We often talk about energy, prana and chi when teaching and learning the internal arts of yoga and tai chi.
Earlier this week one of our lovely students Liane asked after her session,
"When you say feel the energy, I’m not sure what I’m meant to be feeling?
Is it a tingling sensation or light through my crown chakra? Or something else entirely?"
I took the opportunity to share...
As adults we have become accustomed to believing the physical body to be ‘solid’ matter as opposed to light and energetic. Such light is a form of energy which has condensed and in so doing reduced its vibratory speed.
When we start practicing ‘energy work’ we begin to tune back in to the light (waves) as opposed to just the sold matter (particle energy). Very often we can be aware of both simultaneously.
If we haven’t mentioned specifically which area/s of the body we are talking about, then assume that what you feel, any or everywhere, is energy in some form or other. It could be improved blood flow, which comes with improved chi flow ; this usually feels like a nice warm current flowing through an area or the entirety of the body.
What’s other sensations could there be?
There could be tingling, or the feeling of water or wind flowing within, or it could be a sensation of inner light. Often I hear a very high pitched whistle in my ears and sometimes (although this is usually during the dream state) I feel and hear the wind rushing in my head or hear strong buzzing in my ears. This is all very pleasant and can be experienced in the waking state too.
Often when meditating, or while dreaming one might experience gentle or even very noticeable bodily vibrations. As the physical body calms and becomes so still, our awareness shifts within to the deeper bodies that we call ‘subtle’. In yoga we call them the koshas (sheaths, like the layers of a Russian Doll’). When we connect through meditation and conscious breathing, we might feel this subtle body very clearly. It’s also called our breath, dream, spirit and rainbow body, amongst other names, relative to the many different traditions.
You might be aware that you are sitting or lying and that your ‘energy’ or ’spirit body’ is floating in the air above you. Or that it feels more like you are floating in the air in your energy body, above your physical body beneath. A full on experience of this is an OBE or outer body experience, which you’ve had in the past, even if you don’t have the conscious recall. Every night when we sleep we separate from the physical body for a while, to surf the astral planes - learn and explore. Many of our dreams are like watching the download of the deeper experience we had a short while earlier that night in the astral plane and sometimes when we have very vivid or lucid dreams, these are occurring directly in the Astral plane.
Have you ever done any tai chi?
Chi is the energy - it means ‘air’, ‘breath’ ‘spirit’ like ‘spiritus’ in Latin. When we practice moving and breathing synchronistically, we start to feel really good and usually start to feel some kind of lightness or flow/vibration from within. I often feel like I am flying inside and dream of this very often too. The energy can be warm, sometimes very cool, it can fizz or pop, it can feel magnetic or electric…
There are so many sensations and ways of experience - they can range from the familiar to the very unfamiliar and from unbearably wonderful to down right unpleasant. The latter occur when we radically over do practice and ignore the advice that others have given us and more importantly, our own conscience and common sense…. It’s a little like sunbathing without cream for a whole day in the hottest Saharan sun - not something one would do by choice or in their right mind.
We walk the path slowly and surely - observing the effects of the practice as we go along, both during and especially over the coming weeks, months and years. A good teacher is there to help guide you along your path personally. I see that I learn from everyone and that the process is more one of letting go and reconditioning, unlearning and remembering.
This allows us to adapt and upgrade our systems slowly and safely. It’s very similar to spring cleaning, decorating, rewiring and plumbing over a period of time. There is a lot of movement and therefore change and with this comes great insight and sometimes the odd difficulty. Any pain is often our resistance to change on some level and not being able to let go of what we no longer need. Or, sometimes, there is some pain as we let go……it’s like a pearl or diamond growing slowly or the chick breaking free of the egg. Once out, life is never the same again. There is a new sense of freshness and ever new joy - we learn to abide in the now and not be at the beck and call of the dictates of our mind 🙂
A fully awake being such as Shakyamuni Buddha - there was no separation between his conscious and unconscious mind - he could look down in to the deepest depths or up to the very surface from them - his mind was fully integrated - his brain/nervous system operating at maximum efficiency.
Certainly any experiences that you’ve had are completely valid and all signs of a connection with your deeper self and Spirit. Lights, fractals, sacred geometry, wormholes (I get these a lot) seeing faces in your mind’s eye, hearing voices giving you counsel, music - these are all very common signs of that deeper connection and manifestations that may occur when we start to tune in to ‘energy’ / the more subtle bodies within.
One of the traps for us all is that once we’ve had a wonderful experience or few, on some conscious or unconscious level, it creates the ego’s desire for more. Although the pleasant phenomena are very enjoyable - sometimes ecstatic/blissful we have to remember that they are not the goal of practice. For me personally and as is very common, such experiences did become my new addiction but, as time passes I learn balance - the wisdom of body~mind teaches that less is more.
We seek without seeking, the stillness and silence...
We all have different paths to walk along and different stuff /karma to work with and through. The general philosophy is that we will eventually be free of all suffering and recognise our divine state as one with all of existence, even in a limited body. This usually takes us all so many lifetimes and the good news is that we are all helping each other understand the process and the current cosmic acceleration is making many of these tasks easier for those of us interested.
There’s a lot of darkness out there in the world and we all have a shadow. For light workers/yogis etc., we are yoking/harmonising our light with our deeper shadow selves. We are bringing the conscious and unconscious closer together - awakening our Buddha Nature or clear light mind.
To close this gap, we usually mind the gaps! The spaces between - we observe for the subtle - that which we are usually too busy to see - thoughts, meta~thoughts, sensations, feelings, breaths…….energy! This progressively opens us to such a wonderfully joyful life, while simultaneously being aware of the difficulties we all still face and of those around us too. Our compassion levels increase gradually and dramatically over time.
I hope this helps and has also inspired you to ask and learn more and experience more!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share too ~ we welcome your feedback with an open heart x:)
Matt Gluck ~ Pranasana Yoga ~ Mar '21