Yoga has become many things to many people. For a large percentage of the population, yoga is a powerful exercise program at the very least. Recovery from bodily pains as well as emotional and mental balance are just some of the benefits of practicing this ancient art. Much of what yoga has to offer has been revealed through old texts, present day teachers and gurus alike, including mantra, practices of devotion, cleansing rituals and breathing techniques. It is amazing to realize that no matter how deep you go into a tradition like this, there is always more to be discovered. There are as yet, still more yoga secrets to be revealed, this is simply one.
In the center of the brain, sits a very important gland for human awareness development, the pineal gland. According to yogic wisdom, when the brain hemisphere’s are balanced and energy is flowing properly through the body and other glands – the pineal activates and secretes a milky substance known to the yogis as amrit – the elixir of life. To many this is just a story, a myth, as few in our modern world have realized such an experience. This is precisely why it is known as a ‘secret’ among those who are familiar with this amazing phenomenon.
In order to activate the pineal, many techniques can be employed, but one in particular is especially suited to the task, that of the Shambhavi mudra. Described in many ancient texts such as the Hathapradipika, Gherandha Samhita, Amanaskya Yoga, and Vijnanabhairava Tantra, the Shambhavi mudra is meant to center the mind and bring it under control enough to access the deeper mysteries.
To perform this mudra, or gesture, you simply turn your gaze somewhere your mother always warned you against – cross-eyed to the forehead center. That’s right, by simply gazing upward toward the center of the forehead, with eyes open, at first, and then mostly closed – you begin to activate this powerful psychic center. Start with just a few moments at first, increasing gradually. The muscles behind the eyes will notice their new activity, and therefore will need time to rest between practices for a while. Eventually, the effects will become noticeable, as the mind clears and access to the ‘inner realms’ in a new way begins to emerge.
The point is not really to look at the forehead center, though those are the instructions. The object is to get the mind to look within, hence the cross-ward gaze. When there is nothing really to look at, yet the senses are engaged, the mind tends to stop and observe. As described beautifully by Master yogi Matt Huish:
The next part of the technique involves feelingthe seeing. We yoke the feeling layer directly to the seeing layer. To do this we have to focus more on the movement. We attend to the directional gradient that either takes us from clarity to unclarity or from unclarity to clarity. Attending to either movement is extremely important as it is the catching of the movement from unclarity to clarity which reactivates the mudra process. This is a powerful form of bio feedback and is the heart essence of the yoga. It is discussed quite clearly in Yoga Sutra 1.18. The holding of the state of meditation is brought about by what is called samskara or a conditioned pattern. The holding of a state is effected by parinama or transformation which is movement. We don’t attend to the state, we attend to the movement which holds the state. This is an extremely powerful process.
So by recognizing the unclarity, the mudra activates and “tunes” the eyes and system to bring it back to clarity. This clarity/unclarity, when we yoke it to the feeling layer begins to reveal itself in the totality of the body. Suddenly it is no longer just limited to the eyes. We feel Shambhavi mudra as a holistic activity which is felt throughout the system. Mind is felt suddenly as tension in the body. With the release of that tension, mind disappears and the clarity of body/mind expands.
If we follow the feeling of the clarity, it takes us “backward” into the central column area. If we stay with the movement, it takes us to a very special realm. At this point we can either just hold steady or “direct” the movement further into an infinite realm of doors. If we hold the mudra on a particular doorway, the knowledge of that doorway opens and reveals itself. This is the process called samadhi which is discussed by Patanjali.
The wonderful thing about this practice is that it is simple and easy to do anywhere you are at any time of day and does not require you spend a specific amount of time on it. Practice regularly, and results will follow. Though there is much written about the benefits of this process, the best knowledge is that obtained through personal experience. Yogic secrets are revealed to those who honestly look within, with the intention to discover the deeper mysteries of life. So go forth and chart the uncharted within you!
Written by: Stasia Bliss
Sources: Phenomenal Luminosity;