Do Not try this at "Home"..
We are used to seeing this warning so often, be it product marketing or game show advertising.
Sometimes a book should come with that warning! When you read a book and practice something and it might cause you to have some mind bending experiences, that warning should apply.
Now why the emphasis on the "Home" part?
Well, some things are meant for people who are ready to give up their affiliations with familial ties and responsibilities of a social nature and can practically be isolated when it comes to emotions and thought. A person who is married with kids and is gainfully employed should not try certain things, or at least that is the conclusion I am coming to after doing some meditation exercises that started around the 22nd of December.
There are some meditation techniques that are combined with Asana practice (seems to work fine after Bikram Yoga sessions) that work, when it comes to realizing a certain inner calm or inward focus.
Some exercises reminded me of the minute I jumped on the cold water and floated out with a snorkel in Hawaii. There was a sudden silence, a stillness, and the blue waters and colorful corals 20 feet below me transported me to another world and for a brief few seconds I stopped breathing and then suddenly the calm gave way to my lungs going "need air, NOW!!" and I started kicking out frantically to get back to the boat! It took me some time to realize what had actually happened and was trying to internalize those moments for the next few days!
It was almost like what people describe when experiencing "water boarding". Sitting in a carpet in my bedroom in the dark, experienced a drowning sensation. You might ask "why would any sane person want to experience a sensation of water boarding at home?". There are somethings at are not described easily in words. So will not attempt to do that.
Recently have been working on sitting still in lotus pose for longer and longer times. Eight months ago it was 3 minutes tops. Last week could go for an hour easy. It takes a constant effort to just sit in lotus pose in the dark and be still.
Have also been able to filter out things which was scary. The body was fully conscious of things being said around me or even people moving around me. The brain was telling my body to get out of this position, but the body simply did not react. Just disobeyed and acted disconnected. That kind of spooked me and the MIL. So she advised me to stop these meditation attempts. Apparently the kids sensed Daddy was going through periods of extreme calm and extreme trigger happiness and it was obvious to them but not to me!
There have also been a lot of thoughts recently that simply steer me towards making a clean break from everything in my life and go sit in one place and focus. The wife clearly said "Hell NO!". Wherever you go, we follow. Isolation is not an option for you. So that experiment will have to wait till after retirement, whenever that might be!
After doing a bunch of these meditative attempts, went and read forums and found a common theme.
Do NOT try this at HOME! and do NOT try this without a Guru to teach you how to control the way the body reacts when you attempt to control your mind.
For now, the experiments have stopped. Going to focus only on the "breath working with the body" to execute the Asanas in 90 minutes and leave it there. My wife and kids at one point thought I was simply going "nuts" which is the easiest way of rationalization for someone who does not believe or cannot comprehend any experiment.
Kind of gave me a glimpse into why any Yogic practice is branded as "mystic" or "magic" or "hocus pocus".
All this started because there was a Yoga forum where it was mentioned :
"Beginner Yogis focus on the heat, sweating and the instructor..
Intermediate Yogis focus on perfecting the Postures by entering and exiting them correctly and holding the poses for longer times
Advanced Yogis focus on the breath synchronizing with the postures. It is a 90 minute breathing exercise with a few asanas thrown in to distract you!"
This is actually true! Once you know that you can enter and exit the poses right, you realize that to do this with less effort, your breath has to co-operate and it does not sync with the body movements. One wrong inhale or exhale makes you stop and catch your breath so you can move on.
Just like the first time you learn to balance on a bicycle, go on roller blades or the first time you learn to float in water you panic and then calm down, the same thing happens while executing Yoga poses although you are standing on a mat or sitting on one. Once you calm down, it is possible to do wonders with the same body that simply failed you a few minutes ago...
This realization naturally sent me searching for breath control methods and some experimentation and seems to have some side effects. Had the side effects been prominently mentioned in the books and videos, would not have tried it.
Very much have my sanity and will experiment more carefully with my mind going forward, if at all!