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Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's Yantra Yoga

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Greetings everyone,


In honor of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's upcoming retreat on the pranayamas of Yantra Yoga, I want to say something about this marvelous system, which has benefited me a great deal.


In contrast to Indian Yoga, where there is an abundance of information on postures and pranayama exercises available, Tibetan pranayama exercises are not given out to the general public, and to a large extent even the systems of systems of yoga postures are secret.  One of the exceptions to this secrecy is Yantra Yoga taught by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. 


Yantra Yoga is a Sanskritization of Trul Khor, a "yantra" being a series of movements linked with breathing.  In the practice, movement is done on inhales and exhales, and breath retention is done holding a posture.  Those who have researched Tibetan breathing practices such as tummo have probably seen that they use a type of breath retention called vase breath.  But what exactly is vase breath - how does one do it?   Getting clarity on this is not easy.  This is where Yantra Yoga comes in: in Yantra a proper vase breath is divided into four steps: open hold, directed hold, closed hold, and contracted hold, which in turn are done on the basis of correct inhalation and exhalation.  The mechanics of the movements and poses make your body do these elements correctly (provided you are doing practice with awareness).  So you get a very precise felt sensation of what a proper quick inhale, slow inhale, quick exhale, slow exhale, open hold, directed hold, closed hold, contracted hold, and empty hold feel like.  You then take this knowledge and apply it to your pranayama practice, so there is no doubt that you are doing it correctly.  Brilliant!


Different holds are trained by different yoga postures.  Backbends such as cobra, locust and bow train open hold; twists train directed hold; inversions such as sholderstand and headstand are poses that train closed hold; and downward dog, fish, and frog are poses that train contracted hold (I am using the standard Hatha Yoga names for the poses here, although they are often similar or the same in the Tibetan system).


There is more to the system than that such as various preliminary and closing exercises, but training the different holds using postures is the gist of it. 


There are many books and DVDs available to learn the system.  In my case, I went to yoga classes in my area with good lineage (Iyengar and Ashtanga) in order to learn the poses correctly, and then learned the Yantra Yoga way of linking the poses together with breath from the books and DVDs. 


So that is the physical aspect of the system.  It is very good even if you are just interested in Hatha Yoga because you understand what correct breathing is like, rather than just correct physical alignment, and this plus the dynamics of the different holds opens up a deeper understanding of subtle inner alignments.  A lot of things about yoga postures make a lot more sense to me having studied this.

Now, about pranayama.  There are two preliminary pranayamas which are forms of alternate nostril breathing, and then five main pranayamas of which use vase breath in a major way.  The first two of these are more physical and the last three incorporate visualizations of channels and chakras.   

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu is going to be teaching these pranayamas in his next retreat which will be webcasted (!) for free (!!).  He typically spends one or two session of every retreat teaching about Dzogchen generally, and then teaches the practices specific to that retreat, with one session at some point explaining and then giving direct introduction (!!!).

These pranayamas are not associated with the cycle of a deity like other Tibetan tsa lung systems, but are directly related with Dzogchen.  So if you get the direct introduction and oral explanation, you have permission to practice.  And he doesn't teach these particular practices very often.  What's more, the books that serve as references for the practices he teaches are only available to members of his organization, the one exception being the book on the complete system of Yantra Yoga, which is publicly available.

In other words, this retreat, in addition to the publicly available book, is giving unprecedented access to authentic Tibetan pranayamas connected with Dzogchen.  

The retreat will be June 3-7, from Tenerife, Spain.  The official schedule is not up yet, but typically the session are two hours each, with a 10 am morning session and an afternoon session starting a 3 or 4 pm.

Edited by Creation
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For those interested, the schedule for the retreat is finalized.  Times are Tenerife time, GMT+1.


5:00pm – 6:00pm Presentation of the teaching and transmission of Ati Guru Yoga

10:00am – 12:00am Teachings on Tsalung from Vairo Gyud-bum: The Tsalung Tig- Gyud and Rinpoche Dam-ngag Gyud Chi-ma
3:30pm – 4:30pm Explanation of the Short Ganapuja (with SMS instructor)
4:45pm – 6:00pm Explanation of the Four Characteristic conditions and the Four Profound Applications, and applying them both all together - with Fabio Andrico

10:00am – 12:00pm Teachings on Tsa from the Dra Thal-gyur Tantra and how it is explained in the commentary of Bimalamitra
12:15pm Short Ganapuja (New Moon)
4:45-6:00pm Explanation of the Secret Breathing for Directing the Prana into the Central Channel and applying it all together - with Fabio Andrico

10:00am – 12:00pm Teachings on the Lung from Dra Thal-gyur Tantra and how it is explained in Bimalamitra’s commentary
4:45pm – 6:00pm Explanation of the Smooth Breathing with Seven Limbs and the Rough Breathing With Six Applications - with Fabio Andrico

10:00am – 12:00am Tridlungs of the Yantra Root text and some others. General advice

Edited by Creation
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I'm going to take the liberty of posting your original post in a place where I think it will do some good.


Link to quote of the above post







Edit: I added a link to where I reposted the first post.  I hope Creation approves, but the deed is done anyway.

Edited by Zhongyongdaoist

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