martedì, marzo 28, 2006
There are certain combinations of muscle contractions that are called Bhandas or Locks. Each lock has a function of changing blood circulation, nerve pressure and the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. They also direct the flow of psychic energy and prana into the main energy channels that relate to raising Kundalini energy. The Bhandas concentrate the body’s energy expanding the
awareness and producing self-healing.
Jalandhara Bhanda, or Neck Lock, is the most common of the Bhandas. Normally used in all meditative, easy pose Asanas. The Neck Lock is produced by pulling the neck and throat back so that the chin rests in or near the notch between the collar bones, making sure that at the same time the head stays level without tilting forward. It is important that the spine and the neck
straighten to allow the increased flow of pranic energy to travel freely up to the upper glandular centers of the brain, opening up the pranic Nadis (nerve channels) that may be blocked.
Mul Bhanda, the Root Lock, is frequently used in Kundalini Yoga. It involves pulling in the rectum, sex organs and navel point all at the same time, generating the psychic heat that can release the Kundalini energy. This lock can be applied on the inhale or exhale, as specified in the exercises. This lock unites the two major energy flows of the body: Prana and Apana. (Prana is the generative energy of the upper Chakras, the 4th and 5th; and Apana is the eliminating energy of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Chakras. The first part of the Mul Bhanda is to contract the rectum and draw it in and up as if trying to hold back abowel movement. Then draw up on the sex organs as if trying to hold back from urinating. Lastly, pull in the navel point by drawing back the lower abdomen towards the spine so the rectum and sex organs are drawn up toward the navel point.
Uddiyana Bhanda, the Diaphragm Lock, is considered to be a powerful lock as it allows the pranic force to transform through the central nerve channel of the spine up into the neck region. It is normally applied on the exhalation. The spine should be straight, lift the diaphragm up high into the thorax and pull the upper abdominal muscles back toward the spine. This creates a cavity, which gently massages the heart muscles. This Bhanda gives a sense of compassion and youthfulness to the entire body.
Maha Bhanda is the application of all three locks (Jalandhara, Uddiyana and Mul Bhanda) all at the same time. When you apply this lock, the nerves and glands are rejuvenated. This Bhanda relieves sexual tension, regulates blood pressure, reduces menstrual cramps and increases flow of circulation to the lower glands, i.e., the testes and ovaries.
The yogic technology of breath is called Pranayama. Kundalini Yoga uses the breath to change energy flow and achieve a specific state of mind. In Kundalini Yoga, a wide variety of breathing techniques are used, ranging from fast (Breath of Fire) to long, slow and deep breathing. There is nothing more powerful than meditating on your breath. The slower your rate of breathing,
the more control you have over your mind. And remember that the mind follows the breath, and the body follows the mind. The following are the most commonly used breathing techniques in Kundalini Yoga:
Long Deep Breathing
In our society, we normally breathe shallow, using only a small portion of our lung capacity. This may lead to many different dysfunctions in the body. Average lungs can enlarge to a volume of almost 6,000 cubic centimeters. Normally we use only 600 – 700 cubic centimeters of that capacity. If you do not expand the lungs to their full capacity, the small air sacks in the lungs
cannot fully clean their mucous lining properly. By breathing long and deeply you can expand the lungs by about eight times, building up your endurance and patience, and maintaining you in your center, even under pressure.
So it is important to cultivate the habit of breathing long, deep and slow breaths. If you can slow your breath to eight times per minute (we normally breath on average fifteen breaths per minute), the functions of the pituitary and pineal glands are greatly affected. Breathing one time a minute or less puts you into a deep meditation.
Instructions: First relax the abdomen as you inhale through the nose, then begin pushing the navel point outward, expanding the belly and allowing the lungs to fill with air to their capacity. Then drop the shoulders relaxing them continuing to take in the last bit of air. Hold the breath in for a comfortable length of time. As you exhale let the chest deflate first as the ribs knit together and then pull the navel in toward the spine until all the air is expelled from the lungs. The diaphragm drops down to expand the lungs on the inhalation and contracts to expel the air on the exhalation.
Benefits: This breath relaxes and calms you even under the most intense conditions; adjusts the aura; increases lung capacity; builds up your endurance and patience, maintaining you in your center.
Breath of Fire
Breath of Fire is a balanced breath with equal emphasis on the inhalation and the exhalation. The restricted flow of air through the nostrils prevents hyperventilation. Master this breath slowly and methodically. It causes an immediate detoxification reaction in the body. So if you start feeling dizzy or light-headed, drink lots of water, at least 6 to 8 glasses per day.
Instructions: This breath is done through the nose with a closed mouth throughout the inhalation and the exhalation. Breathe fairly rapidly (2 to 3 breaths per second), continuously and powerfully with no pause between inhalation and exhalation. This breath focuses the energy at the navel point. To inhale, the abdomen relaxes, the diaphragm extends down, and the breath
comes in a natural rhythm. To exhale, push the air out by pulling the navel point in towards the spine. During Breath of Fire you are pumping your stomach in on the exhalation and relaxing it on the inhalation. The chest stays moderately relaxed. You should feel the pull of the muscles in the navel area.
Breath of Fire can be confusing at first and will take some practice to master this breath. If you start to feel dizzy or light-headed, try to focus at the brow point, as your body adjusts to thenew breath and to the stimulation of your nerves. However, in other cases, it may be that you are releasing toxins. Note: if you are a beginner, you may be breathing backward, pulling the navel point inward during inhalation instead of outward, and exhaling filling the stomach with air instead of emptying it of air. This makes the space for the breath less rather than more.
If you are doing Breath of Fire incorrectly, you may also start feeling queasy and lightheaded,
so in this case, stop doing it immediately and concentrate on your navel point by placing your hands on your stomach and practice feeling the difference when expanding the stomach with air as you inhale, and pulling the navel point in as you exhale. Once this is set, then start Breath of Fire slowly keeping the same patterns of breathing.
Benefits: This breath cleanses the blood and releases toxins from the lungs, mucous lining, blood vessels and cells. Strengthens the nervous system. Expands the lungs quickly. Reduces addictive impulses for drugs, smoking and bad foods. Adjusts the aura. Boosts the immune system. Repairs the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve systems. Creates a focused, intelligent and neutral state of mind. Note: while pregnant or menstruating, substitute Long Deep Breathing for Breath of Fire.
Kundalini Yoga is one of the most comprehensive, effective, safe, and healthiest forms of yoga. Kundalini Yoga can produce immediate results as you travel on your path to consciousness. It balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands the lung capacity, and purifies the bloodstream. It brings balance to the body, mind and soul. It trains your mind to think positively and be in control of your thoughts and attitudes. It builds your inner strength
and self- awareness to its maximum, assisting you in reaching your highest potential.
Kundalini Yoga has existed for thousands of years. In India its teaching was restrictive and was maintained as a secret oral tradition for thousands of years which protected the techniques from being abused, but also created an unnecessary image of mystery.
When Yogi Bhajan came to the United States in 1969 he began to teach this Yoga openly and explained its technology in detail. Since then, he has been teaching Kundalini Yoga to students throughout the world. He hassaid, “Kundalini Yoga harnesses the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and puts them under the domain of the Will, which is the instrument of the Soul.”
Yoga literally means “union.” In this sense, it serves as a vehicle to unite your soul and your Creator. With Kundalini Yoga, you uncoil yourself; you reveal your true identity. Kundalini is the creative potential of human beings. As explained by Yogi Bhajan, “Kundalini Yoga is the science to unite the finite with Infinity and it’s the art to experience Infinity in the finite. It is straight. It is simple. It creates no complications.”
Kundalini Yoga is said to be the most powerful of the twenty-two schools of yoga. What separates Kundalini Yoga from all other types of yoga is its diverse capacity to include all elements of the ancient teachings of yoga: by combining the use of sound currents (Mantras), breathing techniques (Pranayama), Body Postures (Asanas), Hand Positions (Mudras) and Meditation.
Kundalini Yoga is ideal for today’s society since it is designed for the active, everyday person with normal responsibilities of work, family and school. Kundalini Yoga can be practiced by anyone if it is done gradually and according to the instructions. When you tune in to the opening Mantra, Adi Mantra, you connect with your inner Teacher and the Golden Chain of all Kundalini Yoga teachers and you will be protected. As our society becomes increasingly more dependent on technology, our world becomes more intimately connected and influenced by its numerous cultures. The pace of change is on the rise and the stress on our body’s nervous system is increasing. The science of Kundalini Yoga allows us to tap into a system, that is an ancient
technology, to help us cope with this escalating demand. The inner science of the mind is the tool that will enable us to cope with the pressure of these changes. It is the mind that interprets our outer and inner worlds and it is the mind that we must train to guide us through the flow of change.
Kundalini Yoga is called the Yoga of Awareness. Awareness is a finite relationship with infinity. We all have dormant energy sleeping within us, waiting to be awoken. Kundalini Yoga gives you the experience of being truly you. Unfortunately, amid today’s hectic schedule, many of us have forgotten who we are and why we are here. There is only so much wisdom you can get out of a book, but wisdom cannot sustain you. Wisdom only becomes knowledge once you have experienced it. Kundalini Yoga will give you the experience that we are “spiritual beings having a human experience not humans beings trying to have a spiritual experience”; and then you can experience
the infinite joy, health, and happiness, which is our birthright. If you are a beginning student you should go at a pace that suits your flexibility and endurance. As you feel more comfortable with the exercises, begin to practice as often as you can. If you can practice at the same time each day, you will find that you will improve rapidly. There is no pressure in Kundalini Yoga to push the body too far; there should be no pain or discomfort. To begin with, you should stick to the
minimum time limits, and gradually build up to the maximum. Remember: do what you can; that will be perfect.