It Keeps Getting Better

By Swami Nirmalananda

When I started yoga, I did TV yoga, saved magazine articles and even took a few yoga classes.  It didn’t inspire me to continue with any regularity.  Then I took a meditation course and knew that I had found something I really wanted.

I began a daily practice of meditation, an hour every morning before my day began.  The thing that amazed me was that I needed less sleep.  I had always needed 9 or 10 hours a night, but when I meditated for an hour, I only needed 5 hours at night.  I gained an extra 4 hours of productive time every day.  I loved it!

The most important thing Svaroopa® yoga and meditation provides is the deep inner immersion.  This inner experience completely replenishes you – it is the time you need to recover from Life.

Your inner experience can unfold in different ways.  Most people recognize it first in their yoga class, as Shavasana eases you inward.  You get better results from Ujjayi Pranayama (Yogic Breathing), as you tap you into the inner source of replenishment as if you were pumping water up out of a well – smooth and slow.

Your Svaroopa® yoga poses give you reliable spinal decompression, from tail to top.  We call it “core opening,” meaning it is releasing tensions from the deepest layers of muscles inside, your spinal muscles.  It also means it’s opening up the core of your being, your inherent Divinity.  These yoga practices remove the blocks that kept you from living in the ever-arising inner source of life and vitality.  Ultimately, the fullest potential that human life offers becomes available through this powerful spinal flow.

Sanskrit offers different names for the different experiences that unfold with Svaroopa® yoga’s core opening.  You may already know how it relieves the spinal tensions that cause all (or most) physical pains and problems.  No special Sanskrit term is needed for this, but sukha would be appropriate as it means ease and happiness.  To be able to move and breathe in a pain-free body is truly sukha.

The related change in your mind and emotions is not only freedom from pain; it is shanti – peace.  The way you feel after a class or your own personal practice makes you able to handle life more easily, because the inner turmoil and anxiety is pacified (made peaceful).  As important as the physical improvements are for you, this quality of mind and mood has a much more powerful impact on your life.  Your sense of who you are becomes based in shanti, an inner peace and surety that translates to you having more confidence in your life and in yourself.

The energy that is always flowing through your spine is called prana.  This is the energy of aliveness; it makes your body a living body instead of a corpse.  When you feel energized, optimistic and generous, you have more prana flowing.  When you feel tired and drained, you have less prana.  Many things can affect how much prana is flowing, including your thoughts as well as spinal tensions.  Each time you do Svaroopa® yoga, you dissolve more of the pranic blocks, which is why you begin feel more alive.

Even more happens when you get the release at your tailbone, which you may have already discovered.  The next level of opening is a flow of udana prana, an upward flowing energy that makes you feel light and happy.  This upwelling inside is familiar to you, as you experience it every time you laugh:  it precedes laughter.  This is udana prana.  You have to have your spine upright for it to flow since it flows upward.  This means that it doesn’t happen when you are lying down.  A wonderful as Shavasana is, it doesn’t offer you everything.

Once you get enough opening at your tailbone, a more powerful current of energy begins to flow – a higher frequency is moving through your core.  It may begin as a periodic surge, and with more opening it becomes a smooth flow.  You may experience it as an inner heat that climbs your spine or as beautiful experiences of inner colors or sounds.  It may blossom as inner visions or profound realizations, or even spontaneous physical movements.  This energy has a name as well, Kundalini.  It is a specialty of Svaroopa® yoga, due to my Guru’s initiation and grace.

This is the emerging of the most powerful of your own inner forces, the energy of your own transformation.  It is the fire of yoga.  It is yoga’s promise fulfilled – the ancient sages gave us the practices and teachings so that each of us could open up this profound potential within.

Yoga says that once Kundalini begins to flow, you are on the path toward enlightenment.  You can make it in this lifetime, or you can wait for a few more – it’s your choice.  You decide by deciding how much yoga you will do.  This is why I often say, “Do more yoga!”

Excerpted from “Naming the Experience” originally published March 2006