Significance of the Tongue in Meditation | with Drills and Techniques – Part One | Open Lesson


The cycle of the electricity circulating our physical and cosmic bodies is completed by the tongue, from the feet to the brain, from the earth to the heavens. Without it, the flow of energy stops, causing stagnation. During samadhi, it rests flat on the surface of the hard palate to allow the soul to emerge from the subconscious.

Sukha Yoga

Through time, my tongue has become more involved in channelling my energy. Practising kumbhakas, mudras and even asana felt lighter with it. I utilise it to flow the breath into the deep spaces in the body. The depth of the energy anatomy is fascinating.

My gums, teeth, and jaw became highly sensitive. It is probably due to the stimulation of the mental nerves. I would wake up with the tongue raised and pressed against the walls of the hard palate like it had been there all night.

I have developed many ways of accessing the deep inner pockets of my body just by distinctively moving my tongue inside the mouth. For instance, by gently rubbing it against the gums behind the lips and sucking it upwards as you breath-in, you can feel the energy flowing through the side body from the sacrum to the collar bones. By allowing the tongue tip to lightly press against the skin fold behind the lips while inhaling, the rising sensation of the breath could be felt from the generative organs to the sinuses, even through the forehead.

During kumbhakas, to keep the pressure light as you retain the breath inside (or outside), the tongue moves spontaneously too. This subtle movement is felt mostly underneath the tongue while it retracts backwards, crimping the hollow fold below the bottom lip and stimulating the nerves behind the chin (mental nerves). It reinforces the sublime bandhas and allows us to purify the deep inner compartments of the body.

These subtle adjustments are all spontaneous as we breathe. They are known as Kriya. The tongue moves in distinctive ways to make way for the life force ascending to the brain. In a deep meditative absorption (samadhi), it spontaneously shortens to the back of the mouth and hangs loosely inside.

The tongue, after samadhi, speaks the language of God. The heart follows, directing the brain into acts of devotion and sacrifice, not for oneself but for the glory of God.

Spiritual Significance of the Tongue in Ancient Cultures, Traditions, Religions and Sacred Scriptures

Many cultures, meditation techniques, and religions regard the tongue as a spiritual element. Tongue piercing, in ancient Aztec, Inca and Maya civilisations (between 1500 and 3000 years ago), is a gesture of honouring the gods. In parts of Asia, such as Nepal and India, an aspirant healer, after many years of following their teacher and who has attained the spontaneous trance, goes through the ritual of tongue, nose and lips piercing to signify his status of becoming a healer and conduit of spirits.

Of all the senses, the tongue is the most difficult to control. In the ancient text of Bhagavad Gita, it tells that all which touches and passes through it – the food we eat and the words we say, should be offered to God only and never for the gratification of the senses. Our diet should promote our health because the body is the dwelling of God. By keeping our bodies disease-free, we could effectively accomplish the duties of spiritual life. We speak only of the truth, yet compassionately, which is the language of God. By chanting the name of the Lord, we amplify the vibrational frequency of God which we hold abundantly in the heart and the brain.

Deeply ingrained within our hearts and the subconscious mind is our sins and struggles of the past. By promoting goodwill, understanding, tolerance, kindness and respect, we rectify our karma. Our speech, therefore, should promote the same. Anything against these requirements could hurt our efforts to attaining spiritual awakening.

The rest of our senses shall follow. It would be a lot easier to live the life of devotion to the Supreme Creator once the tongue is mastered. To discern what is productive and helpful for our spiritual growth comes easy by controlling the tongue. Whether by keeping it sealed or by saying the name of the Lord (japa) in times of extreme emotional situations, we cut the sword, which is the tongue, thus preventing us from saying words which could hurt the people around us. In times of trials and obstacles, by reaffirming our true nature, which is divine, through chanting and prayer, we ease the burden of the heart until the inspiration comes along.

The physical state of our tongues says a lot about our health. Ayurveda medicine and other traditional healing practices such as acupuncture, give important attention to the tongue in treating their patients. It is believed that the various regions of the tongue are associated with specific vital organs. So by examining the tongue first, the healer is able to make the right diagnosis of the disease before the ideal treatment and cure are prescribed to the patient.

In classes, I tell my students to massage the inside of their mouths using their tongues by rubbing the tongue on the surface of the gums in front and behind the teeth, against the tissues behind the cheeks and the lips, upper palate and soft palate in a circular motion. This technique helps relax the platysma, a band of neck muscles. It is a natural facelift!

Application of the Lesson

Part Two: Sitting Asana for Meditation, The Nada and Introduction to Khecahri Mudra. Watch this space for updates.

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