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More on directional breathing during yin

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Joined: 07 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:06 pm    Post subject: More on directional breathing during yin Reply with quote

Hi Bernie,

When I do the directional breathing in a yin yoga classespecially if it has been explained and encouraged by the teacher so that others are also doing itsometimes things get interesting.

My only hint of warning about this was given in a class by a young yin teacher named Gigi who I once met in Ottawa, who made a very brief reference to the eye of perception and the possibility that we could possibly experience it becoming enlivened at some point.

I always use the classical method for directional breathing, in which attention goes down to pelvic floor on the inhale, and then up to heart or top of head on the exhale (as you nicely explain on page 55 of your Complete Guide to Yin Yoga). I do this throughout the Yin session. This is what my main Yin teacher has always taught. I have also been separately advised by a venerable Indian yogi to use this method of breathing during pranayama prior to meditation.

In addition to attending to the direction of breath, at my Yin teacher's suggestion, I also add some texture to the breath by slightly constricting the throat in ujayi breathing.

It has often happened, about halfway into a class, that I will begin to feel, on the in-breath, as if a highly nourishing substance is being drawn in at the base of my spine. Then sometimes as I attend to the breath going upwards to the heart or top of the head, I begin to experience a whole new kind of perception. On several occasions, I have found myself in a different kind of world, tho still quite aware of the class going on around me. My awareness settles to a level of life that is deeply silent, and yet also delightfully friendly. Andtotally unexpectedat such times, I have had encounters of a personal nature. I feel cautious about going into details, but I could say that at these times I feel the blessings of Nature in a concrete and very personal way.

One thing I notice and love about these occasions is that even though the experience is novel, there is not the slightest excitation. It all takes place within a deep silence, and one takes things as they come without any sense of disturbance. There is perfect stability. At the same time, there is a subtle yet penetrating satisfaction in the heart.

A variation on this experience occurred during one class, in which at one point the teacher called our attention to the heart area. When my attention shifted there, I had the clear experience, for the first time, of my heart--not in the physical sense, but in the sense of becoming aware of the seat of my faculty of feeling. The heart centre, in the non-physical sense, seems to be roughly centred in the physical heart area. I felt as if this faculty had become fully enlivened, and I noticed that this enlivened heart carried with it an increased capacity for perception. I was experiencing everything in a new and positive, and very clear way. It seemed that all my faculties were working much betterI remember speaking to a sick friend afterwards, and found myself effortlessly finding effective words of encouragement for her.

I know for sure that this classical method of directing attention brings really good results, but am wondering if anyone has found that taking it in the other direction also works well? I personally hesitate to experiment. I am concerned, for one thing, that it might somehow weaken a beneficial flow of energy that could gain momentum over time? I enjoy Sarah Powers explanation in Insight Yoga (pp. 26 - 27) of how this type of breathing works.

Do you talk about such things on your teacher training courses? Although I dont feel an urgent need to discuss these kinds of experience (because they are to a large extent self-validating), it would be nice to gain more understanding of them, what are the mechanics behind them, what they mean.

Warmest best wishes to you and all my dear fellow yin yogis!

Last edited by neilcd108 on Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
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Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:47 am    Post subject: Experimenting with Energy Reply with quote

Hi Neil

Thanks for a detailed description of your experiences. Fascinating. I can not claim to have had such experiences, and energy work is not my main practice, so it is very interesting to see what you have experienced.

You ask if it is "safe" to reverse the direction of the flow of your awareness. I don't know, but in general I find that there are no absolute laws: for some people one way works best, but for other people the complete opposite way works better. We do have to experiment, but experiment cautiously, paying full attention, just in case this way is not optimal. With your experience in sensing energy and its effects, I suspect you would have no problem trying it out and seeing the difference.

There are other people who could guide you much better than I. Paul Grilley has a whole 100 hour course on Energy and The Chakras and a DVD on the topic. You may also want to look up Mantak Chia's work or connect with him.

Good luck!
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