One of the shortcoming of pranayama is that it is taught without any personalization. Kevali pranayama has three or four initiations, and everyone receives the same techniques. Clearly, since everyone's patterns of energy and awareness in the body, spine, and brain are different, it stands to reason that greater specificity in the application of pranayama -- and asceticism too -- would yield quicker results.
The challenge of course is that it is impossible to devise personalized practices for anymore than one person at a time. A great deal of responsibility must then be placed on the practitioner to arrange the methods much as each person, with some general guidance, is responsible for crafting his or her own affirmations.
In fact, personalized pranayama is the combination of personal affirmation and the expansion or liberation of the patterns of awareness from the limits of sensory occupations. A habit that squanders nervous energy, meaning that it counters ascetic principles, can be in turn countered by an affirmation, but it can also be countered by a mudra a specific breathing routine.
This energy-based method is not taught widely because the process of devising the mudra, mantra, and breathing ritual to combat each and every psychophysical habit that counters the process of yoga would be quite complicated. Just imagine, then, the detail in the process necessary for each person to learn how to devise their own pranayama routine specifically designed to expand upon their patterns of energy and awareness, and no one quite else's?
In fact, I know of no yoga master in the past that ever bothered with disseminating this science. Instead, all the mudras and mantras are given, generalized breathing routines are prescribed, ascetic disciplines are enjoined, and regimens are highlighted in the hope that consumers of spirituality will manage the rest with access to limited guidance from students farther along in their practices.
Nevertheless, it is understood that quick progress in the control of prana was possible not through the practice of pranayama and asceticism as generally taught by the masters of yoga, but in how to specifically apply the sciences to the individual case.
This tailored guidance in the practice of pranayama is, obviously, the hallmark of the teacher-student relationship wherein the teacher is in close proximity to the student. For most people, this is not a possibility.
The first principle in understanding the process of how to devise an ascetic and pranayama regimen tailored to one's personal space and time in the cosmos is this: The universe has no memory.
This is very good news.
The universe, it turns out, does not remember your birthday or your narrowing habits or your limiting tendencies or your conditioning in this life. In every instant, it has to relearn and recalculate how its radiations are affecting you. It's like the ultimate friend in that it does not assume or expect anything on your part. If one moment you are bound by a sensory habit and the next you are not, it will not ever remember your past self and unfairly project it onto you so long as you compensated for how its mechanism operates in the generation of individualized selves.
The only way to personalize one's spiritual techniques is to unlock the mechanics of energy and awareness in the body, spine, and brain. The interface between a student and this science is their inner astrology of the spine and brain and how it is influenced by the outer cosmos.
At birth, you inhale and absorb innumerable cosmic and local currents into the body, igniting faculties and instituting patterns of energy and awareness, in seed form, that will eventually mature into a seemingly stable identity. Pranayama is considered the ultimate astrological bangle or nine gem-stoned ward because while the navratna counters over the course of a lifetime a substantial degree (relative to the cost in effort to wear one) of planetary radiations that continually affirm that habit of self, pranayama toys directly with the mechanism of communication between the inner and outer worlds, nearly nullifying the effects of cosmic radiation by rerouting the patterns seeded at birth with the first breath.
All pranayama, enhanced by the energy conservation of asceticism, does this. Tailored pranayama does this with perfect efficiency.
After years of self-training in pranayama, I was practicing each round of Kriya Yoga with very slight variations as I was responding to the inner motions of energy and awareness, which were in turn responding to the practice itself. There was, in effect, a communication between the practice and the tendencies, and I could slightly shift some of the details of the practice, especially in relation to the second Kriya and a few of the Mudras, to muster a more appropriate response to inner sensations.
As a bliss seeker, I was consciously acting and moving toward what was more expansionary, but it became clear that each spinal magnetic center had different needs and was being influenced in different ways by the world and by the practices. Eventually, it was clear that breath regulation could also be modified to respond to these cues, just as the practices of mudras were regulated in real time. For years, no two performances of Kriya Yoga were the same.
I credit to this sensitivity and communication the capacity to codify the precise manner in which that communication can be established by anyone.
With sufficient intuitive development or access to training, students will find guidance to fine-tune practice so that it effectively responds to present, past, and even future tendencies and conditions emerging. Without either of these, the only recourse is for students to analyze their birth breath and change it over and over.
Millions of people have the same birthday, but no two people or animals have the same birth breath. The birth breath is a moment in space and time and, for good and bad -- in terms of self-realization, determines how the mechanism of the cosmos will inform the emerging sense of self.
It is a disadvantage for the same reason a yogi like the Buddha would say birth is a disadvantage -- it institutes nescience and limiting awareness. But these institutions are merely being manifested with the birth breath; they are not precisely being born from nothing. They are, rather, born anew, having been born in the past -- even if that past is the past of the cosmos itself.
It is an advantage because as a mechanism it can be understood, picked apart, deconstructed, manipulated, and toyed with. The mechanism is impersonal, it holds no grudges, and is entirely on autopilot. Once its functions are understood, it does not have to ever be relearned in the future and the knowledge can never be forgotten. Also, the mechanism will never, ever change anymore than will the laws of physics.
On both personal and social levels, I know of no more important science to learn than that of the mechanism by which the cosmos manifests individualized selves as it -- as the practical branch of the ontology of the theory of self -- informs the development of every other branch of knowledge.
Thanks for checking in on the Expo, and I apologize for not being on any schedule with my posts.
The above subject is actually too big for Expo posts. My assistant Freya is learning Dreamweaver to redesign the web pages, but the process of how to consciously personalize pranayama and asceticism so they act like affirmations that counteract not simply habits but the very limits of awareness placed upon the body by the communication of the birth breath and the cosmos (its breath, breathing into the medulla, is another complexity) will require numerous charts so students can then look up all aspects of their birth breath and then go to the corresponding and countering techniques.
Instruction in person is a lot simpler, and we're having nice weather!
Also, we've rented a house only for guests. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchen, porch, and is right next to mine. So, we can more easily provide room and board to anyone interested in visiting/volunteering.
I know I've been turning people away in the past. Right now, there is so much to do that I have enough work for ten volunteers. I have a student from Michigan here for May, but we're pretty open after that.
However, I can't promise that I will be providing much training in yoga for people who come for short periods, which to me is three months or less. And if you stay (last!) for longer, you will probably get training in ways you never expected. As I've said over and over, asceticism has to be in place before pranayama is sincerely considered, and the gluttony people have to their ideas of self surpasses any hankering for this or that sensory appetite.
The good news is I do my best for people to have a good time, otherwise. Now, with the house for guests, that is more possible. We have horses now as well, so people who are fond of riding are free to go for a gallop. As always, the Community will cover food for volunteers.
My next post will continue the subject of the birth breath. Interested readers can keep in mind that this science becomes extremely deconstructive to the sense of self, and perhaps might explain why those few who delve into it run of the risk of becoming extremely impersonal and even unwilling to acknowledge the actual presence of individuated selves, not to mention personalities.
The second principle of this science is this: The mechanism is the individuated self.
That is, it is not the case that the mechanism creates ideas of self so much as that individual selves are manifestations of the mechanism and are not separate from it. There are no such selves; there is only the mechanism. When one knows the mechanism, one knows every "one" and thus knows that inherently there is no one.
Those who protest in favor of their identities or selves might argue that they are greater than the sum of their pattern-parts. Alas, that is not the case. They may say that because they ideally intuitively feel the eternality of their awareness. Of course, they may also be simply egomaniacs or very insecure selves compensating for vulnerability. Or, the may have no conception of awareness as a substance with fluidity that has no personal stake in anchoring in any recognizable form in any body, matter, or space. Awareness fuels the mechanism, and any part or partaking of it reduces it when managed through the mechanism of a personal and cosmic breath. So, if you're breathing, you are reducing awareness to some degree. Nonfinite awareness is ever greater than any summed parts because it is no longer imagined to be divided or parted.
Never mind. This can be discussed later. I would like to share this science because it is the pinnacle of Sri Yuktesvar's work -- meaning the work he never did but dreamed of doing. As an astrologer, he gave personalized instruction in the use of metals and gems, but he also taught Kriya Yoga above all else. This is a chance for everyone to know exactly how Kriya Yoga can personalized to a far greater degree, and the possibilities and the opportunities created by this procedure for students are incalculable.
If I never get to it in the written word, I am always here for serious people -- and even for people who want to want to be serious. But if you merely want to want to want to be serious, well, I can't handle that lack of focus. :) Let's get serious.