberating to the client to work towards a change of attitude as well as a change in energy. A change of attitude is a change of perspective and a change of thinking and this is more likely to last in the long run and usually has more chance of persisting to impact us at the deeper levels where the resistance and inherited karmic patterns are deeper.
Energy and power, consciousness and presence
This corresponds to the elements of water; power. And air; presence. Blocks to healing can arise in relation to both. In this excerpt from his book ‘Let The Numbers Guide You’ Shiv Charan shows that it’s not just about energetic change;
‘Different religious and cultural communities tend to emphasize different pairs of numbers. The 2 and 8 are numbers (water element) that have been central too much in the oriental way of thinking. The association of the Tao with the element water, the study of the polarities of yin and yang, the eight trigrams of the I Ching, the eight spokes on the wheel of dharma in the Buddhist tradition…
Generally speaking it is harder, or just more challenging since it calls for more consciousness and responsibility, to negotiate a change of a person’s attitude as opposed to changing the energy flow, whether within the person or in their environment. Therefore, water power or energy flow has tended to become the popular concerns of practices such as Feng Shui since it does not call upon the responsibility of the people to influence their environment and their own lives. Rather it places all the emphasis on external factors in the naïve hope that people will gain benefit from this without their own contribution of presence. (Note this is contrary to the original spirit of Feng Shui, which concerns itself with both the movement of the wind and the water powers)’ (Shiv Charan Singh p 181 & 144 – 145 Let the Numbers Guide You)
Despite all of our efforts to keep healthy the body is complex and paradoxical. After the loss of our premature baby boy at 15 hours old it was revealed that my wife had liver disease from an unknown cause and needed a new one. Life’s big challenges, and a regular kundalini yoga practice, remind us that we are not our body or our mind, or the emotional ups and downs of life. We are a soul with a destiny and our soul lives on after we die. Since you won’t be needing your body when you die carry a donor card to remind you of the unique opportunity you have to bring life back to those that our still living once your soul is ready to move on.
In the Sikh faith we use the expression ‘ Cherdi Kala’ which means always be in elevated spirits. Your soul is always elevated, undiminishable as it is. It cannot be improved upon or healed, or negatively effected by anything that happens to us. It is just waiting, calmly and patiently for us to return to it.
Why meditate in the early morning?
Sadhana means spiritual discipline and in the Kundalini Yoga tradition this is generally taken to mean a daily early morning practice (though it could mean a practice at another time of the day). A commitment made by the mind and body to serve the soul. “A time each day to notice the patterns that lead us away from higher consciousness and to transcend those patterns”
Every 72 hours all of the cells of the body change. Our motivation waxes and wanes, our physical strength and capacity fluctuates but through all the change we have the chance to maintain a regular practice.
In the Kundalini Upanishads 2.5 hours was understood as one tenth of your day (they lived by cycles of nature rather than the 24 hour clock!). It was determined that if you give one tenth of your day to your higher consciousness, your whole day is covered by the energy return.
Before sunrise, typically between 4 and 5 am is a great time to get up (or anyway to have done some kind of practice before around 7.30 – 8 am). The stillness and the cleaner air makes it a great time to breath deeply, cleanse the body and mind and meet the day on your terms. If we get up when it is still dark we need to switch on our own inner light and face our shadow self. The birds start to sing their joyful songs and so we also have an opportunity to uplift ourselves.
The collective ego mind of the world is mostly asleep so there is less psychic interference (after sunrise the mind is less controllable as the energy of the sun is more scattered. The angle of the sun at 60 degrees is ideal)
Metabolism is slower (body temp is coolest at 4 am), and the atmosphere is cooler, therefore there is less heat and less agitation in the mind and body.
If you also have a cold shower whilst you body temperature is at it’s lowest it will not only set you up for yoga with a clearer mind you will improve the bodies circulation. When the body is hit with cold water when it’s temperature is already lower the circulation has to work harder. Blood is forced from the organs to the periphery so that although you may feel cold at first you will feel warm once you start to towel dry. It is more difficult to meditate deeply if your circulation is still in patterns dictated by sleep and feeling drowsy.
In the early morning hours known as Amrit Vela (the time when nectar rains down) the mind is more receptive to thoughts and you have more clarity to assess them. It is a time when, if in bed, we tend to dream more. This is the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is lighter. The body is more restless than when in the deeper periods of sleep that came earlier so whilst when you wake up early you think that you maybe tired later the converse is usually true, especially if you increase the energy you get from meditating with others. Some people claim that it’s important to dream and to attempt to analyse our dreams but sleep can also be dream disturbed (which is often simply a psychic detoxification) Good quality sleep is when we ‘sleep like a log’ and awake refreshed with occasional dreams that are genuinely insightful and profound (not that often!).
The Chinese Body Clock shows that the Lungs are at their strongest between 3 and 5 AM therefore activating them through deep and rhythmic breathing during this time is beneficial. Between 5 and 7 am is the time of the colon so it’s good to get the bowels moving early! So that between 7 and 9 we start to build an appetite for breakfast which is the time of the stomach. The colon is also our shock absorber – the dumping ground physically and psychically so subconscious fears that are stuck in the lower 3 chakras can be addressed well at this time.
We need of course to manage our need for sleep so there will be times when we need to rest more. If it’s possible to wake up without an alarm this is ideal but a certain training is usually needed to set a rhythm which is why a group sadhana is ideal.
In Western medicine the heart is viewed as a muscular pump that sometimes malfunctions but it is also the organ which reveals our spirit and lust for life.
In the first day after a bereavement people are 21 times more likely to get a heart attack, men are twice as likely to die of a sudden heart attack with a mistress than with their wife and they are now so many cases of personality changes after heart transplants that doctors are counselling for this. There are many stories of heart transplant recipients receiving new memories with their hearts; of falling in love with the old flame of their donor, taking up the hobbies of their donor, of developing new tastes that coincide, even of changing their sexual preferences from men to women.
Ask yourself ‘why did I stop eating’; was it really because you had eaten enough?
In the book ‘Eating the Moment’ you are encouraged to keep a 2 week journal considering the following as a list of reasons for stopping eating:
- Hunger relief: you relieved the sensation of hunger (the next 2 stages are pleasant fullness and unpleasant fullness)
- Pleasant fullness: you reached a point of pleasant fullness
- Unpleasant fullness: you reached a point of unpleasant fullness
- Ran out of food: you stopped eating because the food ran out
- Emotionally felt better: you stopped eating because you felt better inside
- Binge witnessed/shame: you stopped because someone witnessed a binge, you were shamed
- Diet-violation guilt: you stopped eating over guilt about violating a diet
- Entertainment over: you stopped because you had nothing left to watch, read and so on
- Company left: you stopped eating because you no longer had companionship for the meal
- Ran out of fun food: you stopped eating because you ran out of snacks or fun foods
- Distracted from eating: you stopped eating because the phone rang or you were otherwise distracted
- Plate clean
- Got money’s worth: at an all you can eat buffet, you didn’t stop eating until you felt you got a bargain
- Got sleepy: you stopped eating because you became drowsy or lethargic
What is it that most nourishes you? What is the activity, the principle that you need to give birth to, that needs to see the light of day? This is what needs to be given so that what touches you most deeply is not hidden but shared with others.
Work consistently to find out what it is you have to share and the format that it will be delivered in (recommended books to help in this process; ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, asks the question; ‘What is the One Thing I can do such that be doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson reminds us that our consistency in small, daily commitments is the difference that makes the difference)
stop going for the temporary fix – another coffee, biscuit, tv programme, newspaper, gossip or any other distraction that stops your ability to be consistent
Most people have the process of creation reversed. They believe that if they have a thing, for example more time, money, a relationship, they can do something, which will allow them to be – happy, contented, etc. This is have-do-be.
The problem is the process of creation is the reverse; be – do – have. If you want to have a different outcome then you need to generate a different way of being. The middle step of what to do is a how question. This is the one that trips us up with the first approach – we look at others and ask questions like ‘how come that’s possible for them and not for me, what am I doing wrong?’ and many others that show that we cannot maintain a state of being that allows us to remain sensitive, non-judgemental and response to our environment. The second approach takes the second step out of the equation, for example if you are happy you do certain things because you are happy, as opposed to doing things because you hope they will make you happy and then wondering what you missed when you don’t get the result you hoped for. This gives weight to the new age anthem ‘whatever you are being you are creating’ A jump is then made from this to saying ‘you create your own reality’. This is the carrot of the new age culture that puts us back on the treadmill of have-do-be because the reality we are encouraged to envisage is related to something that we haven’t got now, and is limited by our focus on the carrot!
Now listen up, this is important.
We are asking the wrong question.
The real question to ask is why am I not in a state of gratitude, contentment, peace etc now?
There are many responses to this question and they are all called complaints!…
If only… which causes us to a greater or lesser extent to feel victimised, and it doesn’t matter much how much money or status you have (just in case you still thought that was the governing criteria for being happy!)
The teachings inherent in Kundalini Yoga and meditation, which bring Hatha and Raj yoga together, give us access to another way of being. This path requires loyalty and training but through it the state of contentment and peace alluded to here become a stable state;
Tuning In – ONG NA MO GURU DEV NA MO
How To Do It – ONG starts with the open mouth ‘O’ sound but soon leads into a nasal sound since the objective is to create a vibration in the sinuses and open up the third eye (pituitary).
This can be assisted by gently pulling up on the perineum (the area between the anus and genitals).
NA MO – the NA, a bit shorter. MO slightly elongated.
GURU – shorter. DEV – is sung slightly higher.
And NA MO – as before.
Purpose – ONG is the sound of longing – the desire to merge, to cross the ocean of our life and return to our original state of innocence.
NA MO – to call on that which carries us across this ocean – the GURU – this is commonly translated as that which moves us from darkness or ignorance – the GU – the grunt, the groan, into the RU – the ray (of light), the realisation. The implication is that we are guided out of the darkness and into the light.
Actually, GU comes from the word GUHA which meant a cave. If you go to the back of a cave it gets darker. When it gets as dark as it can be – in the pitch blackness – there is always still a tiny bright spark of light and then the return into the light, which itself even when it seems most bright still contains a tiny amount of blackness. This is what we see in the Daoist Yin Yang symbol. The implication in our life is that in all situations the opposite tendency is there. So in the darkest part of the night there is still the movement into daylight and in the lightest part of the day there is contained within the darkness of night. This means that even when we feel under the most extreme pressure and feel without hope the seed of change – the movement into the light is there. The challenge is to keep our neutrality so that we can thrive in any circumstances. In this way we become our own best therapist and ultimately our own guru (teacher).
“If a person has a neutral, sensitive mind, when he must experience a bad time, he can sit down and say, “Oh God! Wonderful!! What do you want? A bad time? I don’t care.” That person will communicate, talk and feel the challenge is fun. He’s not upset. He knows the night will pass, and there will be a warm day. He knows he will have a lot of fun, so he preserves his energy for that time. He keeps himself centred, whole and together. When the time changes so he can expand, he applies all his energy. He enjoys it all the way. That neutral and sophisticated quality of mind has to be developed, trained, created, experienced, tooled, and fitted into all the grooves of habits and action. Once you accomplish this, any success in life is possible. Without this training nothing is possible, except your fate and your old subconscious patterns. An important part of Kundalini Yoga is to develop the Neutral Mind and its capacity for intelligence, endurance, and integrity.” Yogi Bhajan.
To continue …
DEV means invisible and divine, further pointing to the mysterious, unknown aspect of life.
The total explanation is; I call on infinite wisdom to guide me. Sometimes you may experience tuning in energetically as coming down and in or sometimes more you feel the sound more internally. Actually it is both simultaneously since we are establishing a relationship between the finite and the infinite; – the purpose of yoga; it is us calling on our own inner wisdom or teacher and the wisdom of the infinite, or our collective unconscious, if you prefer. By tuning in we are given the opportunity to neutralise what has gone before we arrive at our yoga mat and make a connection to the highest part of us.
AD GURAY NAMEH, JUGAD GUAY NAMEH, SAT GURAY NAMEH, SIRI GURU DEVAY NAMEH
How To Do It – In a monotone the ending on NAMEH is clipped; there is no extension on the ‘H’
Purpose – This mantra creates a protective field of energy by balancing the 5 elements.
GURAY NAMEH – identifying, naming
AD GURAY NAMEH – AD means primal or first and relates to the earth element,
JUGAD GURAY NAMEH – (jug jug – running like a river) – identifying with the guru through the times, relates to the water element
SAT GURAY NAMEH – Truth revealed through the fire element and the burning of impurity
SIRI GURDEVAY NAMEH – Great respect to the Guru of all Gurus
The 4 stages of the menstrual cycle and treatment protocols
Phase 1; Ra…. preovulatory – warming up. Structure in place to reproduce. Catalystic phase – in heat. 3/7 Teenager ready to reproduce; hot flushes. The stage of Enchantress, priestess. Therapeutically it is generally good to clear any superficial/empty heat that is rising to the surface because the yin, the blood level is not nourished.
Phase 2; Ma …. Ovulatory – pregnant with potentialities, magical, focus on intention, egg released – lies in waiting, the infants call. 1/9 infant. Old witch/hag, dragon, shaman, sorceress (full or new moon). Therapeutically it is often good to tonify the yang (the primary masculine – 1/9) to clear cold/stuckness and stagnation of blood. Tonify the essence and clear dampness (stagnation of water). It can be a time when the energy is sinking and the blood and yang need to be strengthened and the energy lifted.
Phase 3; Da …. Premenstural … stormy, decision making, choice to go or not. Setting the holding space. The bud. Preparing for fertilisation. 4/6 Bride, lover. Warrior/(lioness?), inspired. Theraputically often a need to move stagnation of Liver Qi – the Liver governs the smooth flow of emotions. Phlegm obstructing the chest (the Lungs – lack of clarity/intuition – 6). Blood deficiency at this time can lead to an inability for the endometrium to grow, there can also be Yang Xu and coldness. Overall there is often stagnation of energy and blood and the need to use herbs and acupuncture to break through this.
Phase 4; Sa …. Flow. Eliminate or Illuminate. Separate (bleeding) Return to virgin state, or bond (meeting the sperm). 2/8 Daughter (madien/virgin). Mother (full or new moon). Theraputically move Qi and Blood and or stop bleeding (if too heavy