Jaguar Yoga: Fusing Ancient Technologies to Balance Our Emotions and Energy

According to shamanic wisdom, although the memory of a traumatic experience may still linger in the mind, the trigger of the trauma itself is stored in the energy body. Shamans call this an “energy imprint.”

The ancient yogis taught that the essential energy of the traumatic experience is embedded in the body’s energy meridians (nadis), glands (chakras), or internal organs. Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that a blocked meridian or internal organ will lead to an imbalance of emotions and a skewed view of the world.

What shamans call an imprint, yogis call a samskara: a traumatic memory embedded in the body that leads to repetitive thoughts and actions.

The Imprints of Energy and Emotions

As traumatic memories/blocks are lodged in the body, they create patterns in the nervous system, the motor system, and the endocrine system. The patterns in our nervous and motor systems define our body language, and the patterns in the endocrine system lock us into an emotional predisposition to certain behaviors and reactions, as well as a fixed view of the world.

We tend to think that our emotions are happening in our head, in our thoughts about how we feel about things. The truth is that although there may be a conversation happening inside our head, we feel the sensation of the emotions in the whole body. These emotions are in essence hormones that our glands and internal organs secrete and release into our blood flow.

In other words, our emotions live in the body. Each emotion is a product of the chemistry of each organ. When the mind is hijacked by the hormones produced by unease, fear, anger, or other negative emotions, they dictate our responses and actions. When these states of imbalance remain for extended periods of time in the body, they forge one’s personality.

Organs and glands are the warehouse of our emotions. The trauma determines what chemicals are secreted, and the self pays the bill.

Transforming Our Energy Imprints

Shamans tell us that the space we move through is not an empty space, but rather a matrix of energy with varying shapes, direction, and intensity. Einstein called this the unified field. As we clear out the meridians from energy imprints, we clear our triggers and reshape our energy field, so it can expand and find symmetry.

According to shamans, when we walk with an expansive and symmetric luminous field, we have the opportunity to connect with synchronistic energy lines that allow us to travel on an accelerated spiritual path and attract what and who we want into our life.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali writes, “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” In order to find the state of a steady mind, the body must be balanced. Triggers must be neutralized and released, so they do not create ripples that will awaken negative stories in the mind and stressful hormones in the body. A state of imbalance leads to a victim identity and a sense of being disempowered in life; a state of openness, with balanced meridians and glands, leads to self-confidence and clarity about our mission and dharma in the world.

Yoga is a language that retrains the body and the self to see the world anew. Each posture is a letter. Each practice is a statement—or even a prayer—that teaches the body a new language. Practicing yoga allows us to write a new story, lead a new life, and evolve into a more conscious and confident human being.

How Jaguar Yoga Works

To create Jaguar Yoga, I drew from the principles of Chinese medicine, Peruvian shamanism, and classical yoga. Jaguar Yoga is a way of looking at asana and other yoga practices as a technology to clear out past impressions that hold us back in life. Each individual is prescribed a sequence of postures that can open and prepare the body for releasing trauma, including a peak posture that will be the key to liberating the individual from specific imprints.

Each posture is approached as a gateway to healing past stories by clearing the meridians and promoting an expansive and symmetric luminous sphere. The focus is on balancing emotions in order to attain clarity, self-confidence, and a grounded approach to a spiritual life.

Looking through the shaman’s eyes, we can see how specific postures address specific issues and can clear out negative emotions, restoring a healthy and balanced psychology that is necessary in order to move in the world with power over the outcome of events, goals, dreams, and our overall destiny. Inviting this shamanic view into our yoga practice accelerates healing and empowerment, bringing us into connection with our deepest self and with the Divine.    

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Ray Crist, a Kripalu Yoga teacher and shaman’s apprentice, teaches how to use yoga and shamanism to live a balanced, empowered life.

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