Touching Consciousness through Bone Energy
Guest author: Jamie Carmody; Jamie teaches Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga in San Antonio, Texas.
Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga: the Biomechanics of Self–Evolution
Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) are compatible systems of healing and self-transformation – technologies of “self-evolution”. “Self-evolution” is equivalent to self-transformation, self-growth.
Zero Balancing is a hands-on body work technology and touch technique that works with bone energy through the skeleton, joints and ligaments of the physical body. It benefits both giver and receiver. Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is a combination of asana, pranayam, mudra, and mantra that is practiced by the individual. Both are done as a means to better health and well-being as well as greater conscious awareness of the self.
Part I of this post introduced some basic principles of Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga. We stated that both technologies work through the body structure in order to access and process the body energy. The practices of Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga technologies result in a less rigid perception of the self and shifts in consciousness. Thus, “self-evolution” becomes easier and more accessible.
The key factor in both is the conscious movement and balancing of the energy of the human unit using the energetic mechanisms housed in and around the physical body. Their balancing and flow are necessary for us as humans to function well, and these can be facilitated consciously by the practitioner with the goal of self-evolution.
In Part II, we deepen our discussion of a key level of energy anatomy that allows us to access and transform consciousness – the energy held in bone.
Bone Energy in Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga
Bone. Wow. The skeleton ! It contains some of the densest matter in the body and therefore conducts and transmits some of the strongest currents of energy. Locomotion and the ground forces created by walking move through the skeleton. These forces create a Figure 8 pattern which helps to organize the energy body and to energize our systems.
The spine is the energetic superhighway of the body. It is the pathway of Universal Life Flow (Shushumna). The vertebrae, which stack up to form the spine, are some of the densest bones in the body. The Shushumna flows through the crown of the head down to the coccyx, which is also the pathway of the seven major chakras. The chakras are like vortexes of energy anchored to the bony structure of the curves of the spine.
Releasing Blockage and Held Tension in Bone
In Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga, we are work ing through or along the spine and throughout the body to ‘remove blocks’. A block is any kind of obstacle that creates disruption in the clear flow of body energy, and can become a source of dis-ease in the body. Blocks can be mental, emotional, physical and/or spiritual . Removing blockage is fundamental to health and healing.
Bone, especially the spine, is key to removing blockage. The spine is central to both our verticality and our energetic organization. Because the energy field of the spine is so strong, working with the spine helps to organize all the other flows of the body.
Blockage in the body, whether mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual may take the form of tension held in bone. Working consciously with bone-held tension is a hallmark of Zero Balancing. Zero Balancing uses a special touch technique that allows the practitioner to connect with the bone energy of the skeleton. As we move through the physical body, we work locally and globally to release bone-held tension. This allows held energy, aka “tension”, to be recycled back into our systems.
The final result is to create an organized field of energy in the client’s body, with clear boundaries and enhanced vertical flow. An energetically well-organized person functions better on all levels, with greater resilience to stress and an enhanced sense of well being .
Compassion and Self-Evolution in Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga
In Kundalini Yoga, asana (postures/exercises) accompanied by special breath patterns are used to create space in the spine such that the energy flow is unimpeded. This allows the kundalini, the energy of awareness, to flow up from the base of the spine through the lower 3 chakras , and then through the heart to the upper three. When this flow is open, you go from basic needs to higher thinking. The practitioner comes into greater awareness and sensitivity. Compassion can then become a motivating force over the needs of the individual’s ego.
Regardless of technique, the clearing of blockages with Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga will create an ideal interior environment for a deeper sense of well-being on every level. The person becomes more integrated and stable within their own circuitry regardless of exterior circumstance. They are by practice self-evolving and will see a general improvement in their sense of self and quality of life.
The Pause: Conscious Experience of Our Experience
A meditative mind state is an important aspect and goal of both Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga. During meditation, a person is witnessing her own experience by observing her internal processes. In Kundalini Yoga, there is usually a pause between postures which allows the energy shift to integrate. During the pause, the practitioner can observe the effects of the activity. These pauses become short meditations where the person feels what he feels and has an experience of himself.
The pause is also an important aspect of any Zero Balancing session. In fact, pauses are built into the touch technique itself to allow bone energy to ‘gel’ before the next step. During the pause, the receiver is given the opportunity to ‘drop in’ to her experience of herself . The person can consciously or unconsciously feel the movement of energy as it happens and have an experience around it.
In both Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga, one is given the opportunity to engage with oneself in an uncommon way. The process is similar because the body is consciously being introduced to sensations and allowed time to experience what is happening each step of the way. The mind may try to track everything that is going on, but will typically let go at some point because it feels so good. This is often the point at which the person enters into an expanded state of consciousness where energy is reorganizing and is more available for healing. In this way, we are accessing consciousness by plugging into the strong currents of the skeleton, creating the opportunity for self-transformation.
“Feels Good, Hurts Good” in Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga
“No pain, no gain” isn’t really part of the game plan for Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga. In Zero Balancing, it is a stated guideline that a treatment should “never hurt”. However, a ‘hurts good’ sensation – the paradoxical feeling of simultaneous pleasure and pain – is beneficial. “Hurts good,” or hedonic, sensation tends to shut down the rational, thinking mind, and typically shifts the receiver to an expanded state of consciousness. Hedonic sensation is therefore mindfully applied by the Zero Balancing practitioner as a way of getting the receiver to relax and deepen the session . Pain has no place in this therapy!
Kundalini Yoga can be challenging with its sometimes odd positions held for extended periods. However, the challenge is for the purpose of toning the nervous system. Here, you can safely practice being comfortably uncomfortable and tolerating it calmly. Hurting yourself is against the yogic principle of non-harming (ahimsa) and is discouraged.
Let it be known that feeling good is a highly effective therapeutic tool which helps to override negative thoughts and feelings. I highly recommend it!
Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga: Differences in Practice
In addition to the similarities and compatibilities of Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga, there are some differences between the two practices:
- Personal Practice vs. Receiving:
The most obvious difference is that in a Zero Balancing session the experience is facilitated by another person, the Zero Balancing practitioner. The receiver only has to show up, lie face up on the table fully clothed, let go into the experience, and let the practitioner work. For the practitioner, Zero Balancing is like a moving meditation. There is a form to follow, but within that form there are infinite variations. These variations are an intuitive dance between giver and receiver. And while no two sessions are ever completely alike, the constant remains that Zero Balancing always benefits both the giver and receiver with a quiet mind and clearer energetic flow.
- Eyes Open, Eyes Closed:
Another difference is the use of the eyes. Kundalini Yoga uses eye mudras (positions) during a practice. Many times the eyes will be partially or completely closed and focused at different points to stimulate different effects . Since the eyes are typically mostly closed, the person can come more fully into their experience without visual distraction. They are directed to come into their own experience of themselves. By shutting the eyes, they close themselves off and become a complete container. All else ceases to exist.
In a Zero Balancing session, the practitioner keeps eyes open and attentive to the receiver. The receiver typically has eyes naturally closed as she relaxes into the experience, but unconscious eye movements often occur during a session. The Zero Balancing practitioner is taught to look for particular indicators, which signal that the person is relaxing and shifting into an expanded state. These can be something like stomach gurgles or muscle twitches. Certain breath and eye movement patterns are also common. Over time, Zero Balancing practitioners can become very adept at gauging where the person is in their process using these body signals. It is a very useful feedback loop!
Healing and Self-Evolution in Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga
Self-evolution, as well as healing, is a possible and desired outcome of both Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga. Both facilitate the movement of energy through the systems and layers of the body. Over time, the blocks and knots begin to soften and unkink with these practices. The person becomes more integrated on every level. Deep meditative states become ever more accessible, enhancing the process of healing and transformation. As the mind softens, we become less rigid in our thinking. We become more open to changing our ideas about self and other. As we feel better, our relationships get better. Our lives get better. Sound good? I think so!
For me, I know that my life is enhanced by these practices. They provide me with practical tools to deal with anything that life might bring. I have confidence that I can stay steady. And, it is not that I am just able to cope better. I feel very strongly that I am better at being a human being because of my own determination to self-evolve using Zero Balancing and Kundalini Yoga. Insights into my own limiting thoughts and behaviors are addressed through a daily practice of either or both. Through the insights, I continuously come to understand more and more about the way my body movement and the flow of energy that these movements engender affect my very being on every level.
So, if you’d like to better understand your body as a vehicle for self-evolution and healing – or if you would simply like to get better at being a human being – either Zero Balancing or Kundalini Yoga may be just the thing. Or both together !