Meditation and Pain Management Techniques: Five Yoga Exercises

Our brain circuit is a very complex subject involving a great deal of biological, cognitive and social functioning. Brain produces different chemicals that causes the feelings of pleasure and pain. When certain part of the brain is “turned on” or “turned off” , we fell pleasure or pain.  We feel pleasure when we we enjoy something like eating good food or being in love.  Our brain has its own reward system. When we do certain things, the brain rewards us by making us feel good. Reward is a great way to encourage us to do something repetitively. Similarly, there is a pain circuit in the brain. When certain things happen in our body or mind, the brain punishes us by developing bad feelings, so that we should not repeat that next time. Yoga and meditation helps people consciously control the perception of pain and pleasure.  The new understanding and perceptions relieves pain.  During pain the blood vessels serve as a radiator to cool the brain, overheating can cause neuron death.

Five Yoga Exercises Pain Management:

#1: Observe your normal breathing patterns

Try to observe your normal breathing patterns.  Do not try to control, remove or diminish your negative sensations or the private events of your life.  Try to accept the unpleasant sensations or thoughts while still persisting with your chosen tasks.

#2: Breathing Exercises:

You can breathe into the area around the pain sensation or around the belly. Yoga literature proposed several breathing techniques to overcome pain. The easiest one is;  place one hand on the chest and another on the belly.  Take a slow and deep breath, take as much air as possible. You can press the belly a little bit, with one hand. After holding the breath for a few seconds, exhale slowly.

#3: Present Moment Awareness

Present moment awareness is the most efficient and the most ancient meditation technique for pain management. Yoga literature is flooded with present moment awareness meditation techniques for pain management.  You can just bring your awareness to the activities you are doing.  Khechari mudra is a great way for pain management.  If  the khechari mudra is perfect, one can withdraw the mind from the body.

#4: Yoga Nidra for Pain Management

Yoga nidra is a very ancient meditation technique for pain management. In modern literature there are various forms of muscle relaxation techniques. This technique involves slowly tensing, briefly holding, and then releasing each muscle group in a systematic fashion. It starts  with the muscles in the toes and moving upward. During this exercise, the person should notice the differences between tension and relaxation.

#5: Meditation and Visualization for Pain management

Visualization involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety. You may meditate with eyes open or closed.  Select a simple geometrical shape or symbols, with  some specific color. Think of something which may be symbolically meaningful for you in some way.  For example, you can select some green circles. You can chant any mantra of your choice during visualization meditation.

Meditation and prayers are the great ways to overcome pain. Acceptance is very important in pain management. Mentally, you may say, “It is unpleasant but I can accept it”. Pain is always unpleasant but mediation changes the nature of pain before it is perceived.

Sources:

1. “Meditation: Insights and Inspirations”  By Amit Ray

2. “Handbook of Pain Management: A Clinical Companion to Textbook of Pain”  By Ronald Melzack

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khechari mudra

Benefits of Khechari Mudra

There are several benefits of Kundalini Yoga and Kriya yoga pranayam, when it is practised regularly, with sincerity. This yoga should be practised slowly and gracefully. If you are hurried, you may not achieve the results. According to the scriptures kundalini yoga, particularly khechari mudra, ujjayi pranayam and bandhas should be practised regularly. The mind should be free from strong desires. If you have a strong desire, you may need to work more. Gradually, you will be free from the strong desires. Mind should be free from the impurities like Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Matsharja. Which means mind should be free from anger, desire, hatred, attachment, aversion  and strong ego feelings.

khechari mudra
khechari mudra

If you practice the yoga mudras and bandhas regularly, those impurities will go away soon. The main benefits of successful Khechari Mudra are:

  • Mind will be free from anger, desire, hatred, attachment, aversion  and strong ego feelings.
  • Your voice will become sweet and attractive.
  • Your face will be bright, attractive and shining.
  • Fat on your abdomen will be reduced
  • You will get more vitality and energy to work
  • Your eyes will sparkle like diamond.
  • According to scripture you will be free from all deceases.

These khechari mudra practice should be done early in the morning, with love and devotion. Bandhas are very important. Mula Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha should also to be practised regularly.

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Art of Spontaneous Kechari Mudra

I am yet to see or heard about any great yogi who got enlightenment or something near to that by cutting the frenum under the tongue. But I know many yogis who can touch the uvula with the tip of the tongue. Many great yogis have different views on Kechari Mudra. Touching the third eye is one end of the Kechari Mudra story. Thre are many other stories. People are often confused. The basic question is what is achieved by these exercise? Of course, the first answer is bliss.  However, just turning the tongue backward and meditation on the tip of the tongue is having  several other benefits.

According to Paramhansa Yogananda one of the benefits of practicing Khechari Mudra is “It draws energy from the cerebrum and medulla by connecting the tip of the big tongue with the little tongue (uvula).” Again he said “Right attitude, devotion, and attunement to the Guru are more important than an over-reliance on exotic techniques such as Khechari Mudra.”


In the book “Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style” Sri Amit Ray of Himalaya, Uttarkashi brilliantly explained “I have seen several yogis buttering, massaging and pulling their tongue in the morning and in the evening. Definitely, these practices helped them to keep their attention on the tongue area. There are many sensitive invisible micro astral nerves on the palates and on the tongues. Physically, numerous taste cells are positioned not only on the tongue but also on the uvula, soft palate, larynx, pharynx, and epiglottis. This type of tongue massaging activates those taste buds on the tongue, and stimulates the secretion of certain endorphin like hormones. This produces some bliss energy in the third eye area. That is definitely a good incentive for a new yoga student. But that temporary bliss is not the objective of a true yogi. Even to get that great bliss energy you don’t need to cut the frenum under the tongue. With the help of some herbs and mantra kriya practices on the tongue you can get much better result. It is foolishness to cut the frenum under the tongue.


Kechari Mudra is much more than that. It is a great mystery. It is the mystery of exploring the inner vastness. It is merging into the nectar of inner and outer vastness. The role of physical exercise is very limited. Discovering the micro astral nerves on the palates and the uvula is the first challenge. For that you need to focus your one pointed awareness and attention in the area of ….”

Before proceeding to true Khechari Mudra, you need to do other practices to prepare the body and mind. It needs purification. It needs the practice of Sila, Samadhia and Panna. Just cuting the frenum and turning the tongue backwards and touching the palate is not enough.

When our mind will be pure and heart is full of love Kechari Mudra will occur spontaneously. Our mental purification is more important than tough physical exercise.

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ulva

Visual Khechari Mudra

I learnt the great art of visual khechari mudra from the Himalayan yogi Sri Amit Ray ji of Uttarkashi. According to him it is not necessary to cut your tongue to practice khechari mudra. Khechari mudra releases the subtle astral knot of the tongue. It is also vital to bear in mind that techniques alone can never give you enlightenment or liberation. However, khechari mudra is a significant exercise to wash away the past karmas, the impressions and the samaskars. It is also known as kechari mudra. It is part of kriya yoga.

Sri Amit Ray ji strongly advised that “For getting success in khechari mudra, it is not required to cut the frenulum (the soft membrane under the tongue). To get success you need to use your imaginative power that will connect the negative energy of the tongue with the positive energy of the third eye. That connection gives eternal bliss”  According to him khechari mudra is a combination of mental and physical exercise.  Role of physical tongue exercise is very little. During the process, you just need to fold the tongue to touch the upper palate and keep the tongue in a very comfortable and relax position.

Khechari Mudra Technique:

Mostly it is a mental visualization process. First concentrate on the tip of the tongue and then concentrate on the tip of the uvula, the little tongue. Gradually build the awareness around the little tongue.  According to him building a visual micro loop around the third-eye, throat, tip of the tongue and the uvula is the secret of khechari mudra. It is much more than the physical tongue exercise techniques. Devotion, love, awareness and purity is the key to khechari mudra.

Paramhansa Yogananda in his book “little tongue” published in 1926 mentioned about khechari Mudra. He explained the role of khechari Mudra  to achieve the deep spiritual states of consciousness.

In the ancient text Siva samhita it is mentioned “Pointing the tongue upwards, when the yogi can drink the nectar flowing from the two eye-brows, within a month he certainly would conquer death” [2.72] Of course it is not talking about the physical death.

You may know more about Khechari Mudra

 

the little tongue
the little tongue

 

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