“I found that a man can rise from the normal to a higher level of consciousness by a continuous biological process, as regular as any other activity of the body, and that at no stage is it necessary or even desirable for him either to neglect his flesh or to deny a place to the human feelings in his heart.”
Gopi Krishna

Kundalini – The Evolutionary Energy in Man

Change in Morning Pranayama Practice – Surrender?

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A couple of days ago my teacher changed my morning Pranayama from this:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 10 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

To this:

8 – 0 – 16 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
8  – 4  – 16 – 4 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 4  – (8 – 4)2 x12 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 0  – 16 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi

My evening practice continues to be:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

Both practices are built around a 1-2 ratio which demand longer exhales. In both practices I’ve encountered resistance in mind and embrace in body – I thought I didn’t have enough capacity but I did.

Emphasis on the exhale has had an immediate effect on attention. If I am present and stable and attentive to the breath – then I can comfortably contain both practices. But if my attention wavers, a strain develops – the practices place pressue on me from the inside out.

After 2 or 3 practices (of the new morning sequence) I came to wonder about my previous practices (which I had set out for myself). Generally, the stop afer the inhale has a quality of strength and control, while the stop after the exhale has a quality of surrender and assimilation. The direction I chose for myself was to stir up a sense/experience of vitality – placing emphasis on the stop after the inhale. My teacher seems to be redirecting me towards a sense of surrender.

I am in a state of intense transition – an intense transition in which many things seem to be coming to an end and in their place is a large void of unknowns. I am taking my faith to new heights – and I am doing this with an almost complete sense of surrender. I feel I have very little control over what’s to come – and most of me wants to keep it that way. All this is to say that my life off-the-mat is about surrender – and yet my choice of practice was to counter that by trying to conjur up vitality – as if I was going against the grain. The practices my teacher gave me seem to be going in a different direction – embracing the quality of surrender. There is still a challenge – but it is now with the grain – refining my experience of surrender.

Both of the pranayama practices deliver me smoother then before into a meditative state. They demand more attention and lead to a more subtle experience.

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