Clearing the Stale Energies
This practice may be easiest to understand by watching first. Start by watching this video. Then you can practice on your own or with Lama Tsomo’s guidance.
Here’s a run-down to go along with the video. Grab a tissue, as Lama Tsomo always recommends a quick nose blow before doing this practice. Clearing the Stale Energies is a traditional relaxation technique that will prepare you for your daily practice. You can also think of it as a negative or “stale” emotion flush. We all have negative or afflictive emotions within us. Flushing them out prior to practicing can benefit your meditation. These negative emotions are referred to as the Three Poisons. Each poison represents a family of afflictive emotions, and each of us tends to have a “favorite” poison that we work with regularly.
The first poison: desire, clinging, longing, which you’ll visualize as red smoke.
The second poison: aggression, frustration, competitiveness, worry/fear, dislike, anger, pride, which you’ll visualize as white smoke.
The third poison: ignorance, dullness, delusion, laziness, stupor, which you’ll visualize as blue smoke.
Visualize and follow the steps below before your daily practice.
Get into a comfortable meditation position. Most importantly, sit tall with a neutral spine and feel relaxed. Sit on the floor, on a firm cushion, or on a chair; choose what’s best for you.
Make a “vajra fist” with each hand by pressing your thumb against the base of your ring finger, leaving your index finger out, and placing your remaining fingers over your thumb.
Next, curl your vajra fists under so that the backs of your hands are placed firmly at the top of your thighs, almost at the hip joint. Fully straighten your arms and rotate your inner arms toward the outside. Let your shoulders come up by your ears.
Lift your left fist and draw a big slow circle in the air toward your nose with your index finger. After inhaling press your index finger to your left nostril to block it off.
Breath out firmly, letting the “smoky stuff” flow out of your right nostril. End with a strong push to get out the last bit of air.
Return your fist to its original position and repeat this exercise on the other side. Then continue to alternate until you have completed the exercise three times on each side.
Next, return both fists to your lap, and blow out of both your nostrils at the same time. This allows you to blow out the “smoky stuff” from the blue middle channel out through your nose. Repeat three times.
Finally, gently exhale through the mouth, allowing your hands to slide down your legs, and unclench your fists. Feel your spine relax into a more neutral position.
The movements and breathing may feel foreign at first, as most new things do. Keep practicing with the video or alone and see how it benefits your state of mind.