At various junctures in my life, I’ve been ‘forced’ to do more reflective practices. Illness, medical conditions, surgery, even emotional upsets have done that to me – and I have no regrets. I seem to have to learn things the hard way.
During one of these periods in my life, I discovered the healing audio recordings of Richard C. Miller. I didn’t know it was possible to experience such a deeply tranquil state as when I was led in the practice of yoga nidra Miller’s tranquil tones.
Some fortunate Australians will be able to do face-to-face training with Miller in March 2013. His retreat, to be held in Victoria, was booked out almost as soon as enrolments were opened, such is his well-deserved renown and respect.
Dr. Richard Miller, psychologist, author, researcher, yogic scholar and spiritual teacher has been dedicated for 40 years to integrating the nondual wisdom teachings of Yoga, Tantra, Advaita, Taoism and Buddhism with Western psychology.
He and his organisation’s mission is to help people resolve their pain and suffering by rediscovering their wholeness and interconnectedness with all of life. To my way of thinking, this is in complete alignment with Patanjali’s Sutra.
I think Miller is also in synch with Patanjali’s description of how the natural breathing of pranayama helps us clarify our true nature.
Miller has spoken of how, in quiet pranayama practice, the relaxed and uncontrolled breath will naturally become prolonged – both inhalations and exhalations. With the completion of each physical breath, it’s possible to notice something he calls the energetic portion of the breath, the part which lingers, completes itself and gives rise to a totally still place.
When this happens there’s a natural subtle, energetic movement that spontaneously brings the physical breath again – the inhalation. At the top of the inhalation, and its completion, there’s the energetic core that complete itself, too – a spontaneous retention, the energetic pulse of the breath arising and taking the physical breath into the next exhalation.
With this sort of deeply quiet breathing, at the end of each breath, there’s silence, and as Miller describes it:
As each breath arises, you find yourself in stillness, as though the breath is an overlay on your innermost Being… the breath moving in your awareness, but you find yourself as that awareness in which the breath is moving…. There may be a moment where the breath comes to its end and there is naturally no movement…. [Then] you allow each breath to bring you back to your home ground as awareness.
Tatah ksiyate prakasavaranam
The regular practice of pranayama reduces the obstacles that inhibit clear perception.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.