Laya Yoga or The Yoga of Dissolution is described as the loss of the individual self or consciousness. The true essence returns to the source, were no concept of future, past or space remains. All idea of I-ness, subjectivity or objectivity departs.
HYP 10 Chapters: When the stage of Laya arises, all the mental resolutions are stopped, all the efforts are purified (cease to exist) which can only be experienced and cannot be grasped by mind or expressed in words.
Laya Yoga or Kundalini Yoga is practiced through Tantric Yoga techniques such as Visualisation, Mudra, Bandha, Yantra and Meditation. Its worth pointing out here I am not describing Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, which he introduced in the late 60’s.
A sound and regular practice needs to be established to safely practice Laya Yoga. The body needs to be prepared through a strong Hatha Yoga practice that includes Shat Karmas such as, Bhastrika and Kaplabhati. Siddhasana is the recommended seated posture, with the heel pressing into the Perineum stimulating Mula Bandha.
In the correctly aligned seated posture the knees will drop below the front of the pelvis, the soles of the feet will face upwards, and the Pelvis will sit in a neutral position. The neutral position of the Pelvis will naturally induce Uddiyana Bandha and the spine will retain its neutral shape. With the palms of the hands also facing upwards, along with soles of the feet and a correctly aligned spine, induces Apana to turn upwards preventing drowsiness.
The Hatha Yoga practices will cleanse and prepare the gross and subtle bodies for the practice of Pranayama.
HYP 10 Chapters: When exhalation and inhalation are stopped, objects are not perceived, no action is performed and there is no mind or expression, then this Laya, is established in the Yogi.
Practicing Pranayama brings Prana under control, and as the mind is controlled by Prana the mind is brought under control. The Pranayama practice of Nadi Shodhana balances out the polar energies of Ida and Pingala, diffusing mental conflict. There are four phases to the Nadi Shodhana practice comprising of:
- Inhalation (Puraka)
- Exhalation (Rechaka)
- Retention (Kumbhaka) which has two phases
- Internal retention (Antar) *
- External retention (Bahya) **
**During the external retention add: Jalandhara, uddiyana, Mula Bandha
*During the internal retention add only Jalandhara and mula Bandha
During the retention phase the mind is still, with no coming or going and the struggle to control the mind slips away leading to dissolution.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika 10 Chapters gives advise on the outcome of Pranayama practices on the mind, as below.
HYP 10 Chapters: Laya may be the state of liberation or may not be so, as others would opine (suggest) But Laya (state of Moksa) takes place when Manas and Prana are merged in Nada (sound)
LAYA YOGA PRACTICE
Sit in Siddhasana and begin to Visualise the Chakras beginning with Ajna Chakra, before moving down to Muladhara Chakra. Ajna Chakra is the centre for higher thinking and values, along with inner vision and intuition. It would seem natural to begin with Muladhara Chakra, and ascend, but it is warned that if we begin with Muladhara Chakra, we risk identifying with our base instincts, and get lost. Starting with Ajna Chakra, it Is said helps keep in mind our higher purpose.
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