The wondrous mushroom is in the body and not on a sacred mountain.” – The Carved Text On The Recovery of the Genuine Breath
Life has a root. This root made it possible for us to grow and take shape in this world. It stretches back to the moment of conception and links our existence to the cosmic flow.This is the practice of ancient sages who looked to the super abundant vitality of the infant and the infant cosmos as the state of perfection.
This root is the basis of life and like a plant is the storehouse of reserve power that preserves us when outer conditions challenge us. In Japanese traditions of acupuncture it’s said that so long as the root is strong we can live. If it fails we soon die. This reserve power is especially important for longevity and recovery from life threatening illness. Its cultivation acts as a base in spiritual sadhana.
Nourishing the root of life has a long history in Ayurveda’s sister sciences of Taoism and Chinese medicine. It’s significance for yoga relates to storing energy. It is the basis of life from conception to the burning ghat.
I believe yoga needs to play an integral part in recharging the human battery.
Storage & Wastage
“Expired air ordinarily reaches out to 9 inches, while singing it goes out up to a foot,while eating 15 inches, while walking 2 feet in sleep 2 1/2 feet, in copulation 3 feet and while taking physical exercise it goes out still further. As the natural range of the expired air decreases, life is prolonged.
– Gheranda Samhita V 81-83
This colourful quote from the Gheranda Samhita makes an important connection between tranquil breathing and preservation of life. In modern terms, this is stress management for longevity.
Yogis have been pointing out for more than a century that what modern people call relaxation is not really relaxation. Actually, it’s often stressful or at best cathartic (though the bulk of entertainment doesn’t bring us anywhere close to catharsis, it agitates). It’s ironic how many people need a few days to recover from their vacations.
For most people I’ve met, spirituality is not about hiding from the world. It is more likely to be a way to look down on the world but that’s another thing. We are solving the problem of energy, authenticity and connection.
Nourishing the root of life is the deep skill of learning to connect, achieve tranquility and recharge. Preferably as efficiently as possible.
This is not about a single technique but a way viewing and evaluating yoga practice.My own bias runs like this: if I don’t feel the “click”, meaning if my prana doesn’t go internal and I feel transported and blissful at some point then the class was a waste of time.
The natural world, meditation, breath and movement are all amazing energy sources.Tantra is not a bunch of jumbled learning and exotic words but the ability of adepts to create effects from subtle causes.
Yoga connects us to the source and the source is a source of energy.
“If the Qi is coarse then life is short. If the Qi is slender then life is long.” -Important Fundamental Secrets of Embryonic Breathing.
Breath is life. Mastery of breath is the mastery of every aspect of life. It is a unique process that is both an autonomic and motor activity. We control it and it controls us.
We should understand that breath permeates the entire body and shapes the mental process. We live inside our breath and can regulate it to lengthen our life or shorten it. How we breathe is much more of who we are than our fashion sense, race or religion. Our breath shows who we truly are as humans.
The storm that rages can never last. The human body should be full and taut. Our expressions in thought and action should be concentrated and burn hot like a laser.This is how we preserve our prana.
If we are unconscious it leaks out through sensory indulgence. It burns up through chronic emotional turmoil. In the Qi Gong system excessive joy repels Qi. Anger causes Qi to rise. Sadness causes Qi to contract. Overthinking causes Qi to dissipate. Fear causes Qi to sink.
Breath fills empty spaces and acts to bind the living system into a functional whole of mind, body and prana. You should ask yourself what longevity looks like if visualized as a continuum of energy. Is it smooth, slender, coherent and serpentine? Is it vast and expansive, moving gently and imperceptibly? How does it feel in your whole body? How can we orient ourselves to this perception right now?
Only you can know for yourself.