You may have heard someone mention Kundalini, maybe in reference to meditation, or yoga, or other holistic and spiritual methods.
Kundalini itself refers to the dormant sleeping force inside all humans. The name itself means "coiled" and in the west is sometimes referred to as a coiled snake, though this is more of a western change than an actual translation or understanding. Thinking of our power as a snake adds some marketing value for sure!
But this hidden power is something that has been experienced by many people the world over and originates from India and the Yogic practices.
This coiled power lies near the base of our spine in a coiled position that can be meditated on and released through physical/spiritual practices, especially, as mentioned above, through certain forms of yoga. This power, when released travels from chakra to chakra energizing and awakening these energy centers.
Some people have described the experience as intensely pleasurable, with a surging along the spine giving intense pleasure and power at each chakra. This experience can also be overwhelming and damaging if the person is untrained and awakens their kundalini with no idea how to control or understand what is happening.
Those that speak with experience and knowledge in this area say that it is almost an absolute necessity that a trained Yogi must be present, a trained master who knows how to help an individual deal with this awakening.
With proper daily practice and guidance, one can learn to transmit this kundalini energy through the chakras. Effectively providing an increase in power and function along our energy channels.
Again it is important to note that these types of practices, though at times seem a bit esoteric, are very real in their power and influence. Guidance and caution are really key, as an uncontrolled release of energy in any instance is really an explosion, causing damage and confusion to the surrounding area.
Being able to channel this energy correctly is essential to a positive and beneficial experience with Kundalini.
Western Issue with Eastern Practice - "Kundalini Syndrome"
It is interesting to note that some psychologists in the West have viewed the danger of incorporating Eastern practices, such as yoga and meditation, into our daily lives. This view has even turned into certain psychologists coining phrases such as "Kundalini Syndrome."
The syndrome is most dominantly used to describe the physical and spiritual state present after a near-death experience. But this "syndrome" is now be attributed in regards to meditation and yoga.
I am going to be blunt and say it is not proper practice for a medical field to take an Eastern Field, take a term and then use it to describe a negative medical condition. The wiser of the field is now beginning to give the term its proper place in a human’s life and refer to this as a kundalini awakening or experience. Instead of the negatively charged "syndrome."
The experience may not always be pleasant but those who have some literature and spiritual background, as well as psychological, know that the process of healing and becoming whole is not without its troubles and struggles. These humps found along the way are what helps the awakening to happen.
This is an area worth exploring for anyone interested in spiritual growth. Be patient, be cautious, keep an open mind and find someone to work with that has done this before. Any skill and personal growth are helped by a coach, a mentor, etc. Spiritual growth is no different.
Watch Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for Beginners on Gaia for FREE
Often referred to as the Yoga of Awareness, Kundalini Yoga provides a unique approach to realizing your spiritual and energy potential.
We discussed Kundalini above - the coiled energy lying dormant inside of us can be awakened with proper technique and personal discipline. Kundalini applied to Yoga as a practice, or focus of a yoga school, is one of these particular disciplines focused strongly on awakening this power and developing a strong or complete spiritual awareness.
Much of the development, not just poses as the yoga part suggests, lies in meditation and breathing exercises. Clearing of your energy channels, not just the chakras but the subtle energy channels referred to as the nadis.
Something that modern chakra emphasizes is meditation and a focus on your chakra centers. Many Kundalini Yoga classes use chakra meditation as a primary tool to keep the pathways free and harmonized as well as provide the necessary energy to start to control and release your kundalini, your personal power (life force).
It is important to take your own viewpoint on the different methods used to encourage spiritual growth and enlightenment. Traditions change and grow to suit the needs of the people, so do not get caught up in WHICH Yoga you should do, but just that you ARE using Yoga to enhance your awakening.
Western Science is beginning to apply the scientific method to more and more of the Eastern Spiritual practices and finding positive results.
Intuition really play the majority role in understanding our energy selves, as this energy is not of rational thought, nor would it function properly if it were. It is no less real than our brainpower but serves a function that our senses and rational brain do not register, at least not without practice and guidance.
Meditation lowers blood pressure and many of the exercises found in these practices combine movements and strength in such a way that a complete physical experience of one of these exercises or sets of exercises will provide power as well as stretching and lengthening of the body.
During this whole process your mind, especially when working with a teacher, is brought back to the meditative point of the work you are doing. You concentrate on the breath, take notice of subtle body changes, keep your balance. All these things increase your awareness, including your spiritual awareness, which an awakening really is our goal.
It is nice to think of it as our awareness rising as we get up in the morning, there are stages we go through to become fully aware, fully our physical selves. Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, etc provide the tools and guidance to bring us up through these stages.