A mystery: Unwanted shaktipat? Boundary violation? Free-range potency?

Decades ago, I experienced something that stands out amongst all my human experiences.

I was alone at dusk, listening to beautiful singing and suddenly out of the corner of my eye, noticing a lightning storm in the distant mountains.

Everything in me wanted to pay complete attention to this experience, to be as present and attentive as possible.

And as soon as I set that intent and tuned in to the sounds and sights, something very unexpected and unusual happened.

I felt a strong energy enter my body, piercing me from the top of my head to the bottom of my torso. Crown to root.

The energy was forceful but not painful. I didn’t see it with my eyes but had a sense that it was white.

It was forceful like lightning, yet soft. It felt like it pushed things out of the way to make a bigger, clearer channel. It had a huge amount of what I now know is potency, or biodynamic life-force energy.

And as soon as it reached my root chakra, it left, leaving me in shock, wondering what the fuck just happened.

I didn’t know anyone at that time in my life to talk to about this experience who wouldn’t have thought I was crazy, so I kept it to myself. It seemed like a very freaky experience. I even wondered if I was crazy.

Is my focused attention really that powerful? Did I draw it to me somehow? Who needs an experience like that? Well, apparently I did.

I did save my ticket stub to the Santa Fe Opera where this experience had occurred, on a night with singers trying out for opera directors and hardly anyone in attendance.

I later came to consider it my energy awakening.

Years later, it occurred to me that it may have been related to me starting a practice of hatha yoga a year or so before the event.

I began to think of it as being zapped by Source, and I was feeling a little satisfied that even though I started learning hatha yoga from a book, rather than an in-person or even an on-TV teacher, I must have been doing something right for this to happen.

Even now, decades later, I am convinced that the purpose of doing asanas is to open the energy channels, a step on the way to samadhi.

Later, I wondered if what I had experienced was a spontaneous kundalini descending. I believe it was, although I’ve never practiced much kundalini yoga — been to a few classes but was never regular with it.

It seems that kundalini rising (from root to crown) is a goal in kundalini yoga. No one mentions kundalini descending. Same channel but opposite direction.

My crown chakra is often open, and I wonder if that zapping left me with a more open sahasra chakra.

Even later I learned about shaktipat, which as far as I understand is usually something a guru gives to initiate a student into his school of teachings — but only with the student’s agreement and consent.

As I understand it, shaktipat is more of a third-eye zapping. But I had no guru. What instigated that experience?

A little over a year ago, I experienced once again being pierced by energy, this time in my third-eye chakra. I actually saw the nearly-transparent energy coalescing in front of my face before it suddenly zapped my third eye/ajna chakra, going into the middle of my brain.

This time, I was with someone I’d just met that day. I don’t know if he gave me shaktipat without my consent or if it was spontaneous for both of us, or even if I somehow unintentionally gave myself or us both shaktipat!

I was simply too stunned to say anything, and I have no idea what his experience was.

If I knew how to give someone shaktipat, I would never do it without actually being a guru (not very likely), asking if they wanted to receive it, and only giving it if they gave their explicit consent to receive it.

It is shocking and invasive, not something to mess around with, although the benefit seems to be a clearing out of stagnant energy and strengthening the energy channel it penetrates.

It feels really fucked up to give it to someone without their consent. What kind of person would do that to someone they barely knew? Had he spent too much time in the nondual world to know how to interact responsibly and mindfully in the world of duality? I keep my feet in both worlds.

The experience was not sexual, but there was definitely an energetic penetration of personal boundaries.

Whatever amount of clearing out my ajna chakra may have occurred from that experience simply wasn’t worth it. My intuition was already pretty strong.

And then again, what if it was spontaneous for both of us? I’ve talked to a mentor who believes that free-range potency exists and that perhaps it was karmic. In a way, it reminded me of the proverbial romantic spark between two people, certainly igniting an interest, except much more powerful than I ever imagined it to be, and also not with someone who is available for a romantic relationship.

At this point, I sometimes wish it had never happened. I’ve observed this person being impulsive and presumptuous toward me since, and it raises my hackles. He is actually a pretty cool guy, someone I really want to like and trust, but I have set a boundary. Respect and mindfulness are important.

Trust can possibly be rebuilt, or actually, built in the first place, but only with accountability, respect, and honesty.

I am going to meditate on this: on this experience, on this person, and on myself.

I’d love to hear your input on this. Have you experienced anything like this? What would you do?

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Breath of Fire relieved my hiatal hernia symptoms

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, just someone interested in self-care, anatomy, physiology, and wellness who is relating her personal experience working on her own issues. If you are in a similar situation, the techniques described below may or may not be helpful. Always pay attention to your body’s yes and no, and seek medical care when needed.

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A couple of years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with chest pain. I didn’t know what it was. I sat up, just feeling it, trying to figure out what was causing it and whether I needed to call an ambulance. That I was having a heart attack was my big fear. From the top of my solar plexus, the pain ran up through the middle of my chest underneath my sternum and up my throat. It was very unpleasant.

It went away, and I went back to sleep. I woke up feeling fine. Although scary, it didn’t seem to be any kind of an emergency. I put it out of my mind and went about my business.

Then it happened again a couple of times. This seemingly random chest pain sent me to the doctor, who through testing was able to rule out heart disease, possibly pancreatic cancer, and stomach ulcer. She wanted me to go to a gastroenterologist and do a barium swallow with x-rays.

I didn’t want to do that procedure, and by then, being the curious researcher that I am, I had figured out that it was very likely a hiatal hernia. See the images below.

So I began self-treating, starting with reading online. I learned:

  • hiatal hernias are more common in older people
  • obesity can be a factor
  • acid reflux can be a factor
  • overeating can make it worse
  • you can avoid symptoms by not eating 2-3 hours before bedtime
  • posture plays a role

Yes, even though I’m a yogi and usually have pretty decent posture, I was sitting on my sofa using my laptop all hunched over for a few hours several times a week. My fix for that was to sit cross-legged with my back straight, with my laptop on a thick pillow.

I am 64, and although not obese, I’ve put on a few pounds in the last few years. I’ve been guilty of eating late after a busy day and occasional overeating. I haven’t felt any symptoms of acid reflux, though, but learned you can have acid reflux without symptoms.

I learned more about the anatomy of a hiatal hernia. Simply put, the diaphragm separates your chest cavity from your abdominal cavity and moves when you breathe. The hiatus is an opening in your diaphragm where your esophagus passes through to your stomach.

When the hole is enlarged, a little bit of your stomach can protrude upward through the hole, crowding your chest cavity. Thus…lying down or bending over with a full stomach brings the pain on.

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Copyright 2004 MedicineNet Inc.

There is reportedly no cure, and in severe cases, drugs or surgery may be needed.

My favorite quick relief for hiatal hernia pain? Drink a glass of water, 8 to 12 ounces. Then stand on your tiptoes and quickly drop your heels, repeating this several times. The weight of the water in your stomach combined with the quick downward motion will jostle your stomach back down into its proper place beneath the diaphragm. Here’s a video showing the technique.

I also read about yoga poses to avoid: cobra, inversions like downward facing dog, and other poses I was doing every day. This was a drag. I wasn’t liking this at all.

I still had occasional esophageal spasms and finally did get the barium swallow. The diagnosis confirmed my intuition: I have a small “sliding hiatal hernia”.

Not long after, I was meditating, and I suddenly had an insight that a yogic breathing practice I’d learned decades ago called Breath of Fire (Sanskrit kapalabati or “skull shining breath”) might be helpful. I hadn’t practiced it in years. This technique pumps the diaphragm through rapid breathing, and since the diaphragm is a muscle, it can be strengthened through training.

Watch this video if Breath of Fire is new to you. Actual instruction starts at 2:50.

I started doing Breath of Fire for a minute a day. It was hard at first to breath rapidly in a steady rhythm, but it got easier. I worked up to 3, then 5, and then 10 minutes a day, building strength and stamina while maintaining a steady rhythm.

The diaphragm is a muscle that can be strengthened like any other muscle. At first, I felt some muscle soreness around the bottom of my rib cage, front, sides, and back, where the diaphragm attaches. After a few days, the soreness went away.

Not only does Breath of Fire strengthen your diaphragm, it also floods your body with oxygen, massages your organs, pumps your lymphatic system, and has other benefits. Since I started doing this three months ago, I’ve noticed a gradual increase in energy, mental clarity, positivity, and motivation. I feel more on top of things and happier.

I now do Breath of Fire for 3 minutes every morning for maintenance, and I haven’t had any hiatal hernia discomfort since I started. (I avoid eating near bedtime and lying down after eating.)

I do the yoga poses I want to do without any problems. I’ve long been a hatha yogini, but now I’m interested in learning more kundalini, where this practice originates, as far as I know.

It would take a truly open-minded, yoga-trained Western doctor to tell you to do this very simple technique, so I’m sharing. If you have a hiatal hernia and try these techniques, please share your experience in the comments.

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Addition, April 11, 2018. If you have a hiatal hernia, it’s important to know that you may have acid reflux, where you don’t produce enough stomach acid to break down the protein in food and to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes. You may burp, have gas, and/or feel bloated. You may also have acid reflux without any symptoms.

Low stomach acid signals the lower esophageal sphincter to stay open, making it more likely for a hiatal hernia to develop, and the stomach acid you do produce can splash up into the esophagus and possibly cause scarring and thickening. Not good.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 8.39.27 AMThe remedy for low stomach acid — which becomes more common with age — is to take a supplement containing Betaine HCl and pepsin. It helps you digest protein and absorb amino acids from food. Protein is in all animal-derived food sources — meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy — and legumes, including soy, tofu, and tempeh, and other foods. Protein helps your body build and repair tissues, especially important in building muscle, bone, blood, cartilage and skin. You definitely want to assimilate the protein you eat.

HCl also helps kill off pathogens in food.

There are some cautions about taking this. I found this article very helpful in explaining who should not take HCl and why.

It also explains how to find out how much you need to take, so as not to take too little to be effective or too much and experience discomfort. (If that happens, take 1/2 tsp of baking soda in water to neutralize the excess acid, and then cut back on the amount you’re taking.)

If you can’t take Betaine HCl before eating protein, drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (shoot or dilute) to help acidify your stomach. These won’t help you break down the protein but may prevent acid reflux.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.10.39 AMYou can also take digestive bitters. Bitter tastes stimulate digestion. Our ancestors knew this and ate bitter foods every day — such as citrus, greens, cruciferous veggies, artichokes, ginger and other herbs, pepper, chocolate, and red wine.

Herbalists have been making bitter elixirs since at least the Middle Ages. I like this brand and carry it in my purse for those times when I forget to refill my little pill container with Betaine HCl and digestive enzymes.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 9.45.17 AMYou may also want to take digestive enzymes to help your stomach break down substances in food into molecules that you can absorb. If you are eating a healthful diet, you want your body to actually absorb the nutrients in that healthy (and possibly expensive or laborious-to-grow) food. Enzymes help further break down protein and also fats and carbohydrates. Low stomach acid goes hand-in-hand with low digestive enzymes.

A note on the timing: my doctor, who is working with me on my digestive issues, recommends taking 3 digestive enzymes at the beginning of meals and 3 Betaine HCl capsules after. I aim at taking the latter about 20 minutes after I finish eating so the HCl won’t deactivate the digestive enzymes.

You can take a dropperful of bitters before, during, or after meals.

Let me know in the comments what your experience is with any of this, please.

 

A little yoga humor…

YOGA STYLES: a simple, animated guide – yoga humor, yogini style, yoga personality, yoga tips – Y is for Yogini.

Click this link to go to a page that clearly delineates the various styles of yoga.

Seriously. Click the link.