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Trouble sleeping
Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
August 4, 2015
11:13 am
hartwired
USA
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Hi,

My name is Shawn. I am 47 years old and new to meditation, but have been practicing asana for 7 years. Over those years I have been amazed at the physical transformation that has taken place, and though I know that transformation is not yet complete, I feel that my body is ready enough to support the beginning of the mental/spiritual transformation that I feel we all must make to achieve true self-actualization. 

I have been meditating a few months now about 20-50 minutes a day. I began by simply focusing on opening chakras using crystals, mudras, and mantras in a sequential manner starting at the muladhara, and working up to the sahasrara chakra. Then I bought Gregor Maehle’s book on yoga meditation, and began following his instruction. I now practice nauli, neti, kapahlabati, nadi shodana daily, in addition to asana and meditation. The meditation practice consists of using oceanic breathing as you visualize prana moving up and down the sushumna between the muludhara and ajna chakras, with emphasis on slowing the breath while visualizing as lotus flowers the properties of the different chakras  with increasing detail as you progress (mantra, color, number of petals, yantras, etc).

My problem began after I started Gregor’s program. On three or four occasions, I have awakened in the middle of the night with the sensation that my brain is ignited in a strange fire of electrical activity, almost like I am super-caffienated (I don’t drink coffee or caffeined beverages anymore btw). Not a headache, just a strange sense that I can feel my entire brain lit up inside my skull. But even more disconcerting, I get this uncomfortable sense of heat along the mid-line of my body, seeming to emanate from my abdomen upward through the heart. Using Gregor’s book as a guide, my feeling is that this problem is a result of aggravated pitta. On these occasions, I have acheived some relief through visualizing the energy moving downward into the manipura (navel) chakra. Once there it feels to me like molten metal swirling inside a crucible. Every time this has happened I have slowed down my meditation practice (skipped a day, reduced the duation etc.) and felt normal again the next night.

My question: is this a common problem? Am I doing something wrong, or is this a normal side effect of spiritual self-realization? Gregor recommends inversions in conjunction with meditation practice, so I have done up to five minute headstands, but not on a daily basis. Could that be a contributing factor?

This problem is the reason I began this online class. I am only on class two, so I am hopeful that this program will be more nurturing (although I had an episode last night). Gregor is very learned, and explains things in a concise, clear fashion, but for some reason his process does not completely resonate with me. 

Thank you for reading, I hope for enlightenment from fellow souls on the same path.

Namaste,

Shawn

August 5, 2015
5:01 am
Mar'yana
Toronto

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Welcome, Shawn!

Indeed, what you are describing does not sound very good, neither the method of visualization, etc, nor a result of problems sleeping, heat and overactivity of the brain. Some of the meditation techniques out there, unfortunately, are not particularly helpful, and other might actually be harmful, and it might take a while to get rid of the effects of those techniques. Visualizations in the first place are a bad meditative habit, because instead of relaxing a brain and achieving the state of thoughtlessness, they actually excite the brain even more (visualizing images is still a mental activity), and so while we think we are doing good by not thinking our usual thoughts, we are actually conditioning our brain to work even more, instead of giving it a bit of a break and rest. The heat coming from the abdomen would be another indication of an issue with the techniques used – the abdomen generally speaking is called void, it’s the area created by the relationship between the second and the third energy center, it has to do with digestion on the physical level, and on the spiritual level it is related to truth and true knowledge, and becomes disturbed (starts emitting heat) if we absorb too much falsehood and identify with it. Let’s see whether the meditation technique that you learn in our online course works better for you. 

I would strongly advise to stop practicing the other technique while you are trying out this one (and to watch out whether you are habitually still repeating the practices of visualization), just so that you can see how this particular meditation works and decide for yourself whether this is what you are looking for. It is very important not to try to control the process too much, and instead let your energy work things out for you, but to surrender that control might be the most difficult thing to learn :). It might take some time to get the effects of the other technique out of your system, so please be patient with yourself. In addition to following the videos/guided meditations, you might want to do some foot soaking (combining it with the evening meditation), unless you are already doing it – that should help to soothe the abdominal heat issue. Here is how we do it: http://www.onlinemeditation.org/meditation-forum/meditation-techniques/foot-soaking-1/

Good luck with everything, and please do ask questions if they arise!

Best,

Mar’yana

August 5, 2015
12:29 pm
hartwired
USA
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Mar’yana,

 

Thank you for your thoughtful response. Being new to meditation, it’s hard to know the proper and safe way to do it, while still feeling like you are making progress towards self actualization. I will follow the class program, while trying to silence the thoughts/visualizations, and allow things to happen, instead of trying to make them happen (which might be difficult for me:). As I mentioned before, something did not feel right about the program I was following. I think it was too methodical/right-brained, instead of nurturing/left-brained.

I would like to continue with the kriyas (nauli, neti, kaphalabhati) because those are more about purifying the body than meditation. I think I’ll give the headstands a break, but what are your feelings on nadi shodana? I have been doing ten minutes of nadi shodana followed by the guided class meditations.

Namaste,

Shawn

August 5, 2015
12:49 pm
Mar'yana
Toronto

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I think you are quite right about the body cleansing as opposed to meditation. The general/traditional yogic exercises and practices have been originally introduced by the saints, so there is merit to most of them, as long as one remembers what it the actual goal and does not get lost into working on the body only :). It is with the “new” techniques that one needs to be rather careful.

Nadi shodana – is that alternate nose breathing? It should be fine, in fact, it might be helpful for balancing the system.

Best,

Mar’yana

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