Do You Really Know What Yoga Does for You? (Part 2)

Himat Dayvault: KRI Certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher

On the previous blog for Part I, I left with how important the glands are to our yoga practice and how they create the experience of enlightenment. But how do the things we do on our mats in a yoga class affect the glands? What glands specifically are being addressed? One of the great aspects of Kundalini Yoga and its ability to create rapid results is its effect on the glands, which causes them to secrete. Glandular secretions are caused several different ways, but yoga works primarily through applied pressure to specific glands and sound vibration. The kriyas, yogic exercises with a completed action via geometry, movement, breath, and sound, are designed to create pressure on the glands. When the pressure is released, the resulting relaxation allows the secretions to circulate through the bloodstream bringing balance and expansion to the mind-body relationship.

Geometry works with the specific angles of the body when placed in static and active postures. The firing of the nerves, muscle contraction and tension, and alignment of the energy meridians creates internal pressure, and pressure causes movement. When yoga enthusiasts talk about the flow and glow they experience from the practice, it is the movement of pranic energy, the more efficient circulation of oxygen, and the elimination of used prana, apana, and CO2 from the body. For example, aura fix is a posture done while sitting cross-legged with the arms extended up and out at 60 degrees with the thumbs pointed toward the sky and the fingers pressed into the pads of the palm. Yogi Bhajan was very specific on the 60-degree angle of the arms because this angle allows for the free flow of energy through the arms into the heart center, chest, and the thymus gland just above the heart. Also, the energy meridians for the heart, lungs, and pericardium begin in the hands and are stimulated through this angle. This kriya is done with breath of fire, which increases the flow and intensifies the internal pressure. This sacred geometry aspect to yoga postures is the reason we strive to hold the postures correctly. Just by dropping the arms a little bit, we will change the effect of the kriya on the energy centers, internal organs, and glands.

Kundalini Yoga incorporates many kriyas that involve moving the body in rhythm with the breath, which creates a pumping action, which causes even more powerful internal pressure and movement within all systems of the body. The combination of body movement and breath has a dynamic effect on the glands. This gives us more leverage, which the laws of physics tell us reduces the amount of energy needed to move a larger object. Leverage gives us the capacity to effectively and quickly open pathways, penetrate blocks, and create rapid change. It also gives us a tremendous reserve of pranic energy that we use to power our daily activities.

The use of sound vibration is vital to stimulating and balancing the glandular system. Vibrations move very fast, faster than the blood circulates through the body. So, the glands communicate with each other by frequency, like calling someone to tell them you have put a package in the mail to them. The vibration from the pituitary gland prepares the pineal gland, alerts it to the fact that biochemical secretions are on the way via the circulatory system. That is why we begin every Kundalini Yoga class by chanting the mantra “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.” What the words mean has very little effect on the glands, but the frequency of the vibrations is the action created. The vibrations from this sound current resonate throughout the nasal cavity, and the pituitary gland is located directly above this vibrating cavity. Like the effect of one sitting on top of a stereo speaker, the ability to hear is not necessary to feel the music. The frequency of this sound changes the secretions of this master gland, which will begin a process of communication with the entire glandular system and will change the biochemical state of the brain, allowing the mind to become less active and more relaxed and calm. Also, while we are chanting, we have our hands in a specific mudra, which connects two meridian points in the fingertips. By pressing the tip of the thumb with the tip of the first finger, that connection completes an energetic circuit, which stimulates the third eye point, which is the pituitary gland.

Not only are we activating the pituitary by sound and mudra, we internally focus our eyes to the third eye point. With the eyelids closed, we roll our eyes up to focus our attention to this point between the eyebrows just above the bridge of the nose. We are essentially gazing at the inside surface of our skull at the lower forehead, like a movie screen in a theatre. But, the pituitary gland is physically located back several inches in the brain, above the nasal cavity. How does this eye position affect the pituitary gland? I learned the answer from a yogi who is also a doctor. In medical school during his anatomy cadaver studies, he manually rolled the eyes of the cadaver up to the position of focusing at the third eye, and realized the optic nerves from the back of the eye balls stretched and moved. The optic nerves cross like an “X” on their way to the brain, and the pituitary gland is located at the point in which they cross. When the eyes roll up, the optic nerves move and physically apply pressure to the pituitary gland. Here we see the sacred geometry of the yoga practice come into play – the triangle pattern of the eyes and pituitary gland creates the experience of awareness and insight, with insight being the internal sights and feelings from our intuitive wisdom. The eyes gaze at the movie screen in our heads, observing the infinite Universe that is within each of us. But where do these images come from, and what projects them onto our screen? The pineal gland is the projector.