Day six – Meditation on unselfish Love

Today I decided to rest from physical asana. My body firmly stated that it required rest and I have definitely learned to listen to my body. Yoga injuries can take a long time to heal. I think this is of extreme importance to the yogin but sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between bodytalk and sheer laziness!

Yesterday I started to read about meditation and refresh my memory upon the topic. Last night at my midnight sitting the investment bore fruit. Previously my style of meditation was simply attentive but completely still. I would attempt to hold the utter stillness for as long as possible. My goal was to hold the openness for 12 seconds. This is no easy task, the mind is a hard beast to tame. I achieved this goal once, almost 4 years ago and experienced my second encounter with the great light. It took a long time and a lot of practice to still the mind completely for 12 seconds. I used to describe this process as meditation but after reading up on meditation yesterday, now I’m not so sure. I have a new understanding of meditation and samadhi.Yoga - Be your own sheep.

Last night at my midnight sitting I employed a new technique of simply withdrawing the senses and then holding the breath and going deep into a feeling state of Unselfish love. The resulting feeling state was held for about 10 seconds I would guess, it is impossible to count when in a deep feeling state. I was able to project myself deep into the feeling of love. It’s quite difficult to describe, it’s a subtle feeling at first which grows in intensity and mounting bliss. Accompanied with rushes and tingles throughout the body it was a very pleasant feeling. Recalling feelings of giving and receiving love unselfishly, felt subtly magical as if an ensuing flood of endorphins and enkephalins were somehow Natures reward for sharing the universal energy of Love.

I think previously I had confused the terminology of meditation, the 7th limb of yoga, with the 8th limb of yoga – contemplation, Samadhi. I am looking forward to reading all about Samadhi tonight and hopefully moving another step nearer my goal.

I decided at my noon session today to change my pranayama, again. I was getting an unpleasant feeling in my cheekbones and ear canal from to much Bhastrika. This was a problem last time I practiced pranayama in depth. It’s a very unusual feeling. I feel the cheekbones to have special significance in yoga which I will talk about at another time, when I recount my second encounter with the Light.

I feel I have progressed greatly these last 6 days and feel I should tone down the purifying pranayama a little and move it in a more subtle direction. I decided upon the bee breath, which feels really nice. I also changed the inhalation/exhalation extension practice to the identical breath which is similar but not as strenuous. Lastly I changed the deep abdominal breathing to sun piercing breath which is also more subtle and less strenuous. I look forward to exploring and working with these new techniques.

Day 1 – Lead-up, rough itinerary and first session.

Start at the beginning

Yesterday I spent the day reading up and re-familiarizing myself with pranayama, (breath control). I have practised Pranayama on several occasions over the past 7 years and become accustomed to its raw power. No other exercise effects your total self quite like the breath of life.

The last time I practised for several weeks and then had to stop as I felt I had become just too open. I was experiencing very unusual perceptual abilities. I could see why most yogin retire to an ashram in which to open and expand the system, as doing so in a busy modern city can de a difficult endeavour. Opening the higher chakras whilst being surrounded by people deeply rooted in the materialism, inebriation and the guttural thought forms of the lower energy realms can be a trying procedure.

Practicing the eight limbs of yoga intensely for a prolonged period hones the mind and system to such a degree that all the senses sharpen, including the sixth and higher senses. The ability to directly read people’s minds, bodies and energies can become a hindrance in a tough, masculine city such as Manchester where people rarely pass on a smile to strangers, fear and self consciousness completely absorb the majorities attention. Sense withdrawal skills become handy when traversing the city streets so as to remain unaffected by the hordes contagious energies.

I reread Goswami Kriyanandas instructions, it’s always a pleasure to read his beautiful style of writing and I also read “The science of Pranayama” by Sri Swami Sivananda which was a first for me and provided some interesting new insights into Pranayama.

Pranayama always comes with strong warnings and the strict instructions to never push to hard. Slow gradual progress is the most important rule.

Pranayama should ideally be practised four times a day, though this is usually too difficult for most people. Last time I settled for twice a day, at noon and at midnight but this time I feel I shall attempt the full four sittings and if it gets too much I can always drop it down to two.

My rough plan is to practise at:

  1. Sunrise; roughly 6:30 am
  2. Noon
  3. 6:00 pm
  4. Midnight

The sunrise session shall be simply Pranayama followed by asan (sitting in a meditative posture).

Noon session will be preceded by physical Asana (yoga poses), starting roughly at 11:00 am.

6:00 pm session will be simple Pranayama and sitting asan.

Midnight will be Pranayama followed by sense withdrawal, concentration and meditation. Though I will always go with my feelings whilst practising and this is a very rough guide.

Window view

I set my alarm for 6:30 am. I usually rise between 9 and 11 am so it was quite a shock this morning to be so rudely pulled from my dreams. For 5 minutes I wrestled with the idea of going back to sleep and forgetting my practice, but soon found it in me to jump up, brush my teeth and found myself sitting on my Indian woolen blanket at 6:40.

I took it slow the first session. It felt nice to be back in the blanket. The motor memory of  previous Pranayama sessions came back to me and I only required some brief revision to recall the procedure.

I decided to start with:

  • Deep abdominal breathingDerga-shwasa-prashwasa
  • Inhalation/exhalation extension
  • Easy breath – Sukha-purvaka
  • Vitalising breath
  • Bellows breath – Bhastrika

Wow! Bellows breath is powerful!

I  sat with eyes closed in The prosperous pose for 5 minutes. A short time but you should begin slowly.

I have had a terrible manflu for the last two weeks, so much mucous came out, it was unbelievable. I am over the worse now and decided to go ahead on the auspicious autumnal equinox day.

My nasal passages were a little dry but overall the session went very smoothly. I read for a while before falling back asleep till 11:00 am. I need to re-programme my body clock over the coming days.

At 11:00 am I did some sun salutations followed by an hours yogic warm ups and stretching, culminating in handstand, head stand and scorpion. I have not done any physical practice in over 2 Months as before my flu I had a bad fall from my mountain bike which left me on crutches for several weeks. My right leg is still very sore and I cannot manage the full lotus posture or leg bounces properly. I took this first session very slowly and gradually.

I then performed the same pranayama as earlier except I missed out the vitalizing breath as I wanted to do the full Pranayama session without getting up or opening my eyes. This procedure allows me to kill two birds with one stone as it combines the breathing exercises with sitting asan. In total I sat for 13 minutes. We now approach my third session of the day so I must leave it there..

An inspiring thunder storm shook Manchester today, I saw it as a good omen for my forthcoming months of experimentation,

Namaste.