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Jim Eshelman wrote:That's a different practice, and one often recommended ads part of the preliminary work of pranayama. Nothing wrong with it at all.
Jim Eshelman wrote:I'm home from an out-of-state trip now, and have a little more to say.
It is very difficult IMHO to make recommendations about this to someone from a distance. One might think this is an area where a forum could be useful to give "the right formula," etc.; but it isn't, because advice has to be pretty individual. Each person's body and psyche have different tolerances, given where they are starting, how they are currently living their lives, etc.
I'm going to post below a working protocol I once wrote for someone I didn't know, living at a distance, with no chance for me to observe either the practice or the results on the person. Therefore, it is pretty conservative. My goal was to give something that I was pretty sure wouldn't cause harm, because it was moderate enough that almost anybody's body and psyche would adjust to it, and built-in safe-guards would give space to back off. Others could work more ambitiously than this, but there isn't any serious reason to push it harder.
Kundalini isn't a competitive sport. It isn't about the numbers. It's about finding where your psychical and psychic comfort zone for starting, and then, as the alchemists say, to increase the heat slowly. Think slow-cooker, not boiling or microwave.
Here's the recommendation I made:
After physical relaxation, sit in a balanced physical position and witness (with no attempt to control it) your breath going in and out. Do this especially by noticing the sensations at the end of your nostrils (breath going in is cool; breath going out is hot). Do this for no more than 10-15 minutes at a time, once or twice a day, for three to six months before adding anything to it.
After at least three months, one of your practice sessions can switch to the three-fold or four-fold breath. (This is not alternate nostril breathing.) On a fixed timing XYZ that is comfortable and easy for you (say, six seconds each), the four-fold breath is: in for XYZ, hold in for XYZ, out for XYZ, hold out for XYZ. The three-fold breath drops the "hold out." These two produce different results, and it might be worth seeing what different results they produce for you. (Thus, with 6-second cycles, the three-fold breath gets the nickname, "The 6-6-6 breath.")
After at least six months of doing no more than what I have written above, start alternate nostril breathing exercises, modelled first on the four-fold breath. Stay at one pace for at least a week or two before stepping it up, and never increase it at a pace that gives a sense of strain or physical stress. For the first year, don't go past half an hour at once sitting.
Jim Eshelman wrote:Pranayama isn't dangerous. However, SUCCESS in Pranayama can be quite dangerous for the physical & astral bodies of the unprepared, and I can't think of any reason to do it unless you plan to succeed.
In any case, start easy and work up slowly by all means, don't start at an hour! That takes months for most people to build up to. Start with 10-15 minutes. Remember never to strain. And if possible work under tye direct supervision of someone who knows the subject from experience.
Jim Eshelman wrote:There could be many. One of them is to start too soon - the astral body doesn't hit the same maturity level as the physical body at puberty until the 18-22 age range (and there are significant brain behavior changes that stabilize around age 25 that are quite helpful if things get a little out of hand). For the body, it should be in reasonable basic health (you don't "fantastic health," just basic good health), with strong, reasonably stable nervous system in particular. For the psyche, basic sound psychological health (not "don't have any issues" level, just basic soundness). Emotional reactivity levels can be highly reflective of astral strength, but direct work with building the astral body is enormously helpful - probably part of why A.'.A.'. requires solid, experienced, skilled performance in astral work (1=10) before the level where pranayama is a primary object of attention (2=9).
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