Yoga elements have
been worked with for millennia in many different contexts. Although
formalized primarily in India, they have been looked at, worked with,
and transformed by other ancient cultures.
muscles, improves circulation, allows important inner peace, and creates
ability to work with energy. For spinal cord injury, although it is
important to work with a teacher to learn practices, the most important
components are done alone.
is the time for true inner work and deeper communication. The
injury-blocked, physical pathways will have opportunities to speak and
share their energies. This communication can come symbolically, by
dream, and by work on subtle levels. Basically, when the subtle bodies
make deeper contact with consciousness, you become aware of the deeper
messages held within the body.
Such contact will be
an important turning point in yoga with respect to SCI, allowing the
individual to face helplessness, work with constructive approaches to
karma, and finding the way in which they could work with the energies
all of that they have built up in terms of thought forms, assumptions,
negative inner messages, deeply held beliefs, and various aspects that
would otherwise be unconscious.
Though varied in
approaches, most yogic disciplines will intertwine some aspect of
consciousness with breath. This can lead one to go deeper into their own
unconscious, dredging up difficult issues in an entirely different
context, and receiving those messages peacefully in a place of calm and
opportunity to absorb and receive them openly. This will often have
tremendous benefit psychologically.
Kundalini yoga is a
difficult area because some who have delved into it based on various
writings have harmed themselves. This is particularly possible with SCI
because Kundalini practices can bring up much electrical energy through
the spine, creating even more nervous-system difficulty - even
increasing scar tissue. Nevertheless, kundalini has tremendous potential
when used under a skilled teacherís guidance to improve functioning,
break through barriers, enhance the nervous system, and ultimately
continue various spinal-cord, regenerative processes.
energy channels are symbolic of or connected to subtle-body energies.
These are primarily found in the etheric body or holochakra as a
duplicate of the spine with a direct relationship to DNA spiraling and
the capacity for the causal body to bring in various patterns.
After an injury,
there is an energy build-up in areas adjacent to the actual severing of
nerves. This, in turn, will tend to energize those areas in the
subtle-body representation (i.e., spinal-cord double or the para-spinal
cord). As they become more energized, these points will continue to
share energy across the injury site at the higher subtle level.
The difficulty comes
when you realize that many physical injuries actually begin at the
subtle level. Those with sufficient ability to perceive this can
actually prevent injury. They can sense where the injury is in the
subtle body, bring this out in the consciousness, and look at the issue;
by so doing, they can prevent an accident and physical harm because they
can then look at underlying issues and clear them before becoming
However, what this
means then is energetically, although there will always be some
connection and some ability to transfer energy across the gap or
rejuvenate harmed or degenerated area, there will still be a difference.
It may be discolored. The subtle energies may move in other directions.
They may move with a backward twist or shift energy in a spiraling
motion away from the injury site to other subtle bodies back to the site
and so on.
It is useful to
determine these movements to have a deeper sense of this. Yoga is
excellent for this process. When one is in the quieter place yet in a
physical posture, movement, breathing, and through all of these aspects
that you are aware of, it is easier to draw attention to your
visualization of what is happening in the spine and receive the
messages, ideas, pictures, and sounds.
One must be open to
whatever modality one is comfortable with. Many respond well to
kinesthetic modalities. So have the sense of breathing into the site and
having it breath back to you, feeling, sensing, observing, having the
sense of what that may feel like if you breathed it, touched it, rubbed
it, etc. not necessarily with the hands either but with any part of
oneís consciousness or of the imagining of the physical body. Then move
to a different posture. Receive similar energies and notice the
differences. Do not make conclusions from this process but simply be
aware of these energies so that deeper communication can be established.
In kundalini yoga,
energies move up and down the spine through channels, which have analogs
in acupuncture meridians. Various aspects of Sufism, especially its
clockwise and counter-clockwise movements, enhance interaction with
various subtle bodies - from physical through etheric all the way
through emotional, astral, mental, and causal. But it must be some way
in which the individual is themselves attuning. This is where yoga
shines so well because such an attunement is made with some degree of
physical interaction. The body is moved, and the breath is stimulated.
The individual is a part of this physical process while they are working
with the various postures.
postures, it helps if the spine is involved, although often difficult
for those with SCI. Hence, a typical posture for spinal benefit is the
cat pose and its variation which entail spinal alternate stretching and
compression. Such poses are tremendously helpful when coordinated with
breath. However, for some individuals with SCI, they would be impossible
without appropriate body-support assistance. To some extent, the
postures can be worked with through visualization, watching someone else
do the posture, taking a portion of the posture at the same time,
working with it in oneís inner sense, remembering what it might of felt
like if done before injury, or a way in which your imagination is
brought in. The body is otherwise posed appropriately, and one is able
to breath with the posture or a portion of the posture.
Downward-dog pose is
also helpful. With assistance, an injured person often still can be
positioned in the pose, particularly if done with knee rather than full
leg support. Furthermore, it does not demand much movement.
Frequently, it is
the movement or switching between postures as one is focused upon the
breath and energy transitions that the various revelations, belief
patterns, and deeper insights will show up.
It is similar in
some ways to playing a musical instrument. As one works through the
capacity of working with the energies at different levels, one becomes
more familiar with it, comfortable with it, and does not have to think
of the mechanics. This allows the subtle energy to move as needed.
By itself, kundalini
yoga has cured SCI. Traditionally, this is an ancient practice known to
the more secretive healers who have trained for many years. Similarly,
you see many other disciplines that focus energy in the back area, such
What is usually
determined first by various means is the connectivity or the way in
which the energy moves across the injury site at the subtle level. This
must be corrected first. Sometimes the teacher will allow this by
movement of the hands. But what is more typically done is to breathe
with the student, to allow energies through the postures as best they
can be accomplished by the teacher and student at the same time. This
allows a new energy model to be transmitted. Although this is more
typical with qigong, it also occurs with yoga and it can occur in times
when the student is not fully aware of what is happening.
This process is
somewhat similar to hypnosis, and, in fact, engaging of the
sub-consciousness and hypnotic processes have a long tradition in many
Vedic, Hindu, and other Indian-based aspects of yoga and various
meditations. The opportunity to move out of the conscious mind and to
quite it is one of the bases of hypnosis. And this allows the individual
a new model. The opportunity at the subtle level to re-strengthen and
remodel the para-spine is essential in these disciplines.
The way to
accomplish this can of course be from many different pathways and can be
accomplished in so many diverse areas. This brings up the idea of mixed
yogic disciplines, for instance blending Kundalini with Ashtanga, or
various other non-yoga disciplines. The downside is that it is more
difficult to fully learn if one is working with multiple specialties
simultaneously. Still though, if an individual has an attraction for one
or two and can focus on these to the exclusion of the others, this can
be more beneficial because this will enable that place of quietness, the
opportunity to come to self examination, and re-strengthening of subtle