The Sun and Moon Sadhana
The problem we work with in this sadhana is the problem of directing and containing sexual energy. Sexual relationships are an acute problem for those who practice Dharma. When we consider the flow of sexual energy, we may say that a process of polarization is taking place resulting in tension between two poles: the left and the right, the female and the male. In order to compensate that which is not compensated between the left and the right, an individual seeks for an outer source, i.e. for a partner. An individual feels an urge to gain balance by means of an outer relationship. When relationships are based on a need for compensation, it will not be long-lasting one, as no compensation lasts for long. Being in love, sooner or later, comes to an end. When a relationship is not supported by something more than sex it gradually fades away and a feeling of closeness dies.
This type of relationship is one of dependency. And where there is dependency there is suffering also, which may even grow into hatred.
Yoga brings about independent polarization, the containing of sexual energy. This provides us a means to remain in a state of balance. Whether a person is a layman or monk, the achievement of independent polarization is a proper way of coping with sexual energy.
In this method we use polarization between two centers of the body: the heart center and the navel center, which are two main centers of blood circulation in the body.
In the navel center we visualize the sun disk. This is where we practice gathering of heat: we feel how heat effortlessly streams into the navel center. In our practice it is the heat of sexual desire. Gathering of heat in the navel center may be beneficial in other situations as well, like in diseases accompanied by fever. Let’s name them “heat conditions”.
In the heart center we visualize the crescent moon, positioned the same direction as a boat on water. As our heart “does not like” to be heated we gather cold in the heart center. We meditate upon this cold as upon bright burning cold of the moon. When the cold turns into a burning cold it stops to be an energy freezing factor and starts to warm. On one hand, it does not let the heart be overheated, but cools it in a proper way. On the other hand, it warms up the entire body.
The conditions when we are advised to gather cold in the heart center are: frigidity, climacteric conditions, colds and other “cold conditions”.
As cold is characterized by fixation there exists a difficulty in “moving” it. So we use the following method: we direct our attention the heart. We might be able to feel our entire body as our heart. Give the opportunity for this cold sensation to expand. When our heart contracts we feel as cold is going back within its limits. Technically it is physiologically rooted in the heart’s expansion and contraction, and can be perceived in a natural way.
When we achieve inner polarization sexual energy circulates between our heart and our navel, between cold and heat. In this pattern, our energy does not run away and does not disperse (in dependent relationship energy disperses). So we become able to seize this energy without effort.
If even one partner masters this technique and feels loving kindness towards the other partner, the sexual relationship becomes a kind of ritual offering.
It is between the sun and the moon where the pulsation of life happens. It is in the solar plexus, which is between the sun and the moon, where the five main hindrances are expressed. Five main hindrances are: ill-will, sloth-torpor, restlessness and worry, doubt, and sensory desire. Proper polarization between the sun and the moon gives us a key to conquering these hindrances.
There is a story of Yeshe Tsogyal who was robbed by bandits when she was on her way. The story says that Yeshe Tsogyal liberated these bandits and transferred them by air to Oddiyana. These bandits are a symbol of the main hindrances which usually “rob and rape” our breathing. When we liberate “the bandits” we liberate our breathing (liberation of breathing is symbolized by transfer by air).
The heart and the navel center have a connection with the left and right channels of our body. The heart center is the main center for the left channel and the navel center is the main center for the right channel.
When we polarize energy of the heart and navel, we liberate knots of energy located there. Knots of solar plexus are usually felt as tension or stagnation.
As breathing through left and right nostrils is connected with left and right channels’ activity we may relate the practice of alternating nostril breathing to this sadhana. When we are in a state of balance the left and right nostrils alternate in their activity thus making active either the left or right system of the body. While one side is active the other has rests. In a condition of imbalance or disease we observe a disturbance in breathing. One of the nostrils may become active for a prolonged time, for few hours or even few days, thus resulting in overstrain of the correspondent part of body system and passivity of the other. In order to restore the healthy mechanism of nostril alternation we may use the following method: we lie down on the side of the active nostril suppressing its activity and causing the other nostril to “switch on”. This method proves very helpful in headaches and insomnia.
Realizing the importance of proper breathing, yoga offers a number of exercises for nostril alternation which provide a sort of stretching for our channels.
The practice of the sun and the moon is connected with Red Tara. Her immeasurable feeling is benevolence and her correspondent organ is stomach.
By Ilona Erkin
Translation from Russian: Ilona Erkin and Dorey Glenn