Can I do the energisation exercises with a full stomach? Or is it better if it’s not done with a full stomach? Or that maybe it will actually help in aiding digestion of the food? What is recommended and the don'ts if there are any?
Secondly can you combine the Hong-Sau with a prayer? So that it becomes like a hybrid unique practice or will it be ineffective? Did Yogananda say anything about combing Hong Sau with prayers or should one solely focus on the mantra, breath and the 3rd eye?
—Jasmine, United Kingdom
While it would be more effective to practice Energization on an empty (or at least not FULL) stomach, there’s no great harm or concern. It will, however, be more difficult to feel the energy in the body when the stomach is full. Walking and running in place will be noticeably more difficult! So when you can avoid being full, do so, but otherwise no point in NOT energizing!
I know it can be tempting to “dress up” Hong Sau to be more mentally engaging, interesting, or more devotional but you’ll find in time and with actual experience that you’ll return to the basic practice. At first the innovations are fun and fulfilling but you will eventually notice that they keep the mind on a superficial level and prevent you from going deeper. So if you MUST experiment, well, go ahead but truthfully the technique is designed to focus the mind and to develop your inward concentration upon the singular movement of the breath so that the breath becomes quiet, space enters your mind, and “breath becomes mind.”
Hong Sau can be a very deep practice when done correctly. Because it is a simple practice, it’s easy to underestimate its power. One aspect of Hong Sau that gets overlooked is the importance of practicing with devotion and/or expansion of consciousness: with feeling, in other words, and not merely doing it mechanically.
With depth of feeling, the mind becomes one-pointed and the heart uplifted. With each rising breath feel your consciousness expanding joyfully; with each exhalation, feel you are going deeper into your Self. As you watch the breath flow imagine you are synchronizing your breath with the breath of all creatures, all life, wind, tides, and the movement of stars!
So, I say be cautious and be also loyal to the guru’s instructions without being dogmatic or tense about it. A little experimentation may help you for a while but always come back “home!” ok?
Joy to you,