Yoga Bared – A Pic-a-nic of the Smarter Than Average? Or Just Basket Cases?

Another charm from my manly charm bracelet, this one provided by a very charming lady put me in mind of Kundalini and with it some of the more arcane schools of yoga. We aren’t talking downward facing dogs here…

Kundalini Yoga

This is a system including pranayama breathing, meditation, chanting mantras and asana movements designed to awaken the kundalini serpent energy coiled at the base of the spine. The kundalini shakti is to rise through six chakras to the seventh crown chakra via the ida (left), pingala (right) and central, or sushumna nadi- the main channels of pranic energy in the body. Reminiscent of two serpents coiled around a central pole as per the caduceus symbol of medicine or DNA for example.

Cue manly charm bracelet again…

Activating the golden cord connection between pituitary and pineal glands is key.
But premature or sudden awakening can manifest as a spiritual emergency or crisis, it can even be confused with a psychotic breakdown.
Madonna, Demi Moore, David Duchovny and Russell Brand have been linked to it as practitioners over the years.

Yoga Nidra / Dream Yoga

Yoga Nidra is a form of deep relaxation, ultimately with only the sense of hearing engaged, resulting in a state between waking and sleeping, and consciousness during the deep delta wave sleep state, very useful for lucid dreaming. Awareness of past or future lives and the astral plane are held to be possible.
Dream yoga works within the trance Bardos of Dream and Sleep. Much of the work again is within lucid dreams.
Accessing the Clear Light of the Void is a desired objective.
The question arises from the insights gained as to whether waking life is just as illusory, maya, with a view to then moving to more lucid living.

Kriya Yoga

Again involves the breathing exercises of prananyama with use of mudras gestures and resulting manipulation of life force.
Often includes a secret transmission between guru and disciple of knowledge, said to be from Krishna via yogis such as Yogananda and Babaji.
This one is more about circulation of energy around spinal centres, and may slow ageing to the extent that some practitioners are held to reach extreme old age of may even become immortal.

Bikram Yoga

From hatha yoga, 26 postures including two breathing exercises, a “hot” yoga carried out in a room heated to 40 °C and 40% humidity. There is a lot of sweating, not surprisingly, and no little controversy, but classes of adherents who swear by it worldwide, which included the late Wayne Dyer.

Tantra

Using magical practices to channel the energy of the Godhead for human use.
Includes deity worship, mantras, mandalas and reference to gurus.
Prana can be manipulated to sublimate reality.
A wide variety of rituals are involved, including those involving sexual union, with Sting notoriously frequently name-dropped, breaking a number of taboos, it has been identified as transgressive and radical, particularly the Left Hand Path, but caught the attention of thinkers such as Carl Jung and inspired much of the New Age practice and terminology currently prevalent.

Trul-khor

From Dzogchen or Bonpo Buddhism, this translates to magical instrument or magic circle and combines pranayama, mantras and 108 asanas or movements.
Sometimes called Yantra Yoga.

Conclusion

Can yogis and students alter their consciousness and improve their health? Modern neuroimaging would suggest so.
Can siddhis or paranormal powers be developed or even immortality?
Sounds a bit of a stretch perhaps. A bit like downward facing dog…

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