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Volume 7 winter 2012  

 

 
FARRAH GARAN
Interview with non duality magazine

 

 

 
 
Farrah Garan has worked closely with Tulku Lobsang since 2002, as a student and employee of Nangten Menlang International. Farrah has been integral in developing the Lu Jong Teacher Certification program, manual and curriculum and is offering a Teacher Training at the end of April at the Menla Mountain Retreat Center in NY. She is continually growing deeper into the practices, learning from her experience and from her students. Farrah has dedicated her life to assisting in spreading the deep wisdom of the Tibetan healing arts. Her aim is to make these simplebut powerfully effectivepractices widely known so that many may benefit. 

 

 

 
 

NDM: Can you please tell me a little about Lu Jong and Tsa lung?

 

Farrah Garan: In a nutshell, we do these practices to achieve health and happiness. Really, it is not any more complicated than that. Those two things—health and happiness—are intimately linked. Not just because we are happy when we are healthy, but because an open, flexible body actually balances and calms our minds.

 

To understand this we need to know a bit about the subtle body. Our subtle body is composed of thousands of channels (Tibetan: tsa). The gross channels carry blood, lymph, oxygen and nutrients. There are more subtle channels that transport our energy (Tibetan: lung) and even more subtle channels that transport our consciousness. When these channels become blocked—as they naturally do in the aging process, and even more so due to wrong diet, wrong exercise and negative emotions—not only does this negatively impact our body functions, but it also causes a tightening of the mind and energy. If one often feels a lack of energy, emotional swings, or is easily stressed, these things can all be addressed by working with the channels.

So, how do we open the channels? We do this with practices such as Lu Jong and Tsa Lung. Lu Jong (In Tibetan, lu means body and jong means training or transformation) is a series of movements that rhythmically apply and release pressure to targeted points of the body in order to release blockages. It is like doing your own acupressure.

We have countless chakras (places where channels converge), but there are certain ones that more commonly become blocked and therefore require specific attention. Most important of these are along the spine. Our spine is the energy box of our body. It is the root from which the rest of the body branches. Just like a battery, we need to recharge the spine and be sure to keep it open and flexible. The spine is also where we carry emotional blockages. So, Lu Jong focuses especially on the spine.

Each exercise targets specific points on the channels to release any blocks associated with that area. The Lu Jong practice is in five groups:

 

 
 
 

1.      The Five Elements Movements

2.      The Five Musculoskeletal Movements

3.      The Five Vital Organ Movements

4.      The Six Common Conditions Movements

5.      Movements for Sleep and Wakefulness

 The practice is also a meditation in movement. The exercises are rhythmic, and direct our attention to our inner sensations. This, in combination with a breathing pattern, brings us fully into the present moment. It is indeed a spiritual practice.

Tsa Lung is similar, in that it combines breath and movement to open the channels. However, while Lu Jong is very much connected to Tibetan Medicine and the physical body systems, Tsa Lung goes deeper on the energetic level, working with the subtler channels.

Tsa Lung requires special breath retention techniques. We learn how to hold the breath beneath the navel, and then use very specific body movements to move the energy through the channels. This is a powerful way to not only keep the channels open and supple, but also to develop awareness of our energy and learn to direct it. The more adept we become at moving energy in the channels, the more we can tap into our innate wisdom and advance on the path to realizing our clear, luminous nature.

Returning to our starting point, we see that by doing practices we achieve health and happiness. By releasing blockages in the channels we are able to release negative emotions and destructive habits and to improve the functioning of our body systems. And when our energy and awareness are flowing smoothly, we are vibrant, clear, focused and closer to our natural state. And, as Buddhists, we know that our natural state is pure love and light.

 

NDM: Can you please tell me how these meditation practices of Tsa lung and Tummo affected you

 

Farrah Garan: Wow, I don’t even know who I would be if I didn’t have these practices in my life. I have been doing a lot of traveling lately and at certain times I didn’t have good opportunities to practice. When I had let it go for too long I soon noticed that my back felt tight and knotty, and this caused me to slump. The slumping made my energy feel lower and I also found myself more irritable. I began experiencing a lack of direction in my work. I’m not saying that I went off the edge and became a different person—probably no one around me would have noticed the change, but I try to be very in tune with my inner world, and there was a shift. It was like these slight things built on one another and the knot by my shoulder blade became connected to a lack of motivation in my work. As soon as I reintegrated my practices, I felt calibrated and clear.

These Tantrayana practices are a staple in my life. They have given me a compass, and a constant reminder of what the fundamental goals are in this human life. It is so easy to get caught up in our material goals, which of course are important, but how much further can we get in all aspects of life when we cultivate focus, equanimity and vibrant energy? It is about coming to truly know oneself, which is a powerful thing, because that is when we can best serve others.

Tummo has been a challenge and a joy. With Tummo, I have come face to face with my weaknesses and so have been able to develop single-pointedly. The Tummo Inner Fire practice holds me to such a high standard that without it, I doubt I would have pushed my personal development beyond a certain point. I have a long, long way to go (after all, Tummo is a very direct path to enlightenment!), but it is clear that just by doing the practice, one cultivates countless beneficial qualities.

This is my life now. I teach these practices and build teachers (the Lu Jong teacher training is coming up in April in NY!) and I write about these things to support Tulku Lobsang’s work. This is my path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulku Lobsang

 

 

 

 

 

 

NDM: Can anyone practice these meditations or does one need certain prerequisites or an understanding about the dharma in order to do so?

 

Farrah Garan: These practices are for everyone who seeks health and happiness.

Traditionally, many preliminary practices and empowerments are required before receiving such higher practices. Many Tantrayana teachings have been secret, not because there is something to hide, but because students need proper training to prevent misunderstanding or harming themselves.

However, Tulku Lobsang—in the spirit of Buddha Shakyamuni himself—is adapting to the times and making these precious practices available for all. Buddha was so skilled at offering the teachings in different ways according to the psychology of the student. This means that what is more important than tradition is benefit. And so, Tulku Lobsang has modified the way that these practices are presented so that they are accessible to all people and can be implemented for maximum benefit in these modern times.

We desperately need Tantrayana practices in our stressful, chaotic world. We need to become open and centered and purposeful, for the good of the earth. The preliminaries and empowerments made sense for Tibetans, who love ritual and tradition and whose lives centered on spiritual pursuits. But how many people have the time and possibility to devote years and years to complete all the preliminary practices? We all deserve methods to open our channels and experience the clarity and light that comes as a result.

Tantrayana works with the body. It is scientific and empirical. No particular beliefs are required. You simply try it and discover for yourself if there are any positive changes in your life. If you believe that an open body free of blockages is a healthy thing, and that having a calm, clear mind is helpful and that an open, loving heart is beneficial, then you have all the beliefs you need.

The only requirement to receive these practices is the correct motivation. If you go through the motions without really feeling it, then you receive nothing. But someone with deep motivation and intention can experience benefits right away.

 

 

 

 

For more info visit

 www.lujong.org