Secrets of Ancient Yoga Practice
There are many secrets to a great yoga practice, and even after practicing for over a decade, there are new layers of yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation that we can dive deeper into, awakening an understanding of yoga on more than just the purely physical level. One of the teachings of ancient Hatha yoga is that of the Bindu.
If you have ever seen yogis with a ponytail at the very top, back of their skulls, with the rest of their hair shaved off, this is to signify the placement of a minor chakra, which has a great meaning to many advanced yogis. The Bindu is a singular point at the top of the skull (about five inches from the apex of the skull), in the Tantric tradition of yoga, which signifies the opposite point behind the Ajna chakra or third eye, and is considered the holder of amrit, (sometimes called amrita) a special nectar that helps an aspirant obtain enlightenment.
In ancient times, Sikhs drank this amrita in religious ceremonies, but your body makes it on its own, via a subtle energy current, which flows through the spinal column, and through the Sushumna, Ida and Pingala nadis, or energy centers like acupuncture points or meridians that help direct the flow of our pranic energy through the chakras, and eventually upward to the crown chakra, or Sahasrara.
The Seventh Chakra
The bindu is also considered the seventh chakra. It contains ‘drops’ and ‘winds,’ metaphors to describe the subtle energy that flows through this little-known chakra. The amrita is the drop, or the golden elixir of higher awareness, and the winds are the subtle energy which helps bring this nectar to the appropriate endocrine glands to help awaken our higher spiritual awareness.
The bindu is also seen as an ornamental dot placed at the center of the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Many Indian women wear this ornamental dot to mark the spot of the Ajna chakra, or third eye, the sixth chakra. The bindu signifies, in both cases, the beginning of singular or one-pointed concentration or an awareness of the many becoming one. It is also said to be the starting point of a true understanding of the Divine, since the Infinite is One, not Many, according to the yogic tradition. The many are just manifestations of the One.
Inversions to Help Awaken the Bindu
Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana), Headstand (Sirsasana) and all other inverted yoga asana which place the head below the heart are good postures to help awaken the 7th chakra, and to concentrate the amrita (subtle energy) so that eventually, it can bathe the pineal and pituitary glands (master glands of the body) with pranic force.
As with any yoga practice, the other chakras must be opened and balanced first before the subtle energy can rise to the upper chakras, including the bindu, so start with easy yoga asana and meditation practices before going straight into the more advanced, inverted asana. At the appropriate time, the subtle energy will rise to the higher chakras with your practice.