Breath Along the Spine
A free video tutorial from Abhyasa Ashram
Traditional Yoga (11 courses, 74,000+ enrollments)
4.8 instructor rating • 11 courses • 43,775 students
Learn more from the full courseSummary of Traditional Antar (Inner) Yoga Practices
Comprehensive review of Self-awareness, Meditation, and Contemplation
10:22:03 of on-demand video • Updated December 2020
- A greater understanding of the subtler, inner/antar traditional goals of Yoga.
- Have a solid foundation in traditional antar/inner yoga practices, not just modern exercise postures.
English [Auto] Hello. Now let's do another practice activity together what we like to call an experiment don't work at this don't make it difficult make this allow this to be very very simple. Now initially what I'm going to ask you to do may sound like completely pretend and fantasy and that's OK. You may not literally experience anything internally with it but just pretend. Just imagine that it's true. And that is pretend that there is energy or light if you like the the symbol of it moving up and down the subtle spine of your body in the subtle body whatever that is. And so in yoga language this is called so Schoener there's this there's thousands of energy channels and chakras and all this stuff going on. But the central piece of the whole thing has to do with this central stream of energy that's flowing up and down the spine. And this practice is very used for balancing the energy and calming the mind just a tremendous practice. The pretend is pretty I'm to say it first and then we'll do it together. Just pretend that when you inhale that that energy or your awareness or that stream of light if you like is flowing from the base of your spine up through the core of your being up to the top of your head and then pretend that when you rotate there from inhalation very smoothly without a pause and yet without a jerk when you exhale that turns around and your awareness moves from the top of your head back down to the base of the spine you can think of that as simply a line of an energy a stream of light going up in a stream going down. If you prefer to liven it up a little bit you can you can make it turn a little bit you can make it elliptical as if it's going up like this. When it gets to the top it's rotating like this and coming back down you can have it come back down the front if you want or simply go from bottom up to the top and turn around and go back to the bottom. OK. And then we'll do it a couple other ways. So for now the principle is simply breathe very gentle breathing smooth without jerks without pauses. And as you inhale imagine that your awareness is going up through that. So show me the channel to the crown of your head and turning around and going back down and do this at your own comfortable speed. You want your breath to be rather slow but don't go so slow that you're not getting enough oxygen enough air don't do that. It's not forcing yourself to be slow. There's a natural comfortable speed for you right now and just smoothly and hail to the top of the hat. Now I have to exhale when I'm talking so you know don't try to follow that. Exactly. But so inhale to the top of the head and rotate that around. Exhale to the base of the spine and then I'm going to shut up and we'll just hear it if it's OK we'll just do this quietly together at your own speed. And just imagine that awareness is going up and going down up with inhalation and down with exhalation or pretend now let's do that same practice with a slight modification and this time we're going to do it with. So home montra so home montra has been called the universal montra because it aligns with the breath. And guess what everybody breathes. So everybody agrees Hence it's called Universal montra and internally as you're inhaling up mentally not outloud mentally only internally. Imagine the sound. So you S-O going up and when it gets to the top and turns around and goes back down home just home makes you m home in going down to the base of the spine and then inhale so you going up and the horn going down and just let's just do that together. I'll be doing it inside silently and you will be doing it inside silently. So on the inhalation going up and harm on the exhalation going down. OK. Go ahead. On your own. So going up and home going down OK now let's do the same thing again we've done it two different ways. One is just breathing then we did it was so home. Now we're going to do exactly the same thing with a slight modification. This time we're going to use the all montra. You've probably heard of and are familiar with the olm montra. It's actually a symbol of levels of consciousness. When you say ohm it has to and it has three parts to it that are there and then there's the silence afterward. It's symbolic of waking state of consciousness dreaming state of consciousness and deep sleep state of consciousness and the pure consciousness itself that is known as to reach the fourth state. So it's one two three four waking dreaming waking dreaming deep sleep and to me it doesn't matter exactly what it means for right now but there is a symbolism behind it that elsewhere. So you'll want to learn about it like in the contemplation sections which we talked about. And so it's simply the same practice only this time when you inhale internally mentally you're inhaling all going to the top and you're exhaling on going down. Remember that your breath is smooth and you're imagining your awareness stream of light attention going up to the crown of the head with Aum and then turning around and with a separate AWM going down to the base of the spine. It's not it's not going on like that one thing it's going on going up and it rotates and turns into on going down just like the Soham except instead of so going up and hum going down it's own going up and going down. And let's just do that for a few times together. OK. Get on your mark get set go. We ought to be able to laugh over some of this stuff too I think OK there's a home going up and on going down. And please notice again at the bottom of the screen there is a Q and A button. Go ahead and use the Q and A button if you want. Do this practice several more times maybe maybe pause in the course for a day or two. Whatever feels comfortable to you or move on right now but come back and make some comments in that Q&A if you have a q something you want to ask about. Put the question there and we'll get back to you and put a response there or just type in a comment of what you've experienced. You know doing this and it. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth but it may be commonly it's something one of the experiences is the amazement of how naturally and easily the jabbering chattering mind becomes quiet. It's very common so I learn how to meditate. Say teacher teacher how I get my noisy mind to shut up and you try to force your mind to shut up and you end up with nothing but a battle. But with this kind of practice that we just did you notice that the mind often you notice that the mind just naturally becomes quiet and it comes from the so shome the creeps as show in the breath going up and down silently or going up with saw and down with home or growing up with on and down with on and you decide which one feels best to you does it doesn't mean they're all effective. Another thing here too you know we're doing this as an experiment. Just sitting here I'm sitting here on this stool and you're sitting wherever you are. You can do this seated in whatever posture you happen to be at the moment you can sit in a nice fancy proper meditation posture or you can lay down on your back. Chavous savasana the corpse posture and if you do that be like of course what does a corpse do nothing. Except you're not going to be a total corpse because you're going to be breathing you're going to be breathing up and down your social and the channel inhaling up and exhaling down. So play with it. Experiment with it and that too is something you can comment on if you would please. In the Q&A thing there so you can do it either sitting up. It's one of the neat things you can do right in the middle of a busy daily life where where you just want to reconnect with something with quiet you could just pause right in the middle of whatever you're doing and give yourself if you play with it you'll find that it is so. In as few as just a couple two or three or four breaths. Something very nice happens and you can do it wherever wherever you are. Maybe maybe not too good of an idea to allow your eyes to close if you're driving your car down the road. That's probably not a good idea you know. But be reasonable about these things. But play with it. Play with it. This is tremendously useful. Don't take my word for it. Play with it and discover it for yourself and let us know how it's going. Love to hear from you and hear how it's going OK. Thank you for playing. Bye bye.