From the standpoint of acquiring mastery over the pranic force, the entire range of the therapeutics of tantric healing can be presented in five steps:
- Activating the pranic force
- Churning the pranic force
- Containing the pranic force
- Concentrating the pranic force
- Applying the pranic force.
The first three steps constitute the core of hatha yoga. According to tantric masters, the purpose of hatha yoga is to enliven and balance the forces of ha (the sun) and tha (the moon), and bring them to a state of balance. Here “sun” and “moon” refer to the active and passive, the masculine and feminine energies within us. The interplay of these two energies not only influences both hemispheres of the brain and the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, it also regulates our psycho-neuro-immune system.
Activating the pranic force
The simplest way to enliven and balance our sun and moon is to adopt a set of practices that energize our pelvic and abdominal regions and help us gain access to our navel center. Such practices include matsyendrasana, kapotasana, mayurasana, kapalabhati, bhastrika, nauli, and agni sara, to mention only a few. Among these, the practice of agni sara is the key practice for activating the pranic energy at the navel center. In conjunction with these hatha yoga practices, tantric adepts advise the visualization of fire at the navel, the mental repetition of the bija mantra of fire, and the use of ayurvedic herbs to nourish agni.
Churning the pranic force
This step entails churning the prana shakti at our navel center. This is done by practicing a tantric kriya known as the Ganesha mudra. With the help of the Ganesha mudra, we churn our pool of prana shakti, forcing the essence of prana—vitality, virility, and youthfulness—to circulate throughout our body.
Containing the pranic force
This third step draws on yogic techniques for compressing the prana shakti at the navel center and forcing it to flow upward toward the eyebrow center and beyond. The most powerful among all of those techniques is yoga mudra a practice that should be done carefully and only within your own capacity. (See Tantra Therapy, Part 3: Advanced Yoga Practices.) to learn more about agni sara, Ganesha mudra, and yoga mudra.)
Concentrating the pranic force
This is a purely tantric technique known as prana dharana. The first step of this practice was detailed in Living Tantra, Part 6. As we saw in the Living Tantra article series, on the surface the prana dharana practice resembles bhastrika pranayama, but with a slight constriction at the throat and a focus on the movement of the breath as it brushes and stimulates the soft palate. This awakens the energy that surrounds and fills the space where our pituitary gland is located, an area that is the biggest vortex of prana shakti in the human body.
Prana dharana awakens the energy that surrounds and fills the space where our pituitary gland is located. This area is the biggest vortex of prana shakti in the human body.
It is important to remember that it is not the duration of the practice but the precision and coordination of the mind and breath that allows consciousness to penetrate the infinite vortex of the pranic force and gain mastery over it. As we master this practice, prana shakti becomes more and more concentrated in the region of the pituitary gland. At some point, this pranic concentration begins to glow. In the language of tantra, this glow is called “the third eye of Shiva” and is the source of all revelations and healing forces.
Applying the pranic force
The fifth step consists of techniques for transporting the concentrated pranic force to a specific destination—a particular person, family, community, or aspect of the natural world that is in need of healing and nurturance. In tantric literature, this final step is known as preshana and prayoga, the transporting of prana shakti and the precise application of prana shakti, respectively. For ages, tantric practitioners have used this technique to heal others.
Today this same technique can be used to heal the anxiety, depression, immune system disorders, inner unrest, and environmental degradation that are the hallmark of our age. Tantric healing rests on the knowledge that the world and everything it contains is supported and nourished by the beneficent and all-encompassing matrix of Kundalini Shakti. Following in the footsteps of the tantric masters, we can invest our prana shakti, the awakened aspect of Kundalini Shakti within us, to infuse ourselves, our communities, and the natural world with vitality, enlightenment, and vibrant health.