"If the man has a sexual relationship with a woman and his seed is preserved, his vital essence is strengthened. If he succeeds this a second time, his sight and hearing will improve. The third time, all his physical disorders disappear. The fourth time he will begin to perceive inner peace. The fifth time his blood circulates with great strength. The sixth time he achieves sexual mastery. The seventh time his thighs and buttocks will become firm. The eighth time his whole body will radiate excellent health. The ninth time his life span will increase." - From "The Principles of Taoist Wisdom", by Emperor Tang
In this article we introduce an excellent exercise for the pelvic floor, which is meant to rebuild the circular muscles around the uro-genital area and anus, thus increasing the control you have on your erection and eliminating sexual weakness. Carefully practicing these exercises you will be even more prepared to learn seminal retention during lovemaking.
Unfortunately, people no longer practice such exercises in our contemporary, busy, "behind-the-schedule" world. Except for the sexual act, there are very few exercises that actually strengthen the most important pelvic muscles.
In the following, we will indicate a certain exercise designed for your pelvic floor, which acts upon the reproductive organs and the complex network of tendons that surrounds them.
Before we begin, let us make a note on the extreme importance of a strong, toned pelvic floor, as it represents the very root of a man's health.
The pelvis is the location of numerous nervous endings, arteries, and veins. The intricate web of channels communicating with the rest of the body concludes here, in the pelvis.
The great majority of acupuncture meridians (or nadis as they are called in yogic terminology) that "carry" the energy through the vital organs start from this area.
If this area is not toned, if the energy cannot circulate properly in this area, it will be dissipated and the organs and as well as the mind will have to suffer.
This is a common situation with older men whose pelvic and rectal muscles become flaccid and allow the energy to flow outside their bodies.
It is also important to note that at the base of the penile force lies seminal retention. Without this retention, you may not achieve the results we mentioned above, even if you practice these exercises.
In time, loosing your semen leads to impotence and decay. No man, regardless of his physical condition may ejaculate frequently without having to pay a very big price afterwards.
The "Testicular Breathing" exercise ensures the massage and the stimulation of the pelvic area. The vital energy is drawn back towards the testicles which it fills with tremendous vitality.
If you combine this exercise with the Great Ascension, presented in a previous article ... you will be able to create a flow of energy through your body.
Only after this flow is steady and uninterrupted will you be able to begin the process of refining the sexual energy to higher levels until you reach samadhi and even the revelation of the Supreme Self, Atman.
THE PELVIC DIAPHRAGM AND THE UROGENITAL DIAPHRAGM
Our organism has several diaphragms. The best known is the thorax diaphragm, which makes breathing possible, and the less known are the pelvic diaphragm and the urogenital diaphragm.
Nonetheless, if you desire to get results from your practice of sexual continence, you have to make sure you also use the other two diaphragms.
The pelvic diaphragm is a muscular wall extended in the inferior part of the trunk. It is suspended between the pubic shymphysis (in the front) and the sacrum bone in the back, and it is funnel-shaped. This diaphragm consists of the following muscles: elevator ani and coccygeus.
In fact, the pelvic diaphragm forms the floor of the pelvic cavity, which contains the intestines, bladder and kidneys. It sustains and comprises all these vital organs. It is pierced by the anal canal and urethra in both sexes and by the vagina in females as well.
Deep breathing begins from the pelvic diaphragm, an important detail in the circulation of the energy during lovemaking as well as in other situations involving the sublimation of the energy.
In the perineum, at the middle distance between the anus and sex, there is another muscular diaphragm, named the urogenital diaphragm.
The urogenital diaphragm lies inferior to the pelvic diaphragm in the anterior portion of the pelvic outlet. This is a triangular sheet of striated muscle bridging the sub pubic arch.
The posterior edge is called the deep transverse perineum muscle and the major anterior portion is the sphincter of the urethra. The fascia of this diaphragm is particularly thick on the external surface and is called the perineum membrane.
The urogenital diaphragm closes the gap between the anterior edges of the two elevator anus muscles. Inferiorly it gives attachment and support to the clitoris/penis.
These two diaphragms are the inferior "gates", or openings, or entrances if you will that retain the vital energy in order to redistribute it to the superior chakras.
If the inferior "gates" are closed, the energy can build up at this level, bringing vitality to the organs and causing the energy to take an ascendant course.
THE SCROTUM "PUMPS" "COLD" SEXUAL ENERGY ON AN ASCENDANT COURSE
The scrotum is the sack that holds the testicles. It hangs down from the body in order to keep the testicles slightly cooler than the rest of the body. The testes need this slightly decreased temperature in order to make sperm. Without the scrotum, the temperature in the testes would rise a few degrees and sperm production would stop.
In the normal male, the scrotum shrinks when it is cold, holding the testes closer to the body to keep them warm. When the male is warm, the walls of the scrotum relax and the testicles fall away from the body, lowering the temperature of the testicle.
The Taoists consider the scrotum as a diaphragm functioning like a pump. The scrotum is firm during youth and after a refreshing sleep, and it is somewhat flaccid during old age and after tiring effort.
A flow of vital energy directed mentally to the scrotum brings back its firmness and elasticity.
The scrotum is also considered the deposit of Yin energy (the "cold" vital energy), as the whole sexual energy be it of a man or of a woman is Yin when latent or paused.
The sexual fluids are associated with water and consequently with Yin, in the Chinese traditional system. The rivers, the oceans, the lakes are all Yin.
Nonetheless, the Yin energy may be easily converted into Yang energy once the sexual energy becomes effervescent and active, but this can happen only if the sperm is secreted when the testicles are cold.
In fact, the Western scientists have also discovered that the secretion of the sperm occurs more rapidly if the testicles are cold.
The "cold" quality of the sexual energy indicates that it has to be directed in an ascendant manner, so that it meets and combines with the "hot" energy in the chest and head. The testicles are constantly involved in the secretion of sperm and hormones.
The observations of the Taoists and of the Tantrics in the field of eroticism and sexuality are surprisingly consistent and have been transmitted unaltered for centuries.
However, only recently have these parts of ancient wisdom penetrated into the Western mind. From their observations, when the energy of the testicles is "cold" (or Yin) it is a sign of strength and youth of the sexual energy.
The "cold" (Yin) sexual energy contained within the spermatic liquid is more "dense" than the manifested sexual energy, which is "hot" and Yang.
A great number of people get to experience their sexual energy only when it is awakened (i.e. during foreplay) and consequently "hot", although the sexual energy is always present inside of each person.
This only means that the "cold" sexual energy requires help in order to "climb" to the upper centers of force, because of its density. If you succeed in the practice of opening the ascendant nadis you will also be able to make this energy ascend a lot easier.
The channel along the spine, from its base to the head and then going downwards on the frontal part of the body to the navel, genitals and perineum is recognized by the acupuncturists as the main channel connecting the brain with the various glands and organs (microcosmic circuit).
The following exercise of "Testicular Breathing" also helps opening up these channels that direct the energy upwards.
This exercise implies the use of your mind to direct the "cold" Yin energy up the spine, to the head. To be more specific: you do not direct the sperm, but the energy resulted from the process of transmutation of the sperm.
In the beginning its circulation will be slow, but in time you will notice the progress and the speed of the process.
POSITIONS FOR PRACTICING TESTICULAR "BREATHING"
1. SITTING: The general recommendation is to sit on a chair, because this position provides comfort and simplicity. It is easily approachable, favors relaxation and concentration.
Sit on a chair, supporting your weight mainly on your buttocks and feet, so that your genitals are not in contact with the surface of the chair.
Press your tongue on the palate, completing thus the loop between the anterior and posterior channels of the Micro cosmic circuit.
Your feet should press firmly on the floor, and your palms should be on your knees. The lumbar area of your back should be as straight as possible, whereas in the upper part of the spine a slight bending forward is allowed, as this favors relaxation, helping the flow of energy through the throat, chest and abdomen. Press the chin into the chest.
A variant of this position is to perform this exercise in an asana of your choice (such as Padmasana), but the best is Sukhasana.
In fact, there are few positions that allow you the same movement of the scrotum as the previous position.
If you chose to sit with your legs crossed, make sure that you wear comfortable pants that do not prevent you from performing this exercise in an appropriate manner.
2. STANDING: This is a very good position for the following exercise. The instructions regarding the bodily position and the tongue apply here as well.
However, this position is especially recommended for the Scrotal "Breathing" because the testicles hang freely when standing relaxed. Your arms should be falling beside your torso and your feet should be apart at a distance equal with that between the shoulders, this is an ideal position for this practice.
Train yourself to relax if you feel you are tense or if the sexual energy causes you to feel irritable or embarrassed.
3. IN BED: Never lie on your back when practicing these exercises, because this position curves your chest towards the front and the chest is higher than the abdomen and thus receives more energy.
Also do not lie on the left side, as this position creates pressure on the heart. The correct position is lying on the right side, with the left hand resting on the left thigh, the right leg stretched and the left one slightly bent over the right.
Place a pillow under your head, so that the spine is straight. Place the right hand as follows: the right thumb is behind the ear and the other four fingers are on the cheek, close to the ear. It is important that you do not cover your ear with your palm.
It is interesting that lions sleep in a similar position. You all know that animals are guided by their instincts, and in this case it is a happy one: this position frees the spine from the pressure of gravity and allows it to take on its natural curve.
TESTICULAR "BREATHING": STEP BY STEP
Sit on a chair, as mentioned before, supporting your weight mainly on your buttocks and feet, so that your genitals are not in contact with the surface of the chair.
Press your tongue on the palate, completing thus the loop between the anterior and posterior channels of the Micro cosmic circuit. Your feet should press firmly on the floor, and your palms should be on your knees.
The lumbar area of your back should be as straight as possible, whereas in the upper part of the spine a slight bending forward is allowed, as this favors relaxation, helping the flow of energy through the throat, chest and abdomen.
Press the chin into the chest. Wear only some loose pants or if possible nothing below your torso. However, practice this exercise half-naked only if the room is warm, otherwise put on some comfortable pants. If the room is cold you will lose a lot of energy because your body will try to maintain its temperature.
Allow your attention to focus on your scrotum and you will discover that the "cold" Yin energy is located here.
Make sure you are relaxed, and if you see that the tension is still there, take a walk, or do Hatha Yoga, or any other thing that will make you feel at ease, before going to the next step.
Inhale slowly and contract your pelvic muscles so that your testicles are drawn to your body. While inhaling, visualize your breath as a flow of energy that fills your testicles.
Retain your breath for a while, as long as you feel it is comfortable, and then exhale and relax the pelvic contraction and the testicles. Continue this pattern of breathing until you feel you accumulated enough cold energy in your scrotum.
You may perform a series of nine such breaths, then take a break and perform another three to six sets. Be perfectly aware, however, that during the exhalation you eliminate all impurities in the pelvic area.
The powerful flow of energy generated by this type of breathing will accelerate your blood circulation in the pelvic area.
Use your mind to determine the movement of the testicles, not the contraction of the anal sphincters.
After one or two weeks of practice you may notice the actual movement of the testicles. This movement confirms the fact that the breathing method is complete.
At a certain level of practice you will manage to keep your abdomen still, and the only movement you will notice is on your scrotum. You may watch this in the mirror.
Breathe only through the nose, as the warm air inhaled in this manner provides a balanced vital force. The whole body should be relaxed, as if in meditation.
Use your mind to control the upward and then downward movement of the scrotum. In time you will be able to identify the "cold" sexual energy located around the scrotum.
Guide this cold sensation from the scrotum to the perineum, through the slow motion of the testicles. Try to perceive this cold flow of energy ascending a few centimeters into the perineum, and keep it here.
Inhale and exhale several times to bring in more energy. The retention of the energy in the perineum is highly important, as otherwise this energy will "fall" back and even be dissipated in the exterior.
Imagine the whole process resembling raising a fluid through a straw. When you stop sucking in, you have to press your finger on one opening, so that the liquid in the straw does not fall back into its recipient. Practice until you succeed.
Begin to raise the sexual energy along the spine, from the testicles to the perineum, then the lower back.
Arch the back as if it has to be pressed against a wall, simultaneously with the ascendancy of the "cold" energy. Keep the energy at this level, then exhale but make sure your mental focus is located on the sacrum.
Relax the sacrum and the neck, straightening your spine, and activate your two pumps, the sacral and the cranial. All this while, breathe as mentioned before, and repeat the process of raising the energy.
Store the energy into the sacrum, until you perceive the energy moving in this area. After a while, you will actually feel the "cold" energy flowing upward along your spine.
In the sacrum there is an indentation, precisely in the place where you are supposed to bring the "cold" sexual energy from the testicles.
In this area it is usually harder to work, because the seminal energy is "heavier" and consequently more difficult to raise than the "hot" sexual energy. This is the place where the "pump" we talked about should come into action.
Some people experience pain, itching, or pinching when the "cold" energy enters the sacral orifice, so do not worry if something like this should happen to you. You may solve such problems with a gentle massage of the coccyx.
If you managed to bring the energy into the coccyx, then during the next week try to bring it higher, in the 11th vertebra of the spine, or to be more explicit in the point of the back corresponding to the cardiac plexus.
Do this as instructed above, using the testicular breathing and bring the energy through the perineum until you feel it has filled the place and it has gone upwards.
As the seminal energy is more "dense" than the effervescent sexual energy you may get used to it by pulling your shoulders towards the interior and then the exterior, to facilitate the passing of the energy.
At the point in the middle of the back you center the energy coming from the renal glands, located above the kidneys. In the Taoist tradition, these are considered pumps, which act as a vacuum forcing the energy upwards.
The next important point is located in the back of the neck, at the base of the skull. Breathe as previously indicated, pumping the energy to the perineum, sacrum, the middle of the back and then the base of the skull.
Act in the same manner as previously mentioned, storing the energy until you feel it bursts and then focus your attention on the next point.
Pai-Hui, placed on the crown of the head, makes you fill the straw all the way. This means that you do not need to stop anymore.
Push the sacrum backwards a little, to straighten the back and make the action of the sacral "pump" easier. Pull back your chin and contract the area behind the neck to activate the cranial "pump". Keep your focus on the crown of the head.
Due to the ascension of the energy to the head area, you may feel a little dizzy or even have the distinct feeling that you are rotating. After performing this technique you will feel refreshed and invigorated.
The energy which you sublimated will contribute to your memory, making it more accurate and thus you will be able to sustain an intellectual activity for a longer period of time without getting tired.
This is the beginning of your control over sexual impulses and frustrations. Seminal energy is then transformed into vital force.
Usually, regular people at old age have lost so much of their vital and mental energy that the effects are alarming.
Nonetheless, Testicular Breathing brings additional energy to the brain, revitalizing it. The Taoists consider the sexual energy highly important for mental activity.
Finally, bring the sexual energy from the testicles to the head during one inhalation only. In the beginning try to go over each point in particular, until you perceive the opening of the posterior channel.
After this, focus your mind simultaneously on the level of the testicles and on the crown of the head and thus make the energy ascend directly from the sexual area to the head.
In time, you will begin to objectively perceive the sensation of coolness from the practice. Never hurry and always perform the specific contractions for each of the "pumps". However, use mainly your mental force and the physical one as little as possible.
You may perform the exercise "Dance of the Testicles" or the "Testicular Breathing" in any place, in the subway, or in your car, or while watching TV, in your office or in bed. The main requirement is that your back is straight, the chest relaxed and the scrotum suspended.
Use the Testicular Breathing to tone your pelvic diaphragm. At each movement of the pelvic diaphragm the inferior part of the abdomen is massaged, and the vital energy flows into this area in the rhythm of the breath, stimulating the glands and vitalizing the organs.