This slender powerful muscle is easily the most under-valued muscle in yoga instruction. For many teachers talking about the tongue is taboo. The tongue is sexual especially if that pink thing is moving. It should remain hidden. Heaven forbid if anyone expose his or her tongue in a yoga class! Cuz you know what that means. Don’t you? Some perv is trawling for sex.
3 decades back I got the strangest looks from classmates in high school chemistry when I used to slap my tongue rapid-fire up & down like a snake. Okay, so I’m an oddball. But it felt calming to my nervous system & made it easier to think clearly. Yogis do some odd things that really aren’t odd. By examining the reasons behind practices, we can learn so much about our bodies & the energetic pathways to living a vital sensuous life. Especially for anyone interested in tantra, it’s vital to discover how your tongue is a gateway to awakening upward currents of energy.
The tongue plays a huge role in either blocking or connecting the energy connecting the central energy channels of the lower body with the brain & cranial glands. When clenched with unconscious tensions this oral muscle inhibits the pillars required to build a successful Hatha yoga practice, namely Ujaya breath & Mulabandha. Relaxing & utilizing the tongue as an energetic conduit between the head & the spine (sex, survival, power chakras), hips, legs, feet & the earth is the easiest quickest way to upgrade your yoga practice.
As a teacher, I observe hundreds of studio members struggling with short choppy breaths. In every conceivable way I coax these individuals to stretch out the duration of breath cycles. Naturally I talk about the tongue. In challenging asanas when the breath remains long and elegant while the heart rate spikes up, miracles happen on the mat.
Why not take 5 minutes to wake up your tongue? See if you feel more relaxed & energetically plugged into the flow of your sexual life-force? If you do, why not incorporate awareness of your tongue on the mat & in your life?
Step 1: Mulabandha – Spread this pink muscle slightly forward & gently lift. The tongue won’t be flat because the roof of your mouth is not flat. The tip may extend slightly beyond your front teeth depending on how long it is. When you inhale, lightly draw up this wide soft tongue. At the same time, lightly draw up the tiny perineum muscle in your pelvic floor. On a scale of 1 – 10, if 1 is flaccid like a glob of jelly & 10 is hard like diamond, aim for 3 or 4 in terms of hardness. Engage these muscles like a gentle suckle. Squeezing too hard kinks up the energy lines & introduces more tension into what’s likely already an over-wound system. Are you playing with it, this lift in the tongue & perineum? This is Mulabandha (root lock) which is best practiced predominantly on inhales.
When you combine Mulabhanda with Ujaya, Ahhhhh! Now you’ve got something sensuous! The Root Seal + Long Oceanic Breath = Rise of Sexual Energy up the Spine! Get ready to feel so AWESOME! Again, if you don’t believe me, TRY IT!
Step 2: Ujaya – Engage whisper muscle at the back of your throat to create a subtle restriction on both inhales & exhales. This Ujaya creates a calm slow oceanic cadence to the breath.
Step 3: Now bring the tongue & perineum lift together with the Ujaya Ocean breath. Close your eyes. Pay attention. From the inside-out, let energy rise up your spine & expand the boundaries of your psychic skin. Can you feel your aura unfurling?
Relax your tongue! Go ahead. When no one’s looking, massage yourself. Trust me. It’ll feel good. Work the tensions out with your fingers. Then try slapping your tongue up & down as quickly as you can. If these options sound too weird, just slide the tongue slightly forward & spread/lift it into the roof of your mouth. Notice if your Ujaya breath instantly becomes much much easier. And isn’t it easier to generate the lift in your perineum when you lift your tongue?
For many yogis developing the necessary dexterity to draw energy from the perineum up the spine & into the 1000-petal lotus of the 7th crown chakra is the Holy Grail of Yoga. Is this stuff real or just some myth invented by Indian dudes writing up their own winning lottery tickets? Well, this mulabandha is real. So are the 7 chakras. From my experience, the tongue is one of the keys. If you don’t believe me, try it! Right now! In a comfortable posture, close your eyes. Relax your tongue. And play with a sensuous steady lift & a long slow breath! Ahhhhhhh! Om Shakti Om … Om Shiva Om! Peter Sklivas Director – Yoga Passion 32 West St. Beverly Farms, MA 01915 978-210-2190