Kumbhaka and what a real practice and real yogi is
There are eight types of kumbhaka. Suryabhedana, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murccha, and Plavini.
Jalandhara bandha is done at the end of puraka and uddiyana bandha is done at the end of kumbhaka and the beginning of of rechaka.
Bandhas contain or restrict the prana. Bandha means lock.
After applying jalandhara bandha, the rapid contraction of mulabandha and uddiyana forces prana to enter into sushumna.
Okay here is the twist.
In the modern world of yoga, I have heard mulabandha taught about 20 different ways. There is even a guy who is a big name right now (a student of Richard Miller’s) who is going around teaching that the bandhas are not contractions at all, which goes directly opposite of all the texts on yoga, but he says they are mental, not physical. How’s that for a mental culture? He happens to be a Buddhist as well. And…. Sheople eat it up like he is a guru? So this means anything is anything huh? I can pull your big toe and call it shavasana. I could write anything here and it has to be true because someone said it? Nobody knows the difference so who cares right? As long as it makes you feel good and you feel like you are accomplishing something new. Another workshop, another 2 weekend certification.
So if the knowledge is not out there and the actual experience of prana and these bandhas and kumbhakas are actually embodied, how is anyone to know the difference between what anyone us teaching. It becomes a free for all and no technique is wrong or right and the results are that absolutely no results are had.
So is mulabandha contracting the anus, contracting the pelvic floor, contracting the perineum, the posterior pelvic floor, or something else? How is one to know if they don’t have any knowledge or feel anything or even believe that prana exists?
I will tell you that it is not squeezing the pelvic floor as is taught for the most part out there. Try it yourself. If you have any embodiment whatsoever you will feel that all it does is send all of the prana to your head and make your mind go wild. So that is not it. Makes you wonder what is being taught out there, by whom, and where they came up with it.
So first, you need to figure out what the bandhas really are. I can tell you from experience that I have never heard jalandhara taught correctly. It tells me how many people actually feel what they do verses doing things as a chore and only a concept in the mind. You need to study and feel and sense. You do actually have a body that feels. If you want it, you can find it. If you just want this blog to give you new stuff to go out there and teach without having any experience of it, please leave this blog. If you are teaching stuff you don’t understand you are going to hurt yourself and more importantly, other people. People’s health/life is not worth your ego. And there are some huge egos out there hiding behind teaching yoga.
That being said, I digress.
The first steps to the kumbhakas as well as all practice is to get up before the sunrise. It is a necessary must, if one is not going to do this then don’t even bother with any of this stuff. After waking, the first thing to do is remember your ishtadevata and then your guru. After emptying your bowels and brushing teeth ashes should be applied to the entire body. Your guru and lord are remembered again before sitting on a soft natural mat (not rubber or plastic, kusha grass or deer skin is good.) in a designated space in a good area. After prostrating to Lord Shiva for attainment and fortitude in practice of asana with pranayama in the goal of samadhi. After this asana can be practiced with shavasana to be done at the end if you are tired but it does not need to be done if one is not tired. Viparitakarani is practiced to the ease of doing jalandhara before doing kumbhakas because of its use in kumbhakas. After following proper rites of sipping the water from the hand, after doing normal pranayama you should prostrate to yogaindra and the rest of the rite. the details of which is found in Kurmapurana. After doing worship of Ganesha, Guru, and Shiva, then you sit in siddhasana and practice the kumbhakas while applying the bandhas correctly. (In siddhasana, the prana should only ever be drawn towards the right) (if you have personal hang ups about any of the worship of deities or any of this stuff, it is only due to your own ignorance and misunderstanding of the cosmos. This is yoga, not an exercise program. This is part and parcel of yoga, There is no getting away from it snd asana alone has nothing to do with yoga and will not make you a better person or spiritual in any way. I apologize for the lack of any of this deeper knowledge being taught out there but it is only due to the fact that the masses have only interest in calling themselves yogis, not actually doing the work or living the life of a yogi. You can read the Puranas and the Upanishads to gain the basic knowledge of how all this stuff ties together.
As for the practice, you can start with ten kumbhakas on the first day and increase by five each day until reaching eighty.
The order of the kumbhakas is suryabhedana, Ujjayi, Sitkari and sitali. After that Bhaktiratna and others can be practiced or not. All of these practices are done as an offering with respect to Lord Shiva.
After the practices with meditation are over you should take a hot bath. After the bath, daily regiment is continued.
Again at midday this regimen is repeated followed then by rest and only then a meal consisting of wholesome food with cardamom and clove or a betel leaf with no lime is taken after the meal.
After the meal is had, you should read shastra that is focused in moksha like the Bhagavad Gita or Puranas or go into chanting the lords name.
The practice is then again done almost 2 hours (3 ghatis) before the sunset before an evening meal but without viparitakarani since it is contraindicated after a meal is had for the day.
Once again the practice is done again the same as before at midnight.
Yes, really. This is yoga.
On top of this, their is daily obligatory duties, like sandhya, that is done.
So you see, a real yogi needs to live away from society, needs to have no relationships except that with god, this is the only real path of a real yogi.
For those that are reading this that think they know better and that it doesn’t need to be this way I would ask you the same as Dr Phil would, “and how is that working out for you?” I get rebuttals of, yoga is anything that they want it to be, to this I must say that if this is true, yoga would not exist as there would be no need to write down and codify any method, technique or anything and to think that is actually incredibly disrespectful to the path itself that one thinks and portrays that they are following.
A note about reading anything translated into English from Sanskrit: everything that has been translated into English by westerners is very far off from having authenticity in translation. Specially those things written by Max Mueller. Much of what has been translated by India professors is nothing more than a translation done by one of their students where the professor put their name on it afterwards. yes, this is what happens all the time. We see it easily with Charaka Samhita by Sharma. if it was really translated by him and a sanskrit pundit, there is absolutely no possible way that it would have so many huge mistakes and even wrong translations. it amazes me that the Ayurvedic world of India just sits back and makes this man a honored scholar with this being so obvious. Big time papa karma. Another thing to take into aspect here is that lots of Sanskrit texts have been written by scholars that translate texts without any experience in the actual path. There is only so much that can be translated thus way. It is extremely limiting. Sanskrit us also a magical language. Do much is hidden within the language that only from a lineage is it able to be extracted. There is another understanding of Sanskrit called Tantra Yukti which is 36 rules to dissecting a Sanskrit text beyond normal sandi and Sanskrit grammar rules etc. This is not widely know or taught in Sanskrit classes or known in the masses. Most of the deep knowledge is completely protected and hidden. Lastly I would advise not to even bother with books that are in the masses. They are all very watered down, written by people who might have a big name anc might talk sweet but have no real experience of a real practice no matter the time they have been practicing and under a big name. Find the ancient texts, find many translations if you don’t read Sanskrit and read them all. If you do not have a real guru, pray really hard, chant “Om Guruve Nama” and your path may lead to an authentic guru. Good luck.