posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 05:02 AM
Years ago, in my twenties, I practised yoga twice daily, got into some pranayama, all that stuff. I stopped when I realised it was making me
It was therefore no surprise to hear that a Swedish project to teach yoga to prison inmates actually raised the level of violence among the inmates
and had to be stopped.
I've subsequently done quite a bit of qigong and t'ai chi, and this seems to be a much safer and gentler way of messing with your mind and body.
In terms of a "rational" explanation, you're going to be SOL if you judge rationality in a mainstream way. There is no sensible mainstream model
of the mind/body problem, no science of consciousness.
However, I've found the works of Wilhelm Reich to be a really useful perspective on the subject and his view (and if he'd known this, he'd probably
have been appalled) dovetails very, very neatly with the Taoist model.
Here's the thumbnail sketch.
Very young babies are relaxed and extremely supple. As you get older, you get more and more tense, less and less supple. Why?
Because fairly early on, you'll start to have unpleasant experiences. Maybe Mommy doesn't come and feed you when you're hungry, or change you wnen
you need it. Maybe you do something that earns you a smack or a telling-off. You feel upset. How do you stop it?
In Reich's view, you need to damp down the flow of what he termed orgone energy which equates, IMO, with what yogis call prana and
Taoists call chi. You do this in two ways: by restricting your breathing and by tensing your muscles.
In Reich's view, these tensions become chronic. They turn into what he called "character armour", which might be defined as the interlocking
chronic network of tensions that reinforces (and indeed is functionally identical with) neuroses.
This armour has many layers and each is connected to, or embodies, emotional trauma from a specific event in one's childhood. I've had a couple of
sessions of Reichian therapy and my experiences do bear this out.
Kundalini releases force energy* through these blockages on both the physical and emotional levels (which, again, Reich viewed as inseparable) and
nence you have all your buttons pushed.
Chi gung and t'ai chi both have a huge emphasis on relaxation, and the postures are intended to allow the chi/orgone/prana to flow naturally through
the system rather than being compressed or packed, as will happen in, for example, the plough posture.
Taoists also have meditative methods designed to clear emotional blockages, and it can be necessary to use these techniques in conjunction iwth chi
gung or t'ai chi to tackle the physical and emotional levels of a blockage.
And of course, these meditative practices have their dangers too. I've heard of someone who was doing some incorrect chi gung practices who
developed a symptom that's made me very cautious in my practice: he started to have spontaneous emissions of semen without warning or any orgasmic
sensation. Sounds a bit Fast Show ("I'm sorry, I've just come") but I've heard this from a source I find reliable.
I'm pretty careful about how I practice.
One thing, though: I did learn a pranayama technique that allows one to generate heat. Supposedly yogis in training will have to sit naked on
a mountainside and have a blanked drenched in icy water draped around them. They have to dry the blanket several times in one night to show they've
mastered the technique.
I did find that even a few minutes' practice generated a lot of heat, which was particularly useful when I was living in a very cold and draughty
Edited to clarify the clause marked *
"Releases" is a noun, "force" is the verb. Reading it back it looks ambiguous.
[edit on 5-8-2009 by rich23]