Question

Hi I am sorry if I am asking too many question as of late, it is because I am very eager to progress with my meditations and life. I have only this one question to ask for now, when I practise the hong-sau tecnique I find that I can not get my tounge to stop moving or at least feeling my tounge as I practice the tecnique. Do you have any advice on this? Thank you very much for the support.

—Victor, Sweden

Answer

Dear Victor,

Relaxation is the key to having the tongue be still during the practice of Hong Sau. Do you do any stretches, Energization, or yoga before sitting? Before Hong Sau, do you do any breathing exercises (“pranayam”) for a few minutes?

Hong Sau is, as you know, done with natural breathing through the nasal passages (not the mouth). But, you may find it helpful in your case to allow the mouth to be relaxed and a little bit open. It involves partially relaxing the face as well.

Let me use an illustration: When a person intends to speak, they will open their mouth and for one brief instant the tongue is suspended in the mouth above the bottom of the mouth and below the upper palate. This is the position I am referring to for you to try during the practice of Hong Sau. It is not mouth breathing: breathing continues to take place through the nasal passages where your attention is focused while you inwardly chant the mantra as you follow the flow of breath up and down in its natural rhythm.

The tongue is the organ with which we speak: when the mind is engaged in its internal narrative the tongue is somewhat in gear (like a car with automatic transmission at a stoplight). At the moment before we speak, the mind is still as it prepares to shift from thinking to speaking. In meditation and including Hong Sau the narrative (talking) mind is the monkey we want to suspend by our attention on the breath and the mantra. There is a connection between the tongue and the narrative (talking) mind. By holding your mouth slightly open and suspending (relaxing) the tongue, you will find the narrative mind easier to suspend also!

Aligned with this technique is one more difficult to describe in an email but is called “dilating the eyes.” With your eyes upraised peering through the point between the eyebrows (I assume you do this during Hong Sau, yes?), and even though your eyes are usually closed during meditation, you let your eyes relax as if they are taking in 180 degrees from left to right in front of you. This also helps shift from left brain to right brain. The exercise given to learn this (not done during meditation but beforehand) is done with eyes open, arms outstretched in front of you opposite your forehead, with the index finger on each hand pointing upward and the two hands initially touching each other. Then, you slowly and simultaneously separate the outstretched hands in opposite directions: left hand going left; the right going right. See how far you keep the upwardly pointing finger in your peripheral vision even while gazing straight ahead. This exercise will help “dilate” the eyes and the resulting position of the eyes can then be maintained during meditation.

The combination of the dilated eyes with the relaxed mouth and tongue will help with the issue you are facing. I hope these suggestions are not too complex to understand and practice.

Blessings to you in your meditations!
Nayaswami Hriman