In this lesson we will teach the fifth stage of ajapa. With regard to preparation for kriya yoga, this stage can be regarded as the last stage. There are further stages, but these are really an integral part of kriya yoga and will be discussed in Book III.
Spinal psychic passage
Between the trigger points of the ajna and mooladhara chakras lies the spinal psychic passage. It is called sushumna. It connects all the chakras together and is located within the centre of the spine. In stage 5 of ajapa you must feel the breath moving up and down within this psychic passage, piercing all the chakras in turn. You will have to use a little imagination. At first you may find this difficult, but with regular practice you will find it becomes natural. You will feel the breath moving within the spinal passage without the slightest effort.
Ajapajapa – Stage 5
This fifth stage of ajapa brings in all the chakras that we have so far introduced. It is different to the previous stages in that one must now imagine the breath ascending and descending through the spine; in the previous four stages the breath was imagined to move in the frontal passage between the navel (manipura kshetxam) and the front of the throat (vishuddhi kshetram).
Take a comfortable sitting position. Close the eyes and relax your whole body. Spend a few minutes preparing your body and mind for the practice in the ways described for the previous stages (that is, Aum chanting, kaya sthairyam, etc.)1. Become aware of the breathing process. Make it slower and deeper. Fold your tongue into khechari mudra.
Slightly contract your throat and do ujjayi pranayama. For a few minutes only be aware of the breath. When your breathing has become long and rhythmical, try to imagine that it is ascending with inhalation . . . And descending with exhalation. Try to feel the breath passing through each chakra in turn. As you inhale, feel the breath moving from mooladhara to swadhisthana, then manipura, to anahata, vishuddhi and finally ajna. Repeat the same process as you breathe out and descend from ajna to mooladhara. After a few minutes synchronize the mantra Soham with the breath – So with inhalation upwards and Ham with exhalation downwards. Feel the mantra vibrating throughout your spine. Feel it piercing each of the chakras in turn. There must be total attentiveness. Continue in this manner for 5 minutes or more. Then watch the blank space in front of your closed eyes. Be a witness to any psychic occurrences that arise. If any visions arise, let them; don’t interfere. This is a method of cleaning out the mind. After a few minutes return to ajapa, the awareness of the mantra and breath in the spinal passage. Do this with total attentiveness for at least 5 minutes. Then repeat the awareness of the chidakasha – the space in front of the closed eyes. After some time return to ajapa. Continue in this manner for as long as you can.