Muscular Jerks During Body, or Energy, Work

The Advaita Vedanta teacher Jean Klein sometimes refers to “residues” that his students experienced during the process of releasing contractions and defenses during body, or energy, work. One of his longtime students Billy Doyle elaborates:

When the neuromuscular contractions begin to free themselves there may arise a series of jerks or something that feels like electrical impulses in this body. This is nothing uncommon or anything to worry about. This process may also become more elaborate and take on a variety of forms, such as the head shaking spontaneously side to side or the body swaying or going into spontaneous movements. This happens only when we allow it and we can stop the process at any time. It is a process where the tension in the body are unwinding and releasing tensions.

Yoga in the Kashmir Tradition: The Art of Listening–Following the Teachings of Jean Klein (2019; rev. ed.), pp. 20-21.

Klein and Doyle are right on the mark about two things. First, various muscular spasms, shakes, twitches, and more can occur when one is in the depths of body or energy work. These are all part of what elsewhere Doyle calls “the cleansing process.” The key is just to be relaxed, uninvolved, simply witnessing these as these occur.

Second (and so much is implied), you can allow the process to unfold at its own pace: if it gets too jerky or wild, you can always tone it down by allowing the energy to flow more smoothly, less jaggedly. It’s a bit like slowly allowing less water to flow through an open spigot. And, yes, you can stop the process at anytime if it starts to feel as if it’s too much.

I speak from experience: in 2019, I frequently experienced all sorts of jerks and spasms while doing energy work. I can attest that it’s nothing to fetishize (there is no ego that is having some special experiences) or to worry about (it doesn’t necessarily imply that there is something neurologically wrong). Just gently let it ride.

Furthermore, over time the energy will smooth itself out, becoming clearer and more rarified. After this cleansing process is stabilized, then one can tune into what I would call a natural hum, a sweet vibration. The natural hum is somewhat analogous to the sound of a combustion engine after it’s been driven for, say, 4 hours and now that it’s really going nicely, smoothly, almost harmonically.

One last thing for now: don’t get stuck in–that is, endlessly fascinated by–energy work. This process, quite naturally, should lead to self-inquiry: what is this Awareness that is aware of the subtle body? Be This.