WHAT IS KUNDALINI AWAKENING
Kundalini refers to that dormant power in the human organism which lies at the root of the spinal column. The word kundalini Sanskrit means “coil”, and so kundalini has been referred to as that which is coiled. However, the word kunda also refers to a cavity or pit. In this sense, kunda refers to the skull cavity in which the brain ties. The dissection of the human brain reveals that it resembles a snake coiled upon itself.
The concept of Kundalini energy has been around for centuries and was mentioned in ancient Vedic texts from 1,000 B.C
WHAT IS KUNDALINI YOGA
The term “Kundalini” comes from the Sanskrit word “kundal,” which means “circular.” It also refers to a coiled snake. And according to practitioners, Kundalini energy is like that coiled snake: It sits at the base of your spine, sleeping and unaroused.
Kundalini yoga is practiced to activate this energy, which allows it to move up and through the CHAKRA along your spine.
In yoga, chakras are the seven energy centers in your body. They include:
The root chakra, or Muladhara, is located at the base of your spine. It provides you with a base or foundation for life, and it helps you feel grounded and able to withstand challenges. Your root chakra is responsible for your sense of security and stability.
The sacral chakra, or Svadhisthana, is located just below your belly button. This chakra is responsible for your sexual and creative energy. It’s also linked to how you relate to your emotions as well as the emotions of others.
Solar plexus chakra
The solar plexus chakra, or Manipura, is located in your stomach area. It’s responsible for confidence and self-esteem, as well as helping you feel in control of your life.
The heart chakra, or Anahata, is located near your heart, in the center of your chest. It comes as no surprise that the heart chakra is all about our ability to love and show compassion.
The throat chakra, or Vishuddha, is located in your throat. This chakra has to do with our ability to communicate verbally.
Third eye chakra
The third eye chakra, or Ajna, is located between your eyes. You can thank this chakra for a strong gut instinct. That’s because the third eye is responsible for intuition. It’s also linked to imagination.
The crown chakra, or Sahasrara, is located at the top of your head. Your Sahasrara represents your spiritual connection to yourself, others, and the universe. It also plays a role in your life’s purpose.
THE STAGES OF PRACTICES AND AWAKENING OF KUNDALINI
If the kundalini awakens before the shushumna nadi awakens, the energy will not rind an outlet, and will be stuck in the muladhara chakra, resulting in many sexual and neurotic problems. It is also important that the chakras awaken gradually. If awakened too quickly one may be overwhelmed by feelings of passion, fear, anxiety, greed, depression or memories of past lives.
The first stage of the practice of kundalini yoga therefore is the purification of the nadis by practicing asanas, bandhas, mudras and later pranayama. The student should also adopt a vegetarian diet, avoid stimulants of all kinds, as well as over consumption, irregular eating and negative behavior which cause disequilibrium in the alternate flow of prana through idakalai and pingala nadis.
The practice of meditation will assist the student during this stage to eliminate negative behavior tendencies and to develop calm awareness. Babaji’s first Dhyana Kriya, or meditation technique, in particular purifies the chittam, or subconscious mind, which is the source of habitual tendencies and negative behavior.
Involvement in activities which include selfless service to others, study of the lives of saints and spiritual and metaphysical books, and devotional activities should also be done to sublimate the flow of pranic energy to the higher chakras. Most students are prone to inertia or dispersion of their energies. A calm equilibrium must be developed and maintained in all events, so that when kundalini does awaken, it may be controlled without disturbing effects.
The practice of pranayama should also be limited in the beginning, otherwise it will food negative tendencies, like anger, greed and lust. Under the guidance of an experienced teacher, the amount of practice can gradually be increased, as one’s capacity and purification progresses. Individuals will vary in their degree of preparedness, depending upon the kinds of lives they have lived before and their actual mental, emotional and physical habits. A competent teacher will be able to prescribe various kriyas and activities during this preparatory stage.
The second preparatory stage involves the awakening of the chakras. Depending upon the individual, some of the chakras may already be awakened, particularly if during a previous life one has practiced yoga or similar disciplines. In most individuals the muladhara chakra is already active. This is why sexual awareness is one of the dominant features in the lives of most persons. It is important, however, not to allow one’s energies to become stuck in one of the lower chakras. There are numerous ways of awakening the chakras. The best methods are those which bring about a gradual awakening. These include the asanas, mudras and bandhas, and especially the bija (seed) mantras. Certain meditation dhyana kriyas focusing on the chakras are also very effective. The importance of bija mantras and how they should be learned is discussed in a subsequent chapter.
The third preparatory stage is the awakening of the shushumna nadi. Once the energies in the idakalai and pingalai nadis have been balanced, an awakening of the third nadi, the shushumna, occurs spontaneously. It is usually very volatile and sporadic, however, and so, to stabilize this awakening, certain practices involving pranayama and meditation to keep these two energies in balance are important. While the awakening is unstable, the kundalini may rise briefly to the swadhistanam or manipura chakras, but will then return to the muladhara. Only when the balance between ida and pingala is continuous will the kundalini awaken in an explosive manner going all the way up through the sushumna to the sahasrara chakra.
About breathing, mantras, kriyas, and mudras
Kundalini yoga consists of six main components, which are done in the following order:
- Opening chant. Every class begins with an opening chant, also known as tuning in.
- Pranayama or warmup. You’ll do breathing exercises, called PRANAYAMA, and sometimes also movements to stretch your spine. The goal of pranayama is to practice breath control.
- Kriya. A kriya is a sequence of postures, pranayama, mudras (hand positions), sounds, and meditation. The length and intensity of the kriya depends on your instructor.
- Relaxation. This allows your body and mind to absorb the effects of a kriya.
- Meditation. Your instructor guides you through MEDIATION to cultivate awareness.
- Closing chant. The class ends with a closing chant.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF KUNDALINI AWAKENING
Is it safe?
There is a lot of talk in the spirituality community about whether kundalini awakenings are safe. Many have hesitations practicing kundalini out of fear that they will experience this intense type of awakening. Everyone’s experience is vastly different and is entirely individual based on their past experiences and current lifestyle.
For some, the experience can be blissful and filled with feelings of love and a sense of the interconnectedness of all things. For others, it can feel more like a bad drug trip, or even a psychotic break, where practitioners go through altered sleep cycles, changes in identity, or depression. This discrepancy has led many Westerners to fear the coiled serpent resting in their spine, ready to strike.
MEDIATION teacher Sally Kempton had such an awakening in her late 20s, and while she acknowledges that the experience may be scary for those who are without an experienced teacher to guide them, she believes that awakenings are a gift from the universe. “In our tradition, we honor and respect kundalini,” she says. “Her energy is trying to awaken you, expand you, and put you in touch with your own deep energy, which is a fundamentally benign process.”
However, according to Kempton and Stuart Sovatsky, a psychotherapist specializing in spiritual work, kundalini awakenings are rare in Western students because hatha yoga is practiced in a less spontaneous way. “People are trying to hold the poses in a certain way, as opposed to doing poses that release energy blocks specific to their body,” says Sovatsky.
Still, many teachers caution against attempts to induce an awakening through intense PRANAYAMA or other methods. Instead, it should occur spontaneously, when the body is ready. In , yoga scholar Georg Feuerstein explains why: “If you don’t first open the central channels of the nervous system, raising the serpent power along the axial pathway is not only impossible, but also very dangerous to attempt, for instead of entering the central channel (sushumna nadi) it is likely to force itself in to the ida or the pingala nadi, on either side of the central channel, causing immense havoc in the body and mind.”
Kundalini reminds us that consciousness is far vaster than most of us have ever imagined, which can seem overwhelming and disorienting. But Sovatsky says that people who have a psychotic break from an awakening usually come from a troubled family background, face high levels of stress, and don’t have enough emotional support. Still, both Sovatsky and Kempton recommend that anyone who is fearful in the midst of such an awakening should seek support from a therapist (such as a transpersonal psychologist) or a teacher who has experienced it themself.
The nature of Kundalini shakti/energy is such that when it is still, we do not realize that it exists. It is only when our Kundalini awakens that we realize there is so much power within us.
Once our Kundalini is aroused, we witness miraculous things happening to us, which we never even thought was possible. We experience a completely new level of energy unleashing within our bodies and our entire perception and engagement with life changes. After genuine Enlightenment (Self-realization), our faces exuberate with radiance, we look much younger, and the body becomes more active and well-proportioned.
Our entire personality becomes beautiful and magnetic and as our priorities change, we assume a dignified and glorious attitude towards life. Kundalini Yoga is so efficient and so effective that even if we spare a short while every day, we will begin to experience a shift in our lives.
The knowledge and science of Kundalini are not limited only to Yogi Bhajan and his followers — all yoga masters have knowledge and experience of the same. So one can go to any genuinely experienced teacher to get on the right path.
What are the signs of Kundalini awakening?
You may feel physical symptoms, such as waking up at random hours of the night, sweating, crying, or even literally feeling an intense rush of energy going up your spine.
What happens when Kundalini is activated?
According to Tantra, kundalini energy rests like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. When this dormant energy flows freely upward through the seven chakras (energy centers) and leads to an expanded state of consciousness, it’s known as a kundalini awakening.
What are the side effects of Kundalini awakening?
During a Kundalini awakening, people report physical sensations, such as warmth or tingling, disorientation, and some temporary discomfort. If a person isn’t fully prepared for the experience, some people claim they may experience long-term negative effects.
What does it feel like when Kundalini rises?
You might feel pleasurable physical sensations—like a full-body orgasm but one that is more sensual than sexual. You have profound new insights into your life or even past lives. … You feel heat in the spine. (This would, again, be an instance of rising Kundalini energy not quite flowing properly, Rebelle says.)
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