step 3 study other yoga systems

Once you have hooked up with an established tradition (refer to step 2) and earnestly started to learn the ropes of this method of yoga, you’re on your way! You now have an option: just follow the specified techniques and guidance of your mentor wholeheartedly. That is, stick with what works (a time-honored tradition) since there will be more than enough to learn and achieve. OR, follow your chosen path but go the extra mile and study further outside of regular classroom hours. What to study? OTHER yoga systems the three main vehicles are Tibetan Buddhism, Hindu Yoga and Daoism (Daoist Yoga). Why bother? There’s no need if you’re content with your chosen track to Light. However, in Neidan yoga, it’s essential to catch some essential ideas and procedures from all three major yoga approaches.

To prepare for Practice 3 here are the key ideas you need to learn about:

  1. Heart meridian (surface and internal pathways)

  2. Kidney meridian (surface and internal pathways)

  3. Ren meridian (conception vessel down midline of the front)

  4. Du meridian (governing vessel down midline of the back)

  5. Sahasrāra chakra (crown chakra)

  6. Maṇipūra chakra (navel chakra)

  7. Mūlādhāra chakra (navel chakra)

You don’t need to take a scholar’s approach here but at a minimum you should understand the general location, function and imagery associated with these. More details will be introduced shortly.

practice 3 activate the crown chakra

The first higher plane of consciousness beyond ordinary awareness, called the astral realm, looms as the beginning foothills on the trail to Spirit. Though the Divine Mother still resides far, far in the distance, a seeker who establishes a firm beachhead of consciousness here has accomplished a HUGE feat. Quite a number of folks can access the astral worlds through dreams, meditation and prayer—or simply because they are ragingly psychic. But it’s another thing altogether to develop STABLE concentration so the mind can do more than touch or visit this dimension. Such a mind can come and go in this realm at will.

How to get to the astral realms? Relatively easily? The tried and true way, tested and validated by countless yogis over thousands of years rests with the crown chakra, a fundamental portal to all higher dimensions of reality. At first brush, meditating on the crown chakra seems a tad advanced—to say the least. But it is not. The Neidan yoga route follows some sage advice from Swami Satyananda regarding the Bihar yoga approach to genuine kuṇḍalinī yoga: first stir the pot at a higher chakra—he suggests Ājñā chakra (third-eye chakra) which is fine and, in fact, his technique features centrally at a later stage of Neidan yoga (refer to Level 5 — Neidan). Here’s the quote:

In the systematic awakening of kuṇḍalinī, the first step is to purify the iḍā and piṅgala nāḍīs and create harmony in their functioning. Next, all the chakras have to be awakened ... it is a rule of kuṇḍalinī yoga that there should be awakening of ājña chakra first.
— Swami Satyananda, Kundalini tantra, 2012, Munger, Bihar, India: Yoga Publications Trust.

Yet following the logic of Neidan yoga, a better tack starts with the Sahasrāra chakra. Why? In acupuncture, the crown chakra corresponds to the acupuncture point known as Bahui (hundred meetings). Located at the very top of the head this acupoint serves as a crossroad to many meridians both outer (Governing, Gall Bladder, Liver and Triple Burner meridians) and inner (central channel of yoga or the inner branch of the Penetrating meridian).

In Daoist practice, one cultivates qi flow along the Du (Governing) and Ren (Conception) meridians as a FIRST stage of practice. The second stage uses the energy generated from this first step to spark a psychic fire in the middle part of the torso (along the central channel) and the final, third, stage uses this psychic fire to kindle a spiritual fire at the third-eye chakra. Once successful at this, an adept can direct the spiritual flame out through the crown chakra into the astral (and higher) worlds.

So, what have we got? Baihui sits at a pivotal juncture of both inner and outer qi pathways. In Daoism it’s first used to help develop the microcosmic orbit (around the path of linked Du and Ren meridians) and later helps actualize the final stage of neidan (central channel meditation). So, following Swamiji’s lead, the initial, modest, task just seeks to activate a higher chakra, which thereby gives enlivened energy that can be used to temper and stabilize lower chakras. Next, and again following the Bihar yoga template, the real meditation work begins but in Neidan yoga this work is a blend of Swamiji’s approach and Daoist and Tibetan Buddhist protocols. Ready to rock?