Yoga! And Not Breathing!

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:

3 responses to “Yoga! And Not Breathing!

  1. I also have a suggestion-susceptible brain, but this type of meditation sounds intriguing (and not just for the sexy hip movements). I could use some chakra clearing, so I will check out the book. Thanks!

  2. No problem! I’d be curious to hear what your experience with it is like.

  3. In the beginning I had also some problems. I used to do meditation in a sitting position without any movements and at the first time I didn’t like too much. But with more practice I started to appreciate it. What in a first moment was some kind of shock, or resistance, with time change to something new that I wanted to learn more.
    Still I have not too much experience, I have the book (but I am still reading and I have not see the dvd), I have done a weekend course and sometimes I have practiced at home, but I am in a very beginning stage of the practice.
    Now I am centered in the movements, I noticed that some movements were not as I thought. Now I try to learn and check the movements. It is like an investigation, I try to understand different parts of the practice, and by the practice learning and adding more elements, like the attention to different parts of the body or the visualizations.
    For example, the third movement it is not very clear for me, and I am trying to find the correct one. I am also starting to visualize the respiration channels and where I have to put attention in every position, but now I put attention in trying to learn and do the exercises correctly.
    What I notice we I practice a little bit more, was that this meditation is some kind of stretching that helps. Also the movements produce some kind of warm, as when we do physical exercises, and this help also in the stretching. With the breath it was difficult in the beginning, sometimes it is difficult the retention of the air, always some air goes. But I feel that with the air in the body I have more elasticity and the movements does not produce any pain or blockade, as sometimes happen with some stretching.
    And all this is only in a physical level, the flexibility and the warm. From this point of view I found this relation between body and meditation interesting and a new way to maintain my curiosity active.

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