How many have reflected on the passage from the mouth, passing directly down the core of the body, gathering to the left, with qualities added from the right, and then coiling around in the lower abdomen in our lower tan-tien, a center of vitality before exiting the body at the base.
While traditionally a route for food, there are specific pranayama’s (breathing practices) to compress air (and energy with it) into this path to transform the characteristics of our body, bringing lightness and diminishing or removing the need for solid food in the process.
I first heard of these practices in the early 1980’s through some tattered books originating from India, as well as from Taoist lightness practices associated with the martial arts world. Later, I read an excellent presentation of one of these practices by Swami Rama in a book called Path of Fire and Light – Vol 1, which I encourage anyone who loves pranayama to purchase.
Because these practices are changing the normal centers in the body, they must be treated with respect and care of a slow progression. In the practice, once the body is open and communication of energy is fluid through the body as a whole, the breath is held while swallowing air and saliva down below the navel. While the breath is held, a subtle flow is continually felt gathering into the lower tan-tien or alternatively the navel, with a firm stability.
Before the air wants to escape, a very slight amount or air is allowed to escape, and then immediately the air is sipped back in and compressed again. This releases tension from building. Again, when the air feels like it wants to escape, a ‘slight’ amount of air is let out, a sip taken to replace it, compress, and continue in a serene mode. When done, completely exhale. Start with 3 to 5 minutes per breath cycle, one breath cycle to start with, and then increase the time, and then additional breaths.
After a while, the air enters the stomach, and then from there into the intestines. At this point the diet should be light, such as liquids twice per day. The root must be held firm, and pulled up as intuitive, so that the air does not escape out the anus. If there is too much pressure for the heart, then the intensity must be backed down. Do not do this practice if you are tired or exhausted.
When finished sit peacefully and still for at least a half hour, enjoying. If you feel to release the air; sit on the heals, or even cross legged and relax your forehead on the ground, and let your energy melt into the earth through your forehead, the air will then come back up through the stomach and burb out.
It is said that this practice can (over years), make the body as light as a feather, strong and less affected by the elements, and that the need for food diminishes or leaves. It is not a common place sadhana (consistent formal practices), and suits certain types of people.
One must be ready for a practice like this, and a commonsense preliminary is that you should not have any difficulty in doing alternate nostril breath / 60 seconds per breath including the hold for an hour to 90 minutes each day (except on moon for woman) for a couple of months. This should in itself be worked up to, as external force in a pranayama is never good (with rare momentary exceptions), so that you create a cyclic rhythm that is soothing and strengthening. Even, when holding the breath in alternate breathing, the rhythm is not broken, rather the current is flowing in the centers where the breath is held, and then continuing in a smooth flow on the exhale. There is no stop and stop sensation.
Coming back to the practice; the ability to hold the tongue back in Kechari is helpful, and again, an open easy communication of the whole body with itself is a requirement. This is where you sit and feel happy and ‘grounded’ in a kind of effortlessness and wholeness.
One time while on retreat in 1994 while not eating for months, a special lady came from her home in the sun and she transmitted to me a vision of a beautiful pink energy moving inside and through my intestines of empty space, with lots of little almost hair-feather like structures absorbing the energy wave like – like a devic wonderland. The body is amazing, the same body that is hell for some and heaven for others.
These types of practices give stability in the body, even if not done to the full extent, so that our focus can settle and absorb-open-become the vastness we are from inside, traveling the universe, and then beyond, without moving an inch.
May all being be blessed in this light and love, which we are.