I learned basic tsa lung trul khor (say that three times fast) at a Tibetan yoga workshop yesterday. Basically this is the physical yoga of the Bön tradition and includes purifying breath exercises, breath retention in the five chakras, and various hip-grinding movements that, employed elsewhere, would be very sexy indeed.
Breath retention is a fancy way of saying that you have to hold your breath while you do various movements, which is–if I understood correctly–meant to hold the air in each chakra as you move it around (via arm-swinging or sexy hip-grinding) and cleanse various parts of your energy system. So when you finally do exhale, you’re emitting the variously colored smoke of anger, or attachment, or confusion, etc.
I run into trouble with these kinds of practices, because I am strapped to one of those suggestion-susceptible brains that has no ability to distinguish between imagination and reality (“There’s such a thing as post-partum psychosis? I must have it–yes, here are the symptoms!–even though I haven’t given birth!”). And for me, at this point in my life, I need a meditative practice that consists solely of looking at what is and sitting with it. The second a teacher asks me to picture colors and smoke and chakra energy, I have no idea anymore if what I’m responding to is conceptualization or reality or if there’s even a difference.
All of this is difficult for my brain to comprehend, especially when I’m not feeding it the little puffs of oxygen that it finds so delicious!
Anyway, if you’re interested in learning more, I’ve heard that Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s books are a good place to start.
And then I came home and ate ice cream with my beloved: