Visual Stepping Stones to the Absolute Yoga Through the Visual Mind A practical manual & summary of practices by Tao Semko 2nd Edition .
www.UmaaTantra.com First Edition ©2005, Umaa Tantra, Inc. 2nd Edition ©2007, Umaa Tantra, Inc. All Rights Reserved
published by Smashan Press, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA www.SmashanPress.com
Homage! May this manual lead to t o increase of compassion and wisdom, and to transcendence of of sectarianism and dogma, and may all beings realize Non-Duality! Non-Duality! Thank you to all our spiritual teachers, for all of your teachings: Thank you to Dr. Glenn Morris, H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, H.E. Khempo Yurmed Tinley Rinpoche, Santiago Dobles, Dinu Roman, Sifu Francis Fong, Guru Cliff Stewart, Ajarn Surachai Sirisute, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Dr. David Frawley, Raven Cohen, the Dakinis, the Wisdom teachers, and givers of life, and the many masters who have taught us quiet lessons, great and small. Thank you to all who have provided us with spiritual and material sustenance, who have given us the opportunity to study, to practice, and to live this life. Thank you to each of our students, for always striving in your own spiritual efforts, and for always providing us with new occasions to learn. To our parents, family, and friends, for giving us this life with which to live, prosper, and practice, thank you! Thank you to all who will read these words, who will practice, and who will strive to achieve an understanding which transcends sectarianism and dogma. We offer thanks for all of these blessings, back to their profound Origin. Thank you from our hearts! Tao Semko of www.UmaaTantra.com www.UmaaTantra.com,, author of Visual Stepping Stones to the Absolute.
This manual consists of three parts. Part One is a set of eye exercises to strengthen and relax the eye muscles, and help to relieve eye strain.
Part Two includes the esoteric instructions on yogic gazing (trataka, the relaxed, fixed, unblinking stare) and the yoga (shambavi mudra) that may be obtained by perfecting this technique, withdrawing inward, and relaxing into a centered, one-pointed, contemplative state,
Part Three consists of the various advanced visual yogic techniques of breath and movement of awareness that may be attempted and perfected once the eye exercises, gazing, and onepointed contemplation become second nature.
A Note Before Beginning: All the techniques in this manual are explained in plain English, however some philosophical and technical explanations of advanced esoteric practices use the original Sanskrit terminology. Novices will have no trouble using the basic and intermediate techniques. No external reference works are needed. However, the advanced techniques in Part Three presuppose some knowledge of esoteric anatomy and meditative concepts. We provide a thorough overview of esoteric anatomy (chakras, nadis, etc..) and meditative states in Secrets the Gurus will Never Show You , by Santiago Dobles, available at www.UmaaTantra.com for those who need an overview. A note on definitions: The following stipulation is offered for scholars of Eastern Philosophy: Most terminology used in this manual uses definitions from the non-dual Hindu tantric and agamic traditions, rather than the Buddhist or Jain Tantras. The term “Samadhi,” in particular, is used with the non-dual Hindu tantric denotation, rather than the Buddhist one.
Part One – The Eye Exercises: Sit up straight, facing forwards, stretching the crown of your head upwards and keeping your chin back. For the exercises below, do not move your head, ever… only your eyes. Work, stretch, and strengthen your eye muscles, and help to release tension and lactic acid from the eye muscles. One: Focusing Near and Far: Inhale slowly, deeply, and gently, while looking as far out towards the horizon as possible, Exhale slowly, deeply, and gently, and look as close in to the brow center as possible. Repeat 9, 18, or 21 times. Very good for computer eyestrain. Two: Shen (spirit/ upper dantien) breathing: Breathe in through the brow center, exhale through the center of the crown (the anterior fontanelle of the skull). Inhale in through the crown and gently out through the bony bump at the back of the skull (opposite the brow center). Inhale in through that bony bump, exhale out through the anterior fontanelle (crown center). Inhale in through the crown center and out through the brow center. Repeat 3 or 9 times.
Three: Circles: Sweep your eyes in the widest possible circles, clockwise 9 times, then counterclockwise nine times. To help you focus, stretch out your right arm all the way to the right, make a fist with your thumb outstretched, like a hitchhiking or giving a “thumbs up.” Look at your thumb with your eyes only, while keeping the face pointing forwards. Moving exclusively from your shoulder, sweep your arm in a big, slooow “Pete Townsend” windmill circle while following the thumb with your eyes. Your face and head remain stationary. Rotate the arm and eyes nine times clockwise. Then switch hand/arm and go nine times counterclockwise with the left arm, following the thumb with the eyes. Be aware of the parts of the circle that are hard for your eye muscles to control. Work on these areas to improve the Brain- muscle connections. Why the thumb? The thumb is linked via meridians with the chakras of the head and neck.
Four: Clock-face back and forth: With your head aimed forward and holding still, sweep your eyes upwards to 12:00 o’clock on an enormous imagined clock face, and then down to 6:00 o’clock, up and down, 9 times slowly. Repeat with 3:00 and 9:00, back and forth 9 times slowly, then 1:00 and 7:00, 2:00 and 8:00, 10:00 and 4:00, and 11:00 and 5:00 Sloowly, paying attention to any areas that are difficult. Remember to stretch those eye muscles, but don’t hurt yourself (because your face will freeze like that!)(I’m kidding – but do remember, stretch, don’t strain).
Part Two – Practical Esoteric Instructions for Visual Yoga One: Trataka – fixed, relaxed gazing, without blinking. Trataka is the traditional method of both concentrating and relaxing the mind – achieving one-pointedness, control of the subtle winds ( pranas) of the body, and relaxation and tranquility of the mind through visual focus and relaxation. Body posture: Sit comfortably, relaxed, but with the spine erect, chin drawn in. Think of your tailbone stretching down towards the ground and your crown stretching up towards the sky. To release your psoas muscles so your back doesn’t get tight and sore from sitting, sit with your butt elevated 3 to 4 inches above your knees. If you sit on the floor, use a cushion, foam block, rolled yoga mat or the like to elevate your butt. If you sit on a chair, bench, stool, the edge of the bed, etc, try to sit on the edge, with your genitals hanging in free space, and your knees lower than your butt. (again, use a book or cushion to elevate your butt if necessary. Your back should be free, not leaning against anything, Release your jaw muscles so there is space between your teeth. This is important, as it allows excess energy, bloodflow, etc, to leave your head, and keeps you relaxed during concentration. Make sure the top of your head is level and not leaning forward or back. Pull the upper jaw gently inward (not downward) towards the back of your neck. The upper jaw remains parallel to the floor or ground. Focusing point: Ideally, focus on a point or unwavering candle flame exactly one arm length in front of your eyes, at pupil (eye) level. You may draw a dot on the wall, use a small circular Avery sticker, or use a candle on a table. If using a candle, trim the wick so the flame is no more than 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) and do not attempt trataka if the flame is flickering in drafts – it will be counterproductive.
On using other focal lengths for your point: You may do trataka on a point on the horizon, or a far-off point, but it is best to start simply, with a point one arm-length away. Why one arm length? Sacred geometry… Your brain has a very special relationship with this distance… It’s the limit of your physical interactions with your environment– without the use of tools… The limit of your human proportions, the distance of your “personal space,” within which you allow only family and loved ones, and it relates to the proportions of the rest of your body by the Golden mean…. Other notes before beginning trataka: Trataka cannot be done properly with contact lenses in your eyes, and for some people it can be difficult while wearing glasses. I recommend you do the technique first thing in the morning, after doing a few warm-ups, deep breathing, or limbering exercises – and before you put your glasses or contacts on. Just set up a space in front of the wall near your bed. If you are combining trataka with any internal muscle contractions (bandhas), it is recommended that you touch the tip of your tongue gently to the roof of your mouth to connect the front and back subtle channels of the body and prevent discomfort or kundalini syndrome. Keep the jaw loose and relaxed in any case. Set a timer if you have one… start with 5 minutes your first three days, and then work up to 10, 15, and finally 20. Do not exceed 20 without first getting “checked” out by a yoga master. (Why? Because long periods of trataka develop tremendous mental power, but if you hold any stress in the muscles of the face, head, and back while you do the exercise, you can over-stimulate your kidneys and adrenals, and run too much hot energy (translated as high blood pressure in the brain) through the head. Ask a friend, spouse, or family member to watch you and show you (by touching you) where you are tense (shoulders, forehead, jaw, bugging out the eyes, etc…)– so you can relax more… Trataka – the technique. Once seated properly, look forward straight at the point, relax your eyes and eyelids, but don’t blink. Soften your eyes, but hold your pupils firmly on the point. You are learning to suspend a part of your normal viewing process. Normally, your eyes make constant, tiny “flitting” motions around their central focus in order to add additional information about the periphery of the environment. You are learning to consciously suspend this tendency. Breathe slowly and deeply, and relax your jaw, your shoulders, your neck, your forehead, your eyelids, and your eyes.
Don’t arch your back… keep your spine stacked and relaxed vertically. If you find your mind wandering, mentally count the seconds of your inhalation, the pause, exhalation, and pause. Try to lengthen the duration of each part of the breath, especially exhalation. Try doing a 6, 3, 6, 3 ratio (inhale for a count of 6, pause for 3, exhale for 6, pause for 3, inhale for 6, etc…). Breathe deeply, gently, and slowly with your abdomen, and relax. If you do trataka properly, preventing yourself from blinking, your eyes will water, your nose will run, and your mouth will secrete saliva. This is good. Let it happen, and don’t break your concentration by wiping yourself, blowing your nose, or if possible, swallowing (Tibetan yogis even allow themselves to drool doing this exercise) until you finish your session. Recent studies show that the tear ducts accumulate special proteins, which cause depression (inhibit seratonin) if not “cried out”… Fascinating stuff. A “good cry” really is good for you… Ajna chakra (third eye/ mental) clarity is strongly linked to clear sinuses! (for instance, when you have a cold, your mind feels foggy and unfocused). Trataka activates and balances pituitary and pineal activity, while removing toxins from the sinuses & tear ducts
When you simply must blink, or when you finish your session (either your timer goes off or you need a break), slowly close the eyes while keeping the eyeball still, still pointing at the focus point even though the eyes are still. Focus on the afterimage, if there is one. Open your eyes when ready, and continue. Always finish by dissolving your practice into empty awareness, without conceptual thoughts or judgments. You can mentally review later, after you’ve massaged yourself, gotten up, etc. When you finish your session, close your eyes and relax with your eyes still immobile, dissolving yourself and your vision gently into emptiness, while remaining fully aware, Spend a few minutes this way, and then slowly and gently come back. Inhale your arms slowly up the sides, and exhale them down the center in front of you, either palms down as in Qi Gong, or in a palms-together prayer gesture. You. As your hands come down the center, relax and dissolve your awareness into the ground beneath you, rooting and grounding yourself through your tailbone and pelvic floor, deeply into the ground. Massage your body gently, from the crown of your head to your toes…
When practiced well and practiced regularly, trataka alone is enough to achieve pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), dharana (meditative concentration), dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (meditative absorption, which is yoga, or union), but there is more…
Two: Shambavi Mudra Shambu is another name for Shiva, the Original Yogi. The primordial form of Shambu is neither male nor female, form nor formless. Shambavi is the power, femine aspect, or shakti, of Shambu… A Mudra is a Gesture or Seal. Shambavi Mudra has many versions, but they all have the following in common: Non-dual awareness. When shambavi mudra is accomplished and held, the yogi does not mentally (using conceptual, “thinking” thoughts) differentiate between “I” and “Thou”. In Shambhavi Mudra, there is no conceptual separation between the subject of meditation (the yogi), the object of meditation (the candle flame, dot on the wall, flower, statue, madala, crucifix or other holy symbol, deity, saint, teacher, etc that is being meditated upon), or even the act of meditating. For the yogi in Shambavi Mudra, there is no conceptual difference between meditator and meditation, microcosm and macrocosm, mind and body, consciousness and energy… Everything simply “is.” Shambavi mudra is accomplished by doing trataka on an object or body part (tip of the nose, space between the eyebrows, etc) or on the empty space between an object and the yogi (or on the empty sky, or the empty abyss of a deep well, etc), and then gradually withdrawing the consciousness or awareness (chitta in Sanskrit) as well as the energy ( prana) associated with looking, into the yogi’s center channel (sushumna nadi) while maintaining the same gaze. Alternately, meditating with the eyes closed, the yogi stares blankly at the darkness and accomplishes pratyahara (sense withdrawal) by keeping the body’s prana tranquilly in the center subtle channel (sushumna nadi). In Chinese, Tibetan, and Japanese traditions, the awareness is usually withdrawn to one of the three dan’tiens (upper dan’tien, at the center of the brain, known as ajna chakra in Sanskrit; middle dan’tien, behind the base of the breastbone in the center channel; and lower dan’tien, in the lower abdomen and pelvis). In the post-medieval Hindu Tantric traditions, there are more points, within the center channel and elsewhere, where the consciousness and energy may rest during Shambhavi Mudra.. Some correspond to major chakras, some to marma points (Vedic acupressure points), and some to secret energetic structures. The various Tantras and Agamas (traditional tantric manuals and scriptures) enumerate these internal points of awareness differently, but
all the points “work”… For maintaining bodily health, most of the time, I would recommend bring the prana down to the hara/ lower dan’tien (the space at the center of the lower torso , behind the point that lies four finger widths below the navel). For improved mental faculties, the prana can be kept for shorter intervals at the upper dan’tien (ajna chakra, the point at the center of the skull, straight back from the brow center). For awareness of one’s Self Nature (Hindu Term) or Nature of Mind (Buddhist term), the awareness may be left in the middle dan’tien, or hrit padma, which is the space above the solar plexus but below the heart center, behind the xiphoid process, back towards the spine… Attention fixed here must be loose, relaxed, and spacious, so that the chest remains without energetic congestion or physical pressure. Three: Skygazing Skygazing is the practice of Shambavi Mudra using the emptiness of the sky (akasha) as the resting point for the relaxed, focused, unblinking gaze. Skygazing is very useful for increasing awareness of the subtle tattva (subtle element) of space (called akasha). Skygazing can lead to Skywalking (the most secret meaning of the hatha yoga technique called Kechari Mudra) in which consciousness itself is suspended in space (both the inner space within sushumna nadi, the center shannel, and the akasha or space within the posterior pharyngeal/sinus region)… Skygazing using high clouds as the object of trataka will result in an increase in awareness of the subtle element of Air… Trataka using solid objects can lead to an increase in perceptual steadiness (the subtle element of earth), while trataka on an image of tranquil water leads to a tranquil flexibility and expansiveness of perception (water), and trataka on a steady flame leads to an increase in awareness of subtle light (fire) within the subtle body… Within the structure of mandalas and yantras (defined in Part Three, below) are geometric symbols that have the same elemental (tattvic) effects or impressions on the yogi’s consciousness. Squares give steadiness, curves yield water effects, triangles yield the transformative power of fire and the perception of light and dark, petals, circles and pericarps yield awareness of expansiveness and freedom of air and the vastness of all-permeating space and void….
Part Three: The Esoteric Visual Yogas A definition before beginning: Yantras and Mandalas are Esoteric Geometric, Alphabetic, or Mathematical Symbols drawn using proportions of Sacred Geometry, that generate (entrain) particular, specific brain waves in the mind of one who meditates upon them. Familiar examples in the west are the Christian Cross, the Star of David, and the Muslim Crescent Moon and Star….
Hindu Yantra Yoga Hindu Yantra Yoga is a visual yoga. It differs from Tibetan Yantra Yoga, which is a form of physical, hatha yoga, in which the human body is shaped via contortion into esoteric symbols, or yantras. Hindu Yantra Yoga involves doing trataka on specific symbols, each of which translates to a particular theta wave in the brain. The yantra (geometrical visual tool) and its associated mantra (auditory tool) each will produce that same theta wave, or in some cases, even a gamma wave, if used properly and with adequate practice. An experienced user of more than one mantra can make his or her brain “jump” from one discreet theta wave to another by switching mantra/ yantra “on the fly”. Once the resonance pattern of a given yantra is set/ burned into the mind, it becomes very easy to recall, with or without the help of a physical yantra diagram. The mental imprint can then be used to trigger the specific meditative state indicated by that yantra (or mantra). Once the yogi has practiced enough to mentally recall the yantra and the state with ease, he/she then learns to dissolve the mental imprint and the meditative state back into the void, or to simply remain aware that the mental imprint and meditative state is born of void, dwells within void, and resolves back into void. This is another version of Shambavi Mudra, discussed above. Other specific yantra yogas exist. All are dependent upon the ability to do basic trataka successfully, remaining relaxed, aware, and focused, for periods over twenty minutes.,. These yogas, which follow, should not be attempted prematurely. The human body itself is the most important yantra or mandala in tantric yogas. To understand this concept further, please read the Esoteric Anatomy section of Secrets the Gurus will Never Show You, by Santiago Dobles, also available on www.UmaaTantra.com.
Many of the following techniques combine the use of an external yantra image with the yantra provided by the human body (the human body is the most important yantra in tantric practice), or with the many smaller yantras within the human body. Examples of these smaller yantras are the female triangle formed by the shoulders and pubis, the male triangle formed by the lines connecting hips and sternum, the square/ diamond shape formed by the muscles of the pelvic floor, the oval of the head, etc… Some of the Many Permutations of Yantra Yoga which may be tried after you become competent with Trataka:
Yantra Yoga Combined with Japa. Entraining one’s consciousness through repetition of mantra (out loud or mentally) is called Japa, or Mantra Yoga. The culmination of Japa is Ajapa Japa, when the internal (true) mantra, or inner sound (nada), repeats itself without any effort from the practitioner, and the practitioner is able to merge in Samadhi (absorption) with the true essence of the mantra. The practice of Japa may be combined with Yantra Yoga: Here the yogi gazes at an external yantra (standard trataka) while chanting (out loud or internally) the specific mantra associated with that diagram. When the eyes, voice, or mind become exhausted, the eyes are closed, the afterimage is held in the awareness, and then dissolved into the infinite void. The meditation on emptiness is held without forcing it, and then the yogi slowly comes out of meditation, maintaining awareness of the center channel. A note on Mantras: Mantra may be a short, powerful “seed” sound, called a bija mantra, like the famous sound “OM,” or a longer combination of bija mantras designed for a more complicated meditative, religious, or shamanic purpose… Because bija mantras require less coaching on effective pronunciation and intonation, they are frequently taught first. OM (pronounced AUM, with the “M” nasalized and sustained to reverberate at the back of the base of the skull ) is the universal mantra. To begin understanding it, OM requires only respectful non-conceptual awareness, and slow, lingering pronunciation with patient, pausing repetition. Many other mantras may require much more initiation in their use for any real benefit to be obtained… Used improperly, some can cause harm to the user…
Yantra Yoga Combined with Nyasa Nyasa means “placing” or “touching”. It can refer to the practice of touching (with the fingertips) various places on the body (one’s own, or that of another), while mentally placing the consciousness, a mantra, a yantra, a mandala, and/ or the awareness of the breath at that location. It can also refer to the movement of ones awareness from space to space in the body, while mentally placing the consciousness, a mantra, a yantra, a mandala, and/ or the awareness of the breath at each location, without physically touching the locations.
Nyasa is done for the following reasons: Awareness and Sensitization: connecting the mind with all of the spaces that make up the physical body, and with all of the subtle parts of the body. On a physiological level, the practice prompts the creation and reinforcement of Neural Networks and Endocrine Receptor Sites. Sanctification: nyasa “places” holy words, images, or awareness of divinity within the body. For those who view themselves as profane, it is an act of transformation. For those who already view their bodies as divine in nature, it is merely a constant reinforcement and reminder. Sacred Geometry: Just like the shapes and forms of mandalas and yantras, the pattern of placement (nyasa) on the human body may be used to “point out” the mandalas of sacred geometry that exist within the physical and subtle bodies. The entire body itself is the greatest microcosmic mandala. Protection or Healing: Protective mantras, anointments, poultices, or images may be applied to the various Marmas (107 main acupressure points) of the human body to physically or spiritually strengthen the constitution before attempting a rigorous practice, or before combat… You can learn more about Nyasa at www.UmaaTantra.com…
Yantra yoga combined with Nyasa may be done several ways. With material: In some traditional practices, a physical yantra is drawn in sand, or sandalwood paste, or engraved on wood or metal, and then touched to the body at the various locations. Usually, the yantra’s accompanying mantra is uttered with each placement.
On the Physical Body: Or, the mandala or yantra may be drawn directly onto the body at the various locations.
Visualization: Or, once trataka has been practiced enough with a yantra, it can be mentally recreated and mentally placed (through visualization and kinesthetic awareness) at each location. Vizualization and the Breath: Or, (also through visualization and kinesthetic awareness), the yantra or mandala may be breathed from the physical diagram through the channels of the body, or into various subtle centers of the body. Think of an early Warner Brothers cartoon, where a cartoon character’s ghost image moves from its body after the character is hit by an anvil. As you slowly and deeply inhale, see and feel the ghost image of the yantra move from the physical yantra, through space, and into your subtle body. Then exhale it back to the physical diagram. Repeat… Vizualization and the Breath with Crown or Hrid Activation: Or, one may mentally or physically place the image above one’s crown and mentally breath it down to ones roots, or to muladhara chakra (the base center), or down to hridaya (the heart region), or to hrit (the heart of the soul), or just to ajna chakra, where it may be held in tranquility, and then dissolved into voidness…
Yantra Yoga Used in Laya Yoga Laya yoga is the yoga of resonance. The yogi purifies, sanctifies, and becomes aware of his/her subtle body as a microcosmic replica of the great macrocosmic forces and consciousness present in Manifestation and in the Primordial Void. Simple geometric mandalas are used to represent the tattvas (the subtle elements of earth, water, fire, air, space…) and are mentally placed at the locations of the corresponding chakras in the body. Alternately, images of deities may be mentally placed (nyasa) within the subtle body. Each deity represents an anthropomorphized universal principle of form, energy, or emptiness in the cosmos. Mantra is used internally to establish bodily resonance with Universal Principles. The foundation principles of Laya Yoga are presented in several chapters of Secrets the Gurus will Never Show You, along with the geometric symbols that correspond to the various tattvas…
Yantra Yoga Combined with Swara Yoga Swara yoga is the yoga of subtle breath. In hinduism it is described chiefly in the Siva Swarodaya. It is different from pranayama in that pranayama (“subtle breath control”) uses physical breath control to affect the flow of subtle energy, aiming either at establishing one-pointedness by moving the body’s prana into sushumna nadi (the center channel) or at ayurvedic balancing of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system for overall bodily and mentall healh. Swara yoga instead focuses on awareness of the current swara (how energy or subtle prana is flowing in the manifested universe: contraction, expansion, or momentary stasis.. i.e., whether ida nadi, pingala nadi, or sushumna nadi is currently dominant in the microcosm, and therefore the macrocosm, and which subtle tattva/element is dominant in that current flow: earth, water, fire, air, or ether. Put in more biological terms – is the right nostril dominant, or the left, or are both channeling breath equally? Knowing that, what is the length (in fingerwidths) and shape of the turbulent flow of breath emitted in each exhalation…, These states and shapes move in fixed cycles of change, and have very specific implications for the current mental and physiological state of humans in a given time zone, under particular astrological conditions… Yantra yoga is combined with swara by undertaking yogic practices in harmony with the flow of swara, and by performing the yogas with the yogi’s remaining aware of the flow of swara. Swara yoga is a complex subject and its many implications are beyond the scope of this manual.
Yantra Yoga with Sanskrit Characters: The devanagri script of Sanskrit is itself a series of yantras. Each letter has a particular resonance, and when contemplated alone or combined into written mantra, Sanskrit letters have a powerful effect on the brain. They are used for trataka just as other yantras are, and for a geometrical yantra to be fully empowered, Sanskrit mantras written in devanagri script are usually incorporated into the image….
Yantra Yoga with Architecture Temples in India are built following the Vedic architectural science of vaastu shastra in the form of yantras! Shiva temples if viewed from the sky, appear as the yantra of Shiva Nataraj. Yogini Temples often contain the female triangle in their floorplan. Frequently, smaller mandalas and yantras are formed by structural elements. Viewed from afar or from within, these temples and their adornments become objects of visual yoga to those who know how to gaze while withdrawing the senses…
Yantra Yoga within Posture and Dance. The body itself is made into various yantras in both tantric hatha yoga, tandava, and other sacred dance. Contemplation of these bodily forms, and their mental recreation, can lead very powerfully to union once trataka and shambavi mudra have been accomplished. The various erotic statues in the yogini temples of south India are also sacred geometrical yantras, to be used in tranquil contemplation. In both Hinduism and Cabbalism, the intersecting male and female triangles that form the Star of David were originally formed by the intersection of the male and female form in tantric union using the recumbent “x” posture. (See the Secrets of Tantra Seminar DVD’s or Gold Bonus DVD 4 of the Tantric Inner Circle, both at www.UmaaTantra.com). The points of the star are created by the heads and feet of the two human figures. This, like sacred dance, works both for the humans taking the geometric forms, and for those observing them in visual yoga… Tibetan Yantra Yoga is a hatha yoga built out of sacred forms…
Visual Yoga in other traditions: Sufism uses visual contemplation of and union with sacred architecture, sacred calligraphy, and sacred geometry as a form of yantra yoga. Other forms of Islam also use this, but to a lesser extent. Christian Mysticism (in Catholic, Orthodox, Gnostic Christianity, and in Protestantism) uses yantra in 1) contemplation of the cross itself, in all of its permutations. 2) the stations of the cross 3) genuflection (a Christian form of nyasa) 4) sacred architecture (cruciform gothic cathedrals, and womblike Romanesque churches)
5) contemplation of the Word itself Cabblic Judaism uses yantra in the form of the Hebrew Alephbet , The Star of David, the Sephiroth, and more… The sacred alephbet is used in cabbalism much the same contemplative manner as the sacred devanagri script is used in tantra. Taoism and Zen / Chan Buddhism use Calligraphy (both creation and contemplation of calligraphy) as a way to achieve balance and resonance with the macrocosm… Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism and Japanese Mikkyo Buddhism both use mandala creation and contemplation in ways derived from the Hindu yantra yogas and Vedic fire ceremonies…
A Reminder Mystic diagrams have no yogic purpose unless the yogi/yogini can adequately accomplish concentration (dharana), meditation/ contemplation (dhyana) and one-pointed non-dual awareness (samadhi) through trataka on a simple point! Master Trataka first, and all things will follow…. The goal of yoga practices is always Realization of Oneness, and subsequently the strengthening of that Realization. Don’t dabble in mysticism. Don’t aspire to paranormal abilities… neither will bring you succor… Immerse yourself instead in Union and realize the non-dual nature of Self – as both form and void… the union of light and dark, of bliss and emptiness, for your own benefit, and that of all sentient beings. Try to glimpse the union that already exists. Don’t waste your time in egoistic philosophical arguments. Practice instead. Remain in non-dual awareness instead. See the bliss and emptiness in all things, and in yourself. Words, by their very nature, will always be at odds with other words. Philosophies cannot encapsulate truth. Truth is Ineffable.
More Information on yoga, tantra, qi gong, and meditation is available at www.UmaaTantra.com. Support for the techniques described in this manual is available via email at [email protected]
You may send specific questions on the techniques and on your practical experiences as a result of the techniques. We reserve the right to reprint your questions and our answers, but we will honor your timely request for anonymity in reprints. We have an excellent reading list posted on the website if you wish to broaden your understanding of Eastern philosophy and meditative traditions, as well as links to many other great websites. However, please remember that practical experience and observation is always more beneficial than armchair postulation!