Q: It is the strangest thing. I am doing spinal breathing, going up and down in the tiny little nerve, and the next thing I know I am in this huge blissful space, I think still going up and down, but I'm not sure. I'm not even sure I'm still breathing, but there is no discomfort. On the contrary, it feels fantastic. Am I still in the nerve when this happens?
A: Yes, you are still in the nerve. It is a very big little nerve. An amazing paradox. The inner dimension of it contains galaxies. Yet, you are sitting there on your seat doing this simple pranayama procedure in such a tiny channel in your body. If your breathing naturally suspends in that situation it is okay. Nothing to worry about. The breath will return to normal rate as you return to regular body functioning. We don't force the breath. It finds its own level according to the state of our nervous system during practices. Sometimes the breath may not settle down much in pranayama. That is fine. We just go with it wherever it is, breathing as slowly and deeply as we comfortably can. Other times it may settle down right away. It all depends on the cleaning out process that is going on inside at that time.
Be nice to yourself when doing pranayama. The benefits do not come from practicing heroically in a session. They come from practicing comfortably like clockwork in many sessions over months and years. Slow and steady wins the race.
It is a glorious mystery, this human nervous system we have -- our doorway to the infinite. All we need to know is which levers to pull every day.
A couple of lessons from now we will begin to explore further means to systematically awaken that great realm within us. As we continue to practice, the play of pure bliss consciousness will become more and more dynamic inside. It will also become increasingly perceptible in our daily activities. That is when we might be seen singing and dancing down the street for no apparent reason at all.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.