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Yoga & Ayurveda

Ayurvedic Healing Meditation


Kj. Nimai Nitaidas Thus have I heard (evam maya shrutam) The text that follows is neither a personal opinion nor an original presentation of Ayurvedic Healing Meditation (svasthya dhyana). On the contrary, although committed to conveying these teachings in the context of place, time, and a particular audience, it is the aspiration of all members of the Suddha lineage to be faithful to the authentic tradition, and to present it without deviation or unwarranted innovation.

N OTES FOR PRACTICE


2ND & 3RD PRIMARY COMPONENTS: PURIFICATION (SHODHANA) AND NORMALIZATION (SHAMANA) Explanation (sambandha) Purification and Normalization progressively eliminate our three basic negative reactions to other living entities (indifference, attachment, and aversion), as well as any fixed tendencies to react either aggressively or passively in all circumstances (fight or flight response). These two practices allow us to retrieve, processes, and eliminate emotions that have become embedded in tissues, muscles, and organs, arising from thoughts, words, and actions performed by us in the past. Purification and Normalization properly align the five sheaths of experience (pancha koshas): Egoic (anandamaya - sustained by bliss), Intellectual (vijnanamaya - sustained by intellect), Mental (manomaya - sustained by received knowledge), Energetic (pranamaya - sustained by energy), and Physical (annamaya - sustained by nutrients).
Important Notice Purification and Normalization can be practiced as part of Ayurvedic Healing Meditation with complete safety. However, persons with serious mental illness, clinical depression, or bipolar disorder should seek professional advice if these techniques bring long-repressed memories to conscious awareness. Because of this possibility, Purification and Normalization should not be practiced outside the context of the full Ayurvedic Healing Meditation, which provides ample protective safeguards.

Practice for Purification (shodhana) Ujjayi pranayama Ujjayi is a special breathing technique. It is a simple method for attaining unlimited access to Prana (life force). In Ujjayi, you breathe slowly through the nostrils, at a slow, even rate, without holding after either the inhalation or the exhalation. While inhaling and exhaling, produce a soft and gentle sound in your throat, like the waves of an inner ocean. Hear the same sound inhaling and exhaling. Sustain Ujjayi gently through your entire practice of Ayurvedic Healing Meditation, except when explicitly instructed to practice another breathing method. Ujjayi will become a guide to the quality of your meditation practice. Too forceful breathing may point to a too forceful practice; too uneven and weak to an unfocused practice. Always attempt to keep the right balance between hard and soft, fast and slow. Ujjayi Pranayama (victorious breath) extends the breath, warms it before entering the lungs, and helps to build heat in the body. Through this heat, the internal fire (agni) is stoked, and a powerful healing process is unlocked. Ujjayi pranayama is sometimes called the ocean sounding breath. Inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose. The air is taken into the back of the throat with a constriction of the muscles, resulting in a hissing sound - an ocean sound. As the throat passage is narrowed, the speed of the air passing through it is increased. This makes the breath long and thin. 1. Become aware of the natural breathing process and feel the air passing down through the windpipe. Slightly contract the region at the back of the throat as you do when you swallow. 2. Inhale and exhale through the nose with the mouth closed. 3. Make the inhalation and exhalation long, deep and controlled. 4. Practice full breathing and concentrate on the sound. 5. Remember to touch the tip of the tongue against the front of the palate (the roof of the mouth), just behind the front teeth. 6. As you inhale say SA to yourself and as you exhale say HAM. 7. Inhalation and exhalation should be of equal duration, smooth and relaxed. 8. Notice your mind wandering as you practice breathing and keep bringing your mind back to the breath. 9. Focus on the exhalation. Notice where your breath normally stops. Increase the fullness of the exhalation.
Beginners Note While this Pranayama is done through the nose, it is helpful to begin practicing breathing through the mouth. To make the ocean sound, whisper the syllable "ha," feeling the contraction in your throat. Then keep this contraction engaged on the inhalation and exhalation. After a few practice breaths, close the mouth, breathing through the nose while still making the ocean sound in your throat.

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Release the three poisons (avidya, raga, dvesha) 1. Inhale a full breath, and repeat mentally with the exhalation, while visualizing dark smoke being released from your nose: I release all indifference (to those living entities on whose account I have experienced neither pleasure nor suffering in the past, I experience neither pleasure nor suffering now, or I do not expect to experience pleasure or suffering in the future). 2. Repeat step 1 two more times. 3. Inhale a full breath, and repeat mentally with the exhalation, while visualizing dark smoke being released from your nose: I release all attachment (to those living entities on whose account I experienced pleasure in the past, I experience pleasure now, or I expect to experience pleasure in the future). 4. Repeat step 3 two more times. 5. Inhale a full breath, and repeat mentally with the exhalation, while visualizing dark smoke being released from your nose: I release all aversion (to those living entities on whose account I experienced suffering in the past, I experience suffering now, or expect to experience suffering in the future). 6. Repeat step 5 two more times. Practice for Normalization (shamana) Pranottana Ujjayi pranayama circular victorious breath Breathe continuously (without "holding" at the end of inhalation or exhalation). The circular breath is vital, as it impedes emotional attachments. When the breath flows evenly, deeply, slowly, and continuously (without stops), the emotions pass through the body and cannot be "lodged" in tissues, muscles, or organs. As with Purification and most primary components of Ayurvedic Healing Meditation, remember to make the ocean sound (ujjayi) while inhaling and exhaling. 1. With the right hand, hold together the tips of the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Rest the hand on the right thigh. With the left hand, hold together the tips of the thumb, middle, and ring fingers. Rest the hand on your left thigh, without making contact with the right hand. This is Pushan mudra. 2. Breathe continuously (pranottana ujjayi pranayama) at all times during this part of the kriya. 3. Direct your attention (do not strain the eyes; the intention is what will lead consciousness to the desired location, not the actual gaze) to the space between your eyebrows, at the point where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead. Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhale-exhale) while mentally repeating the mantra OM-AH-HUM (both during inhalation and exhalation). 4. Direct your attention to a point on the right upper area of your forehead, near the hairline (one oclock on an imaginary clock). Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhale-exhale) while mentally repeating the mantra OM (both during inhalation and exhalation). 5. Direct your attention to the center of your right ear, or just above it (three oclock on an imaginary clock). Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhale-exhale) while mentally repeating the mantra AH (both during inhalation and exhalation).

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6. Direct your attention to a point on your upper chest, on the right side (5 oclock on an imaginary clock). Do not look down, but merely hold the intention of gazing at that point. Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhale-exhale) while mentally repeating the mantra HUM (both during inhalation and exhalation). 7. Now direct your attention to a point on your upper chest, on the left side (seen oclock on an imaginary clock). Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhaleexhale) while mentally repeating the mantra HUM (both during inhalation and exhalation). 8. Direct your attention to the center of your left ear, or just above it (nine oclock on an imaginary clock). Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhale-exhale) while mentally repeating the mantra AH (both during inhalation and exhalation). 9. Direct your attention to a point on the left upper area of your forehead, near the hairline (eleven oclock on an imaginary clock). Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhale-exhale) while mentally repeating the mantra OM (both during inhalation and exhalation). 10. Finally, direct your attention to the point at the crown of the head. Breathe continuously three full rounds (inhale-exhale) while mentally repeating the mantra HRIM (both during inhalation and exhalation). Brahmari pranayama joyful breath (lit, "female bee") This part of the kriya requires no mudras. Rest your hands effortlessly on your lap, as in the seven point meditation posture (left palm on the lap, facing up; right palm resting on the left, also facing up; thumbs touch lightly). 1. Breathe in through the nose (both nostrils at once). When the inhalation is complete, exhale while humming in a high-pitched tone. It is helpful to think of producing the mantra IM (pronounced "eeng"). Do not open the mouth while humming. 2. Produce the humming sound as evenly, slowly, fully, and extendedly as possible, without straining, for the full exhalation. You should feel the vibration on your cheekbones and palate. Eventually, you will feel the vibration simultaneously on the crown of the head and the perineum, at the base of the torso. 3. Repeat seven times; the first three at a relatively low pitch; the second three at a higher pitch; and the last one at a medium-pitch. This completes Shamana. Goal (prayojana) Purification and Normalization restore harmony by directly imbuing the five sheaths with receptivity for self-realization, establishing integral order, properly receiving and sending impulses, restoring the energetic flow patterns, and harmonizing function and transport. These practices raise the level of energy, regulate the flow of prana, digest and circulate memories and emotions, establish peace and contentment in the subtle and physical bodies, eliminate obstacles to acceptance of natural perfection, and prime the mind for meditation.

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