Day 63 – New start

Since I had a heavy fall from my mountain bike I had to stop my regular exercise routine. Mainly because I was in too much pain. Very nearly broke my leg. Was on crutches for a month. Have finally healed. This whole blog was  a result of that injury, as I got deeply into yoga, mainly pranayama, concentration, meditation and contemplation.

I have found pranayama to be very strengthening, internally, but because I have not been exercising my muscular system and cardio I felt I got to a point of saturation with it. Now I feel it’s time to start working on the muscular and cardiovascular.

The new revised plan is to intersperse running (cardiovascular) with resistance training and specific abs workouts.

So my new routine will run like this:

day 1: Resistance training

day2: Yoga postures

day3: Abs

day 4: Yoga postures

day 5: Running

day 6: Yoga

day 7: Rest

I have decided to chill with the pranayama until I get my general fitness back up to par.

2 months recovering has left me out of shape, just a little.

As soon as I feel my fitness returned I shall restart the prananyama.

Posted this blog to my facebook today. A big welcome to new readers.

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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 5 – Hong Sau & chakra positions

Today I began incorporating Hong Sau;

“In Sanskrit, the word Hamsa (Hong-Sau) means wild gander, and has great symbolic significance. No matter how far the wild gander flies, at some point it remembers, and migrates back to its home, always at the proper season. In the same way, we as spiritual beings following a spiritual principle must, like the wild gander, remember, and migrate back to our spiritual home. The spiritual home is the inward state of Samadhi. The Hong-Sau Kriya meditation is a key technique whereby you return to the spiritual home.SriYantra

In most systems of meditation, there is a particular spiritual result that is sought. This may be trance, vision, or clairaudience. This is not, however, the end goal of Kriya Yoga. There is a higher meditation, in which you enter a state of consciousness with meaning beyond your own mind. In this state of meditation, you remove the illusions, delusions, cravings, loyalties, and prejudices. These states produce emotional ignorance within your everyday consciousness. When these states have been removed, you see the reality.

Higher meditation produces a strength and an intensity of consciousness making you courageous and fearless. The most universally applicable method for developing meditation is attentiveness on the incoming and outgoing breath! This technique in no way interferes with the normal breathing pattern. It is used as a point of concentration. It is a pattern upon which the Hong-Sau meditation technique is based.

 

 

 


 

Taken from The Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga” by Goswami Kriyananda.

Was good to find this on the web as it gives an example of Goswami Kriyanandas style of writing; plus I couldn’t think of much to say today ; ) found some nice pictures though. I especially like the one showing the position of the chakras from the side view. For a long time I was never exactly sure where the Chakras were, depth wise in the body. Most images only show the chakras from the front. I wonder how ida, pingala and shushumna fit into this view of the chakras being along the spinal axis? Are the three main nadi channels found simply in the center of ones body or do they also adhere to the spinal axis? Answers on a postcard please..

Day two – Yogic diet, supplements, celibacy and Siddhi.

Ummm I feel everything is coming together nicely! Arose at 6:30 this morn without need for an alarm, and enjoyed a lovely morning session. My times are already starting to gradually climb.

Spent the morning reading about Pratyahara, sense withdrawal, in Goswami Kriyananda ‘s wonderful work, The spiritual science of Kriya yoga, a vital ability in the yogis arsenal. Incorporating the four given experiments into my sitting asan has already improved my sitting time considerably. Up from a measly 13 minutes to 25 mins! Which however is still far from the 3 hour goal. My consciousness already seems subtly clearer somehow and I am feeling positive and happy.

After reading “The science of prananyama” by Sri Swami Sivananda, I have made some changes to my diet, mainly, cutting out passion exciting onions and garlic . He recommends cutting out all flesh including fish. This I may find a step to far as I really enjoy mackerel and salmon which are good sources of omega 3 and protein. He states that eggs are flesh and should not be eaten by the yogi. I really like eggs and as they are a good source of phospholipids which are very beneficial for brain functioning, I think I will continue to enjoy them for the time being. All other dietary recommendations I already practise, such as no added salt, no meat, no hot curries or spicy foods, no bitter or too strong-tasting foods etc. A balanced diet is the key. It is suggested that when first settling into a new pranayama routine one should be extremely careful in ones choice of foods.

I have been following Patrick Holfords advice on basic supplements for a few months now. Supplementing a good multi vitamin and mineral tablet as well as extra vitamin C, soya lecithin for phospholipids and omega 3,6 and 9. This is recommended for everyone. I am also taking chromium, zinc magnesium, and extra B vitamins. Because I smoked for a long time, I have also been taking some amino acids. Glutamine to restore the health  of my intestinal tract. 5-HTP, phenylalanine and tyrosine to help restore depleted neurotransmitters. GABA to aid sleep and Sam-e to help the methylation process.

The most difficult part of the yogic diet for me will be Brahmacharya!

Sri Swami Sivananda suggests 6 months to a year is a good time period to save every single drop of semen. 12 full years is the optimal time period. Ok.

Temptress in the Shadows

I shall strongly endeavour to attain this goal. (6 months – 1 year.)

Pratyahara (sense withdrawal) offers practical advice in how to conquer the evils of lust. And the lord knows I will need every technique available to help me in that department!

Sri Swami Sivananda suggests avoiding women all together. This technique may be possible if you are living in the Himalayas but in a modern city center it is impossible! The basic idea of retaining ones seminal fluid is to increase overall energy. Leaking energy simply will not do! The yogin can use the additional energy to reach higher states of consciousness. Sages contend the average person utilises less than 1% of cerebral matter. Cerebral matter is located all along the spine, in the major organs as well as the various ganglia.

When the eight limbs of yoga are practised intensely for a long period the brain eventually decides it is safe to start to wake up and the yogis system enables the ability to begin processing much higher amounts of energy. The yogi will then evolve the various siddhis described in, the bible for yoga, Patanjali‘s ‘Yoga sutras.’

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23-09-2010

Deep abdominal breath

Inhalation/Exhalation Extension

Easy breath

Bhastrika

Total sit time

6:00 am

X7

20/20 15/15 12/12

5in 5h 10ex x3

5 – 10 – 10 x4

30 30 30 30 30

5 min

12 noon

X7

15/15×2 17/17×2

5- 10-10 x7

40 20 30 30 30

13 min

6:00 pm

X7

17/17×2 15/15×2

5-10-10×7

25 30 30 35

13 min

12 midnight

X9

17/17×5

5-10-10×7

30 30 30 30 30

18 min

24-09-2010

6:00 am

X10

20/20 20/17 17/17×3

5-10-10×7

35 35 30 30

20 min

12 noon

X12

25/25 30/30 25/25 20/30 25/25

5-10-10×7

35 40 30 30

25 min

6:00 pm

12 midnight

Pranayama times table

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.