The Eight Movements of Yantra Yoga - An Ancient Tibetan Tradition

  • 88 169 4
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up

The Eight Movements of Yantra Yoga - An Ancient Tibetan Tradition

The Eight Movements of YANTKA YOGA AN ANCIENT TIBETAN TRADmON To strengthen and harmonize the vital energies In Accor

1,534 258 865KB

Pages 32 Page size 368.64 x 624 pts Year 2012

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Recommend Papers

File loading please wait...
Citation preview

The Eight Movements of

YANTKA YOGA AN ANCIENT TIBETAN TRADmON

To strengthen and harmonize the vital energies

In Accordance with the Teachings of Vairochana As Instructed By

CHOGYALNAMKHAINORBU

THE

EIGHT MOVEMENTS OF YANTRA YOGA An Ancient Tibetan Tradition •••

CHOGYAL NAMKHAI NORBU

Illustrations by Bruno Irmici

Snow Lion Publications Ithaca, NY USA

Snow Lion Publications P.O. Box 6483 Ithaca, New York 14851 USA Tel. 607-273-8519

Copyright © 1999 Shang Shung Edizioni All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be reproduced by any means without prior written permission from the publisher.

WHAT ISYANTRA YOGA? The teaching of Yantra Yoga of Vairochana is one of the most important and ancient systems ofYantra in the Tibetan tradition. The word yantra is a Sanskrit word, but in Tibetan it has various meanings. It can mean a geometrical form, such as a mandala, for example, but in Tibetan yantra can also mean "movement of the body". In Tibetan we say trulkhor which means movement. Why do we use movement? Because movement is for coordinating, or guiding, our prana, or vital energy. This teaching is called Yantra Yoga or Nyida Khajor (Nyi zla Kha sbyor). In Tibetan nyida means "sun and moon", khajor means "union". That is the title of the original teaching taught by a very famous Tibetan teacher called Vairochana, one of the most important students of Guru Padmasambhava. During the time of the Tibetan king Trisong Detsen, Guru Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet where he introduced Vajrayana. At that time there was a famous translator called Vairochana, a very important figure particularly for the Dzogchen teaching because he translated most of the original Dzogchen texts from the language of Oddiyana into Tibetan. He received the transmission of the Yantra Yoga teaching from Guru Padmasambhava who had received it from Mahasiddha Humkara. So this is the lineage of this teaching which comes from Vairochana, who taught it to his students such as Yudra Nyingpo and others. Thus we have this transmission and the continuation of this very ancient tradition ofYantra. We have used the name Ytmtra Yoga for this system of yoga even though the title of the original text is Nyida Khajor, because Vairochana himself mentions at the end of his text that it is Ytmtra Yoga. We find the word yoga in the Sanskrit language, but in Tibetan we

4 translate it as naijor, which has a very precise meaning. While usually the meaning of yoga is "union", the word naijor in Tibetan means "primordial knowledge" or "understanding": nal means "original," or "authentic", "never changing or modified", "the original condition"; jor means "having", or "discovering this knowledge", or "understanding". So the real meaning of yoga is that we discover our real condition. In the practice ofYantra Yoga we use our body, speech, and mind: with the body there are positions and movements, with the voice there are many different techniques of pranayama, or breathing practices, and with the mind there are many ways to concentrate and visualize with the aim of going beyond judging and thinking with our mind, which we call contemplation. This is how our three existences ofbody, speech, and mind are related, and when we apply all three together, we have the possibility of arriving at real knowledge, at the understanding of our primordial state, our original condition. So this is really the meaning of yoga in Yantra Yoga. When we consider the three aspects of body, speech, and mind, which of them is more important? The mind is more important, but it is easier to have some understanding through the body because our body is related to the material level: we can see, we can touch, we can have a very concrete understanding through the physical body. But if we want to have a deeper understanding on the level of energy, then the situation is more complicated. More important still is the mental level, which in Yoga is considered to be li~e a king, while energy is similar to the government, and the physical body is regarded as the subjects of the country. Everything is governed in this way. Physical positions and movements are also very important because, if we are not able to control our physical level, there is no way we can control our energy. If we cannot control our energy, then there is no way we can control our mind. So mind is dependent on energy which in turn is dependent on the physical body. In Yantra Yoga these three aspects become balanced by working firstly on the physical level with positions and movements which are a means for coordinating, or harmonizing, our energy. In Yantra Yoga there are many positions similar to those ofHatha Yoga, but the way of getting into the positions, the main point of the practice and the consideration, or point of view, of the practice

5 ofYantra Yoga is different. In Yantra Yoga the asana, or position, is one of the important points but not the main one. Movement is more important. For example, in order to get into an asana, breathing and movement are linked and applied gradually. The movement is also limited by time which is divided into periods consisting of four beats each: a period to get into the position, a certain period to remain in the position, and then a period to finish the position. Everything is related in Yantra Yoga. The overall movement is important, not only the asana. This is a very important point. In the Yantra Yoga ofVairochana there are 108 main positions, or movements, which are divided into five groups. In the five groups there are five different techniques of breathing, or pranayama, to control prana, or energy. Why do we need to control this function ofprana? Because that is the only way in which we can really become aware and enter into the real condition of mind, or nature of mind. Nature of mind means potentiality of mind. Mind has its potentiality which we can govern, and if we govern our potentiality of the nature of mind, that means that we are on the path and that we have the possibility for realization. Ifwe are ignorant of that, then we become a slave to the mind and to judgement. In this case we need to coordinate our physical body and our energy. For this reason Vairochana taught this Yantra Yoga which is a characteristic teaching of Dzogchen. In Vairochana's system ofYantra Yoga there are five main types ofprana practices linked to the five groups of positions, but first we must do some preparatory movements which are considered to be very important. When we learn how to do a practice ofprana from a teacher, there is no guarantee that we will understand how to apply it in a correct way. So in Yantra Yoga first of all there are eight movements related to the eight characteristic ways of breathing: exhaling, inhaling, slowly or quickly, holding dosed, or open, and so on. Ifwe learn these eight movements and apply them sufficiently, when the teacher explains how to do the breathing in aprana practice, we will have a guarantee because we know how to apply the breathing correctly through practicing the Eight Movements. What is the purpose of these practices? Mainly for coordinating our breathing in daily life. In general everyone knows how to inhale and exhale, but we usually do this in an incorrect way because our

6

breathing is linked to our mind, which is often disordered and confused. We can understand this when we observe the breathing of a person who is very agitated or of someone who is very quiet and peaceful. For this reason it is necessary to coordinate our breathing. In yoga we say, "Life is breathing", and it is true because we started our life when we started to breathe. Interrupting our breathing means interrupting our lives. When we exhale and do not inhale again then there is no more life. The Tantric teaching explains how many breaths a person uses in one day and a person who practices Yantra Yoga is said to have long life because their breathing is coordinated.

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Tibet House, New Delhi, November 23rd, 1993

7

THE EIGHT MOVEMENTS FOR THE PURIFICATION OF THE BREATH (Lunsang) This ancient method is based on movement and breathing. Correct regular breathing helps to oxygenate the blood, and so both the physical body and the mind benefit from it. The way of breathing differs according to the position the body assumes, therefore each particular position corresponds to a type of breathing. There are two key points: to learn to breathe and to coordinate movements with the breathing. Inhalation should be deep and complete, acting on the diaphragm, the lungs should be completely filled from the bottom to the top, like filling a bottle with water. Exhalation is in the reverse direction until you are completely empty. To coordinate breathing with movement it is important to always make the beginning of the breathing coincide with the beginning of the movement, and the end of the movement with the end of the breathing, without hurry and without forcing. What counts for example, is not the length of the holding of a breath, but the way in which it is done. For the physical positions as well it is important to aim for perfection, but the fundamental point is presence in the movement and having an awareness of your own capacity. In all the movements, men and women start with opposite sides, for example women may raise the right arm and men raise the left arm. If women cross with the left leg, men cross with the right. The Eight Movements are related to the eight aspects ofbreathing listed below.

8

The Four Ways of Breathing Slow Inhalation Slow Exhalation Fast Inhalation Fast Exhalation All breathing should be direct, the air passing freely in and out of the lungs.

The Four Ways of Holding Open. After inhaling, the air is held without forcing it downwards and without closing the windpipe. Hold with pressure. A hold in which the air is pushed in a certain direction: to the right or the left side of one's body or downwards. The downwards hold, in which the air is pushed down the diaphragm, is the necessary passage between the open hold and the closed hold. Closed. After the downward pushing of the air, the air is held "closed", keeping the diaphragm pushed down. It is important that the abdominal muscles and sides are kept well controlled. Hold with contraction. A hold in which the muscles of the abdomen are pulled towards the spine. It is advisable to practice in a quiet open space, far from pollution, to wear clothes that allow freedom of movement and do not restrict any part of the body. It is also good to have an empty stomach. The best time for the practice is the late afternoon. If your body is a bit stiff and your muscles are cold, you can, if you like, start with a series ofloosening-up exercises. These movements should be practiced only after having carefully watched the accompanying videotape and having understood their propt!r forms or having had direct explanations from a qualified instructor authorized by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.

9

THE NINE PURIFICATION BREATHINGS This breathing exercise in nine parts is to purify our condition and induce a calmer and more present state of mind, and therefore should always be practiced before the Eight Movements. The position ofVairochana has seven qualifications: 1) crossed legs in lotus position; 2) hands on knees; 3) tongue against the palate; 4) eyes, lips, and teeth naturally closed; 5) back straight, so that the tip of the nose is in line with the navel; 6) shoulders back and chest open; 7) all the parts of the body must be controlled but relaxed. In case you are not able perform the complete position, you can use any other position as long as the back is straight. Keeping your body controlled but not tense and after taking a few deep breaths, begin to inhale directly, filling the lungs from the bottom (a). Open the chest well and raise your arm (right for men, left for women), then, lifting the elbow, finish the inhalation, filling the lungs completely. Close the nostril on the same side as the raised hand with the middle and the ring finger. The palm should be turned away from you and your back should be kept straight. Without holding your breath, exhale directly and completely from the free nostril (b). At the end of the exhalation, without interruption, smoothly take your hand back to its original position (c). Then, inhaling, raise the other arm, repeating as before (d). This movement is repeated twice more on each side. Altogether one breathes three times on each side alternately. At the end of the last exhalation you inhale deeply with

10

your hands still on your knees, and exhale {e). Completing the exhalation, leaning forwards, keeping your back as straight as possible, try to touch the ground with your forehead {f). Inhaling you straighten up. Repeat three times. Summing up: in total there are three breaths raising the right hand alternating with three raising the left, and three breaths bending forwards.

11

THE NINE PURIFICATIONS BRFATHINGS

a

b

d

c

e

f

12

1. SLOW INHALATION (jugpa) Stand with legs and feet parallel, arms by your sides. 1-2 Inhaling for two counts, on the first count, with your right hand take hold of your left arm above the elbow, and on the second count, with your left hand take hold of your right arm in the same way, and raise your crossed arms to the level of your shoulders. (a) 3-4 Exhaling, lower your crossed arms and push your elbows down, while opening your chest. (b) 1-2-3-4 Inhaling, slowly raise your crossed arms above your head and stretch your chest well. (c) 1-2 Open hold, keeping the same position and stretching up. (c) 3-4 Exhaling, lower your arms straight by your sides. (d-e) 1-2 Inhaling, stretch your arms above your head. (f) 3-4 Exhaling, lower them to your sides again. (g) Continue as before so as to complete three times.

Benefits This movement improves the intellectual faculties, makes the mind clear, improves the health, and tones the "full" organs (heart, lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys).

13

b

a

d

c

f

e

g

The Coordination of Breathing and Movements for SLOW INHALATION

Starting

Fast Inhale

Slow Inhale

Open Hold

Fast Exhale

2

-

-

2

Main Movement

-

4

2

2

Finishing

2

-

-

2

14

2. OPEN HOLD ( Gangwa) Stand with legs and feet parallel, arms by your sides. 1-2 Inhaling, raise your arms and stretch the torso. (a) 3-4 Exhaling, lower them by your sides. {b) 1-2 Inhaling, close your hands in Vajra fists {with the thumb at the base of the ring finger), slide the right fist up to your right arm pit and raise the left fist to your forehead keeping the elbow well up and the knuckles facing downwards. (c) 3-4 Holding open, move your left fist counter-clockwise from the forehead as far as the nape of the neck, skimming the ear. (d) 1-2 Still holding, rotate the left fist more quickly and with strength from the nape of the neck around to the left ear so as to direct the held air. {e-f) 3-4 Exhaling, open your arms on the side and lower them to your sides. {g) 1-2 Inhaling, stretch your arms above your head. (h) 3-4 Exhaling, lower them again. {i) Repeat this sequence with the position of the fists inverted, and then do it raising both the fists together and moving them both around the head at the same time. The right fist goes clockwise and the left fist counter-clockwise.

Benefits This exercise helps to overcome sickness of the chest, arms, shoulders, and the joints of the limbs.

15

a

b

d

c

f

e

h

g

The Coordination of Breathing and Movements for OPEN HOLD Fast Inhale

Open Hold

Pushing Air

Fast Exhale

Starting

2

-

-

2

Main Movement

2

2

2

2

Finishing

2

-

2

-

16

3.

HOLD WITH PRESSURE

(Zhilwa)

Stand with legs and feet parallel, arms by your sides. 1-2 Inhaling, open your arms to shoulder height and cross your left leg over the right leg moving your left foot to the side of your right ankle. (a) 3-4 Exhaling, sit on the ground with your left thigh crossed over the right, lower your arms and put your thumbs on your big toes with your palms on the soles of the feet. (b) 1-2 Inhaling, turn and stretch your chest towards the open side. (c) 3-4 Hold open, turning to the opposite side and stretching your chest. (d) 1-2 Hold the air, while bending your chest towards the closed side and keeping the spinal chord straight, thus directing the air towards the right side. (e) 3-4 Exhaling, stretch your torso further and further until your forehead reaches the ground on your left side. (f) 1-2 Inhaling, extend your legs forward and raise your arms. (g) 3-4 Exhaling, bend forwards, rest your forehead on your knees and put your fingers on your toes. (h) Repeat the exercise on the other side starting in the following way: 1-2 Inhaling, open your arms. (i) 3-4 Exhaling, cross your right thigh over the left, bring your hands to your feet, putting your thumbs on your big toes. (j)

Benefits This exercise helps to overcome disturbances caused by weaknesses of the main organs, and it allays problems of the lower back, spinal chord, and pain in the ribs. It coordinates the "metabolic prana" which rules digestion and the production of sperm and ovulatory blood.

17

b

a

f

e

d

c

g

h

The Coordination of Breathing and Movements for HOLD WITH PRESSURE Fast Inhale

Open Hold

Hold with Pressure

Fast Exhale

Starting

2

-

-

2

Main Movement

2

2

2

2

Finishing

2

-

-

2

18

4. FAST ExHALATION (Phenpa) Sit with legs stretched forward, hands on knees. 1-2 Inhaling, move into a kneeling position with your arms crossed at shoulder height (in the same way as in the first movement "Slow Inhalation") and toes pointing downwards. (a 1-a2) 3-4 Exhaling, lower your crossed arms, bend forward and flatten the tops of your feet on the ground. (b-e) 1-2-3-4 Inhaling, straighten your body upwards, and raise your crossed arms to the height of your shoulders with your feet still down. (d) 1-2 Holding open, lower your crossed arms and push them down towards the navel. (e) 3-4 Exhaling, quickly and strongly, push your crossed arms to your abdomen and, sitting on your heels, bend forward at your hips until your forehead reaches the ground. (f) 1-2 Inhaling, stretch your arms up and point your toes to the ground. (g) 3-4 Exhaling, sit on your heels again, with the tops of your feet on the ground and arms by your sides. (h) Repeat the sequence from this point. 1-2 Inhaling, move into a kneeling position as in (a2-b) Continue as before so as to complete three times.

Benefits This exercise tones and regulates the functions of the main organs. It helps overcome problems of the tendons, muscles, and joints. It strengthens the function of the "pervasive prana" and of the "descendingprana. "The "pervasive prana" rules the body movement, in particular that of the limbs, and all general activity. The "descending prana" rules evacuation of feces, urine, sperm, and menstrual blood, as well as stimulating childbirth.

19

b

d

c

f

e

g

b The CoordinaUon of Breathing and Movements for FAST EXHALADON

Starting Main Movement Finishing

Fast Inhale

Slow Inhale

2

-

2

4 -

Open Hold 2

-

Fast Exhale 2 2 2

20

5.

FAST INHALATION

(Nuppa)

Sit on your heels, top of your feet on ground. 1-2 Inhaling, stretch your arms above your head, and raise up onto your knees, pointing your feet. (a) 3-4 Exhaling, sit on the ground with the legs bent and knees together close to your chest, Vajra fists on the ground beside your hips. (b) 1-2 Inhaling, quickly press your chin to your chest, and simultaneously push your pelvis upwards and remain raised up on your toes and Vajra fists, keeping the knees together and your body parallel to the floor. (c) 3-4 Holding closed, keep the body tense. (d) 1-2-3-4 Exhaling, slowly and completely return to the sitting position (as before the "Quick Inhalation") and direct the chin beyond your knees keeping your back straight. (e) 1-2 Inhaling, raise your arms and stretch your legs forward. (f) 3-4 Exhaling, bend forwards, rest your forehead on your knees and put your fingers on your toes. (g) Repeat the sequence from this point starting in the following way: 1-2 Inhaling, raise your arms, stretching them above your head. (h) 3-4 Exhaling, bring your heels in front of the perineum, and the Vajra fists on the ground beside your hips. (i) Continue as before, so as to complete three times.

Benefits This exercise tones the back, spinal chord, lungs, heart, and all the joints. It can also cure problems caused by weakness of the "ascending prana" which rules the faculties of speech, breathing, and the "pervasive prana. "

21

b

a

c-d

f

e

g

h The Coordination of Breathing and Movements for FAST INHALATION Fast Inhale

Slow Exhale

Fast Exhale

Starting

2

Closed Hold -

-

2

Main Movement

2

2

4

-

Finishing

2

-

2

-

22

6. CLOSED HOLD (Kyi/wa) Sit with legs stretched forward, hands on knees. 1-2 Inhaling, spread open your arms and legs. (a) 3-4 Exhaling, cross your thighs, right over left and cross your arms in the same way so that your right arm is over your left arm. Your thumbs should touch your big toes. (b) 1-2 Inhaling, bring your head back and straighten your back (spine). (c) 3-4 Holding dosed, rotate your head to the left so as to bring your left ear near the shoulder and bring your chin down onto your chest. (d) 1-2 Still holding, force the air down, complete the rotation of your head to the point where you slightly push your chin in the direction of the right shoulder. (e) 3-4 Exhaling, open your arms, moving your hands to the ground beside your body, your head in the center. (f) 1-2 Inhaling raise your arms and stretch your legs out. (g) 3-4 Exhaling, bend forwards, rest your forehead on your knees and put your fingers on your toes. (h) Repeat the entire sequence on the opposite side.

Benefits This exercise helps with problems of the head and brain. It helps to overcome problems related with the "ascending prana" and the "life-sustainingprana" that governs swallowing ofliquids, salivation, intellectual faculties, sensory perceptions, particularly dear sight, and memory. It can help to overcome depression.

23

b

a

d

c

e

f

h g

The Coordination of Breathing and Movements for CLOSED HOLD Fast Inhale

Closed Hold

Hold with Pressure

Fast Exhale

Starting

2

-

-

2

Main Movement

2

2

2

2

Finishing

2

-

-

2

24

7.

HOLD WITH CONTRACTION (Drenpa)

Sit with legs stretched forward, hands on knees. 1-2 Inhaling, lie back on the floor with your arms stretched out well beyond your head, stretching the whole body. (a) 3-4 Exhaling, bring your arms forward to rest by the sides of your body with your palms facing down. (b) 1-2 Inhaling, fold your arms and bring them back behind your head (in the same way as in the first movement "Slow Inhalation"). Point your toes forward in order to stretch out your body. (c) 3-4 Holding open raise your upper body, keeping your folded arms well above your head. (d) 1-2 Hold, contracting the abdominal muscles, lift up your legs straight and together. The whole body should be tense and vibrating, in an open triangular position. (e) 3-4 Exhaling, return to a lying position, arms by your sides. (f) 1-2 Inhaling, stretch your arms back. (g) 3-4 Exhaling, raise your body and stretch forward to touch your toes with your fingers and bring your forehead to the knees. (h) Continue as before so as to complete three times. Benefits This exercise cures problems of the spinal chord and marrow. It fortifies all the organs and eliminates any defects in the function of the "metabolic prana. "

25

a

b

c

d

e

f

g

h

The Coordination of BreatblnJ and Movemeats for HOLD with CONTRACTION

Fast Inhale

Open Hold

Starting

2

-

Main Movement

2

2

Finishing

2

-

Hold with Contraction 2

-

Fast Exhale 2 2 2

26

8. SLOW ExHALATION ljyinpa) Sit with legs stretched forward, hands on knees. 1-2 Inhaling, raise your arms straight up, and open the chest. Simultaneously cross your legs with the left thigh over the right. {a) 3-4 Exhaling, bring your arms down, stretching back, and lean your body forward, keeping your back straight. (b) 1-2 Inhaling, with your left hand hold on to the right forearm while you make the Vajra fist with the right hand and expand your chest. {c) 3-4 Forcing the air down, put your right fist under your navel and turn your torso to the left. {d) 1-2-3-4 Exhaling, lean to the left side until your forehead reaches the floor beside your left hip, keeping your back straight. {e) 1-2 Inhaling, stretch your legs forwards and your arms above your head. {f) 3-4 Exhaling, bend forwards, rest your forehead on your knees, and put your fingers on your toes. (g) Repeat this sequence on the other side.

Benefits This exercise tones all the body and balances the five elements. It helps to overcome problems of the main organs, and it eliminates disorders of the "descendingprana" and "metabolic prana."

27

b

a

c

d

e

f

g

The Coordination of Breathing and Movements for SLOW EXHALE Fast Inhale

Hold with Pressure

Slow Exhale

Fast Exhale

Starting

2

-

-

2

Main Movement

2

2

4

-

Finishing

2

-

2

-