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The Awareness and awakening of Kundalini
200hr Yoga Teacher Training
Kundalini in Sanskrit means “coiled one” referring to a form of primal energy (or) said to be located at the base of the spine. The American scholar Joseph Campbell describes the concept of Kundalini as the figure of a coiled female serpent—a serpent of “subtle” substance—which is thought to be residing in a slumbering state in a subtle center, the first of the seven, near the base of the spine: the aim of the yoga practice is to rouse this serpent, lift her head, and bring her up a subtle nerve or channel of the spine to the so-called “thousand-petaled lotus” (Sahasrara) at the crown of the head. Rising from the lowest to the highest lotus center Kundalini will pass through and wake the five between, and with each waking, the psychology and personality of the practitioner will be altogether and fundamentally transformed. However it is also possible that this may no tbe the way it feels for everyone and some such a Sri T Krishnamacharya would also a view this kundalini energy as a block to the pranic life force, to be awakenened and released. It is a fascinating topic and a cause for much debate.
Kundalini awakening is said by some to occur as a consequence of deep meditation which sometimes results in a feeling of enlightenment and bliss. However, Kundalini awakenings may happen through a variety of methods. Many systems of yoga focus on awakening Kundalini through meditation; pranayama breathing; the practice of asana and chanting of mantras. The Kundalini experience is frequently reported to be a feeling of electric current running along the spine.
The most important psychological changes in the character of an enlightened person would be that he or she would be compassionate and more detached from his or her environment. There would be less ego and not any tendency towards violence or aggression.
Numerous accounts describe the experience of Kundalini awakening. When awakened, Kundalini is said to rise up from the muladhara chakra, through the central nadi called shushumna inside or alongside the spine reaching the top of the head. The progress of Kundalini through the different chakras leads to different levels of awakening and a mystical experience, until Kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, sahasrara or crown chakra, producing an extremely profound transformation of consciousness. Energy is said to accumulate in the muladhara, and the yogi seeks to send it up to the brain transforming it into ‘Ojas’, the highest form of energy.
There are many and various physical effects that some people believe to be a sign of a Kundalini awakening. The following are either common signs of an awakened Kundalini or symptoms of a problem associated with an awakening Kundalini:
ͽ Bliss, feelings of infinite love and universal connectivity, transcendent awareness, seeing truth (third eye opening), euphoria
ͽ Heightened sense of smell, heightened hearing and sexual sensations
ͽ No longer controlled by desire/cravings
ͽ Change in the thyroid, sudden ability to sing in perfect pitch, change in voice
ͽ Change in breathing
ͽ Energy rushes or feelings of electricity circulating the body
ͽ Involuntary jerks, tremors, shaking, itching, tingling, and crawling sensations, especially in the arms and legs
ͽ Intense heat (sweating) or cold, especially as energy is experienced passing through the chakras
ͽ Visions or sounds at times associated with a particular chakra
ͽ Diminished or conversely extreme sexual desire sometimes leading to a state of constant or whole-body orgasm
ͽ Emotional upheavals or surfacing of unwanted and repressed feelings or thoughts with certain repressed emotions becoming dominant in the conscious mind for short or long periods of time.
ͽ Headache, migraine, or pressure inside the skull
ͽ Pains in different areas of the body, especially back and neck
ͽ Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
ͽ Trance-like and altered states of consciousness
ͽ Disrupted sleep pattern (periods of insomnia or oversleeping)
From East to West we can find different names of Kundalini with similar description in common traditions.
For some of us it’s a cool calm awakening and an awareness of ourselves and our pranic life forces flowing without blocks.
Let us see some examples of differing views:
The Japanese call it “ki”, the Chinese “chi”. In Mexico, Kundalini was worshiped as the serpent-god “Quetzalcoatl”. The American Indians know all about the energy that is awakened at the base of the spine and rises to the top of the head, but it is regarded as so sacred that they are forbidden even to pronounce its name. (source: wikipedia.com)
Kundalini in Western Spirituality
In the West, the knowledge of Kundalini has been transmitted by the mystical branches of all of the great religious traditions. The knowledge of Kundalini is present in the mystery religions of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; in the teachings of both the Gnostic and Neoplatonic traditions; in the Kabalistic traditions of Judaism; and in the personal testaments of the great Christian mystics.
The “Gnostic Gospels”, and ancient Christian text says there is in everyone a Divine Power existing in a latent condition. This, the root of the universe, is One Power divided above and below, generating itself, making itself grow, seeking itself, finding itself, being mother of itself, father of itself, sister of itself, spouse of itself, daughter of itself. That infinite power exists in two modes one actual, the other potential.
The strength of Kundalini is what allows us to expand infinitely so that we can see the whole universe within our own Self. Then, we no longer remain a limited, bound creature; we achieve total union with Universal Consciousness. (source: anunda.com
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After examining the western traditions let us continue with a personal excerpt from Swami Satyananda Saraswati΄s book on Kundalini Tantra: “The seat of kundalini is a small gland at the base of the spinal cord. With the evolution of the natural forces in man, this gland has now come to a point where man can explode it. Quite a number of people have awakened this supernatural force and they have been called rishis, prophets, yogis, siddhas and various other names according to the time, tradition and culture. In India the entire cultural setup was once organized to facilitate this explosion, but today things are a little different because materialism is a very powerful force, and for the moment, it has even stupefied the Indian minds. For the awakening of kundalini, not only are the practices of yoga required. If this awakening is to become a universal event, then the entire social structure has to be reorganized and millions of people all over the world have to be told the purpose of their existence. The whole life from the time of conception to the moment when you leave the body, each and every thing has to be reoriented. You will see in this book how even the instinctive and emotional interaction between man and woman must be revised and refined, so that it can lead us not away from, but towards, this ultimate awakening. This reorientation has to be undertaken with the purpose of expanding the mind and opening new doors of experience. Today we are living in a world where everyone is more or less satisfied. Man has all the comforts and everything he needs and does not need. There will come a time, however, when man will be prepared to throw off these comforts. Luxury and comfort weaken the will and keep man under constant hypnosis.
Alcohol and drugs are not as dangerous as man’s total slavery to luxury and comfort. He cannot pull himself away from them. It is impossible unless he has become aware of something more than what his parents and society could give him. Formerly there were only a few seekers, but now millions and millions of people in the world are striving for a higher experience. And this higher experience is known as knowledge. When, through yoga and tantra, the awakening of kundalini takes place, a process of metamorphosis occurs in the realm of nature and in the realm of spirit. The elements of the physical body change and the elements of the mental body also. It may be difficult for people of today to understand the whole concept, but soon humanity will comprehend it all.
Matter will become unnecessary and insignificant. Behind the matter and behind the mind there is energy and there is an experience of that energy. Proceed slowly, sensibly and systematically Yet, you should not try to realize and experience these things abruptly. You will find here detailed instructions on the gradual preparation of your mind and body for the arousal of kundalini, and advice on elementary precautions to be observed in order to avoid unnecessary risks and obstacles. Do not try to influence your mind directly, because the mind is nothing but an extension of the body complex. Start systematically with the body, the prana, the nadis and chakras, according to the scheme outlined in this book. Then see how you evolve. Many people, encouraged by this type of philosophy take to drugs, chemicals and other things they consider to be speedy alternatives. They are very serious people I believe, but they are not practical and systematic because they think they can transcend the role of the body in the realm of evolution. In the final evolution of mind, matter and man, you cannot ignore either the body or the mind. You cannot even ignore the nose, the stomach or the digestive system.
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother
That is why this transcendental philosophy begins with the basic considerations of diet and yogic physiology that you find discussed here. The discovery of the great energy began with matter. Did nuclear energy descend from heaven? No, it evolved from crude matter. Where does the experience generate from? From heaven? From the sanctum sanctorum? No, from this body and this nervous system. That is how you should be practical and sensible. This book presents a systematic and pragmatic approach to the awakening of kundalini. It begins with an expanded understanding of the true role and potential of the body and nervous system, moving through an exhaustive examination of the different methods of awakening suitable for different personalities and conditions. You will find clear and direct instructions on the actual yogic and tantric techniques to be practised towards this goal, together with a map of possible experiences you may encounter as the practices mature, so that you can sustain this great awakening and integrate it into a more conscious and creative way of life.
The awakening of my kundalini Sometime later I had another experience while sitting on the banks of the Ganga. I was thinking of some mundane things when my mind spontaneously started going in and in. Suddenly I felt as if the earth was slipping from under me and the sky was expanding and receding. A moment later I experienced a terrible force springing from the base of my body like an atomic explosion. I felt that I was vibrating very fast, the light currents were terrific. I experienced the supreme bliss, like the climax of a man’s desire, and it continued for a long time. My whole body was contracting until the feeling of pleasure became quite unbearable and I lost complete awareness of my body. This was the third time it had happened. After returning to consciousness I was listless for many days. I could not eat, sleep or move, even to go to the toilet. I saw everything but nothing registered. The bliss was a living thing within me and I knew that if I moved, this wonderful feeling would cease; I would lose the intensity of it all. How could I move when bells were ringing inside? This was the awakening of my kundalini. After a week or so I returned to normal and then I started to study tantra and yoga very seriously. At first I was still a bit weak and sick, so I practised hatha yoga to purify my whole system. Then I began to explore the fantastic science of kundalini yoga. What is this power which awakens in mooladhara chakra? My interest was aroused and I put much effort into trying to understand this marvellous force. With the awakening of kundalini, the greater intelligence is aroused from its sleep and you can give birth to a new range of creativity. When kundalini awakens, not only are you blessed with visions and psychic experiences, you could become a prophet, saint, inspired artist or musician, a brilliant writer or poet, a clairvoyant or messiah. Or you could become an outstanding leader, prime minister, governor or president. The awakening of kundalini affects the whole area of the human mind and behavior. Kundalini is not a myth or an illusion. It is not a hypothesis or a hypnotic suggestion. Kundalini is a biological substance that exists within the framework of the body. Its awakening generates electrical impulses throughout the whole body and these impulses can be detected by modern scientific instruments and machines. Therefore, each of us should consider the importance and the benefits of awakening kundalini, and we should make a resolve to awaken this great shakti. ”
Finally let us see some simple practices to stimulate the rise of Kundalini, for example mudras that can help to awaken your Kundali Shakti.
Ashwini Mudra: Ashwini Mudra is the initiating kriya for the practice of moolabandha. Contraction and relaxation of anus repeatedly is called ashwini mudra. This will strengthen the urinary tract and the seminal duct alleviates all the complication related to these areas. This mudra can be practiced anywhere anytime sitting in any posture or standing or lying on the ground. The practice of this mudra prior to the practice of moolabandha makes moolabandha to be practiced easily.
Yoga Mudra:This mudra can be practiced either in padmasana or vajrasana. If you practice it in vajrasana, you must close your fists and place them adjacent to your navel and in case of padmasana you should keep your hands behind you back.
Procedure:Sit in padmasana on a mat. That is place your left feet on your right thigh and right feet on your left thigh such that both of your ankles touch each other. (1) Close the right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and practice poorak through the Chandra nadi that is your left nostril. Now observe jalandhara bandha. (2) Bring both of your hands behind your back. Hold the wrist of your right hand with your left hand and bend your back forward. Place your head on the floor and try to practice kumbhak as long as you can. (3) When you are done with kunbhak raise up and sit straight. Close your left nostril with the ring and middle fingers of your hand and observe rechak with your surya nadi that is exhale the air through your right nostril. Exhale the air completely out. Wait for few seconds and practice poorak with your surya nadi. Apply jalandhara bandha and similar to earlier version hold the wrist of your left hand with your right hand and lean forward. Place your head on the floor and practice kumbhak as long as you can. When you are done with kumbhak raise up and observe rechak with your chakndra nadi that is your left nostril. This constitutes a single cycle of yoga mudra. You can start your practice with 3 cycles initially and increase by one cycle every day for five days and reach up to 10 cycles. (source: yogafaculty.com)
Kundalini Awakening through Pranayama Awakening through pranayama is a quick and direct method to awaken kundalini, but requires ample preparations. Practitioner has to prepare the body through proper diet and cleaning techniques called Shatkarma. Pranayama purifies the energy channels or Nadis, particularly the three main channels Ida,Pingala and Sushumna. The central channel Sushumna has to be clear for the energy to go up. Pranayama creates heat in the body, which when directed properly, will awaken the Kundalini Shakti. For this practice of the three bandhas Moola Bandha (Root lock), Bandha (Abdominal lock) and Jalandhara Bandha (Chin lock) has to be practiced to direct the energy upwards. Once awakened, the Kundalini tries to enter the Sushumna at the base of the spine and goes up. Awakening through pranayama can be very quick and can bring many experiences. The practitioner should be well prepared to handle the experiences. It is always advisable to do this under the guidance of a master.
There are many ways to awaken Kundalini, it can happen quickly and spontaneously or through regular practice. From my personal experience I would like to mention that the awakening of Kundalini has several stages (or it can happen in one stage in case of others) as the energy goes through the different chakras. Some stages are pleasant, some stages can be disturbing, the experience varies from person to person. It is important to know once the person has reached a certain level of consciousness, he or she should maintain that level. Reaching full consciousness might take time and it is a gradual development followed by total transformation of the mind.