Today's post is completely unrelated to writing, and is basically just a wallowing in my specific brand of nerd-dom. I'm really excited by these ideas, though, so I wanted to share...
I've had this book for years, but every time I try to read it I stop when the time comes to do the exercises. One reason is that I'm never going to do some of the basic steps that are required before starting the systematic chakra-clearing exercises--I don't see myself returning to vegetarianism, I can't seem to cure myself of being a night owl, and I've never found someone I want as a guru.
And then there's khechari mudra. Its description is even more off-putting than those of the cleansing practices in which you stand in a river and suck up water into your anus and then expel it, or insert something through your nasal cavities and floss your nose. It involves elongating the tongue over a two-year period and gradually cutting the root/frenulum of the under-tongue until the tip of the tongue can be rolled back and inserted into the nasopharynx.
I think the five or so times I tried reading this book, I stopped after reading about cutting the tongue.
This time, I've been thinking about it differently. Everything in physical yoga has a correspondence with a solid physiological benefit--for instance, the three bandhas or "locks" performed correctly not only allow energy to flow up and down the spine, but they allow connected movement through the sheets of connective tissue that encircle our organs like webs.
And in Rolf Movement, the body gains a sense of space and expansion when you give it a context--a sense of up and of down. (this is also why the bandhas are so important--"locking" will create a ceiling and a floor for the body segments above and below) To sense down, you can think of the bottoms of your feet. But to sense up, more effective than thinking of the top of your head, is touching the palate with your tongue.
As I was experimenting with rolling my tongue back towards my nasopharynx, I was thinking about how Ida Rolf's original Rolfing "recipe" always involved taking someone's tongue (with gloved fingers) and pulling it. In my training we didn't do that, so I never incorporated it into my sessions. Now I'm thinking I should have--because stretching the back of my own tongue I can feel, subtly, a stretch down the front of my neck and into my sternum, and when I stick my fingers into the tight muscles alongside my throat (with tongue rolled back) they relax much more easily. So I'm thinking that, like the bandhas, khechari mudra must have postural and other physiological benefits beyond the ones listed here.
So with some research about khechari mudra...it's not necessary to cut the tongue, or even to reach the nasopharynx, so long as mentally you can visualize the tip of the tongue, the uvula, the throat, and the third eye all connected in a circle. See here. Maybe without the cutting and the complete closing off of the cavity with the tongue, I won't ever experience yogic hibernation when I would no longer need to eat or breathe even to stay alive--but I guess I don't really want to do that anyway.