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 50 – Lotus posture.

No physical yoga today, slept late and explored interesting dreams.

Very good pranayama session though.

Am getting used to sitting in lotus. I can see why it is renown as the king of meditation poses. One feels so stable.

Something clicked in meditation today. very subtle. Could really feel apana and prana currents, rise with inhalation and descend with exhalation; the opposite movement to the breath.

Something opened, or, let go.

Have been feeling very positive and energized. Am spinning a new animation, have some great reading material and just feel settled and content.

It has gotten very cold here. Winter has definitely arrived.

Day 48 – Return of the yogi.

 

Enjoyed two weeks of rest from yoga. The ayahuasca session took a lot out of me and I felt I needed some assimilation time. I also developed some duodenal stomach ulcer pain which needed rest and glutamine to heal. Ayahuasca is very acidic it seems. Only got ulcer pain late at night when in bed.

This morning began with some gentle yoga warm-ups to get me back into mode. Then some pranayama, taking it easy. Nicey nicey.

Have been reading about Zen. Will write up some good stuff soon.

Heavy new moon cleaning session yesterday, Yes folks! I actually pulled out the cooker and cleaned behind there! You do not want to know what was living in there.

Hexagram 17 – Following.

The trigram Tui, the Joyous, whose attribute is gladness, is above; Chên, the Arousing, which has the attribute of movement, is below. Joy in movement induces following. The Joyous is the youngest daughter, while the Arousing is the eldest son. An older man defers to a young girl and shows her consideration. By this he moves her to follow him.
THE JUDGMENT
FOLLOWING has supreme success.
Perseverance furthers. No blame.

In order to obtain a following one must first know how to adapt oneself. If a man would rule he must first learn to serve, for only in this way does he secure from those below him the joyous assent that is necessary if they are to follow him. If he has to obtain a following by force or cunning, by conspiracy or by creating faction, he invariably arouses resistance, which obstructs willing adherence. But even joyous movement can lead to evil consequences, hence the added stipulation, ‘Perseverance furthers’ –that is, consistency in doing right– together with ‘No blame.’ Just as we should not ask others to follow us unless this condition is fulfilled, so it is only under this condition that we can in turn follow others without coming to harm.
The thought of obtaining a following through adaptation to the demands of the time is a great and significant idea; this is why the appended judgment is so favorable.
THE IMAGE
Thunder in the middle of the lake:
The image of FOLLOWING.
Thus the superior man at nightfall
Goes indoors for rest and recuperation.

In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests. Here it is the thunder in the middle of the lake that serves as the image–thunder in its winter rest, not thunder in motion. The idea of following in the sense of adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image.
Thunder in the middle of the lake indicates times of darkness and rest. Similarly, a superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night. No situation can become favorable until one is able to adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance.
THE LINES
Nine at the beginning means:
The standard is changing.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
To go out of the door in company produces deeds.

There are exceptional conditions in which the relation between leader and followers changes. It is implicit in the idea of following and adaptation that if one wants to lead others, one must remain accessible and responsive to the views of those under him. At the same time, however, he must have firm principles, so that he does not vacillate where there is only a question of current opinion.
Once we are ready to listen to the opinions of others, we must not associate exclusively with people who share our views or with members of our own party; instead, we must go out and mingle freely with all sorts of people, friends or foes. That is the only way to achieve something.
Six in the second place means:
If one clings to the little boy
one loses the strong man.

In friendships and close relationships an individual must make a careful choice. He surrounds himself either with good or with bad company; he cannot have both at once. If he throws himself away on unworthy friends he loses connection with people of intellectual power who could further him in the good.
Six in the third place means:
If one clings to the strong man one loses the little boy.
Through following one finds what one seeks.
It furthers one to remain persevering.

When the right connection with distinguished people has been found, a certain loss naturally ensues. A man must part company with the inferior and superficial. But in his heart he will feel satisfied, because he seeks and needs for the development of his personality. The important thing is to remain firm. He must know what he wants and not be led astray by momentary inclinations.
Nine in the fourth place means:
Following creates success.
Perseverance brings misfortune.
To go one’s way with sincerity brings clarity.
How could there be blame in this?

It often happens, when a man exerts a certain amount of influence, that he obtains a following by condescension toward inferiors. But the people who attach themselves to him are not honest in their intentions. They seek personal advantage and try to make themselves indispensable through flattery and subservience. If one becomes accustomed to such satellites and cannot do without them, it brings misfortune.
Only when a man is completely free from his ego, and intent, by conviction, upon what is right and essential, does he acquire the clarity that enables him to see through such people, and become free of blame.
Nine in the fifth place means:
Sincere in the good. Good fortune.

Every man must have something he follows–something that serves him as a lodestar. He who follows with conviction the beautiful and the good may feel himself strengthened by this saying.
Six at the top means:
He meets with firm allegiance and is still further bound.
The king introduces him to the Western Mountain.

This refers to a man, an exalted sage, who has already put the turmoil of the world behind him. But a follower appears who understands him and is not to be put off. So the sage comes back into the world and aids the other in his work. Thus there develops an eternal tie between the two.
The allegory is chosen from the annals of the Chou dynasty. The rulers of this dynasty honored men who had served them well by awarding them a place in the royal family’s temple of ancestors on the Western Mountain. In this way they were regarded as sharing in the destiny of the ruling family.

 

Day 14 – Base camp

After 2 weeks of 4x daily pranayama sessions I feel I am settling into the routine. My body is able to sit still for longer with less fidgeting and with my back straight.

I have been reading about apana and prana and steadily building my knowledge base.

I realise I should not run before I can walk and so am continuing working through the initial pranayamas, building up my skills.

By the time I get to spinal breathing I should be well versed in the theory. The articles I have been reading about apana and prana seem to be a bit unnecessarily complicated. I am hoping for to find a more straight forward guide.

Day 13 – Onwards and upwards.

Not much to report really..

Changed pranayama practice from four phase motion breath to alternate breathing and sun piercing breath to OM with exhalation.

Upwards and onwards!

Started to reread Autobiography of a yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda. Should help to keep me going on the path. I love his use of language. If you haven’t read this amazing book, you should rush out to your nearest book seller and demand a copy instantly! It is a life changing work. A must for anyone interested in Yoga, spirituality or religion. In one stunning chapter Yogananda’s Guru – Sri Yukteswar appears in a vision from beyond the grave and  explains in detail what happens to us after we die. His description of the after life realms is extremely convincing and enough to change even the worse sinners into saints. I believe this book should be studied in all high schools.

I remember when I first started to read this autobiography, I suspected it was exaggerated or even made up in parts, but having completed it I was convinced of its truth.

Day 11 – Cycling and yoga

Went for a long bike ride today. Reluctantly missed my 6 pm pranayama session 😦

Ah well 1 miss in 11 days is not bad. That’s 43/44 Pranayama sessions.

Some days the body needs a different form of exercise – that’s my excuse anyway. Cycling can be a form of yoga, it takes stamina and perseverance, very yogic traits!

My pranayama times have gone very low because have been cycling a lot. Am building the strength back in my injured leg, overdid it though and felt exhausted.

Tut-tut.

This will not do!

Still, did an hours physical asana today.

I understand why Sivananda says the pranayama practitioner should not walk far distances or exert oneself too much physically. Pranayama demands a lot of energy.

Hopefully I have learned from this experience.

Day 9 – back on track.

After three full days rest I got back into my flow today with some refreshing asan. My neck is still very sore so I avoided head and hand stands and kept things light.

My pranayama practice is chugging along nicely. My vehicle is feeling stronger daily, my mind clearer and I have more energy available than usual. Ah the breath of life!

I am finding the Ha-Sa breath the most challenging as it is difficult for me to hold both the anal and stomach locks simultaneously, whilst breathing with only the upper segment of the lungs, though I can really feel it strengthening my core.

I am enjoying the four phase motion breath which just feels nice after the Ha-Sa breath and the bee breath feels wonderful. I have adapted it so I hum into each chakra moving first down then back up the spine.

I find the sun piercing breath difficult, I don’t really get it. Am probably not doing it right. I will stick with it though as I know its very strengthening.

Watched a gorgeous movie last night – Ponyo by Hayao Miyazaki. Highly recommended.

Ponyo on the Cliff . "Original Versio Jap...

Image via Wikipedia

Not much else to say today..

Day 3 – The hardest thing in the world! An encounter.

Day three, rolled out of bed at 6:35, completed Pranayama, rolled back into bed and went straight back to sleeep! Nice. It’s becoming automatic!

Woke at 10 am to brilliant blue skies, praises to the God and Goddesses! Read up about Dharanaconcentration, gorging in the splendid sunshine. Felt like I had discovered a missing piece of the yogic puzzle, refreshing my sitting practice.

Memories of my previous concentration practice came flooding back. My concentration object – a beautiful stone which my daughter gave to me, a fortuitous discovery from a Welsh beach. Oh the hours spent concentrating on this stone! I know its every detail so intimately you could not imagine. Yet somehow it has slipped from my mind recently. I guess the power of my last mystical experience was such a transforming episode and took such assimilation that it has taken nearly four years to get back into the samadhic saddle to make my next assault on the spiritual mountain peaks.

I feel energised today! I felt a little down last night because I chose to say no to various invitations from friends. This feels more important to me at the moment, to ground myself thoroughly in my practice, to create a strong foundation. I’m sure my friends will understand, yet I cannot help feel bad as I am usually a good friend and know the importance of supporting ones friends when they need it. I feel it is the highest privilege to be able to help a friend in need and normally I am unconditionally giving of my time.

Lately I have felt let down by several friends when we have arranged to do something. It felt very frustrating. One of my beliefs is that if you say you are going to do something with a friend you should do it, and if for some reason you really cannot do what you agreed, then you should make it a priority to let your friend know as soon as possible. To me that’s just common decency. I may be being a bit harsh but I am tired of certain so-called friends continually letting me down and so have decided to cut some individuals out.

Any way enough of the rant, let me tell you about my practise. My asana is going nicely, I practice roughly an hour before noon for about an hour. I will post a list of the sequence. Gradual strengthening is already being felt. Coupled with the pranayama it is a very powerful fitness routine. The bellows breath is the best abdominal exercise I have come across. It takes some getting used to but when the flow kicks in it feels magical. Ouch!My right leg is still a bit sore from my biking fall but today I managed the lotus whilst performing the mountain. So it’s gradually healing. My new problem is my elbow. It got cut up real bad in the fall and was healing well until I did the scorpion on it and now its gone into a very painful blister. I just hope it’s not infected. I have had to cut out the scorpion for now until it heals again.

So why is simply sitting on the ground with your eyes closed the hardest thing in the world? By God its difficult! Don’t believe me? You should try it. It is sooooo hard!

In the past I have always practised meditation lying down and have had amazing results but now I have decided to master sitting asan. The goal is to be able to sit for 3 hours. I have managed 25 mins so far. Today after my Pranayama I went into yoni mudra, a sense withdrawal exercise in which you close all the senses and concentrate on ajna. This feels good. The-Microcosmic-OrbitNext I went into concentration on my stone. This was the first time I’ve done it for ages so was a tad tricky. I then went into a Qi-gong exercise called the microcosmic orbit this is not strictly yoga but I feel it helps to speed up the energetic process considerably and have had excellent results with it in the past. In fact I would go as far as to say that it is the most powerful spiritual/energy exercise I have encountered. It is amazing! Let me tell you about my experiences with it.

Firstly it took weeks to get any results. I practised it a lot. I mean a lot. The process is to visualise a small ball of energy, about half an inch inside your skin, moving from the anus up the back, around the head, down the face to the throat as you breathe in. Then move the energy down from the throat chakra back to the anus as you exhale. This completes one circuit. Mantak Chia suggests starting with nine circuits. Later you can train the circuit to spin continually, unconsciously.

At first you may have trouble visualising this process and so to help you can trace a line around yourself with a finger as you breathe. I found yogic concentration exercises to work  great in combination with the microcosmic orbit as they both help your visualisation skills to develop.

So anyway, after several weeks I started to actually feel the energy rather than just visualising it.  It’s as if the circuit is already there but you need to activate it by first visualising this cosmic loop. It first feels like a weak current moving around your body. After more practice the current gets stronger. I actually started to see it with my inner vision as a light blue electricity looking light moving around a channel which was gradually getting thicker with time. This probably sounds far-fetched to someone who never practised any energy work, but if you have felt these astral energies, you will understand.

This  microcosmic orbit for me was the first piece of a combination of techniques that I started putting together which led to a huge breakthrough. The barefoot doctor tells of a shamanistic exercise called scooping the loop in which the microcosmic orbit is utilised in conjunction with visualising three chakras breathing in unison but separately. This takes a lot of skill. visualising one chakra can be a challenge, to hold three at once whilst spinning the microcosmic orbit around it all takes a lot of practise. It is worth it. The chakras start to come alive. After much practise I then added the Dharana exercise of visualising my stone outside of the orbit whilst breathing the three chakras. This is an incredibly powerful technique.

It takes a lot of energy and time to build up.

One day, about 8 years ago, after deeply feeling the inherent power I was determined to master this technique. It was a sunny day and I spent a full 8 hours lay in Whitworth park continually practising this formidably complex visualisation. I had been abstaining from ejaculating for about a month to build up the required energy levels. I was holding the visualisation strongly, for a long time, but without  major breakthrough.

I went home and decided to give it one more try. I lay on the bed and restarted the technique, after a short time suddenly I was struck by lightning! BOOOM! I  left.

I was transported to what appeared to be the depths of space.

I seemed to be stood on a floating rock in front of a gigantic field of energy. This wasn’t a visualisation or a hallucination I was actually there. Though the experience was somehow more real than our usual reality.

I could physically feel the pulsating energy’s heat combined with some sort of solar wind on my skin. The heat was immense. I was extremely terrified. I thought I was going to catch on fire as the heat was so strong. I suddenly realised how people spontaneously and mysteriously combust.

I felt I was too near to the huge light. The light itself, when I say huge, probably the biggest thing we can imagine is our earth or sun, a planetary scale. This Energy/ Light was hundreds of times the size of our sun. It was staggeringly colossal! Imagine the heat of being right close to our sun but it was a different type of heat, more electrical, of a cool blue colour but still Hot. I sensed it was sentient and it was sensing me.

As quickly as I was there, I was back on the bed.

This was my first mystical experience.

Wow!

I didn’t want another.

I was in shock. Serious shock.

I tried to explain what had occurred to my then girlfriend, and later some of my friends. She later put it down to me opening my kundalini. I guess this was the outer edges of her model. How could anyone realise the power of that experience unless they had under gone a similar occurrence.

This was not Kundalini.

Before this happened to me, if someone would have tried to explain this as happening to them I would probably thought they were crazy or exaggerating. After this experience I didn’t practice any yoga or energy work for over a year. I was petrified!

After a lot of assimilation to my new model of the universe, I began again. It was not to be my last encounter with this incredible light.

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 5–10–10×4

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 mid

X9

17/17×5

5-10-10×7

30 30 30 30 30

18 min

24-09-10

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

X20

25/25 20/20 35/35 30/30 25/25

5-20-10×7

30 35 30 25

22 min

12 mid

X20

30/30 40/20 25/25 20/20 20/20

5-10-10×7

40 35 30 30

21 min

25-09-10

6 am

X20

40/45 30/30 25/25 20/20 20/20

5-15-10×8

40 35 30

22 min

12 noon

x25

45/45 35/35 30/30 25/25 20/20 20/20

5-10-10×8

60 30 30

22min

6 pm

12 mid

Pranayama times table