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Yoga studio workshops - Breathwork, Chanting, Chakras, Kundalini, Yoga Nidra, etc
Posted by: allalong ()
Date: December 20, 2019 09:56AM

I am concerned about how yoga has changed so much recently. It used to be you take a yoga class, do some poses, leave feeling relaxed, and that's it. Now it seems that the yoga industry is full of the religious aspects of yoga. And there's zero regulation of any of this. What is going on?

A studio I was in for a while I stopped attending, because I just wasn't comfortable with all the "feel the love", yoga philosophy readings, sweet teacher one moment than screaming firmly like the flip of a switch the next moment, chanting, mudras, ayurveda nonsense which is completely non-scientific, pushing advanced poses, etc. I finally had enough when one of the popular classes we were encouraged to share mats, share spaces, get a bit too cozy.

I had a bad experience with some Kundalini yoga I was taking. It gave me migraines, made me irritable, and made me extremely hot. After reading some very frightening things online about Kundalini yoga and awakening the Kundalini within, I could not believe this wasn't a part of the description. There were no warnings about how powerful and activating Kundalini yoga is.

Same thing with Chakra based yoga. I didn't have good experiences with that, either. And it's non scientific. There's no proof we have these rainbow colored chakras in our bodies.

I want to take Yoga for a little stretching and relaxation--to feel peaceful and serene. I'm not looking for anything more than that. I respect anyone who follows the yogic philosophies or the Hindu religion, but I am just interested in basic, gentle yoga movement.

Around here the yoga studios have all these workshops. Again the industry is entirely unregulated, people have no disclaimers or any kind of training in the human mind, etc. It's a big business, that's all it is. I took a sound work workshop once. The instructor had us roaring like a lion. It was strange.

I took some chanting workshops. They're very hypnotic like. And there's a lot of backstory about the different Hindu gods. The instructor also teaches breathing techniques that make a person feel high. If that's your thing, that's not my business. But it wasn't what I was out for. And there wasn't any description that that's what it would be like.

My worst experience was doing something called "breath work". The workshop's description made it sound like it was going to be calming breathing techniques. Even the ad for it had a photo of a very peaceful picture.

When I got there, the practitioner explained that what we see here, and what we experience, does not leave the room because it's private. She kept saying repeatedly "This is a safe place." She said to trust everyone in the room. She also said that if we started the practice and felt it wasn't for us, we should sit on our yoga mat with our eyes closed and don't open them until the workshop was done, to not leave because it'd interrupt the others.

The method was to inhale very fast in a gasping sort of way, and then quickly exhale. If you do a long exhale, you ruin it. She said not to be afraid if you start to cry, laugh, or scream--that this is all good and part of the "release of toxic emotions" and that it will heal you of any trauma. She played music that got louder and faster as the workshop went on.

There's no science anywhere of proven benefits or safety. There are no risks outlined. It's messed up. What happened to doing basic yoga or meditation as a form of relaxation and stretching?

Where's the regulation?

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Re: Yoga studio workshops - Breathwork, Chanting, Chakras, Kundalini, Yoga Nidra, etc
Posted by: facet ()
Date: December 20, 2019 08:51PM

Here’s your answer :-)

>It's a big business, that's all it is.


> Where's the regulation?

Like most things left in excess, there is none and these unregulated things (such as popular fast food / burger chains, the internet / social media usage etc) are often connected to money generation, so to me, your original answer to yourself is a very accurate one.

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Kundalini techniques may be linked to excess serotonin
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 20, 2019 09:33PM

Friends, have a look at descriptions of what happens to us when our serotonin
levels are elevated.

[www.google.com]

IMO this matches up very well with descriptions of 'kriyas' and with 'awakening kundalini'.

Some claim excess kundalini is caused by "energetic overload" not by excess serotonin, that the two are different.

[www.google.com]

Corboy prefers less exotic hypotheses. Problem is persons who overdo yoga and kundalini exercises are unlikely to present themselves to neurobiochemists for examination.

On a serious note,

Too often teachers tell us to keep on doing these exercises, which will
only make things worse, not better.

There is considerable literature about drug induced serotonin syndrome.

We need to get information about serotonin syndrome induced by too strenuous
breathing/kundalini practices.

Note: I live near a medical school. Once I had a conversation with one of the adjunct professors on the psychiatry teaching staff. He told me there have been cases reported of mild serotonin syndrome, for which the remedy is to decrease
dosage of the SSRI (selective serotonin uptake inhibitor/aka anti depressant)

Persons whose serotonin was mildly excessive for their needs reported
lack of motivation, lack of interest in anything, lack of enjoyment.

This to me resembles reports by persons who get heavily involved practices recommended by a guru or yoga teacher and then report lack of passion, lack of motivation, etc --- and are taught that this is a sign of spiritual progress!

To me, the take home lesson is that anything powerful enough to be beneficial, is powerful enough to induce adverse side effects.

Any yoga teacher, breathing teacher, meditation instructor who cannot describe the adverse side effects of the practice and who will not tell you what signs
indicate you are overdoing and must stop, is unfit to teach, period.

For further reading, have a peek here.

[www.bahaistudies.net]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2019 09:39PM by corboy.

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Re: Kundalini techniques may be linked to excess serotonin
Posted by: allalong ()
Date: December 21, 2019 03:19AM

corboy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Friends, have a look at descriptions of what
> happens to us when our serotonin
> levels are elevated.
>
> [www.google.com]

This is very interesting. It just discusses it from too high a dose of SSRIs, but I wonder if there's research out there that says you can get it from certain types of yoga and meditation.
>
> IMO this matches up very well with descriptions of
> 'kriyas' and with 'awakening kundalini'.
>
> Some claim excess kundalini is caused by
> "energetic overload" not by excess serotonin, that
> the two are different.
>
> [www.google.com]
>
Yes I can see that, and I started to experience that. I don't understand why there's absolutely no warning in the yoga communities about the possible dangers of Kundalini yoga, Kundalini Awakening (I've seen it online as Kundalini Syndrome), certain types of meditation, etc.

I also don't understand why the therapists and psychologists are not privy to this, either.

I've read of people having breakdowns during silent retreats, and the people running them have zero training in what to do if that happens.

Unfortunately victim blaming happens.

And yet there are many people out there who want to awaken their Kundalini. I don't want to awaken my Kundalini, balance my chakras, or anything like that. The little I did made me irritable or hypomanic like (for lack of a better word). I just want to understand how to do basic yoga, basic meditation, and basic mindfulness without this sort of thing occurring. And I want to know why warnings and regulation aren't out there.

> Too often teachers tell us to keep on doing these
> exercises, which will
> only make things worse, not better.
>
Yes I've read that and I've had that happen, but I caught it early enough.

> There is considerable literature about drug
> induced serotonin syndrome.
>
> We need to get information about serotonin
> syndrome induced by too strenuous
> breathing/kundalini practices.
>
YES! I agree whole-heartedly. Therapists and psychologists are encouraging yoga, meditation, and mindfulness but they need to be made aware that many of the teachings out there that seem harmless are actually very harmful and in a completely unregulated industry.

I even specifically told the instructor of the breathing workshop that I had a bad experience with Kundalini Yoga, I needed to know if this was a relaxing type of non-activating breathing and nothing like breath of fire. She assured me that her breathwork was nothing like that, was completely safe, and would free me from blocked trauma, etc. There are many who lie just to make money, but I think in this case she was completely delusional.

> Note: I live near a medical school. Once I had a
> conversation with one of the adjunct professors on
> the psychiatry teaching staff. He told me there
> have been cases reported of mild serotonin
> syndrome, for which the remedy is to decrease
> dosage of the SSRI (selective serotonin uptake
> inhibitor/aka anti depressant)

I can see that. Also mixing SSRIs with certain meds may cause Serotonin Syndrome but I don't know how common that is or how mild or severe it'd be. It's just something my doctor told me.

Does he mean people on any sort of SSRI shouldn't be doing Kundalini yoga, meditation, etc.? I also wonder what his thoughts are of the possible harms these things can do, with or without SSRIs. I'm on a very low dose SSRI so I would assume this has nothing to do with my SSRI. So many people are on them anyways.
>
> Persons whose serotonin was mildly excessive for
> their needs reported
> lack of motivation, lack of interest in anything,
> lack of enjoyment.

That's what I've experienced since leaving my two "soft cults". I do not think they're from too much serotonin. I don't think I have enough serotonin.

> This to me resembles reports by persons who get
> heavily involved practices recommended by a guru
> or yoga teacher and then report lack of passion,
> lack of motivation, etc --- and are taught that
> this is a sign of spiritual progress!

YES this was my experience with my spiritual group. I was taught that it meant my ego was decreasing and my spirit was awakening.

> To me, the take home lesson is that anything
> powerful enough to be beneficial, is powerful
> enough to induce adverse side effects.

Good message. And everything in moderation, as my doctor always tells me. Too much of something good is no longer good.

> Any yoga teacher, breathing teacher, meditation
> instructor who cannot describe the adverse side
> effects of the practice and who will not tell you
> what signs
> indicate you are overdoing and must stop, is unfit
> to teach, period.

I have not met one around here who has done this. Have you?

> For further reading, have a peek here.
>
> [www.bahaistudies.net]

Thanks for the interesting links. Is it just TM, or other types of meditation?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2019 03:26AM by allalong.

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Re: Kundalini techniques may be linked to excess serotonin
Posted by: allalong ()
Date: December 21, 2019 03:30AM

Although this is somewhat biased because it's written by a yoga blogger, here's an interesting post about the dangers of the type of breath work I mentioned. I'm so glad I walked out. The instructor told me it wasn't holotropic breathwork, but it was--it was just called something else.

[soundbathsandyoga.com]

I'm not finding too much about the dangers doing a quick google search, but the message is trust your gut and do critical thinking anytime you're going to a seemingly harmless yoga workshop or event. And research credentials.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2019 03:38AM by allalong.

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Re: Kundalini techniques may be linked to excess serotonin
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 21, 2019 10:11PM

Dear Allalong, I think the the PDF Bahai STudies article referred only to Transcendantal Meditation.

Here are some ways to learn about side effects of pranayama (strenuous breathing.) Meditation related disorders were known and described in the old Asian systems of traditional medicine. Unfortunately commercial gurus and commercialist yoga and breathwork types do not often teach us this information.

Again, anything potent enough to be benefial is potent enough to produce undesirable side effects, period.

[www.google.com]

There used to be a website called Trancenet dot org. It contained
an article suggesting that the reported side effects of TM matched closely with descriptions of serotonin syndrome.

Trancenet was discontinued in 2005. The information was transferred to another website called Scientia, but Scientia was discontinued.

Lesson is, if you find valuable information that threatens vested interests (such as the Enlightenment Industry) copy it.

Right now, it is very difficult to find information about adverse side effects of mediation. The internet is packed with citations extolling the benefits of TM, for instance. This in Corboy's opinion says much more about the benefits of utilizing Search Engine Opimization.

For some fun reading, here is a wee article.

[www.behavior.net]

Quote

Re: Meditation and Serotonin Syndrome
Laszlo Holics · 11/05/03 at 4:13 PM ET

Dear Dr. Spira,

Thank you for your reply.
The concerns regarding meditation and Serotonin Syndrome come from some websites that are dedicated to hinder the spreading of Transcendental Meditation. Such sites are www.trancenet.org, or www.unstress4less.org, for example.

At the beginning, I believed that all the contents of these websites are reliable, and that the sites are built with an honest purpose. But later on it turned out for me that they are strongly exaggerating things, and are unboundedly striving to deter people from learning TM by all means --even by unfair means.
It turned out for me that they fancifully identified the symptoms of Relaxation-Induced Anxiety with the symptoms of Serotonin-Syndrome, and blurred these two phenomenons together, without any scientific basis.
The concrete article that did this, is the following:

[unstress4less.org]

I consulted with a meditation expert on article. He firmly belied the contents of it, with the following additional remark:

"The excessive enthusiasm of the US Rightist forces to scare American Christians away from Hinduism and its meditative practices is best evidenced here."

So, this is the story of "Serotonin Syndrome" and Meditation. Bizarre indeed.

Dr. Spira, don't you think the something should be done about this? Shouldn't the real meditation experts take action against these sources emitting such false information? Shouldn't www.unstress4less.org be written to, and, so to say, "admonished" by the society of meditation-expert clinicians?

I would be grateful to receive answer from you to the following address:

holics@axelero.hu

Yours sincerely,

Laszlo Holics

When I talked with the med schoolf faculty member I didnt have any questions about meditation or kundalini.

However, I have read that some meditation gurus blithly tell us to stop using
medication and abstain from caffiene during their retreats. If you are
accustomed to daily caffiene, you're asking for hellish withdrawal symptoms during that retreat.

Abruptly discontinuing RX medications is a recipe for trouble, if not disaster.

Many times these gurus require retreatants to sign release forms absolving them of all responsiblity should you incur harm durig the retreat. Yet, they demand that we take full responsibility for all the shit that has ever been done to us, even when we were small kids and lacked agency or resources to escape.

An article that contains some food for thought.

[drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com]

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Re: Kundalini techniques may be linked to excess serotonin
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: December 21, 2019 11:00PM

Looks like the content of trancenet.org is still accessible here: [web.archive.org]

In looking into the available research on meditation, I've noticed that TM-affiliated researchers are over represented, and surprisingly enough, they often manage to conclude that TM-meditation is superior to other meditation techniques.

Having been in multiple meditation groups, I've certainly seen people who seem to be addicted to meditation, and use it to attain some kind of "dissociative bliss", as the Mark Griffiths article says.

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Re: Kundalini techniques may be linked to excess serotonin
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: December 21, 2019 11:35PM

Looks like the archived version of trancenet.org that I linked to is a product of a takeover of the site by pro-TM people, and you have to go back further in time in the archive to get the original version, for example this snapshot from 2003: [web.archive.org]

Edited to add: The other website linked to in Corboy's quote has been taken down (by TM?) also, but is archived here: [web.archive.org]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2019 11:44PM by zizlz.

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Re: Yoga studio workshops - Breathwork, Chanting, Chakras, Kundalini, Yoga Nidra, etc
Date: December 22, 2019 12:00AM

I find this thread rather ironic, because the common complaint about yoga in the US and UK is that all too often it's just a fitness class, and the spiritual side is completely forgotten. Because studios are going for the fitness crowd and don't want to scare anyone off. Most yoga is vinyasa flow these days, and you hear of studios where teachers play gangster rap and hip-hop during class!

There's a rabbit-hole of New Age practices that you may find with certain studios and teachers, but it's very niche within the scheme of yoga, simply because most people aren't into anything woo-woo. They just want a workout.

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Re: Yoga studio workshops - Breathwork, Chanting, Chakras, Kundalini, Yoga Nidra, etc
Posted by: allalong ()
Date: December 22, 2019 03:02AM

It is irresponsible for these so called gurus to tell people to abruptly stop taking medication.

With some of these websites they're written in ways where you can tell what's true and what isn't. Everyone's got an agenda.

I've read "it's the wild west out there on the internet". People paying to have negative reviews taken down, People buying websites that have true info they don't want getting out there. It's crazy.

Regarding the post about people in the US and UK wanting yoga to be more spiritual--I don't know about that. I never minded a little bit of spiritual stuff like a reading by Rumi or something before class, but moderation is key here in my opinion. I don't think most people wanting some spirituality in their yoga class are looking to convert to Hinduism or go to Thailand for week long silent retreats. They're just looking for a sense of serenity in their hectic lives.

About the breathing exercises--I've been to workshops at yoga studios where they do advanced breathing techniques more than the alternating nostril breathing. They're not upfront about the possible harms. Even the Reddit post had a comment that one user gets vertigo from some of those breathing techniques. I'm sure that comment will be deleted eventually. People who have something to hide can't tolerate any negative truths about what they're selling.

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