These next practices are the gold of the effort you put forth in the previous practices. You engendered stability, heating stirring and airing out the basement of your body, your depths, your origins, which refined the glands of the reproductive organs, the adrenals, and the pancreas. You rose into the living quarters and worked the thymus, the thyroid and the pituitary. You engaged your competency, your ability to handle that which is around you by first being stable and rooted in self.
Now it is time to rise one more floor above yourself and put yourself in the centre of your mind, your imagination. Image yourself sitting at the ocean knowing there is a tremendous amount of lithium in the air. Use the inhale and the exhale as an oceanic sounding breath to draw the tide in on the in breath while drawing the tide out on the out breath. Use your thyroid to extract the lithium so you not only nourish your nervous system but you can nourish the kidneys. The kidneys love to hear the sound of the breath, so once again connect the hearing to the breathing so you can anchor yourself in the base of your being. When one works in the mind one must be completely embodied within the confines of form so delusion does not set in.
Keep smelling the atmosphere. The fastest route to the mind is through your sense of smell. Smell piques the mind and wakes it up, it also stops it from getting delusional. It is by virtue of smell that you can begin to play with your ventilation system, your circumstantial view and your directionality. The mind directs, conducts, allowing you to alter your temperature, to manipulate your chemistry and to refine subtle experiences. You must always keep moving, anything that is stable is only stable by virtue of movement. Keep alerting yourself by virtue of scent. The mind measures and when you lose your sense of smell you lose your mind. The first powers of yoga are the siddhas and these powers are basic: can you sniff out your situation, can you articulate it, can you see it, then can you manipulate it and use it to your advantage.
Continue using this breath for some time.
Keep rising higher above yourself and put yourself at a mountain with a stream rushing by. Start to use a more willful breath, the breath of Ujjayi, which is a conquering breath. Sieve the breath in and out of your throat by constricting the throat, which is the location of your thyroid. There are more minerals in the mountains by virtue of being in a higher atmosphere so use your thyroid as the tool to extract this prana. This breath will begin heating up your mind. First, heat up the groins, stoke the fire of the heart so you can finally light the awareness of the mind. Keep an open imagination so this heat moves through the top of your head. Trapped heat will give you a hot head, be open, let it move through like smoke coming out of a chimney.
Ujjayi breath is an act of will, demand that the universe fills you up, demand that the universe liberates you. It is with this breath that you will rise above the personal and see the bigger picture. Keep the spark of the imagination lit, hear your breathing and keep yourself focused. It is only when you are focused that the mind can begin to settle.
Rise above yourself and move outside of yourself. Use the imagery that you are popping through the top of your head. Move yourself into the pineal gland which is your spiritual antennae. Draw this antennae up out of your body and put yourself on a flying carpet slightly above the top of your head. Become a spectator in the spectator stands. As you sit above yourself hear the sound of nothing. Put yourself in space and let the mind and the body be empty. It is only when you are empty that you are available to access the higher hearing, the grander learning and the greater information. Stay here for some time in this vast and spacious emptiness hearing the sound of nothing. It is only when you are completely silent that you will hear the longings of the heart.
Alternate Nostril Breath
Alternate nostril breath works to rewire the circuitry in the brain by training the ability to cross reference. To begin, take your right hand up to your face, curling in your first and second fingers. Use your ring finger to manipulate the left nostril while the thumb manipulates the right. Start on the in breath by closing the right nostril, breathe into the left nostril. Exhale switch, block the left nostril with your ring finger and only exhale out the right nostril to let breath go. Switch fingers, switch nostrils, breathe in left, exhale right. Continue for about five rounds then take a moment to breathe through both.
Now flip it, take up the left hand, fold in the first and second fingers and use the ring finger to manipulate the right nostril and the thumb manipulates the left. This time as you inhale block the left nostril, breathe in through the right, and as you exhale switch the nostril and breathe out the left nostril. Continue breathing in the left and out right for about five rounds. Take a moment to let it all settle.
Then put it all together, it does not matter which hand you use on the nostrils, what matters is that you do both, and you don’t just do what feels comfortable. Whichever hand is in front of your face, block the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril, switch the nostrils and exhale right. Inhale right, switch and exhale left. This completes one round. Keep this rhythm going for a few rounds as you begin to create a sideways figure eight, or an infinity sign with the breath moving through the two hemispheres of the brain.
Breathing into the left nostril excites the right brain: the lunar left eye and the esoteric aspects of one’s being. Breathing into the right nostril excites the left brain: the intellectual right eye and the pragmatic self.
Another variation is to find a four part breath: inhale, pause when full, exhale, pause on empty. Use a count so you find an equally measured inhale, pause when full, exhale, and pause on empty. Each pause is playing for consistency. Inhale left, count to five, pause for five, exhale right, count to five, pause empty for five, inhale right for five, pause full for five, exhale left for five, pause empty for five. Gradually increase and lengthen your breath without creating tension, if you have to gasp for air then you lengthened the breath by too much. Make sure to measure the breath. Equal pressure should remain throughout the whole inhale and equal pressure throughout the whole exhale. Most will exhale all the air out quickly but instead work to regulate the breath so that there is still air coming out at the end of the exhale.
When you become fluent in the above exercise you can start refining it even further. As you inhale into the left nostril start filling up your right kidney to your right lung, hold the breath for a moment, then as you exhale out the right nostrils move from your right lung, emptying out both lung and kidney and track your mind down to your left kidney. Pause when you are empty. Next, inhale into the right nostril as you fill up the left kidney to the left lung as if you are filling a beaker. Pause when you are full, switch nostrils so you are breathing out your left and empty out the left kidney to left lung as you track the mind from the left lung to the right kidney. This completes one circuit and allows the mind to draw the loops of the infinity sign in the torso, the symbol of perpetual circuitry.