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Tummo and Hindu Kundalini

Tummo is a Tibetan word, literally

meaning fierce [woman] or, generally,
inner fire.[5] The terms drod and
tummo are synonymous though the
former is used in Traditional Tibetan
medicine, whilst the latter is employed
in tantric spiritual disciplines. The
Sanskrit terms caṇḍalī and kuṇḍalinī
are clearly etymologically related.
Kundalini is etymologically linked to
candalī, the Sanskrit term for tummo,
or inner fire. The two practices are
also related. Miranda Shaw clarifies:
Kuṇḍalinī-yoga offered a range of
techniques to harness the powerful
psycho-physical energy coursing
through the body... Most people simply
allow the energy to churn in a
cauldron of chaotic thoughts and
emotions or dissipate the energy in a
superficial pursuit of pleasure, but a
yogi or yogini consciously
accumulates and then directs it for
specified purposes. This energy
generates warmth as it accumulates
and becomes an inner fire or inner
heat (candālī) that [potentially] burns
away the dross of ignorance and ego-
Kundalini, therefore, is the energy that
when accumulated and directed can
become tummo. The two are
essentially similar in nature but
applied in somewhat different ways in
the Hindu Kundalini Yoga practice and
the Vajrayana Buddhist tummo
practices, such as the Six Yogas of
Numerous non-Buddhist tantras of the
Shakta and Shaiva traditions
(generally termed Hindu by
westerners) speak of Kundalini, which
is generally described as a coiled
energy at the base of the spine,[7][8]
[9] at the first chakra. The image of
celestial partnership is common within
the Shiva-Shakti treatment of
Kundalini union. As the serpent
energy, or "shakti," ascends to the
Crown chakra, Shiva, the cosmic
consciousness permeates the body-
mind of the sadhaka. It is important to
remember that the language of
directionality encoded within this
process is only metaphorical and that
the higher awareness states are
typically nonlocal, unbounded and
Kurt Keutzer (2002) discusses the
Kundalini yoga, Vajrayana, Nath
Sampradaya, Mahasiddha and
"Kundalini yoga in the Natha
Sampradaya and Vajrayana in Tibetan
Buddhism both take their origin from
the Mahasiddhas who were active in
India from the 8th century to the 12th
century. Kundalini yoga practices
formed the core of the teachings of a
number of these Mahasiddhas and are
strongly represented in both Tibetan
Buddhist practices and contemporary
kundalini yoga practices. Kundalini
yoga was spoken of as ``Candali yoga
by these Mahasiddhas and became
known as gTummo rnal 'byor in Tibet.
Candali yoga was a key practice of
the famous Tibetan yogin
Dr. Arya (2006) describes the raising
of drod or tummo through the tsa lung
vortices (Tibetan: khorlo; Sanskrit:
chakra) in a manner comparable to
the "serpent fire" (Sanskrit: kuṇḍalinī;
caṇḍalī) and mentions Vajrayogini and
bodymind making reference to English
renderings of marigpa, sahasrara and
Traditional Tibetan medicine:
"The psychic heat Drod is produced by
the space particles and the heat
manifested from the friction of the
wind element. This is another
fundamental element as it supports
and gives power to the consciousness,
like the power of the fire that can
launch rockets to space. The power is
called medrod or 'digestion fire' in
medicine and Tummo in yoga tantra.
The heat (fire) sustains life and
protects the body/mind. The psychic
fire increases the wisdom, burns the
ignorant mind of the brain and gives
realization and liberation from the
darkness of unawareness. That is why
yoga describes Tummo as the
aggressive fire which ignites from
below navel, pierces the chakras one
by one and reaches the sky of the
crown chakra. The tummo burning
arrow married with the celestial bride
leads to enjoy the life of
transformation of samsara. They give
birth to the son of awareness from the
blissful garden of Vajrayogini."[11]

• Different traditions have different

energy practices
First of all, for those of you that are
not very familiar with other spiritual
traditions, you should know that one
can find many instances of energy
cultivation around the world. This
should make sense, since this energy
we talk about is nothing but part of
human nature, and often it even
arises spontaneously for some people.
So one would expect different cultures
from the world talking about similar
Some of the most important traditions
that work with this energy, however,
can be more or less traced back to
India. This is indeed the case with
Tummo. Marpa learned Tummo
from an Indian yogi called Naropa
(hence the name of The Six Yogas of
Naropa, the first of which is Tummo)
and then taught it to his students in
For someone that has studied and
practiced some yoga from a Hindu
tradition, it soon becomes fairly
obvious that Tibetans were doing
similar things. In particular the
pranayama bit, in which you hold your
breath (Kumbhaka) at the same time
that you hold some muscles tight
Having this in mind, it can be very
interesting to look at the practices
that were prescribed before learning
Tummo (or Tummo-like techniques) in
different traditions.
• Let’s start with Tibetan Buddhism.
Traditionally, in the Tibetan Buddhist
traditions in which Tummo is taught
(such as Kagyu, or Gelupa), one has to
go through the following practices
before Tummo can be learned:
- The four ordinary preliminary
1. Appreciating human life and how
lucky we are.
2. Reflecting on Impermanence.

3. Reflecting on Karma.

4. Reflecting on Samsara

- The four special preliminary

practices (Ngondro). Different
Tibetan traditions show differences in
the Ngondro, but generally look like:
1. Taking refuge and Bodichitta
2. Vajrasattva (purifcation)

3. Mandala Offering
Guru Yoga

Each of which imply a sadana, or

reading outloud a text and following
its instrucions (protrations,
visualizations, hand movements,
chanting mantras and offering stuff,
etc.) and each of which has to be done
100.000 times.
There is a great little book about both
ordinary and special preliminary
practices by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche
called The Ngondro.
- After you are done with your
Ngondro, and upon empowerment of
the right deity, like Heruka, or
Vajrayogini, one starts the
Generation Stage, in which one sees
oneself as the deity, and visualices
the inner channels, chakras, winds,
- Finnaly, one can start with the
Completion Practices, the first of
which is Tummo, and then you do the
rest of the Six Yogas of Naropa.
On the general path of Tibetan
Buddhism we find Bruce Newman’s
book A Beginners Guide to Tibetan
Buddhism very good.
To get to the point where you can
actually practice Tummo, if you’re a
monk and can afford to go on retreat,
can take a few years. If you are a
layperson, and follow the traditional
way, expect to spend a good 10 or 15
years practicing preliminaries. And
that is one the reasons some teachers
have been teaching Tummo more
openly to westerners.
Also it should be said that Tummo is
not one thing. It is a bunch of
techniques that generally include the
Vase Breath (you can find instructions
on-line), and some exercises called
Trul Khor and Tsa Lung, some of which
can be seen in Lama Surya Das’
Tibetan Enery Yoga video, in the
Yantra Yoga videos in Namkhai
Norbu’s school, or in Wangyal
Rinpoche’s Awakening the Sacred
Body (see links below).
Let’s look at another tradition, to see
what their approach to preparation for
Tummo. Here is where things turn
more interesting…
•Looking at Hindu traditions
If you spend some time reading and
exploring some yogic hindu traditions
and teachers (Satyananda, Yogani,
Swami Maheshewarananda) you will
find that they give you details of the
exact techniques, including advanced
pranayama (Tummo). Also, they lay
out the system in front of you saying
“here’s the whole set of teachings.
Start here, and when you feel
confortable with the new teaching go
to the next.”
Attention, spoiler : The main
technique of Tummo is something
pretty much identical to Maha Bandha
(Mula Bandha with Uddiyana Bandha
and Jalandara Bandha) plus Kumbakha
What do the preparations for Tummo-
like look like?
I suggest you go to look at the sources
and find exactly for yourself, but in
general you do meditation, asanas,
and then start working with basic
pranayama, to which you go adding
things like bandhas and mudras and
maybe visualizations etc. and soon
enough you are doing something very
similar to what you do in Tummo. Then
you do other fun things like Kechari
Mudra (the sensitive readers be
careful if you go to youtube to check
this out…)
Probably in the old times things were
not as approachable in those
traditions as they are today, but that
is how they have evolved and are
taught by legitimate teachers.
• Comparing the two traditions
Comparing these two approaches, it
might be difficult to avoid the
temptation of skipping 10-15 years of
prostations and looking for
We are not saying that the traditional
Tibetan Buddhist approach is bad, or
that these preliminaries are not
useful. Everybody that does them
says that these practices are fantastic
for you and provide great benefit. The
Hindu approach however seems more
doable to us.
One other difference between
traditions might be of emphasis. The
Tibetan approach tend to be more
forceful: longer retentions and
sometimes less care for the body
(jumping and landing on your
buttocks, like can be seen the video
above) . And there probably are many
things we are missing or cannot
appreciate yet.
In fact, there is one more choice –
learning Tummo from a none-
traditional source, which could be on-
line, books or friends or from one of
the few Tibetan Buddhism Masters
that teach Tummo more openly and
don’t require you to do all the
traditional prelimiaries. We have been
extermely lucky and have had the
opportunity to find one of those
So there you have some information.
We don’t claim anything is better than
anything else. We have chosen our
approach, and we might change our
mind in the future, who knows?
Oh, and remember, we might be
wrong, so please feel free to
comment on this post and tell us what
you think!
Tibetan Material
Wangyal Rinpoche’s Awakening the
Sacred Body
Lama Surya Das’ Tibetan Enery Yoga
Yantra Yoga
Non-Tibetan Material
Swami Maheshewarananda
Note: You can read on-line that there
is a version of Tummo in some Taoist
traditions called Kan and Li, but we
haven’t had the chance to see that
one in action. Wikipedia has an outline
of the progress.

The Wim Hof Method *Revealed* –

How to Consciously Control Your
Immune System

wim-hof-method.jpg ¬

We previously published an article

about Wim Hof, holder of 20
Guinness World Records for
withstanding extreme temperatures.
He has climbed Everest and
Kilimanjaro in only shorts and shoes,
stayed comfortably in ice baths for
hours, and run a marathon in the
desert with no water.
Wim is able to accomplish these feats
with ease through the use of ‘The Wim
Hof Method’ — a breathing technique
that allows you to control the
autonomous systems of the body.
wim-hof-method-iceman1.jpg ¬

wim-hof-method-iceman3.jpg ¬

However the most earthshaking effect

of the Wim Hof method is the ability to
consciously control the immune
system to fight off any disease. By
becoming more in tune with the body,
Wim says you can rid yourself of even
the most destructive diseases,
including AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and
Wim is currently working with a group
of university researchers to prove that
anyone can do the extraordinary
things he does. He’s taking 12
participants who have no prior
training, and instructing them over
the span of a week. At the end of the
week, each participant will be injected
with a bacterium than normally
causes violent nausea, vomiting and
fever for several days. However, with
the use of the Wim Hof Method, the
participants will feel nothing (Wim
previously did this and felt no more
than a slight headache).
wim-hof-method-iceman2.jpg ¬

Wim recently came to do a workshop

with the Valhalla Movement team and
explained that he wants as many
people to know about this as possible.
His vision is a world without sickness.
So without further ado, here are the
principles of the Wim Hof Method…
(we highly recommend you to take his
online course or one of his workshops
to fully be able to understand all the
ins and outs.)
The Method
The Wim Hof Method is similar to
Tummo (inner heat) Meditation and
Pranayama (yogic breathing). Yet it is
something else entirely. While Wim
has studied yoga and meditation for
many years, this technique
primordially comes from what he
terms ‘cold hard nature’. By
subjecting himself to the bitter
conditions of nature, he learned to
withstand the extreme forces of cold,
heat and fear. If you learn this method
or technique correctly, it will empower
you do to the same.
The first part is a breathing exercise
which can be likened to controlled
hyperventilation. This is, of course, an
oxymoron. Hyperventilation is
something which happens
involuntarily. But just imagine the
breathing part, without any of stress
triggers that normally cause this way
of breathing. The image will consist of
rapid breathing that makes one
languid, invigorates one, makes one
high on oxygen. One mechanism of
this practice is the complete
oxygenation of your blood and cells.
1) Get comfortable and close your
Sit in a meditation posture, whatever
is most comfortable for you. Make
sure you can expand your lungs freely
without feeling any constriction. It is
recommended to do this practice right
after waking up since your stomach is
still empty.
2) Warm Up
Inhale deeply. Really draw the breath
in until you feel a slight pressure from
inside your chest on your solar plexus.
Hold this for a moment and then
exhale completely. Push the air out as
much as you can. Hold this for a
moment. Repeat this warm up round
15 times.
3) 30 Power Breaths
Imagine you’re blowing up a balloon.
Inhale through the nose and exhale
through the mouth in short but
powerful bursts. The belly is pulled
inward when you are breathing out
and is pulled outward when you are
breathing in. Keep a steady pace and
use your midriff fully. Close your eyes
and do this around 30 times or until
you feel your body is saturated with
oxygen. Symptoms could be light-
headedness, tingling sensations in the
body, electrical surges of energy.
4) Scan your body
During the 30 power breaths, delve
into your body and become aware of it
as possible. Trace your awareness up
and down your body and use your
intuition as to what parts lack energy
and what parts are overflowing. Scan
for any blockage between the two. Try
to send energy/warmth to those
blockages. Then release them deeper
and deeper. Tremors, traumas and
emotional releases can come up. It
can be likened to kundalini rising. Feel
the whole body fill up with warmth
and love. Feel the negativity burn
Often people report swirling colors
and other visual imagery during this
exercise. Once you encounter them,
go into them, embrace them, merge
with them. Get to know this inner
world and how it correlates to the
feeling of tension or blockages in your
5) The Hold
After the the 30 rapid succession of
breath cycles, draw the breath in once
more and fill the lungs to maximum
capacity without using too much
force. Then push all of the air out and
hold for as long as you can. Draw the
chin in a bit so as to prevent air from
coming in again. Really relax and open
all energy channels in your body.
Notice how all the oxygen is spreading
around in your body. Hold the breath
until you experience the gasp reflex
on the top of your chest.
6) Recovery Breath
Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest
expanding. Release any tension in the
solar plexus. When you are at full
capacity, hold the breath once more.
Drop the chin to the chest and hold
this for around 15 seconds. Notice
that you can direct the energy with
your awareness. Use this time to scan
the body and see where there is no
color, tension or blockages. Feel the
edges of this tension, go into it, move
the energy towards this black hole.
Feel the constrictions burning away,
the dark places fill with light. Relax
the body deeper as you move further
inward, let everything go. Your body
knows better than you do. After 15
seconds you have completed the first

Start this practice with one or two
rounds. Try to do it daily and add two
more rounds in a few days. After you
feel more comfortable with holding
your breath you can start to add
exercises and stretches. Work up to a
minimum of 15 minutes or 6 rounds
with exercises. You can do this
practice for how long it pleases you.
If you feel dizziness or pain, get out of
the posture and lie on your back.
Breathe easily again and stop this
practice session.
Reserve at least 5 minutes after this
practice to relax and scan the body.
1. 30 times balloon blowing
2. Breathe in fully

3. Breath out fully and hold until

gasp reflex
4. Inhale fully and hold for 10-15

5. Repeat until finished

6. Take 5 minutes to relax and scan

your body

Bonus Power-ups
• Add push-ups or yoga poses
during the time you are holding
your breath until you wait for the
gasp reflex. Notice that you are
stronger without air than you would
normally be if you could breathe!
• Charge the energy up the spine

by holding moola banda, contract

the rectum & sex organ and pull
the navel inward towards the spine.
• Stand up in squat position and do

the balloon breath. Try to breathe

away the burn. (get seated again
the moment you continue the
cycle, you don’t want to be
standing and faint) See if you can
get the energy overtake the pain.
Don’t give up easily and see how
far you can go if you have the
Cold Exposure
After the body scan of the previous
exercise you are ready let your body
embrace the cold. It is very important
to try to relax as much as you can,
really be with the cold, only then can
your body process the signals and
start thermogenesis. As Wim says,
“the cold is your warm friend!”
Cold Showers
If you are new to cold exposure, start
with cold showers. Begin with your
feet and then follow with your legs,
your stomach, shoulders, neck and
back and finally your head. An initial
shock, shivering and hyperventilation
is normal. Try to remain calm and
breathe easily. Close your eyes and
really try to embrace the cold.
If you feel any strong physical
uncomfortableness, like heavy
shivering, numbness or pain, get your
body warm again as soon as possible.
Once you are out of the shower, take
a moment to do another slow body
scan before you dry yourself.
Cold exposure works like weight
lifting, you get stronger over time.
There are little muscles around your
veins that contract when they get into
contact with the cold. After some time
(only 1-2 weeks according to Wim)
these become stronger, making your
veins healthier and reducing the force
that your heart has to use to pump
blood around your body.
You can increase exposure over time.
At one point the cold will feel just as
comfortable as wearing your favorite
pajamas and you can skip the warm
shower completely. Notice how you
feel amazing after a cold shower and
sluggish after a warm one.
Ice Baths
After a few weeks of cold showers you
can up the ante to an ice bath. Get 2-
3 bags of ice at your local
convenience store and put them in a
half-full bath tub. Wait until around
two thirds is melted or that the water
has reached your designated
temperature (10 / 12 °C (50 / 59 °F)).
You can throw in a couple of handfuls
of salt to speed up this process.
As with the cold showers, try to relax
as much as you can. Start out with
around 10 minutes and increase
exposure over time. If you feel
uncomfortable or in doubt, get out.
After this exercise make sure you do
another body scan.
It is normal to feel extra cold after a
small period of time after the ice bath.
This is called the after-drop. Take a hot
glass of raw coca and keep your blood
flowing by talking a walk. You’ll feel
amazing after!

Types of tapasya
Tapasya is threefold. The highest form
is sattvic tapas, which is intended to
purify the mind and body for self-
realization. Sattvic tapas has a
spiritual purpose, and if you want to
follow it, then you have to practise
meditation. In meditation, when your
mind is giving you a lot of trouble,
then you must practise pranayama.
The breath and mind are
interconnected, therefore, pranayama
is a very powerful method of
controlling the mind.
Pranayama is an important form of
tapasya. When you practise
pranayama, yogic heat is created. This
heat or fire of yoga helps in the
awakening of kundalini. When the
mind is possessed by the powerful
force of kundalini, it becomes totally
stable. This is sattvic tapas, a process
whereby you generate physical heat
in your body. This heat is vitally
important for meditation, but if you
practise pranayama without
preparation, it will not fulfil this