Why Awaken Kundalini?

Everybody should know something about kundalini as it represents the coming consciousness of mankind. Kundalini is the name of a sleeping dormant potential force in the human organism and it is situated at the root of the spinal column. In the masculine body it is in the perineum, between the urinary and excretory organs. In the female body its location is at the root of the uterus, in the cervix. This center is known as mooladhara chakra and it is actually a physical structure. It is a small gland which you can even take out and press. However, kundalini is a dormant energy, and even if you press it, it will not explode like a bomb.

To awaken kundalini you must prepare yourself through yogic techniques. You must practise asanas, pranayanas, kriya yoga and meditation. Then, when you are able to force your prana into the seat of kundalini, the energy wakes up and makes its way through sushumna nadi, the central nervous canal, to the brain. As kundalini ascends, it passes through each of the chakras which are interconnected with the different silent areas of the brain. With the awakening of kundalini there is an explosion in the brain as the dormant or sleeping areas start blossoming like flowers. Therefore, kundalini can be equated with the awakening of the silent areas of the brain.

Although kundalini is said to reside in mooladhara chakra, we are all at different stages of evolution, and in some of us kundalini may have already reached swadhisthana, manipura or anahata chakra. If this is so, whatever sadhana you do now might start an awakening in anahata or some other chakra. However, awakening of kundalini in mooladhara chakra is one thing, and awakening in sahasrara, the highest center of the brain, is another.

Once the multipetalled lotus of sahasrara blossoms, a new consciousness dawns. Our present consciousness is not independent, as the mind depends on the information supplied by the senses. If you have no eyes, you can never see; if you are deaf, you will never hear. However, when the superconsciousness emerges, experience becomes completely independent and knowledge also becomes completely independent.



How man discovered Kundalini
Right from the beginning of creation, man witnessed many transcendental happenings. Sometimes he was able to read the thoughts of others, he witnessed somebody else’s predictions coming true, or he may even have seen his own dreams manifesting into realities. He pondered over the fact that some people could write inspiring poems or compose beautiful music whereas others couldn’t; one person could fight on the battlefield for days together and another person couldn’t even get up from his bed. So he wanted to discover why everybody seemed to be different.

In the course of his investigations, man came to understand that within every individual there is a special form of energy. He saw that in some people it was dormant, in others it was evolving and in a very small minority of people, it was actually awakened. Originally, man named this energy after gods, goddesses, angels or divinities. Then he discovered prana and called it prana shakti. In tantra they called it kundalini.



What the various names for Kundalini mean
In Sanskrit, Kundal means a coil, and so kundalini has been described as ‘that which is coiled’. This is the traditional belief; but it has been incorrectly understood. The word Kundalini actually comes from the word kunda, meaning ‘a deeper place, pit or cavity’. The fire used in the ceremony of initiation is kindled in a pit called kunda. Similarly, the place where a dead body is burned is kunda. If you dig a ditch or a hole it is called kunda. Kunda refers to the concave cavity in which the brain, resembling a coiled and sleeping serpent, nestles. (If you have the opportunity of examining a dissection of the human brain you will see that it is in the form of a coil or snake curled up upon itself.) This is the true meaning of kundalini.

The word kundalini refers to the shakti or power when it is in its dormant potential state, but when it is manifesting, you can call it Devi, Kali, Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi or any other name according to the manifestation it is exhibiting before you.

In the Christian tradition, the terms ‘the Path of the Initiates’ and ‘the Stairway to Heaven’ used in the Bible, refer to kundalini’s ascent through sushumna nadi. The ascent of kundalini and ultimately, the descent of spiritual grace, are symbolized by the cross. This is why Christians make the sign of the cross at ajna, anahata and vishuddhi chakras, for ajna is the center where the ascending consciousness is transcended and anahata is where the descending grace is made manifest to the world.

Whatever happens in spiritual life, it is related to the awakening of kundalini. And the goal of every form of spiritual life, whether you call it samadhi, nirvana, moksha, communion, union, kaivalya, liberation or whatever, is in fact awakening of kundalini.



Kundalini, Kali and Durga
When kundalini has just awakened and you are not able to handle it, it is called Kali. When you can handle it and are able to use it for beneficial purposes and you become powerful on account of it, it is called Durga.

Kali is a female deity, naked, black or smoky in color, wearing a mala of 108 human skulls, representing the memories of different births. Kali’s lolling tongue of blood red color signifies the rajo guna whose circular movement gives impetus to all creative activities. By this specific gesture, she is exhorting the sadhakas to control their rajo guna. The sacrificial sword and the severed head, held by the left hand are the symbols of dissolution. Darkness and death are by no means the mere absence of light and life, rather, they are their origin. The sadhaka worships the cosmic power in its female form, for she represents the kinetic aspect, the masculine being the static which is activated only through her power.

In Hindu mythology, the awakening of Kali has been described in great detail When Kali rises in red anger, all the gods and demons are stunned and every body keeps quiet. They do not know what she is going to do. They ask Lord Shiva to pacify her, but Kali roars ferociously, throwing him down and standing on his chest with her mouth wide open, thirsty for flesh and blood. When the devas hold prayers to pacify Kali, she becomes calm and quiet.



Then there is the emergence of Durga, the higher, more refined and benign symbol of the unconscious. Durga is a beautiful goddess seated on a tiger. She has 8 hands representing the eightfold elements of man. Durga wears a mala of human heads to symbolize her wisdom and power. These heads are generally 52 in number, representing the 52 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, which are the outer manifestations of Shabda Brahma or Brahma in the form of sound. Durga is the remover of all evil consequences of life and the giver of power and peace that is released from mooladhara.

According to yoga philosophy, Kali, the first manifestation of the unconscious kundalini is a terrible power; it completely subdues the individual soul, represented by her standing on Lord Shiva.

It sometimes happens that by mental instability, some people get in contact with their unconscious body and see inauspicious, ferocious elements— ghosts, monsters, etc. When Kali, the unconscious power of man, is awakened she goes up to meet the further manifestation, being Durga, the superconscious, bestowing glory and beauty.



Symbolic representation of Kundalini
In the tantric texts, kundalini is conceived of as the primal power or energy. In terms of modern psychology, it can be called the unconscious in man. As we have just discussed, in Hindu mythology, kundalini corresponds with the concept of Kali. In the philosophy of Shaivism, the concept of kundalini is represented by the shivalingam, the oval-shaped stone or pillar with a snake coiled around it.

However, most commonly, kundalini is illustrated as a sleeping serpent coiled three and a half times. Of course there is no serpent residing in mooladhara, sahasrara or any other chakra, but the serpent has always been a symbol for efficient consciousness. In all the oldest mystic cults of the world you find the serpent, and if you have seen any pictures or images of Lord Shiva, you will have noticed serpents girdling his waist, neck and arms. Kali is also adorned with serpents and Lord Vishnu eternally reposes on a large coiled serpent.

This serpent power symbolizes the unconscious in man. In Scandinavian, European, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries and many different civilizations of the world, the concept of the serpent power is represented in monuments and ancient artifacts. This means kundalini was known to people from all parts of the world in the past.

However, we can conceive kundalini in any manner we like because actually, prana has no form or dimension, it is infinite.

In the traditional descriptions of kundaljni awakening, it is said that kundalini resides in mooladhara in the form of a coiled snake and when the snake awakens it uncoils and shoots up through sushumna (the psychic passage in the center of the spinal cord), opening the other chakras as it goes. (See Sir John Woodroffe’s The Serpent Power.)

Brahmachari Swami Vyasdev, in his book Science of the Soul, describes the awakening of kundalini in the following way:

“Sadhakas have seen the sushumna in the form of a luminous rod or pillar, a golden yellow snake, or sometimes as a shining black snake about ten inches long with blood red eyes like smouldering charcoal, the front part of the tongue vibrating and shining like lightning, ascending the spinal column.”

The meaning of the coils of the serpent is as follows: The 3 coils represent the 3 matras of Om, which relate to past, present and future; to the gunas: tamas, rajas and sattva; to the 3 states of consciousness: waking, sleeping and dreaming; and to the types of experience: subjective experience, sensual experience and absence of experience. The 1/2 coil represents the state of transcendence, where there is neither waking, sleeping nor dreaming. So, the 3 1/2 coils signify the total experience of the universe and the experience of transcendence.

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Who can awaken Kundalini?
There are many people who have awakened their kundalini. Not only saints and sadhus, but poets, painters, warriors, writers, anyone can awaken their kundalini. With the awakening of kundalini, not only visions of God take place, there is dawning of creative intelligence and an awakening of supramental faculties. By activating kundalini you may become anything in life.

The energy of kundalini is one energy, but it expresses itself differently through the individual psychic centers or chakras— first in gross instinctive ways and then in progressively more subtle ways. Refining of the expression of this energy at higher and more subtle levels of vibration represents the ascent of human consciousness to its highest possibilities.



Kundalini is the creative energy; it is the energy of self-expression. Just as in reproduction a new life is created, in the same way, someone like Einstein uses that same energy in a different, more subtle realm, to create a theory like relativity. It is the same energy that is expressed when someone composes or plays beautiful music. It is the same energy which is expressed in all parts of life, whether it is building up a business, fulfilling the family duties or reaching whatever goal you aspire for. These are all expressions of the same creative energy.

Everybody, whether householder or sannyasin, must remember that awakening of kundalini is the prime purpose of human incarnation. All the pleasures of sensual life which we are enjoying now are intended only to enhance the awakening of kundalini amidst the adverse circumstances of man’s life.



A process of metamorphosis
With the awakening of kundalini, a transformation takes place in life. It has little to do with one’s moral, religious or ethical life. It has more to do with the quality of our experiences and perceptions. When kundalini wakes up your mind changes and your priorities and attachments also change. All your karmas undergo a process of integration.

It is very simple to understand. When you were a child you loved toys, but why don’t you love them now? Because your mind has changed and consequently, your attachments have also changed. So, with the awakening of kundalini, a metamorphosis takes place. There is even the possibility of restructuring the entire physical body. When kundalini awakens, the physical body actually undergoes many changes.

Generally they are positive, but if your guru is not cautious, they can be negative also. When the shakti wakes up, the cells in the body are completely charged and a process of rejuvenation also starts. The voice changes, the smell of the body changes and the hormonal secretions also change. In fact, the transformation of cells in the body and brain takes place at a much higher rate than normal. These are just a few observations. However, scientific researchers are still taking their first steps into this field.



Why awaken Kundalini?
If you want to take up the practice of kundalini yoga, the most important thing is that you have a reason or an aim. If you want to awaken kundalini for psychic powers, then please go ahead with your own destiny. But if you want to awaken kundalini in order to enjoy communion between Shiva and Shakti, the actual communion between the two great forces within you, and if you want to enter samadhi and experience the absolute in the cosmos, and if you want to understand the truth behind the appearance, and if the purpose of your pilgrimage is very great, then there is nothing that can come to you as an obstacle.

By means of kundalini awakening, you are compensating with the laws of nature and speeding up the pace of your physical, mental and spiritual evolution. Once the great shakti awakens, man is no longer a gross physical body operating with a lower mind and low voltage prana. Instead, every cell of his body is charged with the high voltage prana of kundalini. And when total awakening occurs, man becomes a junior god, an embodiment of divinity.”

~Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Excerpt from Kundalini Tantra)

Kundalini : Ancient Technology for Modern Times - Gopi Krishna
 

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colette davenport

Colette Davenport helps healers, empaths, and creatives get their magic back. By ending their secret addictions and self-sabotage, clients gain the clarity, confidence, and direction to take their lives to a whole other dimension. Colette is an international coach and speaker, a published author, and the founder of Badass Empath Academy, the school for gifted people.

“Over the course of 25 years, I've had the honor of helping people heal themselves of chronic illness, reestablish intimacy in sexless marriages, turn struggling businesses into profit-generating ones, and leave the 'safe' job (or relationship) they loathed for a life they LOVED. This is my calling.” — Colette Davenport

Types of Yoga

I've been asked a lot lately what the differences between Ashtanga and Anusara yoga are.  So below is a quick reference for all yoga "types".  In my Tantra Training program the yoga that is incorporated is Anusara-based, which has its roots in tantra philosophy.  If you're curious about tantra, yoga, or the mind-body-spirit connection contact me today for a complimentary exploratory call.

 

A Beginner's Guide to 8 Major Styles of Yoga

A brief look at different approaches to yoga and which suits your needs best.

by Kate Hanley

Skimming the yellow pages or the class schedule at your gym for a good yoga class can be a real exercise in confusion. How can you tell the difference between Anusara and ashtanga? Or hot yoga and hatha? Below is a cheat sheet to the many different styles of yoga being taught today. May it help you find your way to a class you love.

Anusara

Developed by American yogi John Friend in 1997, anusara yoga is a relative newcomer to the yoga world. Based on the belief that we are all filled with an intrinsic goodness, anusara seeks to use the physical practice of yoga to help students open their hearts, experience grace, and let their inner goodness shine through. Classes, which are specifically sequenced by the teacher to explore one of Friend's Universal Principles of Alignment, are rigorous for the body and the mind.

Ashtanga

Ashtanga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was popularized and brought to the West by Pattabhi Jois (pronounced "pah-tah-bee joyce") in the 1970s. It's a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as each style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.

Bikram

Approximately 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. In a Bikram class, you will sweat like you've never sweated before as you work your way through a series of 26 poses (like ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from an ashtanga sequence). Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury has trademarked his sequence and has prosecuted studios who call themselves Bikram but don't teach the poses exactly the way he says they should. It is also wildly popular, making it one of the easiest types of classes to find.

Hatha

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is hatha yoga. When a class is marketed as hatha, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. You probably won't work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class, but you should end up leaving class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed.

Hot Yoga

Basically the same thing as Bikram. Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is that the hot yoga studio deviates from Bikram's sequence in some small way, and so they must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated, and you will sweat buckets.

Iyengar

Iyengar yoga was developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar (pronounced "eye-yen-gar"). Iyengar is a very meticulous style of yoga, with utmost attention paid to finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to help each student find the proper alignment, an Iyengar studio will stock a wide array of props – blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, bolsters, and a rope wall are all common. There isn't a lot of jumping around in Iyengar classes, so you won't get your heart rate up, but you'll be amazed to discover how physically and mentally challenging it is to stay put. Iyengar teachers must undergo a comprehensive training – if you have an injury or chronic condition, Iyengar is probably your best choice to insure you get the knowledgeable instruction you need.

Restorative

Restorative yoga is a delicious way to way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to prop students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap. Studios and gyms often offer them on Friday nights, when just about everyone could use a little profound rest.

Vinyasa

Vinyasa (pronounced "vin-yah-sah") is the Sanskrit word for "flow", and vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two vinyasa classes are the same. If you hate routine and love to test your physical limits, vinyasa may be just your ticket. 

For a little more help, try this What Kind of Yogi Are You? Quiz.

 

Kate Hanley is a freelance writer who specializes in exploring the mind-body connection. She completed her yoga teacher training at OM Yoga in New York City and has studied with yoga experts Rodney Yee and Cyndi Lee and meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg.

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colette davenport

Colette Davenport helps healers, empaths, and creatives get their magic back. By ending their secret addictions and self-sabotage, clients gain the clarity, confidence, and direction to take their lives to a whole other dimension. Colette is an international coach and speaker, a published author, and the founder of Badass Empath Academy, the school for gifted people.

“Over the course of 25 years, I've had the honor of helping people heal themselves of chronic illness, reestablish intimacy in sexless marriages, turn struggling businesses into profit-generating ones, and leave the 'safe' job (or relationship) they loathed for a life they LOVED. This is my calling.” — Colette Davenport