Monthly Archives: October 2015

Neural Energy and Yogananda’s Kriya Yoga

Over-stimulation in this modern world has increased exponentially faster than our ability to process it has developed. I repeat from an earlier post, followed by a beautiful quote from Paramahansa Yoganada founder of the Self Realization Fellowship.

“When we are under pressure an autonomic response causes a tensing of the muscles. We may feel it as a pain in the neck, tight shoulders or in the other extremities of the body, but it emanates from the spine or, in finer dimensions of sensing, the central core of the being.

This tension in the muscles around the spine forces the cerebral spinal fluid up into the cranium putting pressure on the physical brain, impeding the synaptic process, thought and creativity. In common parlance you might hear people under pressure say, “Just give me a minute I need some space.”

This from the film “Awake, the life of Yogananda’ . . .

“The spine and  the brain are the altars of God.

That’s where the electricity of God flows down into the nervous system into the world. The searchlights of your senses are turned outward.  But when you will reverse the searchlights through kriya yoga and be concentrated in the spine you will be hold the maker.”

“Charge the body with the life current from universe. Energy distributed evenly in the body is what keeps the diseases from settling.”

Paramahansa Yogananda
. . . followed by this comment, “that’s what self-realization teaches the technique of meditation, recharging the body battery with cosmic energy. For it is not a creed or dogma, but a science of soul and spirit, how the soul descended from the cosmic consciousness into the earth and the body and the senses is the purpose of this work

Thought it really resonated with this work I’ve been developing, ‘here’s a simple practice that can be done in a few seconds or as long as you care to take’.

Briefly tightening the muscles around the spine and then relaxing the muscles closer and closer to the spine, allowing the spinal fluid to release back into the spine creates space between the vertebrae, actually takes the pressure off the cranium allowing much more effective neural activity and producing a more spacious feeling in the being. Perhaps the most important aspect of the exercise is receiving the energy that’s released.

The Skills the Art and the Path

Japan has a long tradition of the arts of war. The study of a warrior attitude is entwined with the history of Japan and its art. Simplistically the Japanese term for warrior or war is Bu (:ぶ),. The idea of a study or a path or way that one studies is Dō (long o pron. doe) (:どう).  The study of the realm of a warrior spirit is termed Budo and the term Budo is translated by some people as martial arts.

In the western traditions the art of war or arts in the domain of Mars the god of war are termed martial arts. However the concept of a ‘Do’ or a ‘Way’ implies something more, as is often the case with the Japanese language.

Most martial arts are competitive studies and competition that becomes all about seeing who is better. It loses the original etymology of striving ‘together’ and focuses instead on developing a mindset, of forces in opposition.

Whereas in a Do especially Aikido, at least for some of us who study, we are a community, working together to make us all better, as a clan did for its mutual benefit.

I see studying a ‘way of being’ very different from learning the skills of the art whether it be war or dance, painting, pottery or fighting. Developing one’s self for ‘the completion of the universe’ has a different flavor, different intent and ultimately a different outcome, from a competitive approach in which people are trying to conquer or defeat others.

It seems people often have a hard time understanding that distinction and so don’t see a value in the practice of harmony. As such they miss the value in the practice because they are studying fighting and winning over others. O sensei said, “Winning means winning over the discord in your own mind.”

I taught a blending exercise to some Bosnians after the war. One woman said when I showed it to her, she couldn’t make any sense of it or the why. Once she experienced the energy of it, she was totally intrigued. It made sense only in the experience of the difference.

I understand we may find ourselves in opposition to one who does not respect our right to be who we are. If it is a physical challenge, in that moment defeating another may be a path, the only path, to survival. Also, I respect everyone should follow their own heart or interest, whatever it is, to complete their bestowed mission.

Mine is Aikido specifically because it is not about fighting but rather helping develop an attitude of ‘reconciling the world’.

As the founder said, “Aikido does not call relative affairs good or bad but keeps all being in a constant state of growth and development and serves for the completion of the universe.”

Which is why I love it.



  1. This from Wikipedia:

Budō is a compound of the root bu (:ぶ), meaning war or martial; and dō (:どう), meaning path or way. Specifically, dō is derived from the Buddhist Sanskrit mārga (meaning “path”).[4] The term refers to the idea of formulating propositions, subjecting them to philosophical critique and then following a ‘path’ to realize them.[5] Dō signifies a “way of life”. Dō in the Japanese context, is an experiential term, experiential in the sense that practice (the way of life) is the norm to verify the validity of the discipline cultivated through a given art form. The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one’s ego that must be fought.[6]

Similarly to budō, bujutsu is a compound of the roots bu (武), and jutsu (術:じゅつ), meaning technique.[7] Thus, budō is translated as “martial way”,[8][9][10] or “the way of war” while bujutsu is translated as “science of war” or “martial craft.” However, both budō and bujutsu are used interchangeably in English with the term “martial arts”. Budo and bujutsu have quite a delicate difference; whereas bujutsu only gives at/tention to the physical part of fighting (how to best defeat an enemy), budo also gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself.