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Q: My question is about what I should expect to experience during Spinal Breathing. I do not visualize well or easily, and it's very difficult for me to imagine anything moving up and down my spinal column, as I cannot yet feel anything happening. I sometimes talk to myself during thisexercise ("... the light goes UP to my third eye ... the light comes DOWN from my third eye... "). Sometimes I try to do it silently.
If I am intent on IMAGINING the breath moving up and down the spinalnerve, is this sufficient? I am concerned that in trying to concentrate I am becoming too tense. On the other hand, I become caught up in the challenge of trying to move the breath up and down my spine, and I usually find that I spend more time on pranayama than I meant to (and I do enjoy it)! Can you tell from my description whether I am doing this technique correctly?
A: Yes, you are doing fine. Just continue imagining the breath going up and down inside that little spinal nerve. It takes a while to develop the mental habit. Be easy about it, like in meditation. If you wander off the spinal breathing, just easily come back to it. There is nothing more to expect than that you will continue that easy process. If other visions come and fill your attention, just favor the practice of simple spinal breathing – breath with the attention going up and down. No big effort at concentration is necessary, and no big visualizations are needed. You should be able to let go of the verbalizations pretty soon. It is best to be easy and relaxed with the process.
Review the lessons on spinal breathing in a month or two and you can pick up some of the refinements. By then you will be through the "clunky" stage and much smoother in your practice. In time, you will want to add more elements of practice. It is all in the lessons. You will know when you are ready. Just take it one step at a time, and be easy with it. Make sure you always follow pranayama with meditation.
Something good is happening.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book at http://aypsite.com/books.html#sbp