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                                      Energetic Air at High Elevations: Yoga and Shamanism

            Bhagavan Dass   ( see: autobiography )  and I went to Mexico to visit don Jose's village and the Huichol Holy Land of Wirikuta. We had first meet, some years previously, at his parents house in the Los Angeles area. He had written me from Kyoto, Japan, on his first return trip from India, and asked if I could meet with him. On the way to Mexico, I did so, and found that he spoke English with a Hindi accent, and looked like a traditional yogic sadhu: with very long, matted and coiled hair, dressed in robes. Some years later we meet again, at his home, in the wilderness, near Bonny Doon, California, where he was living with his wife and their children. First we went to Esalen Institute for a seminar, and soon after this we drove to Mexico.
        In previous years we had studied yoga in India with Baba Hari Dass, from whom we had received our yogic names. While we visited don Jose in his high mountain village, we discussed the similarities between yoga and shamanism. In yoga terminology, the bio-energies of the body are defined as various kinds of "prana" or "shakti". Just as the yogin seeks to "charge up" or "store" prana and shakti in the body, so the shaman does the same with "kupuri".
        Bhagavan Dass and I decided to return to the USA via central Mexico, where we could visit Huichol power spots (kakauyari), including a few of the most sacred, Jaikitenieh (Cloud Mouth Pass) near Ruinas Quemadas (ancient Aztec ruins) and Wiricuta (Holy Land), and then travel on to Lama Foundation in New Mexico. Our trip started from the low coastal areas of Nayarit, then out onto the high plateau desert where the most sacred Huichol Sites are found. A sense of well being, mental clarity, and mild but peaceful stimulation were the signs that told both of us that we were in an area of high prana, shakti and kupuri. Bhagavan Dass said he had not experienced anything like it since he was in the Himalayas of India and Nepal.
        We offered prayers, meditated and chanted for a while, then headed onward and down in elevation toward Monterrey, Mexico and Laredo, Texas. During the descent from the Huichol sacred zone of Wiricuta, we felt that the sense of well being, mental clarity and mild peaceful energy fade away. Near sea level, in south eastern Texas, not only had these fine qualities vanished, but opposite qualities had taken their place. We felt lethargic, dull and depressed by comparison to how we had felt in the high altitude desert of Wiricuta. As we drove across the flat expanse of Texas toward Oklahoma, I realized my breathing ability had not been the same as it had been back in the high desert of central Mexico. My nasal passages were almost completely blocked and I was breathing through my mouth. Even so, I felt as if I could not get enough air.
        After visiting a Kiowa artist, George Akins Jr.,( excellent peyote fan and bead crafts) and his father, a Road Chief, near Gracemont, Oklahoma, we drove westward toward Taos, New Mexico. As we ascended the continental divide and began approaching Santa Fe, we again began to feel a sense of well being, clarified consciousness and increased personal energy. 
                                                           Paul C Adams  Prem Das  2012

       
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