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Attitude or Insight

Editorial by Mira

"Can you still feel frustrated and inadequate even though you may have meditated for many years?" a journalist asked me recently, "or do you go around with a permanent smile on your face?" That made me think of a woman on one of our meditation courses. When she came home after the meditation, her children rushed boisterously up to her and hugged her. She wanted to remain in the tranquil state she had reached during the meditation. She therefore tried to keep them at a distance imagining that the children would disturb her. I ad ised her to accept the children entirely and not try to cling to any state. The effect of the meditation is there anyway, as we go about life and allow our arious traits to find e!pression " and it#s okay to react normally.

I am sure e eryone e!periences yoga and meditation in their own indi idual way. It is e!citing to disco er and e!plore the potential of the e!ercises. The fundamental effects, howe er, are pretty much the same for all " body and mind find their own natural balance. When I ha e been ery busy going full speed ahead all day and then find it difficult to unwind in the e ening, meditation calms me. $ut if I am tired and uninspired and cannot get started on anything, then meditation gi es me renewed energy. % woman with ery high blood pressure participated on a yoga and meditation course we held in &ermany a few years ago. She had tried all kinds of therapies, but nothing helped. So she turned to yoga. She had a blood pressure de ice with her and we took her blood pressure on arious occasions during the course. %fter the deep"rela!ation Yoga Nidra, followed by the meditation The Source of Energy, which is, amongst other things, based on a special breathing technique, her blood pressure became almost normal. %nother woman on the course pro ed to ha e low blood pressure and when we measured her, we saw to our great surprise that it had actually risen following the same e!ercises' %n e!planation for this could be that these techniques make us rela! and help us let go of the thoughts, impressions and states which are otherwise seated in our muscles and organs and which influence the ner ous system " this process normali(es the blood pressure. When something is worrying us, we may feel as if we are enclosed in a bubble. When the problem has been resol ed, or the cause of the an!iety has been remo ed, then e erything feels different. Suddenly we can make contact with the people around us again and appreciate the small daily e ents. )oga and meditation can remo e these bubbles " regardless of whether they arise from an!iety, ideals or self"indulgence " and pre ent new ones forming. If you happen to adopt another "meditati e pose", then you end up in a new bubble that can inhibit your awareness and meditation and become a burden. The reali(ation that you don#t need to li e by ideals and poses, that you can depend on yourself, along with the understanding that meditation does not need props " is fundamental to our teaching, which is inspired by the Tantric tradition. When I went on my first yoga course at this school, I found I could be myself. There was nothing to li e up to and no one tried to con ince me of anything. The result was that I was able to rela! and e!perience the effects of yoga.

*ne day two young men came to the school. They wanted to know what yoga was. " o you have to believe in anything?" they asked. "No!" I replied, "yoga is li"e football# $t is something you do# $t isn%t something you believe in#"

+aybe you get a broader perspecti e on a ariety of things or maybe new alues, but yoga is not something to ascribe to, insight grows by itself

)oga -idra and consciousness...


&y Mira )oga is probably best known as a comfortable form of rela!ation, both on a physical and mental le el, but it in ol es a lot more than that. .ela!ation is only the first step. It is easy to practice )oga -idra. )ou lie completely motionless on your back, and listen to the instructions gi en. The technique is used by people who need an effecti e rela!ation. +any use the )oga -idra tape or /0 without ha ing any other knowledge of yoga or meditation.

Sometimes a person will come to me and say1 "$ have tried rela'ation and it does not wor" for me# $ (ust cannot rela'." It always turns out that the person has used a form of rela!ation, where you ha e to try to imagine that you rela!. So instead of deri ing benefit from the rela!ation, the person concerned gets irritated and worried from making so much effort. In )oga -idra you are ne er asked to rela! " and my e!perience is that e en those people who ha e pre iously e!perienced problems rela!ing, find benefit from )oga -idra.

)oga -idra is equally popular with school kids and senior citi(ens, and is highly alued in many work places. 2or beginners, it is an easy way to e!perience a state of meditation. Some years ago I taught at a school for young people. The teachers were ery surprised when they saw the boys lying completely still on their backs with their eyes closed for twenty minutes.

)ou can practice )oga -idra anytime you want, to impro e your concentration, get better rest and renewed energy " and if you sleep poorly at night, to impro e your sleep. 3isten to the instructions without making effort or using your willpower. 4ust follow the instructions with interest and awareness, and let the rest happen by itself.

In the beginning when you practice )oga -idra, you may fall asleep " and that is okay " e en though the purpose is to stay awake and aware. If for a moment you don5t hear the instructions, you may ha e an e!perience like you are deeply asleep " but at the same time you know that you are conscious. &enerally falling asleep completely is a transitory stage. &radually you become increasingly present in the deep state. When you practice )oga -idra, it is best to lie with your head towards the north. )our clothes should not be tight. 0o not lie on anything too soft, but preferably on an e en floor, maybe on a rug, with a light co er o er you. If you are prone to falling asleep, keep your hands and feet unco ered or lie without a co er altogether. If you still fall asleep, then let your elbows rest on the floor with your forearms pointing upwards. 6ach time you are about to fall asleep, your arms will drop down, and you will wake up. The essence of )oga -idra, as with all kinds of real meditation, is awareness " consciousness resting in itself. 0uring )oga -idra thoughts, states and dreams may surface. )ou may ha e impressions of e!periences and emotions from that day or from earlier times in your life. %ll this you e!perience, but you don5t cling to any of it " and you don5t judge it 7after all, you also e!perience when you judge8. )ou let the impressions and thoughts come and go without trying to control them, and you reach not only a rela!ed state, but a state where the mind empties and frees itself of all that it does not need. )ou let the thoughts flow by and disappear like clouds in the sky, making room for inspiration again. If for a moment you forget to follow the instructions, then do not try to remember what happened

at that particular place in )oga -idra, just follow the now. When you get carried away by a thought it may easily turn into a dream that carries you into sleep. $ecause you are in a deep state, it is quite normal for this to happen. %s soon as you disco er it, then return to the instructions. In this way you get used to staying aware in a deep state. )oga -idra teaches you to consciously e!perience the different states that you are guided through, eg. 9ea iness and lightness. )ou learn to gi e in to the different emotions and states. )our mind is being trained in this way and becomes more fle!ible " and you reach a state of deep rest. It is important to ha e guidance from an e!perienced teacher in a class or on a tape:/0, especially with the long )oga -idra, as the rela!ation should preferably be the same each time. In this way the subconscious feels secure and rela!es more easily. When you ha e gotten used to the short )oga -idra, you can then take yourself through the instructions mentally, before you turn to the long and deep )oga -idra.

The name )oga -idra actually represents a state of consciousness, and the technique leads you there. $oth mind and body reach the meditati e state. )ou gain an e!perience that you can use in other conte!ts, among other things, it can impro e your meditation. What is most important for all kinds of meditation is regularity, preferably a daily practice. 6ach time you do it, it will be easier to reach the clarity and peace, which support physical health and your presence in e erything you do.

The relaxed state and science


&y )obert Nilsson

;ueues and bottlenecks occur during rush hour in our cities. %t other times of the day, the traffic is less acti e and therefore flows better. It is the same with the body and mind, when acti ity is reduced, we e!perience a less stressed and less blocked state than that which we normally find oursel es in with our daily chores. The states of consciousness were pre iously di ided up into three main categories1 waking state, dream and sleep. $ut o er the last thirty years, science has acquired a broader iew of our states. In the late si!ties an %merican doctor, 0r. <eith Wallace, had his doctoral thesis accepted under the title Meditation as a *ourth Ma(or State of Consciousness. Since then there ha e been a lot of different publications and research on altered states. *ne of the major works from =>?> is still worth reading1 +ltered States of Consciousness edited by @rofessor /harles T. Tart, is a collection of articles from researchers all o er the whole world.

The relaxed brain


The rela!ed state soon recei ed a scientific classification, which is practical, but also limiting. It was called the +lpha state. $y pasting small round sil er discs called electrodes on arious places on the scalp, the brain5s acti ity could be measured. The electrodes were connected to a machine, an Electroencephalograph 7EE,8. There was a row of pens on the 66& and each one was connected to an electrode on the head. The pens were attached in such a way that each drew a line on a piece of paper that was running through the machine underneath. 6 ery time an impulse came from the electrode, the pen mo ed so that the line on the paper became a wa y line, hence the e!pression brain waves. Today e erything is recorded on computer, so that the wa es can be analy(ed and displayed on a screen. The acti ity of the brain is di ided into four states. See the chart below.

Beta, -./01 waves2sec., normal, acti e Alpha, 3/-. waves 2sec., rela!ed Theta, 0/3 waves 2sec., dream, sleep Delta, -/0 waves 2sec., deep sleep Activity of the brain

The more acti e the brain is, the more impulses the ner e cells fire. % description of the four states shown on the left, their frequency 7oscillations or wa es per second8 and their scientific names are also shown there.

The 66& sinks from $eta to %lpha when one rela!es, but it is rarely pure, this means that there is both %lpha and $eta concurrently

$esides the 66&, there are other means of measuring the rela!ed and somewhat deeper meditati e state. S"in resistance! for e!ample, is measured on the palm between two electrodes. If you ha e a high skin resistance, then your palm is dry and you are rela!ed. 9owe er if you become pro oked a little, within a few seconds the skin resistance will fall due to an imperceptible perspiration on the palm. Skin resistance is used to measure the reactions in the autonomous ner ous system, and can re eal when the le el of stress or an!iety increases or diminishes. % similar method is used in lie detectors. Muscular tension decreases when you rela!, just as a tension decreases when you keep a muscle stretched for a while in a yoga pose. The muscular tension is also measured by placing two electrodes on the muscle in question. The pulse drops during rela!ation or meditation. %s does the breath rate and frequency#

It is possible to ha e e!periences with yoga, rela!ation and the like and still fool oneself into belie ing that one is rela!ed, e en though one is not. I ha e had days where I thought it was okay to skip my yoga practice. When I ne ertheless took the time to do yoga, I could feel a distinct difference in my state afterwards. It is important not to be blinded by your ideas of how you feel. )ou should also not try to achie e a certain e!perience " you just follow the technique

The relaxation response


It is easy enough to become e!cited or stressed. The way the body reacts during such a state is called the fight or flight response, in a perilous situation the body prepares itself for fight or flight. The blood pressure rises and the blood flow to the brain and muscles increases at the e!pense of the internal organs. *ften this automatic reaction is completely out of proportion compared to what has triggered it. 6 en just a minor daily problem can be enough to create a stressed state. 0r. 9erbert $enson from $eth Israel 9ospital School in $oston has reali(ed, through his research into high blood pressure, the significance of proper rela!ation. With his first book The )ela'ation )esponse he introduced this term in relation to methods for rela!ing and lowering the blood pressure. In contrast to the fight or flight response, the rela!ation response does not always come by itself when it is needed.

"4ust sitting quietly or! say! watching television! is not enough to produce the physiological changes# You need to use a rela'ation technique that will brea" the train of everyday thought! and decrease the activity of the sympathetic nervous system." 70r. 9. $enson8

$y rela!ation technique, we mean something that can pro ide a more effecti e form of rela!ation than that which can be achie ed by taking a stroll or sleeping. Through the use of a rela!ation technique, you learn to achie e a state of rest that is deeper than that of sleep, while you remain conscious and e!perience what is happening. )ou become familiar with the rela'ed state. "The advantage seems to come from the physiology of rela'ation rather than by mere suggestion." 70r. @. +. 3ehrer8 The rela!ation technique works by itself, you need only lie still and follow the instructions. Through meditation and awareness training you will also be able to see when the fight or flight response is about to be triggered, and thereby become better at choosing how to react.

What do you get from relaxing?


"5ellbeing! of course!" is the answer if you ask those who know how to use a good rela!ation, "and creativity." /urrent research is interested in more than that though. They want to see if there are permanent and deep physiological effects. .ecently I looked into a database 7Medline8 containing reports that ha e been published in recogni(ed research maga(ines. It contained more than AB,CCC reports on rela!ation, yoga and meditation published o er the last twenty years. I reali(ed, as I went through the reports, that some of the researchers regard meditation as an unalterable quantity. Therefore they cannot understand why there is a discrepancy in their research. The fact is that the results largely depend on which meditation technique is used. In some meditations you learn to withdraw the senses, in others you are more present in your senses. There are meditations where you learn to make your mind one"pointed, and meditations without a focal point, which are based on the ability to e!perience the totality in and around oneself. It should also be added that some methods gi e only a light rela!ed state, while others produce ery clear changes in your general state. /ertain Tantric meditations, for e!ample $nner Silence, are constructed as a de eloping sequence containing a whole array of the mentioned methods " it spans the spectrum from outer awareness to deep inner rest in oneself. Some researchers ha e documented that rela!ation techniques, sometimes supplemented with other yoga techniques and meditation, can be used as an alternati e or a supplement to traditional treatment for people who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, stress, sleep disorders, chronic pain, rheumatism, an!iety, cancer, psoriasis, alcoholism, epilepsy, to name but a few.

The immune defence system is strengthened by relaxation


@erhaps the most interesting thing for most of us is the fact that rela!ation strengthens the immune defence system. Therefore it can help in keeping sickness at bay by making people more resistant to iruses. The degree of effecti eness naturally depends on whether or not one uses rela!ation regularly.

Examples from research:


" %t the +arylebone 9ealth /entre in 3ondon, they ha e been able to cut their prescribing costs by DCE by using methods including yoga, meditation and rela!ation. =8

" %n %merican fighter pilot, with a si!"year history of high blood pressure, underwent arious

treatments 7medicine, diet, physical e!ercise8 without results. 2ollowing a si! weeks program of yoga and rela!ation, his blood pressure was normali(ed, and he regained full flight status. %nd as the researchers pointed out, relaxation also has an advantage over medicine in that it has no side effects, something which can be ha(ardous for a fighter pilot.A8

There are numerous reports on the effect of rela!ation on high blood pressure " yoga also works well for low blood pressure, because the e!ercises normali(e the blood pressure.

" "+fter about ten lessons! the patient will be able to control his own stress and high blood pressure."F8

" 2rom research into 9IG positi e1 "These results suggest that stress management Hthrough rela!ation and meditationI to reduce arousal of the nervous system and an'iety would be an appropriate component of a treatment regimen for 6$7 infection."D8

" *f =D> diabetics, =CD were able to reduce their intake of medication after DC days treatment with yoga and rela!ation.J8

" == epileptics who were resistant to epileptic medicine meditated AC minutes a day. %fter a year, a significant reduction in sei(ure frequency and duration was measured. ?8

" *f BF patients with ad anced cancer, who had attended at least AC sessions of intensi e meditation, =CE showed a remarkable slowing in the growth of the tumor and a further =CE had a less marked reduction. JCE e!perienced a greatly impro ed quality of life. B8

" J= chronic pain patients, whose condition had not impro ed with traditional medical care, took part in a =C weeks meditation and rela!ation program. JCE of the patients showed a JCE or more reduction in pain, while a further =JE of the patients had a reduction of FFE or more.K8

" > patients with asthma took part in a residential course in yoga and rela!ation. %fter a week they were generally more rela!ed, and were able to breath more easily, as the inspiratory and e!piratory muscles were more rela!ed.>8

*ur e!perience on some of our longer courses, the F months course for e!ample, is that some students ha e achie ed what you might call a cure or a complete control of asthma. ;uite a few ha e gone home from the course without any symptoms.

oga !idra in relation to relaxation based on suggestion


In connection with an e!tensi e research project at the uni ersity clinic in /ologne, &ermany, in the beginning of the eighties, the brain wa es of a group of teachers from the Scandina ian )oga and +editation School were measured during )oga -idra. % researcher who was more familiar with other and more suggesti e forms of rela!ation, where one imagines that one is rela!ed, took part in this research.

0uring )oga -idra one is not e en asked to rela!. The word rela!ation does not appear in the instructions at all. )ou e!perience your body, its arious parts, your breath, arious states such as hea iness and lightness, warmth and cold... and arious mental pictures and symbols. %nd it is this ery systematic and fi!ed procedure that triggers the rela!ation. The researchers in /ologne found that )oga -idra had a more thorough effect than the rela!ations based on suggestions or hypnosis. 0uring )oga -idra the %lpha wa es co ered the whole brain, whereas they occurred only here and there during the other rela!ations. 2urthermore the le el of %lpha wa es was constant throughout the entire )oga -idra, while they came and went during the other rela!ations. The balance between the 66& in the two brain hal es was better in )oga -idra, which means that the two brain hal es communicated better. These results were again confirmed in =>>B in the research you can read about in the following article.

Tantra and

oga !idra

" a little about the tradition behind )oga -idra


&y Swami 4ana"ananda

8+t the point of sleep when sleep has not yet come and e'ternal wa"efulness vanishes! at this point being is revealed#8 7Gigyana $haira a Tantra8

Tantra is a timeless tradition with methods for raising consciousness. The word Tantra actually means to e'pand " consciousness, knowledge of life " and to liberate " one5s self. The knowledge on which Tantra is based has been in use since the matriarchal period in prehistoric times, where women were not repressed and mythology was founded on fertility and feminine energy. Tantra still contains elements from that era. The religious aspects of Tantra show that women dominate in the form of goddesses " and women are equal to men in the performance of the rituals.

To meditate or philosophise
The "real" Tantrics use methods and ha e e!periences " they act. They don5t philosophise and are reluctant to write down anything at all. If they do, then it is solely for the purpose of inspiring others to do something, to meditate etc., instead of philosophising.

It is therefore important to understand that Tantra is built upon practice and not on theorising, where e!perience is forgotten and the understanding of terms, mythology and wisdom becomes more important than wisdom itself. -ot e eryone understands what it means to walk the path of self realisation. 2or the teacher the object is to teach those who are recepti e and who will actually use what they learn. 9owe er the teacher withholds his or her knowledge from those who are merely curious or sensation"seeking and who, with regard to the se!ual rituals, are only lecherous and without sense for the deeper perspecti es " wanting just a little taste only to hurry on to something else. It is important to safeguard the tradition, so that the genuine methods are not lost, misunderstood or diluted.

Intentional language in Tantra and else"here


+uch of what we find in Tantra is therefore secret, it was either not written down or, when writing was introduced, was written in code language, which in Sanskrit is called Sandhabhasa. These codes, or paraphrases, may appear as innocent stories " well, not always innocent. They may also ha e a pornographic content to scare or fascinate the reader so he would not disco er the hidden content of the te!t. The real practices, if they were written down at all, were hidden in rituals, religious or se!ual te!ts, or behind names or numbers that would ha e had to be swapped with other words. They could only be understood by someone who had already been initiated part of the way " but e en then the practices described in the scripts remained eiled in innuendo compared to when one recei es guidance directly from another indi idual, for e!ample, when instructed in ad anced meditation. This was not only an Indian phenomenon, it was also found in other places, among them on Iceland, where it was called 9aunm:l 7hidden language8, meaning that behind the story, lies another story, an initiation, a practice.

The aspirant is tested


The aspirant recei es arious tasks o er a long period, to ensure that his or her attitude is open and recepti e. It is important to know whether the aspirant will misinterpret the teacher5s intentions and actions, and if the person in question really will abandon fear and habitual thoughts about his or her own limitations. %lso, the student must be prepared gradually with arious easier practices, and abo e all, his or her patience must be set to the test. 3ife in an ashram or in the teacher5s home can pro ide the right en ironment for this training. % clear and well known e!ample is +ilarepa5s relationship with his teacher +arpa. +arpa ga e the appearance of being a drunken, unreasonable and choleric farmer. $ut judging from the result of the training he ga e +ilarepa, he must ha e been one of the best teachers that e er li ed, at least the best for +ilarepa " Tibet5s great guru. In short, +ilarepa had to undergo a twenty year long training, with hardships that on occasions almost wore him out, and frustrations " that made him run away se eral times " about not being allowed to take part in the secret doctrines, which in all probability contained meditation techniques along the lines of <riya )oga and Inner Silence 7see pre ious issues of $indu8. +y teacher @aramhansa Satyananda stayed with his teacher Swami Si ananda for twel e years in .ishikesh. 9e did mainly <arma )oga there, which consisted of arious practical tasks in the administration of the ashram and with its printing press. 3ater he tra elled around India as a mendicant. 2or a period of his wandering years he had the possibility to withdraw and, among other things, practise the methods he had learnt in his daily association with Swami Si ananda. 9is teacher had also put him on the track of things in the yoga and Tantric tradition, which during his tra els he could find, draw forth and in estigate " subsequently he was ready to teach others himself. Swami Satyananda was an e!ceptional teacher " no one else, neither before nor since, has elucidated the Tantric practises to such a degree. I write in the past tense, because he has now retired as a teacher.

Theory or practise

It is my e!perience that the more one talks of, for e!ample, meditation in theory instead of practising it, the less one5s mind belie es it is necessary to do it " after all you "know it all already." The problem is that merely "knowing" has no effect. The body and mind ha e no use for knowing, if the e!ercises are not applied. % few years ago I e!perienced something interesting during a month long <riya )oga course that I held. Students come to learn the great <riya )oga in silence. They ha e been prepared by pre ious courses with arious yoga and meditation methods and with a certain amount of theory. %part from a few talks and discussions at the start of the course, I felt an urge to just let them meditate, do yoga and to generally be engaged with practical things. In other words, I had no desire to gi e lectures during the period of silence, which was quite appropriate as the students do not talk, write or read anything. The silence helps to remo e the deeper lying tensions and maintains a good balance in the brain while also increasing the ability to e!perience. -e ertheless, about halfway into the silent period, I needed to clarify a few things and to theoretically e!plain a little of how you can let go of automatic reactions and habits in the ner ous system and in the mind. The lecture which I ga e in the e ening was, I am sure, inspiring for both the students and myself. The following morning the students had a physical yoga class with another teacher. %fter the class the teacher told me that the awareness and concentration present the other mornings was not really there that morning. The students had daydreamed a little and time and again it seemed as though they had to force themsel es to follow the instructions. It only happened that one morning during the entire course " the rest of the time they were quite alert. When the silence was o er, I asked them if they could remember how they felt the morning after the lecture. I promptly recei ed an e!planation from one of them and the others agreed. 9e said that the interesting things they had heard the e ening before had filled his head to such an e!tent, that his mind thought his body no longer needed to do the e!ercises. It was not necessary " he knew it all already.

#oncept or experience
What is theory worth, when it is not based on e!perienceL If theory comes first, the intellect will block the e!perience " with e!pectations and effort, we can be lead in the wrong direction, while a know"all attitude hinders the openness to follow and recei e guidance in, for e!ample, a meditation. It gets in the way of sensiti ity and the ability to e!perience what cannot be written down. It all quite easily becomes indoctrination. )ou are told how it is, instead of e!periencing it yourself. *pinions and concepts become something learnt by rote and clung to, belie ed in, defended, e en though they are not based on personal insight and first hand e!perience. Take a word such as meditation. It has widely become a concept. The mind can come up with all sorts of ideas about what meditation is and actually a oid the essential. "*h, but I ha e my own meditation," and then you sit and dream a bit. )ou ne er lea e the limitations of the mind behind. Some e en get the bright idea to teach on the grounds of such notions. There are those who say that they recei e answers to all sorts of things in their meditation. It is probably true, but oh, they ne er lea e their minds in peace. It is the same with the word rela'ation, which is used today to describe all kinds of things, from hypnosis to music. There are e en some good musicians who call their music "meditation." *ne can only hope that their audience can enjoy the music without allowing themsel es to be limited by such a claim. In the BC5s I recognised the problem with these labels as I prepared the release of a )oga -idra tape. I wanted to make it clear what )oga -idra was about and called it a "deep" rela!ation". It only took a few months before that description was used for e ery kind of possible and impossible rela!ation. Mnfortunately, the name Yoga Nidra is also used today for rela!ations that ha e nothing to do with the effecti e technique that stems from the Tantric tradition and which we are discussing in this issue of $indu. %part from what can be palmed off on us by others, the ideas that people themsel es form of meditation can really stand in the way of reaching the rela!ed or meditati e state, such as the assumption that the mind should firstly be controlled. The mind does not stop, so why fight it and get frustratedL 3earn to bypass it by using a method and allow the mind to calm down by itself.

What does one get from meditation, if it does not gi e noticeable energy and (est for life in the day to day, and from rela!ation, if one does not come out of it with greater clarity, calmness and o er iewL $editation is a break from all impressions, a way of emptying the mind. It is also a search for one5s true identity, one5s center " and for this you need methods that ensure you don5t cheat yourself, but really reach your innermost.

The ritual in meditation helps you bypass the limitations of the mind
/lassical meditations from Tantra and Nen show this alternati e approach. The Tantric meditation is contained in the ritual. The Tantric ritual consists of methods which continually occupy the mind, lea ing the thoughts to do as they please and drift by in the background. There is no need to struggle with them. )ou ha e something else to do. %nd if for a moment you become preoccupied with a thought, then all you need do is realise it, remember what it was you were doing and return to your practise. %riya oga is an e!ample of this, using methods that open and cleanse the energy flows in the body, raise the le el of energy and create an absorption that is independent of the mind5s endea ours, e!pectations and ideas. In oga !idra one does not try to rela!, but rather occupy the mind with the methods gi en. The rela!ation is triggered " it comes by itself. 9ow long can one concentrate on a thumb for e!ampleL *ne secondL TwoL The mind wants to go on to something else. Therefore the restlessness of the mind is accommodated and consciousness is transferred to the inde! finger and so on. The mind is occupied in such a way that it does not ha e time for anything else and therefore it cannot hold any tension.

The purpose of the sexual ritual


"5hile being caressed! sweet princess! enter the caressing as everlasting life." 7;uotations1 Gigyana $haira a Tantra8

The famous or notorious se!ual rituals 7of which I ha e written a ariation in my book Yoga! Tantra and Meditation in aily 9ife8 is a good e!ample of Tantric rituals and practises ha ing other purposes than people normally think. It is usually belie ed to be an e!cellent therapy for people with se!ual problems, or is thought to help achie e greater se!ual freedom, and intensify se!ual enjoyment. )es, it probably can " but it has another purpose. 8+t the start of se'ual union! "eep attentive on the fire in the beginning! and! so continuing! avoid the embers in the end#8 It is a matter of capturing the mind and the se! dri e is well suited for this purpose. "5hen in such embrace your senses are sha"en as leaves! enter this sha"ing#" When you are prepared through all the arious practises belonging to the ritual, apart from bathing, eating etc., then the desired result is ine itable. "Even remembering union! without the embrace! the transformation#" The purpose is to e!pand consciousness and increase the energy.

An uninterrupted experience
8The meaning of life life itself provides! until we begin to inquire 8 7&rook by @iet 9ein8

The mind can imagine all kinds of things, both too much and too little, and it lo es to argue, it lo es to discuss. It can pro e anything, but it can just as well dispro e it. When you dare to recei e directly " when you do not e!pect sensational "e!periences" or demand an answer for e erything " then you can begin the transformation. The methods remain secret until you are ready to use them. )ou learn <riya )oga in silence.

-ot gi ing out the methods to the uninitiated is a principle Tantrics ha e in common with /eltic druids 7for whom it was directly forbidden to write anything of what they had learnt8, the 6gyptian initiates and, to a certain e!tent, with the indigenous people 7+borigines8 li ing in the deserts of central %ustralia. /ontrary to the /eltic and 6gyptian elite, Tantra was and is part of the local culture. The treasures of Tantra are not only reser ed for a learned social class, but also form part of the li ing tradition in many illages where knowledge and e!perience is passed on from person to person for generations.

A timeless and living tradition


%nybody who pro es to be suitable and recepti e can share in the Tantric knowledge. % knowledge that is so comprehensi e that the Tantric methods can be compared to contemporary science. In addition to methods to e!pand, raise and liberate human consciousness, Tantra also contains mathematics, astronomy, methods for healing and art of the highest calibre. It could be said that the Tantric tradition contains all concei able means of helping people through life " and in mastering themsel es. Mnfortunately, it has become fashionable nowadays to associate Tantra with se!ual rituals alone. They are, of course, a part of the tradition, just as there are people that benefit from using them " but they are just one part of the rich Tantric tradition.

!yasa
We are now going to deal with a group of methods and practices that are used in the Tantric rituals " also the se!ual ones, but not only there. They can also be part of what we popularly call rela!ation and meditation. Their purpose is to alter the state of your physical body and of consciousness, so that you become present, recepti e and sensiti e to what is further happening in the ritual or in the meditation. These methods ha e a collecti e name1 Nyasa. %ccording to the ;'ford Sans"rit English ictionary, the word Nyasa means1 to place, to set on or in, to use, to touch, etc. What are touched are the body5s arious parts " what is placed, is a mantra 7sound8, for e!ample, on the appropriate places. It is worth noting that the dictionary further defines -yasa as1 "Mental consecration or allocation of various bodily parts to guardian spirits". This definition is correct, as far as I can see, but is insufficient as it stands. *ne could just as well claim that all science is religion, as theology is still counted among the Sciences. %pparently the "facts" elucidated in encyclopaedias depend on who is supplying the information, the di erse and at times peculiar or limited definitions of )oga and Tantra are clear e!amples of that. The purpose of using -yasa in Tantric yoga, in my opinion, is to awa"en consciousness, which I hope is apparent from the articles in this issue. With that in mind, howe er, I will now quote a definition by %gehananda $harati1 "9iterally! Nyasa is the process of charging a part of the body! or an organ of another living body! with a specified power through touch#" %nd he continues. "*or instance! by placing the firemudra Ha way of holding the fingers when touchingI on the heart region uttering the fire/mantra <ram=! the adept=s heart is made into the cosmic fire###"

Nyasa can consist of "touching" the arious bodily parts by hand. It can be performed by oneself, or by one5s partner or teacher. $ut it can also be done mentally, by thinking of the specific areas

and calling them by name " this happens, for e!ample, during the teacher5s guidance of )oga -idra. -yasa also in ol es the "placing" of a mantra 7sound, syllable or a combination of the two " a phrase8 on different parts of the body. This is done mentally, or the mantra can be said aloud. The Sanskrit alphabet, just like runes in their time in the -orthern countries, does not only ser e as a group of letters used to form words, but also each letter has an inherent power, a ibration that forms the basis of the science of mantra. In one form of -yasa, the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet are distributed o er the whole body. This is called Matri"a Nyasa# "Matri"a is the source of all mantras! the origin of all sciences and the soil from which all the principles! all sages and all "nowledge are born#" 73a!mi Tantra8

The abo e mentioned methods can be combined so that you touch your body or that of your partner, at the same time as you name the mantra for the place that you touch. +atrika -yasa, an e!ample of which is gi en on the ne!t page, is a different form of -yasa from that which is used in )oga -idra. $ut if you ha e e!perienced the deep )oga -idra you will be able to see the similarities between one of the larger sections of )oga -idra and +atrika -yasa. The earth, water, fire, air and ether 7space8 elements also play a role in -yasa. The body is di ided into fi e parts, each with its own element. %nd as pre iously mentioned, the body and its arious parts can be consecrated to one or more guardian spirits " e en to planets or holy places. The name of the spirits or gods, of the planet, place or element are then added to the string of mantras and recited aloud or repeated mentally.

-aturally -yasa is used because it has an effect on the body and mind " and is not just an empty ritual. -yasa is related to, and possibly e en predates, Shiatsu and +cupuncture. $ut whereas these other two methods are based on the physical body and their energy points and are mainly used for healing, -yasa is more than this, in that it also has methods for "touching" and awakening the mind5s numerous dimensions, e.g. through the psychic cha"ras.

The long and deep )oga -idra is based on simple and therefore ery effecti e ariations of -yasa, from beginning to end.

The dimensions
*nce you ha e followed the guidance in the deep )oga -idra, while lying on your back, you are then familiar with the way you mo e your awareness through all parts of the body, with the e!perience of hea iness and lightness, warmth and cold, pain and contentment. %nd with how you get in contact with the chakras in different ways, and e!perience certain symbols, landscapes, pictures etc.

There are se eral dimensions to our being. In daily life we are familiar with the body, breath, thoughts, emotions, moods " and with states like wakefulness, dreaming and sleeping. $ut there are other states such as the meditati e, the shamanic, the hypnotic, the into!icated ... The dimensions of the human being are described from the basis of different backgrounds. 4ung and 2reud introduced concepts such as the conscious, the subconscious, the unconscious and libido. In the 6uropean occult or mystic tradition there are concepts that to a certain degree correspond with other cultures51 the physical body, body humours 7as in %jur Geda8, vital energy, the astral body and the causal body. Similarly in 6urope there is, or was, a concept such as bliss 7intense and independent happiness8. In the Indian te!ts the >panishads, we find the following description of the human dimensions1

The five sheaths