Breath Repetition (Simran) and Applied Awareness as taught by Yogi Bhajan
Pieter Schoonheim Samara
This is the 4th page of What is Yoga, What is Kundalini Yoga and it starts out with Breath Repetition (Simran) with its main intent and focus of "Applied Awareness".
Kundalini Yoga that Yogi Bhajan taught has 2 aspects to it:
Breath repetition (Simran)
One of these is an aspect of the Pratyahar Path, with its main intent and focus of "applied awareness" and "letting go" as a foundation to the way in which all practices are done, but the aspect drawn from the Pratyahar Path side is primarily limited to long periods of slow pranayamas focused on the main nadis, what might be called the meditation on prana and its source itself. The term used in Kundalini Yoga for this practice is "sanjam" or "breath simran."
The other practice which predominates in Kundalini Yoga is what Yogi Bhajan calls the Laya Path, or the Practice of Radiance, the generation of which is entirely unlike and unrelated to any other yogic practice mentioned above. This Practice of Radiance, with its foundation in "applied awareness" and "letting go," rapidly, systematically, evenly and smoothly increases the voltage throughout the body field in a manner that cannot be compared or even understood from the perspective of someone practicing the Pratyahar Path of yoga, because, unless they have experienced total body field radiance and related non-objective awareness, they have no reference.
This yoga is extremely practical and has 2 main aspects:
One of these is called Tappas, which really means to generate heat, but we can call it the Yoga of Light. The other is called Jappa which has to do with the use of mantra in what we can call the Yoga of Sound. But, again, these practices, their effects and results are unrelated to those of the Pratyahar Path.
The Yoga of Light:
The Yoga of Light combines posture, movement, breath and energy locks in a unique manner to produce a desired effect, which yogis call a kriya. The effect of the posture and movement is to bring about an expanding or contracting pressure on some part or system within the body field, which in practical terms causes the blood to saturate in that area, gradually opening the capillaries and cells of the organs and systems.
With the combination of various kinds of yogic breathing techniques, which have specific purposes and effects, the blood is purified and electrified and circulates in a manner that the areas brought under pressure are able to discharge accumulated waste, sloth and chemical bonding and absorb life force (prana) and voltage.
Each exercise (or at times short combinations) has as active aspect, during which period the energy is generated, which is followed by a passive aspect, during which time, the glands secrete to support and sustain the voltage generated in the specific area. The use of internal locks (bandhas) and suspension of breath either in or out further enhances the generation and sustaining of voltage. Sets of Kundalini Yoga exercises and kriyas are put together in manners that affect a gradual and systematic penetration of every system and organ of the body to build the feeling of electric radiance or voltage.
The practice of radiance necessarily includes the practice of applied awareness and letting go, because the application and focus of awareness in the specific areas affected by the exercise generates a kind of a memory of the sensation that is then sustained by the voltage generated by the secretion of the glands.
This is similar to the way that an emotion is triggered by the focus on a thought together with a sensation, only in this case, there are no thoughts, and the practice ends with disengagement of attention, i.e., letting go, the result of which is a deepening of the awareness of the source of the seer as non-objective in nature and origin.
Radiance and voltage:
This practice of Radiance is similar to having a car battery of 6 or 12 or 24 volts, wherein you have mostly water and a thin metallic plate. When an electric charge is put on the battery, the combination of the water and plate result in stored voltage, only in the body, which is also mostly water, the potential to increase and store voltage through the secretions of the glands is unlimited.
Another way to understand this is as follows: Let's say that someone has a house in which the electrical system – wiring and fuses – is designed to carry 110 Volts, and, in order to access better quality equipment, you set about systematically rewiring your house with a new fuse box to carry 220 volts. Then when completed, you decide to install industrial machinery and, therefore, continue on to 440 Volts. In this fashion the practice of Radiance has the same intent and purpose, i.e. to have better access to the potential inherent in the body, mind and spirit.
As mentioned above, at a certain stage the voltage begins to exceed the voltage and frequency of thoughts and exceeds the voltage of the focusing mechanism of attention in the mind, at which point the awareness becomes both spatial and non-objective. What you feel is a sort of energy vibration throughout the body field entirely at once without focusing. You realize your self as the field, not a focal point directing attention through new inner senses within or outer sense around the body.
You feel deep within the center and throughout the body a sensation of deep penetrating dissolving energy coupled with a sensation of blowing apart in the cells and atoms of the body, which in Kundalini yoga is referred to as the dissolution of the "body armor."
The body armor is a deeply embedded impression of who we think we are, rigid and reactive to that rigidity, intractable, and yet it is like a suit we have become so accustomed to wearing that we no longer notice that it completely limits our spontaneity, creativity, fluidity, perceptions, while covering our True Nature.
But then this sensation of penetrating dissolving takes hold and expansion and pervasiveness are realized to be our True Nature.