Vivation – Expanded Introduction

Vivation is a physically pleasurable and ecstatic form of meditation whose primary aim is the quick and permanent resolution of suppressed negative emotions. This includes both the superficial sources of stress, as well as deep seated traumas and core wounds. To accomplish this, Vivation has distilled down and integrated the core principles found in yoga (pranayama), tantra (embodiment) and meditation (awareness) into a unified process of deep healing, integration and personal empowerment. The word “Vivation” takes its name from the Latin root vivé (to fully embrace life) and “-tion”,  process of. Vivation – the process of fully embracing the total human experience of life. 

Vivation was created by Jim Leonard in 1979 after spending many years traveling the world, especially in India studying with Tantra, Kundalini and Kriya yoga masters, as well as extensive experience teaching in the Vipassanā and Western breathwork communities. The teaching of Vivation places strong emphasis on facilitating the emotional autonomy and self-realization of its practitioners. This is Vivation’s primary ethic – your body is your guru. 

Vivation is a feeling based process

The primary difference between Vivation and other types of meditation is its emphasis on maintaining awareness of the strongest feeling in the body. In this way, Vivation is an embodiment process where the bodily-felt experience is your teacher and guide. In Vivation no distinction is made between emotions or sensations, as both are experienced kinesthetically. In Vivation, there is no requirement to quiet the mind. If the mind is overly active, you simply continue noticing what that feels like in the body. Because of its emphasis on feelings, there is no mental or cognitive component to Vivation. By connecting directly to the physical feelings in the body, negative thoughts about those feelings are bypassed, resulting in a much more honest and pleasurable experience. From the perspective of Vivation, there is no such thing as negative feelings, only negative thoughts about those feelings. Feelings once experienced openly and honestly, are inherently positive and blissful. By relaxing the mind and body and paying attention to the feelings already present, any “make wrong” about those feelings is relaxed too. This results in a relaxation or “melting” of body armor. When a feeling is integrated, the physiological energy keeping the emotion suppressed is now released, resulting in a feeling of bliss. According to Vivation everything integrates into ecstasy. Every integration is permanent and represents a step forward in the individuals freedom, autonomy and liberation.

The Five Elements of Vivation

Vivation consists of five elements, or foundational skills necessary to achieve physical integration of suppressed negative emotions. These elements are:

  1. Circular Breathing
  2. Complete Relaxation
  3. Awareness in Detail
  4. Integration Into Ecstasy
  5. Do Whatever You Do, Willingness is Enough.

Each of these skills has its own requisite knowledge base, however all of them are brought together in a Vivation session to facilitate efficient integration of negative emotions in the most pleasurable and enjoyable way possible.

The First Element of Vivation is circular breathing, which has three basic aspects. The first is that inhales and exhales are connected together, with no pauses between them. The second is the exhale is completely relaxed. By relaxed, this means the exhale comes out all on its own and is not forced or controlled in any way. This differs from many other forms of pranayama which have a forced exhale component. Also, because the exhale is completely relaxed, there is no hyperventilation in Vivation. If hyperventilation does occur, it is because the exhale is being forced out or inhibited in some way. Hyperventilation disappears as the exhale is relaxed again. In Vivation, breathing rhythms occur along a continuum through three quadrants: Slow and Full, Fast and Full, and Fast and Shallow. Slow and shallow breathing results in unconciousness, so it is not used in Vivation. Circular breathing is spontaneously adjusted from moment to moment to resonate with your feelings in the most gentle, loving and enjoyable way possible. In this way it is the experience of the feelings in the body that instructs and leads each session. If it feels good, keep doing it! If it doesn’t, try something else. In this way, Vivation is very playful and liberating.

The Second Element of Vivation is relaxing the mind and body as much as possible. One doesn’t do Vivation, so much as relaxes into the experience for what is already there. In Vivation, feelings integrate when one relaxes into accepting those feeling for what they already are. In Vivation, integration is a relaxation of effort.

The Third Element of Vivation is awareness in detail of the strongest feeling in the body. Feelings are not analyzed or sought after, only experienced for what they are already in that moment. Since each moment is unique, this is the only element that practitioners remain conscious of, as all other elements become automatic and natural supports of Third Element awareness in time.

The Fourth Element of Vivation is “integration into ecstasy”. The basic idea is being open and receptive to whatever positive feelings are already present. Feelings are only experienced negatively because of mental judgments made about them. By relaxing the mind and body in the presence of the feeling, the positive aspects of the feeling become more obvious and easier to accept. One doesn’t intentionally integrate a feeling, one enjoys the feeling as much as possible until it integrates.

The Fifth Element is “doing whatever you do, willingness is enough”. In Vivation, willingness refers to the willingness to be as honest and receptive to the inherent positivity of the feeling as you can. There is no prerequisite for having a positive experience, only a willingness to be open to the possibility of experiencing the feeling in a positive way. In Vivation, integration is a function of willingness, and therefore is the most important of the five elements.

For more detail, please read The Five Elements of Vivation.

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