I recently had a student from my class come to me with some concerns about what she was experiencing. She did not realize that what she was experiencing was the result of the practice of yoga. This began a conversation between us about this mystical subject, the Kundalini.
After that conversation with her, I felt that it was important for me to share what we discussed for the benefit of all. With her inspiration I am now sharing with you some of important details that we discussed.
Why is it important for me to know about Kundalini?
What many yoga practitioners do not realize is that once you are practicing yoga deeply you will begin tapping into Kundalini in some way. There is a whole branch of yoga called Kundalini Yoga that focuses on trying to do this meaningfully. But really all yoga is working with Kundalini in some form.
It is important to know this because working with the Kundalini is an intense and sensitive process. There are many challenges that can arise. If you are serious about yoga and you are using yoga as a way to work on yourself - then Kundalini will eventually become an important topic.
What is Kundalini?
Fundamentally Kundalini is the sleeping power, sleeping potential, that is within all of us. It is a vast reserve of untapped energy that lies within our being. It is that energy that we draw from as we begin to unlock and reveal our full potential.
The Sanskrit word Kundalini means "coiled." It is in reference to how a snake lies coiled up (Kundalini is often symbolized through the snake). When a snake is coiled up and sleeping, it is very hard to notice. Only when it is moving can we see the power that the snake carries in it. Same thing with this energy. When it is sleeping and untapped it is very hard to observe within us. But when it begins to move there is an experience of something very powerful operating within us.
I also think that the coiled aspect is showing us how the power works. Think of a spring that is all coiled up. There is energy stored in that compressed spring, and given the chance, it will naturally begin to open up. Once you remove what is holding down this energy, like a spring it begins to release. That has been my experience of this energy. Through the process of yoga we remove what is covering this energy, and it begins to work in us.
How do I know if Kundalini is working in me?
In the beginning of the process as the Kundalini begins to move and uncoil within our being there are symptoms. There can be many types of experiences. As many people as there are, that is the variety of the experience.
What is important for us to know is that some of the experiences can often make us concerned that something is "wrong" with us. Or that we are ill or unwell in some way. That is why we are taught to be non-judgemental in our practice of yoga. So that we can learn to see clearly what is happening in us and not judge it.
Some of the symptoms that I have experienced from the Kundalini process - shaking and tremors in the the body, intense rush of heat or cold, tingling, burning sensations, feeling feverish, crying, laughing, movements of the body, intense emotions, feeling confused, heaviness or lightness in the body, intense lethargy, restlessness - just to name a few.
There are very many more different experiences that can arise and that are described by various yoga masters who have gone through the Kundalini process.
Maybe I need medical attention? This is awfully scary!
I can completely appreciate that is how we would feel if we started to have these experiences. And I think that it is wise to seek medical attention, just in case it is a medical issue. BUT, we need to understand that if no medical issue is found, then it is not a physical issue and we cannot use a "physical" solution. We need to make the shift from seeing the experience as a physical one to seeing it as a subtle, energetic experience.
There is actually a very simple way to determine if our experiences are because of the energy working in us. If we practice our yoga and the experience changes then there must be some connection. All of my symptoms would arise only when I stayed strong with my practice. The symptoms only came after I had meditated or practiced for the day. If I waited a while without practicing then they would not arise.
I read that awakening Kundalini is dangerous?!
The power of Kundalini is vast. It is an immense store of energy that is within us. For that reason it can be dangerous if it is misused. For most of us this is not an issue because we are not purposefully going after a Kundalini experience.
Think of it in this way. If a snake is sleeping, we go up to it and begin poking it with a stick to wake it up, then naturally it wakes up angry and is dangerous. But if we are apart from it, watching the snake from a distance, and it wakes up in the natural way, it goes on its merry way to do its snake-business.
So to with the energy. If we purposefully try to awaken the energy (and some practices do actually do that) then it is risky. But if we are just carrying about our life, working on ourselves thoughtfully and consciously, then it awakens in a very natural way, that is harmonious.
It is for this reason that we need a thoughtful yoga teacher. Those who are less experienced may not know exactly what can cause the Kundalini to rise. If you do not have experience with the Kundalini, then most likely you will not know if you are poking the snake, or letting it wake up gently.
How did my Kundalini become awakened? I did not do anything for that!
The process of Kundalini awakening is the natural process of consciousness and energy evolution. It is through that process we approach the highest potential for a human being. It is through the working of the Kundalini that we can become liberated beings - which is the ultimate goal of yoga.
Kundalini is most often awakened through the process of energy transmission. This is called shaktipat. When we come into contact with those who are carrying awakened Kundalini, their high energy is naturally passed on to us. But we must understand very clearly, this is a natural process that happens in the Universe.
Just as water will flow downhill, and try to find equilibrium so to with energy. The high energy that is held by someone naturally flows out from their being. Just from their daily life the energy that they carry is transmitted. Those who are receptive will pick up on that energy and head towards a greater potential for themselves.
Those persons who are ready for transformation, who deep down want to reveal their inner potential, will naturally be drawn to that high energy and their own Kundalini is inspired to move. For many people, they may not be conscious that is what they want. Only after the awakening they start to realize that they want more in their life and that they are inspired to pursue the ultimate goal of yoga.
I don't know if I am ready for all of this! I feel overwhelmed, uncertain, a bit scared. What does this mean for my life?
This is a very natural reaction, and it is 100% okay to feel like this. In my conversation with my student I told her to think about the caterpillar. Imagine the experience of this caterpillar. It just eats from the moment it is born and then suddenly it feels to find a place to rest, it turns into the cocoon. Then its body literally breaks down and liquefies! How scary for the caterpillar! Can you imagine if that was our process?
It is natural for us to be afraid as this new process begin in us. It is incredibly uncertain, unfamiliar, and unknown to us. We literally start to break down from the inside out. But that is part of the transformation process towards our higher potential. But of course it is a very challenging process.
It is for this reason that we are meant to have someone to guide and support us on our path. In traditional yoga, we develop a close relationship with our yoga teacher (our master or guru). Now with modern yoga, much of that safety net is unheard of. For me personally, I could not have gotten to where I am without my own master who has guided me selflessly. Having someone who can explain the path and the process is invaluable.
How can I trust this process? I feel like I have no control over it!
It is a good thing that you do not have control over it! Can you imagine that you have all of this power in you that you didn't know about? If you are just learning about it and starting to feel it, better that you can't control it otherwise we may lead the energy astray.
The Kundalini energy is not inert. It has its own intelligence. The energy knows and flows in the perfect way to support our evolution in consciousness. The power of Kundalini is not only the energy and potential for our highest experience, it also the intelligence to get there. Within the Kundalini is the programming to unlock what lies within us.
In reality all of Yoga is held in the intelligence of Kundalini. The entire science of yoga, all the movements, breathing, energy, guidance, everything about yoga, is held in the Kundalini. It is the ultimate origin of Yoga, from which all yoga arises. A true yogi is one who is in touch with the power of Kundalini and can tap into that intelligence. That is how the sages of old discovered the practices of yoga.
In our daily lives we do not really know anything about the process of Yoga other than what comes from outside us, in the external world. But if we tune into this awesome power that is within, we can grasp the practices of yoga from that source inside of us. I have experienced this within my own my practice. As I work to understand that inner power, to align to that inner power, to be humble to that inner power and let it guide me, I feel greater wisdom in the practice of Yoga.
The power of Kundalini and the power of Yoga
Let us remember that this is a very deep subject. It is the subject of life, energy, and our ultimate destiny. It is what the yogis of old dedicated their lives to. We may not have all the answers immediately, and that is okay. What is important is that we remain conscious and work positively towards our goals.
My last bit of advice, and I also shared this with my student. There is a lot of information on the internet, but all of that pales in comparison to the actual experience of it. It is okay to read, and explore, but do not mistake that for real wisdom. I myself have fallen to that trap before, thinking that because I had read about it, could talk about it, that I knew it. Only the experience is the teacher.
|Yoga with Ved|