Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Asana siddhi

Admittedly nine hours in siddhasana is a bit hard on the back; today my back hurts a little and is tired. I skipped meditation this morning and took extra rest. The lower back has to work hard.

Nevertheless, it is the strengthening of the lower back and the progressive straightening of the upper, where I have had a pronounced curvature since childhood, that has made sitting a long time possible. Needless to say, some proficiency in breath control is also required.

The lower back is part of the manipura chakra zone; where it meets the spine is the seat of the kanda or bulb, which is the central clearing house for all the nadis. Early hatha yoga texts talk about this kanda as also being a seat of the kundalini as much as the yoni-sthana, which lies between the muladhara and svadhishthana. This may be a source of confusion to some, but if one thinks of the kundalini rising as a two stage affair, beginning in the yoni and then getting a boost from the kanda, one will understand the way it works.

This is why one of the characteristics of the kundalini rising is that one feels the energy rising from the kanda and causing the spine to straighten out in the same kind of snapping motion like a whip, or that of a snake. This awakening of the kundalini, which is a necessary aspect of asana culture, makes one less dependent on actual muscular strength, as equilibrium reduces the strain on the muscles.

In my practice, I found that once the lower back had been activated, the upper back between the shoulders and then the neck also started to insist on being restored to their natural erect posture. I don't think I am fully straightened out yet, but the strengthening of the muscles of the upper back and the skeletal structures finding more comfort and pleasure in that posture is definitely enhancing the opening of the heart chakra as well as clearing the upper channels and chakras.

These matters are to be found in the Yoga-tarangini, which will be coming out shortly from Motilal Banarsidass.

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