A Practical Introduction to Kundalini Yoga and Meditation

by Bonny Styles
(California, USA)

What is Kundalini Yoga?….Kundalini Yoga is a powerful type of yoga that focuses upon the energy within the body. The focus is usually pinpointed through a specific area. Hopefully this article will provide useful information that will provide a better understanding of yoga.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit name for divine energy or creative power and is spoken of in one way or another in almost every language and tradition. In Japanese it is known as ki, in Chinese chi and in Christianity as the Holy Spirit. However the term kundalini, literally ‘that which is coiled’, usually refers to this power as it manifests itself in the human body. According to the Tantras, the Hindu sacred texts, the kundalini lies dormant in the subtle or psychic body in the muladhara chakra (a subtle energy center whose approximate location in the physical body is at the base of the spine), in the form of a serpent coiled three and a half times.

When the kundalini is awakened, spiritual unfolding takes place and a process of transformation begins as it rises through the sushumna (the central energy channel in the subtle body) piercing the six chakras (energy centers) that lie on it. Impurities that block the flow of prana (life force) in the body and which are, according to yoga, the basis of all pain and disease, are expelled to allow the kundalini to do its work with full force.

Physical and mental symptoms may appear as a result of this process. For example, an individual may temporarily become ill or suffer as latentdiseases or anxieties are brought to the surface. Hallucinations, visions and other phenomena may be experienced as well as emotional states such as laughter or weeping. Spontaneous meditation occurs during which yogic processes such as breath retention or absorption in inner lights and sounds may occur, and some people are said to acquire supersensory powers such as clairvoyance or healing powers. Ultimately the kundalini becomes established in the sahasrara, at the crown of the head, at which point individual consciousness merges with divine or universal consciousness.

Several ways of awakening the kundalini are described in the Tantras and the practice of these systems is called kundalini yoga. This involves a combination of yogic techniques such as pranayama (breath control exercises), asana (postures), mudra (symbolic gestures) and concentration on the seven main chakras. These are meditated on individually, being visualized as lotuses with varying numbers of petals, each with its own deity. Each chakra has particular qualities associated with it -specific vibrations, sounds, colors, elements and so on. How¬ever, many teachers of yoga have stressed the dangers of attempting to awaken the kundalini by such methods.

If you succeed in awakening the kundalini through self-effort you will have certain experiences, but will still have to depend upon complicated yogic practices to lead the kundalini upwards. Few have the knowledge to accomplish this successfully and even for those who claim to have succeeded the experience can be a dangerous and terrifying one. In Kundalini, The Evolutionary Energy in Man, Gopi Krishna describes the upheavals and psychological disturbance he went through when kundalini awakening occurred as a result of many years’ practice of yoga and meditation.

The safest and most effective way of awakening the kundalini is by means of initiation through a teacher whose own kundalini is fully activated. When the kundalini is awakened in this way it will ascend in the proper manner automatically and there is no danger involved.