* Kundalini *Thu, March 22, 2007 - 11:11 PM
According to tradition, Kundalini is present in an inactive coiled-up state in the root chakra, which is located by various sources as proximate to the sacrum or base of the trunk of the body. Activation of kundalini is said to be associated with the experience of somatic bio-energetic phenomena by the practitioner.
* 1 Hindu sources
* 2 Western interpretation
* 3 Kundalini Yoga
* 4 Kundalini rising
* 5 Problems and side-effects
o 5.1 Kundalini syndrome
o 5.2 Known side effects
* 6 Kundalini and development
* 7 Kundalini and physiology
* 8 See also
* 9 Notes
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
 Hindu sources
In Hinduism, the concept of Kundalini is part of a complex of ideas related to esoteric anatomy. These ideas occur most often in the class of texts that are called Āgamas or Tantras. This is a large body of scripture, most of which is rejected by orthodox Brahmans.
There are many variations on these concepts in the Sanskrit source texts. In earlier texts there are various systems of chakras and nadis, with varying connections between them. Over time one system of six or seven chakras along the body's axis became the dominant model, adopted by most schools of yoga. This particular system may have originated in about the 11th century AD, and rapidly became widely popular. It is in this model where Kundalini is said to "rise" upward, piercing the various centers until reaching the crown of the head, resulting in union with the Divine.
The most famous of the Yoga Upanishads, the Yogatattva, mentions four kinds of yoga, one of which being laya-yoga, the symbolic dissolution (laya) of the universe visualized within the body with a corresponding raising of a corporeal energy known as Kundalini.
Siva Sutras (translated by Jaideva Singh), one of the main texts by Kashmir Shaiv Tantra written sometime in the 8th century by Vasugupta, hints at the Kundalini and Chakras (Energy centers). When translating, Jaideva Singh had to give a separate chapter on Kundalini, as some of the verses require knowledge of it. This means Kundalini must have been common knowledge to the Vasugupta. However, most books of Kashmir Shiavism have been lost, and the Siva Sutras are the oldest to survive.
Another source text for the concept of kundalini is the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" written by Swami Svatmarama (English translation, 1992) somewhere between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.
Saundaryalahari by Adi Shankara is regarded as a devotional work in praise of the Holy Mother and Kundalini.
 Western interpretation
Kundalini is a popular concept that is is widely quoted among various disciplines of yoga and New Age beliefs. Stuart Sovatsky, a Yoga researcher, warns that the recent popularization of the term within new religious movements has not contributed to promote a mature understanding of the concept.
One of the first people to bring Kundalini to the West was Sir John Woodroffe (in his pen name Arthur Avalon), a High Court Judge in Calcutta. He became interested in Shaktism, a part of Hindu Tantra. His translation and commentary of 2 rare books was published as "The Serpent Power", now considered a classic. He invented the word "Serpent Power" as that was the closest to the concept of the Kundalini, which Hindus believe lies as a snake curved 3 and a half times at the base of the spine.
Two early western interpretations of Kundalini were supplied by C.W. Leadbeater (1847-1934), of the Theosophical Society, and psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961). Jung's seminar on Kundalini yoga, presented to the Psychological Club in Zurich in 1932, has been widely regarded as a milestone in the psychological understanding of the symbolic transformations of inner peace, and of Eastern thought by the west. Kundalini yoga presented Jung with a model for the developmental phases of higher consciousness, and he interpreted its symbols in terms of the process of individuation. 
A few western translators interpret the energetic phenomena as a form of psychic or paranormal energy, although the western parapsychological understanding of psychic energy, separated from its cultural-hermeneutic matrix, is probably not the same as the yogic understanding. Yogic philosophy understands this concept as a maturing energy that expresses the individual's soteriological longings. Viewed in a mythological context it is sometimes believed to be an aspect of Parvati, the goddess and consort of Shiva.
Some Western versions refer to "pranic awakening". Prana is interpreted as the vital, life-sustaining force in the body. Uplifted, or intensified life-energy is called pranotthana and is supposed to originate from an apparent reservoir of subtle bio-energy at the base of the spine. This energy is also interpreted as a vibrational phenomena that initiates a period, or a process of vibrational spiritual development.
Joseph Campbell suggested that the symbol of snakes coiled around a staff is an ancient representation of Kundalini physiology. The staff represents the spinal column with the snake(s) being energy channels. In the case of two coiled snakes they usually cross each other seven times, a possible reference to the seven chakras.
According to Sovatsky, the concept of Kundalini comes from yogic philosophy of ancient India and refers to the mothering intelligence behind yogic awakening and spiritual maturation, where it is also known as Kundalini Shakti. It might be regarded by yogis as a sort of deity, hence the occasional capitalization of the term. Within a western frame of understanding it is often associated with the practice of contemplative or religious practices that might induce an altered state of consciousness, either brought about spontaneously or through yoga, psychedelic drugs, or a near-death experience.
 Kundalini Yoga
Main article: Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is a system of meditative techniques and movements within the yogic tradition that focuses on psycho-spiritual growth and the body's potential for maturation. The practice of Kundalini Yoga consists of a number of bodily postures, expressive movements and utterances, characterological meditations, breathing patterns, and degrees of concentration. The movements and the body-work should not, according to some scholars of religion, be considered mere stretching exercises. The concept of life-energy, pranotthana, is central to the practice and understanding of Kundalini Yoga. It also gives special consideration to the role of the spine and the endocrine system in the understanding of yogic awakening. Recently, there has been a growing interest within the medical community to study the physiological effects of meditation, and some of these studies have applied the discipline of Kundalini Yoga to their clinical settings.
 Kundalini rising
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According to yogic writings and oral tradition, the force of Kundalini is raised through specific meditative exercises.
Kundalini-experiences are understood using the structure of the Hindu chakra system, the psycho-spiritual energy centers along the spine. According to Hindu tradition the Kundalini rises from the root chakra up through the spinal channel, called sushumna, and it is believed to activate each chakra it goes through. Each chakra is said to contain special characteristics. The chakras are any of the nerve plexes or centers of force and consciousness located within the inner bodies of man. When the Kundalini Shakti unites itself with the Supreme Being (Lord Shiva), the aspirant gets engrossed in deep meditation during which he perceives infinite bliss.   In raising Kundalini, spiritual powers (siddhis) are also believed to arise, however most spiritual traditions see these phenomena as obstacles on the path, and encourage their students not to be distracted by them.
Spiritual literature also describes instances where Kundalini is said to be activated by a practice called shaktipat. Shaktipat is a form of direct transmission of spiritual energy from a yogi to a student. The most common form is as simple as a touch to the third-eye area by the yogi, at this point wisdom, prana, or both are transferred directly to the student.
Contemporary spiritual literature (and the field of Transpersonal Psychology) recommends only to engage in these practices when guided by an accredited teacher, or with thorough psychological preparation and education in yoga or all of these. Any form of intense contemplative or spiritual practice without appropriate support is considered risky and in some cases even dangerous. Traditional teachers of kundalini meditation also warn neophytes of the potential dangers of experimenting with kundalini Yoga techniques. Without the proper checks and balances of a whole system of practice, simply raising energy is as foolish as it would be to raise electrical energy without any method of release or grounding. A growing body of clinical and psychological literature notes the growing occurrence of meditation-related problems in Western contemplative life.. Among these we find the "Kundalini Syndrome" (see below) and different forms of "wind illness" described in the Tibetan tradition.
 Problems and side-effects
 Kundalini syndrome
Theorists within the schools of Humanistic psychology, Transpersonal psychology and Near-death studies describe a complex pattern of motor functions, sensory, affective and cognitive-hermeneutic symptoms called the Kundalini syndrome. This psychosomatic arousal and excitation is believed to occur in connection with prolonged and intensive spiritual or contemplative practice (such as meditation or yoga) or as a result of an intense personal crisis or experience, or a brush with death (such as a near-death experience).
According to these fields of study the Kundalini syndrome is different from a single Kundalini episode, such as a Kundalini arousal. The Kundalini syndrome is a process that might unfold over several months, or even years. If the accompanying symptoms unfold in an intense manner that destabilizes the person, the process is usually interpreted as a spiritual emergency.
Interdisciplinary dialogues within the mentioned schools of psychology (see references below) have now established some common criteria that describe this condition, of which the most prominent feature is a feeling of energy traveling along the spine, or progressing upwards in the body. Motor symptoms may include tremors, other spontaneous or involuntary body movements and changes in the functioning of the respiratory system.
Sensory symptoms may include subjective changes in thermoregulation (feelings of heat or cold), a feeling of electricity in the body, Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (refer to Gopi Krishna and Irina Tweedie's books), headache and pressure inside of the head, tingling, vibrations and gastrointestinal problems. Cognitive and affective symptoms are said to include psychological upheaval, stress, depression, depersonalization, intense mood-swings, but also moments of bliss, deep peace and other altered states of consciousness. Within the mentioned academic traditions this symptomatology is often referred to as the Physio-Kundalini syndrome or Kundalini-experience/awakening. Transpersonal literature emphasizes that this list of symptoms is not meant to be used as a tool for self-diagnosis. Any unusual or marked physical or mental symptom needs to be investigated by a qualified medical professional.
Greyson developed The Physio-Kundalini Syndrome Index in order to measure the degree of Physio-Kundalini symptoms among Near-Death experiencers. Most researchers within this field believe that the core of the process is not pathological, but maturational, even though the symptoms at times may be dramatic and disturbing. If the process is supported and allowed to progress to its conclusion it might - according to transpersonal theory - actually result in psychological health (Grof & Grof, 1989; Hansen, 1995). According to the field of Transpersonal Psychology the Kundalini-syndrome is largely unknown to Western psychiatry. Many writers within this field are consequently working towards a clinical approach to the problem. Possible improvements in the diagnostic system that are meant to differentiate the Kundalini syndrome from other disorders have been suggested. Turner, Lukoff, Barnhouse & Lu have suggested that the Kundalini-symptomatology might be placed under the diagnostic category "Religious or Spiritual Problem" (American Psychiatric Association: DSM-IV, Code V62.89).
A recent criticism of some of the approaches to this clinical category, and the current interpretation of the symptoms, has been put forward by Sovatsky who believes that it is crucial to differentiate between the symptoms of what may be a Kundalini awakening, and the symptoms of different preliminary yogic processes or pranic imbalances. According to this view many reported Kundalini problems might rather be signs of the precursory energetic state of pranotthana. A confusion of terms within this delicate area of clinical concern might also lead to various undiagnosed neurological problems being misdiagnosed as related to Kundalini.
In an article from Psychological Reports Thalbourne discusses whether scores on a 35 item Kundalini Scale are correlated to the concept of Transliminality (a hypothesized tendency for psychological material to cross thresholds into or out of consciousness). The Transliminality Scale, presented by Lange, Thalbourne, Houran & Storm, defines a probabilistic hierarchy of items that address magical thinking, mystical experience, self-absorption, hyperesthesia, mania, dream interpretation, and predilection to fantasy.  An article from the Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine briefly discusses the similarity between the interpretation of medical "mystery syndromes" and the Kundalini experience.
 Known side effects
Problems have been known to occasionally arise from Kundalini rising The following possible side effects have been noted by various teachers. These problems can persists for moments, hours, days, months, years or decades. They can also reoccur. All students with an active kundalini, experience at least a few, if not many, of these side effects. Generally these problems begin to occur after a few months (less likely) or years (more likely) after starting a contemplative practice, but in some cases they begin very soon after starting meditation or yoga.
Summary of Known Problems: Death, pseudo death, psychosis, pseudo psychosis, confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, sadness, suicidal thoughts, urges to self-mutilate, homicidal urges, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), exacerbation of prior or current mental illness, insomnia, inability to hold a job, inability to talk, inability to drive, sexual pains, temporary blindness, and headaches.
According to Transpersonal theory, and eastern spiritual traditions, these problems are thought to arise as karma - deep physical, psychological and emotional material - is brought to the surface of the mind as a result of yoga and meditative practice. Consultation with a meditation teacher who is not trained in kundalini techniques or with a psychiatrist, medical doctor or therapist who is unknowledgeable about this process often leads to confusion and misunderstanding. Using Western medicine to treat or suppress the kundalini symptoms is not recommended, and might in some cases, have undesirable side effects. Grof noted that suppressing kundalini's side effects with psychiatric medicine could lead to death. However, Lukoff et.al note that there may be times when medication can play a role in recovery, and integration of spiritual experiences.
 Kundalini and development
Within the transpersonal field Sovatsky has put forward the hypotheses of post-genital puberties. The possibility of viewing pranotthana (yogic terminology for intensified life-energy) and the larger Kundalini process as a maturation of body and character beyond conventional psychological growth. Within the yogic frame of mind this maturation is to be considered no more spectacular than conventional adolescent puberty, and it signals that psychological and spiritual development can continue throughout the life-span. The interpretation of Kundalini as a developmental, or maturational phenomena, was first suggested to the West by the Indian Pundit Gopi Krishna, whose autobiography is entitled Kundalini—The Evolutionary Energy in Man (Krishna, 1971).
 Kundalini and physiology
Contemporary spiritual literature often notes that the chakras, as described in the esoteric kundalini documents, bear a strong similarity in location and number to the major endocrine glands, as well as nerve bundles called ganglions. One speculation is that the traditional practices have formalized a method for stimulating the endocrine glands to work in a different mode, causing physiological changes that facilitate altered states of consciousness. These changes are perhaps ultimately effected by stimulating the release of DMT by the pineal gland, which may be analogous to the 'pineal chakra'.
The late Itzhak Bentov studied Kundalini from an engineering perspective. According to Bentov, the 7.5 Hz oscillation of the heart muscle rhythm induces mechanical frequencies in the brain that, in turn, create a stimulus equivalent of a current loop. The nerve endings in that loop correspond to the route through which the Kundalini "rises". This current polarizes the brain part through which it flows in a homogenous way, effectively releasing tremendous amounts of stress from the body. The body then becomes an effective antenna for the 7.5 Hz frequency, which is one of the resonant frequencies of the ionosphere. In layman's terms, you then pick up information from the air. This might account for repeated descriptions of heightened senses as a result of rising Kundalini, e.g. as described by Yogananda: "The whole vicinity lay bare before me. My ordinary frontal vision was now changed to a vast spherical sight, simultaneously all-perceptive. Through the back of my head I saw men strolling far down Rai Ghat Lane..."
 See also
* Sahaja Yoga
* Taoist Sexual Practices
* Reiki Tummo
* Kundalini yoga
1. ^ Flood, op. cit., pp. 98-99.
2. ^ Flood, op. cit., p. 122.
3. ^ Flood, op. cit., p. 99.
4. ^ Flood, op. cit., p. 96.
5. ^ a b c d e Sovatsky, Stuart (1998) Words from the Soul: Time, East/West Spirituality, and Psychotherapeutic Narrative (Suny Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology) New York: State University of New York Press ISBN 0-7914-3950-X
6. ^ Princeton University Press Book description to C. G Jung - "The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga", 1999
7. ^ Lazar, Sara W.; Bush, George; Gollub, Randy L.; Fricchione, Gregory L.; Khalsa, Gurucharan; Benson, Herbert (2000) Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response and meditation [Autonomic Nervous System] NeuroReport: Volume 11(7) 15 May 2000 p 1581–1585 PubMed Abstract PMID 10841380
8. ^ Cromie, William J. Research: Meditation changes temperatures: Mind controls body in extreme experiments, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Gazette, 18 April 2002
9. ^ a b c d e f Scotton, Bruce (1996) The phenomenology and treatment of kundalini, in Chinen, Scotton and Battista (Editors) (1996) Textbook of transpersonal psychiatry and psychology. (pp.261-270). New York, NY, US: Basic Books, Inc. PsycINFO Abstract, Accession Number: 1996-97805-024
10. ^ Kundalini Yoga: Available Online -www.siddhashram.org/kundalini.shtml
11. ^ Kundalini Yoga from Swami Sivanandha: Available Online - www.experiencefestival.com/kundalini
12. ^ a b c d Kason, Yvonne, Farther Shores: Exploring How Near-Death, Kundalini and Mystical Experiences Can Transform Ordinary Lives, 2000, Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers, Revised edition, ISBN 0-00-638624-5
13. ^ a b c d e f g Lukoff, David; Lu , Francis G. & Turner, Robert P. (1998) From Spiritual Emergency to Spiritual Problem: The Transpersonal Roots of the New DSM-IV Category. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 38(2), 21–50, 1998
14. ^ Perez-De-Albeniz, Alberto & Holmes, Jeremy (2000) Meditation: Concepts, Effects And Uses In Therapy. International Journal of Psychotherapy, March, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p49, 10p
15. ^ a b c d Greyson, Bruce, The physio-kundalini syndrome and mental illness, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 25, 43–58. PsycINFO Abstract, Accession Number: 1994-09663-001
16. ^ a b Grof, Stanislav & Grof, Christina (eds) (1989) Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis (New Consciousness Reader) Los Angeles: J.P Tarcher
17. ^ a b c d e Sannella, Lee (1976) Kundalini, psychosis or transcendence. San Francisco: Dakin online
18. ^ a b Greyson, Bruce (2000) Some neuropsychological correlates of the physio-kundalini syndrome. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 32, 123–134. PsycINFO Abstract, Accession Number: 2001-16631-002
19. ^ a b Hansen, G, [Schizophrenia or spiritual crisis? On "raising the kundalini" and its diagnostic classification]. Ugeskrift for Laeger (Weekly Journal of The Danish Medical Association). 1995 Jul 31;157(31):4360–2. [Article in Danish] PubMed Abstract PMID 7645095
20. ^ a b Grabovac, Andrea & Ganesan, Soma, Spirituality and Religion in Canadian Psychiatric Residency Training. Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry, Vol 48, No 3, April 2003 (Table 3: Selected elements of a proposed academic lecture series on religious and spirituality in psychiatry) PubMed Abstract PMID 12728741
21. ^ Herrick, Karen, Finding Our Own Substance: New DSM-IV Code 62.89, Religious or Spiritual Problem. Poster Presentation Abstract at Toward a Science of Consciousness 1996, sponsored by the University of Arizona 8 April–13, 1996, Tucson Convention Center.
22. ^ House, Richard. Psychopathology, Psychosis and the Kundalini: postmodern perspectives on unusual subjective experience. Chapter 7 in Isabel Clarke (ed.), Psychosis and Spirituality: Exploring the New Frontier, London: Whurr Publishers, 2001, pp. 107-25
23. ^ Maxwell, Victoria, Bridging Science and Spirit. Visions BC's Mental Health Journal, NO. 12, Spring 2001. Vancouver: Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division
24. ^ Thalbourne, Michael A., Measures of the Sheep-Goat Variable, Transliminality, and their Correlates. Psychological Reports, April 2001, pp. 339-350
25. ^ Le Fanu, James, A clutch of new syndromes? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2002; 95:118-125. PubMed Abstract PMID 11872759
26. ^ a b c d e Grof, Stanislav & Grof, Christina, The Stormy Search for the Self, New York: Perigee Books, ISBN 0-87477-649-X
27. ^ a b Greenwell, Bonnie, Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process, 1995, Saratoga, CA: Shakti River Press, ISBN 0-9627327-0-2
28. ^ Grof, Stanislav, Beyond the Brain: Birth Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy, State University of New York Press
29. ^ a b Goel, B.S., Third Eye and Kundalini: an Experimental Account of Journey From Dust to Divinity, Vol II, Eye Foundation of India
30. ^ Tweedie, I., Daughter of Fire: A Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master, 1995, The Golden Sufi Center, ISBN 0-9634574-5-4
31. ^ Strassman, Rick, DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences, Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, ISBN 0-89281-927-8
32. ^ Bentov, I., Micromotion of the Body as a Factor in the Development of the Nervous System, in White, J, edt. (1990) Kundalini. Evolution and enlightenment. New York: Paragon House
 Further reading
Reference works on Hindu sources
* Banerji, S. C. Tantra in Bengal. Second Revised and Enlarged Edition. (Manohar: Delhi, 1992) ISBN 81-85425-63-9
* Bhattacharyya, N. N. History of the Tantric Religion. Second Revised Edition. (Manohar: New Delhi, 1999) p. 174. ISBN 81-7304-025-7
* Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1996). ISBN 0-521-43878-0
* Shastri, Dr. Vagish (2001). Vagyoga: Kundalini Meditation, 1st edition, Vagyoga - Publication. . ISBN 81-85570-17-5
* American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association. (Code V62.89 - Religious or Spiritual Problem).
* Krishna, Gopi, (1971) Kundalini : the evolutionary energy in man. Boulder, Colorado : Shambhala, 1971. (autobiography; many other books, see his entry.)
* Lange R.; Thalbourne M.A; Houran J. & Storm L. (2000) The Revised Transliminality Scale: Reliability and Validity Data From a Rasch Top-Down Purification Procedure. Consciousness and Cognition, December, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 591-617(27)
* Motoyama, Hiroshi (1981) Theories of the Chakras: Bridge to Higher Consciousness. Wheaton, Illinois: Theosophical Publishing House.
* Sannella, L. (1987). The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence. Lower Lake, CA: Integral Publishing.
* Sharp, Dr. Michael (2005). Dossier of the Ascension: A Practical Guide to Chakra Activation and Kundalini Awakening, 1st edition, Avatar Publications. 0976537930.
* Svatmarama, Swami (1992) Hatha Yoga Pradipika. London: The Aquarian Press, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. Translated by Elsy Becherer, foreword by B K S Iyengar, commentary by Hans Ulrich Rieker.
* Thomas, Kate (2000) The Kundalini Phenomenon: The Need for Insight and Spiritual Authenticity. New Media Books.
* Turner RP, Lukoff D, Barnhouse RT, Lu FG (1995) Religious or spiritual problem. A culturally sensitive diagnostic category in the DSM-IV. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. July;183(7):435-44. PubMed Abstract PMID: 7623015
* Woodroffe, Sir John, The Serpent Power. an early presentation of Yoga to the West.
Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning either "coiled up" or "coiling like a snake." There are a number of other translations of the term usually emphasizing a more serpent nature to the word - e.g. 'serpent power'.
The caduceus symbol of coiling snakes is thought to be an ancient symbolic representation of Kundalini physiology.
The concept of Kundalini comes from yogic philosophy of ancient India and refers to the mothering intelligence behind yogic awakening and spiritual maturation. It might be regarded by yogis as a sort of deity, hence the occasional capitalization of the term.
Within a western frame of understanding it is often associated with the practice of contemplative or religious practices that might induce an altered state of consciousness, either brought about spontaneously, through a type of yoga, through psychedelic drugs, or through a near-death experience.
According to the yogic tradition Kundalini is curled up in the back part of the root chakra in three and one-half turns around the sacrum. Yogic phenomenology states that kundalini awakening is associated with the appearance of bio-energetic phenomena that are said to be experienced somatically by the yogi.
This appearance is also referred to as "pranic awakening". Prana is interpreted as the vital, life-sustaining force in the body. Uplifted, or intensified life-energy is called pranotthana and is supposed to originate from an apparent reservoir of subtle bio-energy at the base of the spine. This energy is also interpreted as a vibrational phenomena that initiates a period, or a process of vibrational spiritual development.
The source text for the concept of kundalini is the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" written by Swami Svatmarama (English translation, 1992) somewhere between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Any examination of the topic should include this work. The pradipika is one of the later developments in yoga sacred texts. Hatha Yoga is strictly speaking a forcing technique which has as its primary aim the forcing of the arising of kundalini.
The main emphasis is a difficult regime of breathing techniques meant to increase the store of "prana" in the body. The well known physical postures are only meant to be an aid to maintain peak physical fitness, so as to support the real work of the breathing practices. All of this has, according to tradition, to be accompanied by prolonged and unbroken meditation practise (for which the main text is the "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali"). The text adds that great good fortune is another requirement, i.e.luck, for the procedure to succeed. However, these techniques are not without dangers.
The Interpretation of Kundalini
Two early western interpretations of Kundalini were supplied by C.W. Leadbeater (1847-1934), of the Theosophical Society, and the analytical psychologist Carl Jung (18751961).
Jung's seminar on Kundalini yoga, presented to the Psychological Club in Zurich in 1932, has been widely regarded as a milestone in the psychological understanding of Eastern thought and of the symbolic transformations of inner peace.
Kundalini yoga presented Jung with a model for the developmental phases of higher consciousness, and he interpreted its symbols in terms of the process of individuation. (Princeton University Press Book description to C. G Jung - "The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga", 1999).
A few western translators interpret the energetic phenomena as a form of psychic or paranormal energy, although the western parapsychological understanding of psychic energy, separated from its cultural-hermeneutic matrix, is probably not the same as the yogic understanding. Yogic philosophy understands this concept as a maturing energy that expresses the individual's soteriological longings. Viewed in a mythological context it is sometimes believed to be an aspect of Shakti, the goddess and consort of Shiva.
Kundalini might be said to be a popular concept, since it is widely quoted among various disciplines of yoga and New Age beliefs. However, the recent popularization of the term within new religious movements has - according to some scholars of religion - not contributed to promote a mature understanding of the concept (Sovatsky, 1998). As with many eastern contemplative concepts there exist considerable difficulties, and possible semantic confusion, connected to the way these concepts are adapted to a western context.
This has led to somewhat different interpretations and applications of the concept of Kundalini within the spiritual and contemplative culture in the west. On the one hand there are the New Age popularizations, and on the other hand there is the traditional lineage of Kundalini Yoga understood from its cultural background and interpreted within the academic fields of Religious Studies, Pastoral Theology and Transpersonal/Humanistic psychology.
With the tools of these academic traditions it is possible to give different interpretations to the concept of Kundalini; such as physiological interpretations, psychological interpretations, clinical interpretations, religious interpretations, mythological interpretations and spiritual interpretations.
Kundalini Yoga is a meditative discipline - or a system of meditative techniques and movements - within the yogic tradition that focuses on psycho-spiritual growth and the body's potential for maturation. The practice of Kundalini Yoga consists of a number bodily postures, expressive movements and utterances, characterological cultivations, breathing patterns, and degrees of concentration.
The movements and the body-work should not - according to some scholars of religion - be considered mere stretching exercises. The concept of life-energy - pranotthana - is central to the practice and understanding of Kundalini Yoga. It also gives special consideration to the role of the spine and the endocrine system in the understanding of yogic awakening. Recently, there has been a growing interest within the medical community to study the physiological effects of meditation, and some of these studies have applied the discipline of Kundalini Yoga to their clinical settings.
Kundalini in the World's Religions
Kundalini is mainly associated with Hinduism. However, Kundalini as a spiritual experience is thought to have parallels in many of the mystical and gnostic traditions of the world's great religions.
Many factors point to the universality of the phenomenon. The early Christians might have referred to the concept as 'pneuma', and there are some recent parallels in contemporary Christian Charismatic 'Holy Ghost' phenomena. Religious studies also note parallels in Quakerism, Shakerism, Judaic Shuckling (torso-rocking prayer), the swaying zikr and whirling dervish of Islam, the quiverings of the Eastern Orthodox hesychast, the flowing movements of tai chi, the ecstatic shamanic dance, the ntum trance dance of the Bushman, Tibetan Buddhist tummo heat as practised by Milarepa, and the Indically-derived Andalusian flamenco (Sovatsky, 1998). Kundalini practice is centerfold in Japan's Aum Shinrikyo group and Kundalini-yoga is also one of the stages the practitioner is able to achieve.
According to yogic terminology the force of Kundalini is supposed to be raised through meditative exercises and activated within the concept of a subtle body, a body of energy and finer substance. This process has been explained in detail by Motoyama (1981) and by Sharp (2005). Motoyama bases the bulk of the Kundalini raising practices listed in the book on the notable Swami Satyananda Saraswati, as well as on personal experience in helping people in various stages of Kundalini awakening. Sharp provides a kundalini meditation called The Great Invocation along with detailed guidance on controlling and managing the energy flow and subsequent manifestation.
Kundalini-experiences are often understood in terms of the Hindu chakra system, the understanding of psycho-spiritual energy centers along the spine (Scotton, 1996). According to Hindu tradition the Kundalini raises from the root-chakra up through the spinal channel, called sushumna, and it is believed to activate each chakra it goes through.
Each chakra is said to contain special characteristics (Scotton, 1996). In raising Kundalini, spiritual powers (siddhis) are also believed to arise, but many spiritual traditions see these phenomena as obstacles on the path, and encourages their students not to get hung up with them (Kason, 2000). Although the opening of higher chakras are believed to mark advanced spiritual unfoldment, it is important not to measure spiritual growth solely by the opening of higher potentials. According to this view chakras might be under- or overdeveloped, and lower chakras are thought to be just as important as higher.
Spiritual literature also describes instances where Kundalini is said to be initiated. Initiation of kundalini activity is usually considered to take place by a practice called shaktipat. This is a form of 'laying on of hands' where physical contact to the body or the forehead of the subject by the guru, or initiator, is supposed to cause an experience of Kundalini that later may persist or grow with continuing practice, or fade away if practice is stopped. Scotton (1996) mentions that kundalini-symptomatology is associated with such practices as shaktipat. He also gives a case-example of such a practice from an American meditation retreat.
According to much contemporary spiritual literature, and the field of Transpersonal Psychology, it is not considered wise to engage in any of these practices without the guidance of a credible teacher or without thorough psychological preparation and education in yoga. Any form of intense contemplative or spiritual practice without the support of a cultural context, or without the support of thorough psychological preparation, is usually considered to be unfortunate, and in some cases even dangerous. Traditional teachers of kundalini meditation also warn neophytes of the potential dangers of experimenting with kundalini Yoga techniques. These warnings should not be underestimated. A growing body of clinical and psychological literature notes the growing occurrence of meditation-related problems in Western contemplative life. Among these we find the Kundalini Syndrome (which is presented more closely later in this article) and different forms of "wind illness" described in the Tibetan tradition.
Theorists within the schools of Humanistic psychology, Transpersonal psychology and Near-Death Studies describe a complex pattern of motor functions, sensory, affective and cognitive-hermeneutic symptoms called the Kundalini Syndrome. This psychosomatic arousal and excitation is believed to occur in connection with prolonged and intensive spiritual or contemplative practice (such as meditation or yoga) or as a result of intense life experience or a near encounter with death (such as a near-death experience).
According to these fields of study the Kundalini syndrome is of a different nature than a single Kundalini episode, such as a Kundalini arousal. The Kundalini syndrome is a process that might unfold over several months, or even years. If the accompanying symptoms unfold in an intense manner - that de-stabilizes the person - the process is usually interpreted as what Stanislav Grof has termed "spiritual emergency"
Interdisciplinary dialogues within the mentioned schools of psychology (see references below) have now established some common criteria in order to describe this condition, of which the most prominent feature is a feeling of energy travelling along the spine, or progressing upwards in the body. Motor symptoms are said to include tremors, other spontaneous or involuntary body movements and changes in respiratory function.
Sensory symptoms are said to include subjective changes in body temperature - feelings of heat or cold - a feeling of electricity in the body, persistent sexual arousal syndrome, headache and pressure inside of the head, tingling, vibrations and gastro-intestinal problems. Cognitive and affective symptoms are said to include psychological upheaval, stress, depression, depersonalization or derealization, intense mood-swings, but also moments of bliss, deep peace and other altered states of consciousness. Within the mentioned academic traditions this symptomatology is often referred to as the Physio-Kundalini syndrome or Kundalini-experience Awakening.
Transpersonal literature emphasizes that this list of symptoms is not meant to be used as a tool for self-diagnosis. Any unusual or marked physical or mental symptom needs to be investigated by a qualified medical doctor.
Kundalini and Physiology
Contemporary spiritual literature often notes that the chakras, as described in the esoteric kundalini documents, bear a strong similarity in location and number to the major endocrine glands, as well as nerve bundles called ganglions.
One speculation is that the traditional practices have formalized a method for stimulating the endocrine glands to work in a different mode which has a more direct effect on consciousness, perhaps ultimately by stimulating the release of DMT by the pineal gland, which may be analogous to the 'pineal chakra'.
The late Itzhak Bentov studied Kundalini from an engineering perspective. According to Bentov (1990), the 7.5 Hz oscillation of the heart muscle rhythm induces mechanical Hz frequencies in the brain, that in turn create a stimulus equivalent of a current loop. The nerve endings in that loop correspond to the route through which the Kundalini "rises".
This current polarizes the brain part through which it flows in a homogenous way, effectively releasing tremendous amounts of stress from the body. The body then becomes an effective antenna for the 7.5 Hz frequency, which is one of the resonant frequencies of the ionosphere. In layman's terms, you then pick up information from the air.
This might account for repeated descriptions of heightened senses as a result of rising Kundalini, e.g. as described by Yogananda: "The whole vicinity lay bare before me. My ordinary frontal vision was now changed to a vast spherical sight, simultaneously all-perceptive."
When practiced in a religious context, Kundalini is mostly beneficial and benevolent. However, examples exist of historical figures suffering from kundalini symptoms, such as zen master Hakuin, Saint Theresa, and Nietzsche. The physiological precursors of kundalini also have the potential to diverge into some peculiar types of pathology, as when induced via violence and outside a religious context, where it may be part of a post-traumatic response. Post-traumatic stress disorder researcher Dr. Jonathan Shay (1994) describes several cases with kundalini-like symptoms in his book Achilles in Vietnam.
According to transpersonal theorists the phenomenon of kundalini is not necessarily pathological in itself, but it might produce serious physiological and psychodynamic symptoms if it is activated outside a proper socio-cultural context, or if it conflicts with already existing and underlying psychopathology or issues connected to overall human development.
References and Links
The coiled and dormant 'feminine' energy, refers to the vast potential of psychic energy contained within us all. It is normally symbolized as a serpent coiled into three and a half circles, with its tail in its mouth, and spiraling around the central axis (sacrum or sacred bone) at the base of the spine. The awakening of this serpent and the manifestation of its powers is a primary aim of the practice of Kundalini Yoga. The image of coiling, like a spring, conveys the sense of untapped potential energy that will spring into action soon. For now we remember in small doses.
Kundalini can be described as a great reservoir of creative energy at the base of the spine. It's not useful to sit with our consciousness fixed in our head and think of kundalini as a foreign force running up and down our spine. The concept of kundalini can also be examined from a strictly psychological perspective. From this perspective kundalini can be thought of as a rich source of psychic or libidinous energy in our unconscious.
Tapping into Kundalini Energy
- Activating Your DNA
- Opening your Clairvoyant and Clairaudient abilities.
- Feeling connected to the oneness of the universe
- Your mind feels expanded in its quest for higher awareness and knowledge
- Allowing your ego to step aside and connecting with higher frequency of thought and consciousness
- Feeling unconditional love, peace, and connection with spirit
Kundalini is most often awaken through Yoga meditation - which include Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga or Kriya Yoga. I have prepared a meditation to help you on your path should Yoga not be available to you.
To prepare for this meditation - you might want to tape record the words on this page to listen to as your move through the meditation. Please speak slowly and softly.
Allow lots of time for the meditation - as you will need to relax when you are finished.
You may want to listen to music or be in a quiet place - or be in nature.
Find a quiet place ... free of distractions.
Adjust the lighting and room temperature.
Adjust clothing . . . footwear . . . eyeglasses.
Sit down or lie down
Find a position that is comfortable for you.
Quiet your mind . . . Still your thoughts.
Relax your body
Your face . . . your jaw . . . relaxing
Your shoulders . . . your neck . . . relaxed
Your arms . . . your hands . . . feel at peace.
Your torso . . . your hips . . . letting go
Your legs . . . your feet . . . totally relaxed
Focus on your breathing.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
Retain the breath as long as is comfortable.
Exhale through the mouth slowly and completely.
Repeat for two more breaths . . . or as is comfortable.
Now focus your attention on your chakras.
Starting from the top of your head visualize your crown chakra opening.
Watch as pure white light enters your crown chakra
and slowly spirals down through your spine.
The white light opens your third eye chakra.
You may experiences vibrant colors especially in blue, and violet . . .
The white light moves down to your throat chakra releasing your blockages.
You may feel like chanting or singing.
Allow the tones to resonant from your throat.
Do this as long as is comfortable . . .
The white light now enters your heart chakra.
You experience a feeling of unconditional love and compassion.
The white light enters your solar plexus.
Gently your fears - anger - tensions are released.
See the white light enter your spleen chakra
releasing pain and guilt linked to that chakra.
The white light now enters your Root Chakra the seat of your kundalini energy.
As it does, it begins to activate the energy of the base (root) chakra.
Feel the energy suddenly emerge from your Root Chakra,
Spiraling up through the base of your spine as if it were a coiled snake.
The coiled snake represents the spiraling DNA -
opening, activating, bringing you to higher levels of consciousness.
Allow the energy to flow through your chakras.
See the energy wheels rotating.
When your are ready - return your consciousness to your physical body.
Relax and balance your energies.
You might want to drink some water.
From : www.crystalinks.com/kundalini.html
KUNDALINI SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
by El Collie
Many individuals whose Kundalini has been unexpectedly unleashed DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING, and the prevailing social ignorance about this multidimensional transformative process makes it hard to find medical or alternative health practitioners or spiritual advisors who recognize the symptoms, particularly when they are strongly physical. Many people know that the risen Kundalini flings open gates to all sorts of mystical, paranormal and magical vistas but few realize it can also dramatically impact the body. A large percentage of our old Shared Transformation newsletter subscribers reported long bouts of strange illness as well as radical mental, emotional, interpersonal, psychic, spiritual and lifestyle changes. Over and again we hear stories of frustrating, sometimes desperate visits to doctors, healers, counselors, etc. who neither understood nor were able to help with the myriad pains and problems catalyzed by raging Kundalini.
Click here -- This letter is typical of the hundreds we receive from people struggling with strange symptoms and Kundalini illnesses:
The following are common manifestations of the risen Kundalini:
* Muscle twitches, cramps or spasms.
* Energy rushes or immense electricity circulating the body
* Itching, vibrating, prickling, tingling, stinging or crawling sensations
* Intense heat or cold
* Involuntary bodily movements (occur more often during meditation, rest or sleep): jerking, tremors, shaking; feeling an inner force pushing one into postures or moving one's body in unusual ways. (May be misdiagnosed as epilepsy, restless legs syndrome (RLS), or PLMD.)
* Alterations in eating and sleeping patterns
* Episodes of extreme hyperactivity or, conversely, overwhelming fatigue (some CFS victims are experiencing Kundalini awakening)
* Intensified or diminished sexual desires
* Headaches, pressures within the skull
* Racing heartbeat, pains in the chest
* Digestive system problems
* Numbness or pain in the limbs (particularly the left foot and leg)
* Pains and blockages anywhere; often in the back and neck (Many cases of FMS are Kundalini-related.)
* Emotional outbursts; rapid mood shifts; seemingly unprovoked or excessive episodes of grief, fear, rage, depression
* Spontaneous vocalizations (including laughing and weeping) -- are as unintentional and uncontrollable as hiccoughs
* Hearing an inner sound or sounds, classically described as a flute, drum, waterfall, birds singing, bees buzzing but which may also sound like roaring, whooshing, or thunderous noises or like ringing in the ears.
* Mental confusion; difficulty concentrating
* Altered states of consciousness: heightened awareness; spontaneous trance states; mystical experiences (if the individual's prior belief system is too threatened by these, they can lead to bouts of psychosis or self-grandiosity)
* Heat, strange activity, and/or blissful sensations in the head, particularly in the crown area.
* Ecstasy, bliss and intervals of tremendous joy, love, peace and compassion
* Psychic experiences: extrasensory perception; out-of-body experiences; pastlife memories; astral travel; direct awareness of auras and chakras; contact with spirit guides through inner voices, dreams or visions; healing powers
* Increased creativity: new interests in self-expression and spiritual communication through music, art, poetry, etc.
* Intensified understanding and sensitivity: insight into one's own essence; deeper understanding of spiritual truths; exquisite awareness of one's environment (including "vibes" from others)
* Enlightenment experiences: direct Knowing of a more expansive reality; transcendent awareness
Some people have told us they find the concept of "Kundalini" foreign and prefer to simply call this their "awakening," which is fine with us. But for most who contact us, the Kundalini explanation provides an important framework with which to accept and work with their experiences. We each have a unique way of interpreting, honoring and describing our spiritual wisdom. I do not believe there is only one right way to know or express the truth. Far more important, I believe, is to have an open heart and to be faithful to our own path, wherever it may lead.
We have also been asked why we do not put more emphasis on union with the Divine and God-realization, which are very much central to spiritual awakening. Since everyone experiences and interprets their mystical experiences differently and very personally, to make sure no one will feel excluded, we just speak of "awakening consciousness" or "transcendent states" on the ST Web pages. In our Shared Transformation newsletter, individuals with variant religious beliefs are welcome to (and DO) tell about their experiences of this sort. Some speak of God, Christ, Goddess, the Holy One, Spirit, or simply a magnificent Whole in which we all partake.
Also, for some people, profound spiritual realizations do not occur until months or years after the other signs and symptoms. Individuals who are having experiences of an obvious spiritual nature are usually more able to integrate and benefit from the process, regardless of how they may label it. But those who experience what seems to be illness or weird psychic phenomena often are very alarmed until they understand that they are not sick or crazy. And even the enlightening and beautiful experiences can be so powerful that people doubt their sanity. This is why the information and validation we offer through Shared Transformation is so valuable.
KUNDALINI: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND SELECTED REFERENCES
This FAQ gives a background on the phenomenon of kundalini and is assumed material before reading the other related articles:
Siddha Mahayoga FAQ
Kundalini Yogas FAQ
The Siddha Mahayoga Tradition of Swami Shivom Tirth
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
� What is kundalini?
� What is the difference between prana and kundalini? What is the difference between qi (or chi) and kundalini?
� If kundalini is universal why do some kundalini yogins seem to have more kundalini-energy than others ?
� What does kundalini have to do with spiritual enlightenment? What is the goal of kundalini yoga?
� Does everyone agree that kundalini awakening is necessary for enlightenment?
� Can I just use kundalini yoga simply to improve my health?
� Is there any scientific basis for kundalini and the cakras? Do I really have to believe that all these cakras physically exist?
� Is Chinese qi gong a kind of kundalini yoga?
� What about Tibetan Buddhism - has kundalini been known in Tibet?
� Are there any other traditions that show awareness of kundalini?
� So how do I awaken kundalini?
� What are the advantages and disadvantages of using effort to awaken kundalini?
� What are the signs of an awakened kundalini?
� Are these methods of awakening kundalini dangerous? What about Gopi Krishna's books?
� But even if kundalini is dangerous, isn't it a faster way to enlighenment?
� There have been many scandals among kundalini yoga teachers - particularly sexual scandals. Is there a correlation between sexual scandals and kundalini yoga practice?
� If my kundalini is awakened will I need to change my lifestyle? Do I need to be celibate?
� Where can I learn more?
What is kundalini?
``Kundalini'' literally means coiling, like a snake. In the classical literature of hatha yoga kundalini is described as a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. The image of coiling, like a spring, conveys the sense of untapped potential energy. Perhaps more meaningfully kundalini can be described as a great reservoir of creative energy at the base of the spine. It's not useful to sit with our consciousness fixed in our head and think of kundalini as a foreign force running up and down our spine. Unfortunately the serpent image may serve to accentuate this alien nature of the image. It's more useful to think of kundalini energy as the very foundation of our consciousness so that when kundalini moves through our bodies our consciousness necessarily changes with it.
The concept of kundalini can also be examined from a strictly psychological perspective. From this perspective kundalini can be thought of as a rich source of psychic or libidinous energy in our unconscious.
In the classical literature of Kashmir Shaivism kundalini is described in three different manifestions. The first of these is as the universal energy or para-kundalini. The second of these is as the energizing function of the body-mind complex or prana-kundalini. The third of these is as consciousness or shakti-kundalini which simultaneously subsumes and intermediates between these two. Ultimately these three forms are the same but understanding these three different forms will help to understand the differerent manifestations of kundalini.
What is the difference between prana and kundalini? What is the difference between qi (or chi) and kundalini?
First let us try to relate to concepts from the same tradition - prana and kundalini. Prana has been translated as the ``vital breath'' and ``bio-energetic motility''; it is associated with maintaining the functioning of the mind and body. Kundalini, in its form as prana-kundalini, is identical to prana ; however, Kundalini also has a manifestations as consciousness and a as a unifying cosmic energy. One could ascribe these same aspects to prana as well so past a certain point these become distinctions without differences.
From the subjective standpoint of an individual actually experiencing the awakening of kundalini I have found three completely different opinions:
The first opinion is that a pranic awakening is only a prelude to a full kundalini awakening. Tibetan yogins that I have encountered consider the activation of prana (Tibetan: rlung) as merely a prerequisite for the activation of kundalini (Tibetan: gTummo). What's attractive about this viewpoint is that it explains the difference between the experience of simply having pleasant sensations in the spine and the much more powerful experience of having a ``freight-train''-like full kundalini experience.
The second opinion, espoused by Swami Shivom Tirth for example, is that prana and kundalini are absolutely equivalent and that it is not meaningful in any way to describe a difference between kundalini rising and prana rising. When posed with question as to how to distinguish between pleasant sensations that show some pranic-activity in the spine and the much more powerful experience Swami Shivom Tirth said that the difference is not in the nature of the activity but in the consciousness that observes it. If the consciousness that experiences the pranic activity is seated within the spine (or more correctly, the central channel, known as the sushumna), then the experience is felt much more powerfully.
The third opinion, espoused by the modern hatha yogin, Desikaran, is that pranic awakening is the true experience to be aimed for and kundalini is actually an obstruction. Desikaran sees the kundalini as a block in the central channel and thus the kundalini must be ``killed'' to make way for the prana. This is the most unusual view of the three.
The Chinese concept of qi (or chi) can be safely identified with the Indian concept of prana.
If all this seems confusing - don't worry, you're in good company. My conclusion is that these are all different terminologies for dealing with a common set of experiences. Any one of these viewpoints is adequate for describing the full range of experiences. What is probably more relevant is to distinguish two different experiences which are often confused. In one an individual experiences some pleasant energizing electric energy running along the spine. This experience itself brings about a wide range of experiences and results in vitality and sensitivity. Another very distinct experience is the experience of kundalini entering the sushumna and rising up the spine. As soon as kundalini enters the sushumna this experience will completely overwhelm ordinary waking consciousness. From the moment that kundalini enters the sushumna there will no longer be a distrinction between the subjective consciousness which experiences and the object of experience. This experience much more profoundly transfigures consciousness.
If kundalini is universal, why do some kundalini yogins seem to have more kundalini-energy than others ??
It's an intriguing question. If an individual's kundalini is viewed as simply a personal reservoir of a cosmic energy then why would one person appear to have more of a reservoir of kundalini energy than another? Nevertheless, this does appear to be the case. This is probably another advantage of the viewpoint that prana (or qi) is the same as kundalini. Some Chinese texts distinguish between ``innate qi'' or ``pre-natal qi'' that one is born with and ``cultivated qi'' that can be developed. Clearly some people simply have more ``innate qi.'' This manifests as a stronger more resilient body and greater general vitality.
Through training those that have relatively weak ``innate qi'' may surpass those who have strong ``innate qi'' but do not train. There are many stories in the Chinese literature of Qi Gong about people who took up Qi Gong in order to improve their poor health became powerful martial artists or great qi gong masters. Of course those that have strong ``innate qi'' and also train their qi may develop the strongest qi of all.
What does kundalini have to do with spiritual enlightenment? What is the goal of kundalini yoga?
First we need a few concepts: In yogic anatomy the sushumna is the central channel and conduit for the kundalini energy that runs along our spine and up to the crown of our head. Along this channel are placed additional channel networks called cakras. These cakras are associated with major aspects of our anatomy - for example our throat, heart, solar plexus, and in turn these aspects of our anatomy are related to aspects of our human nature. According to the literature of kundalini yoga our experience of these centers is limited due to knots which restrict the flow of energy into these centers. Three knots are particuarly important. The knot of Brahma which restricts the center at the base of the spine. The knot of Vishnu which restricts the heart center and the knot of Rudra which restricts the center between the eyebrows. These knots form an important framework in yogic thinking and the stages toward enlightenment are articulated in terms of breaking through these knots in the yogic classic the Hatha Yoga Pradipika as well as in some of the yoga upanishads. Specifically, four stages of progress are described:
Arambha is associated with breaking the knot of Brahma and the awakening of kundalini. Ghata is associated with breaking the knot of Vishnu and and with internal absorption. Parichaya the absorption deepens and in nishpatti the knot of Rudra is pierced and the kundalini may ascend to the center at the crown of the head. In this state transcendence is integrated and, according to the yogic liteature, the yogi has nothing more to attain.
Putting these elaborate physiological decriptions aside, the goal of kundalini yoga is the same as the goal of any legimitate spiritual practice: To be liberated from the limited bounds of the self-centered and alienated ego. In kundalini yoga this is associated with internal manifestations of the kundalini but the external manifestations should be similar to any other legitiimate spiritual practice.
So does everyone agree that kundalini awakening is necessary for enlightenment?
The view that kundalini awakening is necessary for enlightenment is held in the diverse literature of Kashmir Shaivism and in other Hindu Tantric literature. It is found in the literature of the Hatha Yogis and the Nath Sampradaya. You will find similar views in many Buddhist Tantric works. In addition this view is held by recent spiritual figures such as Shri Ramakrishna, Swami Sivananda, Paramahamsa Yogananda and Swami Vivekananda and of course by contemporary kundalini yogins themselves.
Nevertheless there are some dissenters from this view. These include Sri Chinmoy, Da Free John and Gurdjieff. Dissent can take a number of different forms. For Gurjieff kundalini is associated only with a binding force that leads us to be more attached to the world. Such a view of kundalini is not entirely inaccurate but only reflects the functioning of kundalini in the lower energy centers. For Sri Chinmoy kundalini is an amplifying function that may make an individual more powerful but not more enlightened. From my perspective this also only addresses the impact of kundalini while it operates in the lower energy centers.
Da Free John (born Franklin Jones, a. k. a. Da Love Ananda) has a much more fundamental criticism of kundalini. As far as I understand his position, for him enlightenment cannot be the result of an experience; it is a cognitive transformation. Kundalini may evoke a wide variety of experiences but these are not in and of themselves enlightening. This is an interesting perspective but it seems to assume that the raising of kundalini is an experience in which an ego-consciousness experiences a separate object known as kundalini. Again, this view is consistent with the experience of kundalini in the lower energy centers in which the ego is detached from the movement of kundalini and kundalini experiences are precieved as separate from oneself. However, I would argue that as kundalini rises the ego-consciousness becomes infused in a more fundamental consciousness of cit-shakti-kundalini and this experience does in fact produce a fundamental cognitive change.
Finally, there are many other spiritual practices, such as Zen, Vipassana meditation that consider kundalini irrelevant. Some practitioners or even teachers of these paths, such as Jiyu Kennet, may have kundalini experiences but generally kundalini is not a pivotal part of these paths.
Read more at the homepage of Kurt Keutzer: www-cad.eecs.berkeley.edu/~keutzer/
How To Awaken Your Kundalini
Copyright by Wholistic Creations
"Each of us has a spark in life inside us, and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another." ~Kenny Ausubel
Kundalini is the supreme cosmic enlightening energy, that resides inside us, deep at the core of our being. Kundalini is the most powerful force in the Universe, and brings enlightenment to our world. Your Kundalini awakens the manifesting being in your life! Anything you wish to manifest is possible with an awakened Kundalini.
In ancient text the Kundalini is often described as a female serpent coiled 3 and 1/2 times at the base of your spine. She is sleeping away, waiting for you to awaken her energy and rise up your spine. It's a bit bizarre that such a divine all powerful energy would be taking a nap at the base of your spine, yet she truly contains the most awesome power you can imagine in the Universe. Your Kundalini will reside at the bottom until we are completely awakened, living 24 hours a day knowing we are The Divine All-powerful God-Being we truly are.
When we awaken her infinite Shakti power for the first time, we receive a spiritually enlightening experience (Satori) that can last for days, weeks or months. We then realize who we are is something much bigger than anything we presumed before. We see we are this unlimited consciousness, eternal energy, outrageous creativity and divinely inspired intelligence at all times. The Kundalini allows us to realize this, not as another ego trip, yet through annihilating the ego we can see the bigger Truth exactly as it is. This constant realization and surrender to the God-Being that is here now is called Samadhi.
If we simply realize we are responsible for the divine creation of our life exactly the way it is this awakening will begin to occur. If we stay stuck in our mind, and are unconsciously choosing everyday to live a life that we do not want or love, the Kundalini snoozes away, patiently waiting for us to wake up. To become totally conscious and realize that we are NOT just this ego-mind who is identifying with thoughts while feeling trapped in a body, is what the beginning of a spiritual awakening is about. In fact, if for minutes or hours you can stop being so busy up in the head with ideas ( past and future) and remain ONLY in the now, you can feel the Kundalini awaken inside you. As she rises up our spine she lets us know WE are this divine all-powerful intelligence and awareness itself. Siddhi powers are a side-benefit that come from an awakened Kundalini. A few examples of Siddhi powers are having supernatural strength, sight, hearing, the ability of levitation, bi-location, instant manifestations, etc... Basically anything you can imagine beyond the everyday world is instantly possible when your Kundalini is fully awakened and your relationship with it has matured. Like the Kundalini, these Siddhi powers are actually natural abilities that each of us contain, yet through years of societal conditioning they have been suppressed and we have been programmed to believe they are malicious or wrong. They only become dangerous when one gets wrapped in their ego and believes they are separate from the divine God-Source. Siddhi power is as natural as the light, heat and energy from our sun above.
"There wouldn't be such a thing as counterfeit gold if there wasn't real gold somewhere." ~Sufi Proverb
Kundalini: A Sexual Ascension
All our senses are MUCH more awake and alive when the Kundalini is aroused. Because she is sleeping around the sexual region of our body, when awakened often the first thing you feel is more SEXUALLY ALIVE! Thank God! The sexual energy is a beautiful divine feeling and is nothing to be ashamed of. All creation has come from sexual energy. Every human being you meet was created with an orgasm. Everyone!
When your Kundalini is active she heightens sensual feelings as much as creativity, inspiration, passion, new ideas and total aliveness! This all flows from a sexual-sensual feeling that is located not just down below, but ALL OVER our being. It's what makes you dance, sing and laugh spontaneously and yes even come to the point of releasing orgasm. Kundalini is a wild, dynamic sensual energy that only sleeps when repressed and suppressed. She awakens as an awesome and powerful abundant river of pleasure and bliss, that is always available, when you give yourself permission to be sensually free! Especially when you are not consciously engaged in having sex. An awakening Kundalini comes from you letting go, and opening up to the freeing feelings inside you. She is the eternally renewal of energy that completely energizes your being, loving this world, and opens your mind to new levels of being everyday.
"For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the Universe." ~ Larry Eisenberg
Kundalini: The Greatest Healer
Kundalini is the source of all healing. All mental, emotional, physical and spiritual healing comes from her rising up the spine. An awakening Kundalini can cause life-threatening diseases to miraculously disappear over night! People who have spontaneously been healed from terminal diseases have been labeled as "the placebo effect" of certain sugar pills, are ALL from the radical healing powers of their Kundalini rising. Your Kundalini is the core life force in your body responsible for your whole healed state of being.
The most amazing benefit discovered from awakening the Kundalini is the profound experiences of healing on the body and the mind. She opens an energetic channel through each Chakra from your infinite source, which constantly fills your body with waves of bliss. No disease, negative feelings, poor attitude, or even undesirable situations will ever happen for you. Nothing that is even remotely painful that was hidden or stuck in your body has a chance of survival with her present. She brings to you the ultimate experience of Life, letting you experience yourself as the greatest height and depth of God's being surrounded by an infinite eternal river of bliss.
"Remember that every new second is a fresh start, for you are never chained by the past of ten seconds or ten years ago." ~Vernon Howard
How To Raise Your Kundalini!
If you continue to stay in the present moment, you will slowly dissolve the deepest of illusions our mind has been constantly re-creating about a true/false reality, and start seeing The Reality of an ever-present energy of divine bliss in everyone and everything. If we buy into the illusions of the mind at any moment, the cosmic Kundalini falls back asleep. She will do this until we are completely present again to the Reality of Existence found only within the Here and Now.
Staying consciously awake in this eternal moment, the phenomena of psychic abilities, paranormal powers and magical manifesting capabilities will naturally begin to appear. She will give you the ability to attracting anything in the Universe you desire. Because you are merging with the Kundalini's infinite power, the body will no longer have ANY experience of having mental, emotional or physical pain. The experience of being bathed in an ever-present Source of divine peace and awesome power will be your new way of living.
If you are open and willing to step into your destiny as a divine being of God, read on. Awakening this incredible power is a very delicate and gentle process. We are connecting with the greatest energy in the Universe. It is so powerful we need to be very tender with it, to allow it in.
When each of the seven major Chakra centers in your body are ignited, you will step completely out of the time-bound world of the ordinary and into the most extraordinary super-natural realm of your being. The God and Goddess within you will become very apparent to all, and you will absolutely know without a doubt, the truly magical and all-powerful cosmic God-being you truly are. This is the ultimate goal of the human experience.
"It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future, and impossible to live in the past. Nothing is as far away as one minute ago." ~Jim Bishop
from : www.enlightenedbeings.com/kundalini.html
How to Experience a Kundalini Awakening!
When you experience a Kundalini Awakening it will change your life forever. You will first perceive the world, yourself and every person you meet with a expanded enlightened consciousness. Everything you see and feel is experienced as it truly is, as Divine Intelligent Conscious Energy. An abundance of love, healing and a consistent connection to this higher intelligence is found everywhere you go. Each day as you awaken more, it reminds you to find the Divine in yourself, drop your "right or wrong" perspective, and know the Truth as it is, without the mask or veil of the ego/mind in the way. The Kundalini is the cosmic orgasmic fire that burns away the "cobwebs" of your mind, purifying you from any attachments, dishonesty with yourself, and future suffering.
Before you begin to awaken the Kundalini, we recommend that you first practice loving your body and listening to it. This means eating right, exercising, bathing and treating it as absolutely sacred. Your body may contain energetic, emotional, or mental "contractions" where your mind is attached to certain limited belief systems. These may form into "blocks" which postpone the Kundalini from awakening. If you try to force your Kundalini to awaken with these blocks existing in your bodymind, it can cause more pain. You may start experiencing grander sensations of mental confusion, emotional turmoil, or even experience physical pain. These symptoms are the body's way of communicating to you to STOP, slow down, be silent, listen, relax deeper and start healing your personal issues. No matter what happens, you will inadvertently become more conscious, respectful and aware of what you are doing and the life your are living.
Awakening your Kundalini can be like tapping into a million watts of electricity where your body may only have the capacity of a 100 watt bulb at the time. So you'll want to prepare your bodymind so that you can open up to 100 million watts or more. Remember, this is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual merging with the most powerful healing Divine creative sensual energy in this Universe. So you'll want to go about it slowly, respectfully and consciously. The Ego has this tendency to want instant results and rush into experiences to find immediate gratification. Be careful, this will only cause you delay from truly awakening it, and creating a conscious communion with the awesome Kundalini power.
The awakening of your Kundalini can be a very slow and challenging process, or it can manifest instantaneously. It depends on two things; how open your chakras are and how receptive you are to a complete life transformation. When each of your seven major chakra centers in your body are relaxed, open and aligned, then the path is energetically paved, the super-natural power of the Kundalini will naturally flow through. To attune your chakras to the highest vibration of Kundalini Shakti energy we have created The Guided Meditation to Awaken your Kundalini! Doing this daily with Kundalini Yoga will pave a golden road for a full Kundalini Shakti awakening experience within your bodymind. The combination of these two exercises are the key to opening, strengthening and cleaning the energy channels in your body to receive the amazing healing Kundalini.
Is Awakening The Kundalini Dangerous?
Perhaps you have heard stories about how awakening the Kundalini has done more "harm" than good to them. Some of these stories may be true, so do be careful when you "mess" with the most powerful energy in the Universe. It is advised to go VERY gently when approaching her to awaken. We recommend that if you are unstable mentally and/or emotionally, that you refrain from stirring up the Kundalini. If you have truly invested a deep inner spiritual focus and are devoted to finding the spiritual ride of your life, and you have a sound mental and emotional foundation, then by all means we encourage you to open your chakras further. Either way, the Universe will gently entice the Kundalini to one day rise up your spine.
Perhaps the most important thing to know and remain aware of, is that a Kundalini Awakening contains the most unbelievable expanded states of comprehension of Reality, enlightenment and absolute ecstasy. Not to mention that you've just befriended the greatest healing energy available inside you and extremely contagious to all human beings. A Kundalini awakening can be an experience that feels like the greatest blessing in the entire world, or the worst curse you have ever encountered. It simply depends on one thing. Whether you know that you are a infinite soul that will never die, OR you still believe you are this physical non-spiritual mortal body. Your perspective is everything when it comes to a million watts of energy pouring through you. The bigger and more inclusive your perspective is on each experience, the easier it will be for your bodymind to accept the Kundalini.
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