Kundalini is a type of energy that sits dormant in the first chakra, at the base of the spine. This energy is released during orgasm through the second chakra, as the body attempts to create a child. During life-threatening situations, the kundalini energy is also often released. This is how people suddenly have the superhuman strength to save themselves or a loved-one. Most of us have heard about the grandmother who had to lift a car to save her grandchild. Her kundalini was released, giving her the power to do what she needed to do. Long ago, some yogis discovered that the kundalini can be used to move very quickly into higher states of consciousness. By meditating on the chakras, the kundalini is activated and begins to rise.
The kundalini is coiled up like a very tight spring, and when released there is sometimes an explosion of power. Properly directed, the kundalini will travel up a tube in the energy body that lies close to the spine. Without proper direction, the release of kundalini can be very uncomfortable and possibly damaging. (This is why it is very important to study kundalini yoga with an experienced guide.)
On it's way up, the kundalini both cleans and strengthens the energy body and chakras. You may feel a warm sensation moving up your back. If your head feels like it's burning, you may be pushing too hard, too fast--be sure to consult with your teacher.
You could think of kundalini yoga as a way of tapping into a natural storage of power that we all have to fuel your practice. Like the gasoline you put in your car, kundalini by itself is relatively harmless but when combined with will power, it can become volatile if not handled with respect.
Kundalini is a Sanskrit word that literally means "snake." Kundalini is also called "serpent power" because this sleeping spiritual force in every human being lies coiled at the base of the spine. Once awakened, it rises through a series of centers, also called chakras, and finds expression in the form of spiritual knowledge and mystical visions. According to the Tantric tradition, the human body contains seven centers of subtle energy (chakras), referred to as "lotuses," through whose channels the kundalini rises.
The kundalini rises through these centers from the base of the spinal column all the way to the top of the head, where the thousand-petaled-lotus chakra is located. When kundalini reaches the seventh chakra with its entire power, this spiritual energy develops its full majestic force in the form of enlightenment.
For more information, read Kundalini-Yoga by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)
Kundalini is the energy, the life force. It has different names, chi, prana, sometimes it is called shakti. The more Kundalini you have, the more alive and awake you are.
If you had the opportunity to sit with Rama you know this. The enlightened teacher transmits the Kundalini to you. You can then go into very high meditations. If you are open and can handle the levels of energy that are transmitted, you glimpse eternity as you go into samadhi; Samadhi - that silent breathless place where thoughts stop and light exists! Once you have been there, time and again with your teacher, you have the knowledge, the raw experience. Then your teacher gives you countless ways to raise your Kundalini Through a multitude of practices of meditation and mindfulness you learn to increase your energy, your awareness, your silent mind. You learn to open the doorway into the silent mind yourself.
Then you can open the doorway for others. As you go through the doorway into awakening there are levels upon levels.
So, when Rama talks about personal power, vibratory rates, levels of awareness, he is talking about the Kundalini that runs through you. So much of the technical aspects of his teaching relates to how to increase and store energy for your own awakening.
If you never sat with Rama, you might want to try sitting with one of his students. They usually run high levels of energy, and sitting with them can help you raise your own energy levels. They can help you with meditation and mindfulness techniques that will help you increase your Kundalini. If you just read the RamaLila text with an open heart, you can touch the student's energy. As your energy increases you will awaken to the beauty of life, and light.
What's Kundalini, you ask? It's a tough concept to put into words. In the physical world, our bodies run on various fuels such as food, liquids, and oxygen. But the physical body is only the most superficial manifestation of what we really are. There is also a subtle physical body, also known as the aura, which as we learn to meditate we gain more direct awareness of. When we discussed chakras a few weeks back, the chakras we talked about are in the subtle physical, not the physical, body.
At the subtle level, Kundalini is the fuel which keeps our subtle bodies running. Just as we need food and water to survive on the gross physical level, so we also need Kundalini to survive at the subtle level. So everyone who is alive has a certain amount of Kundalini flowing through their subtle bodies.
However, in this world at this time, most people are operating at a starvation level with regard to Kundalini energy. They have just barely enough flowing to keep alive, nothing more. The Kundalini energy resides at the base of the spine, in the first chakra, and in the process of living some of it will be brought up to higher level chakras to fuel our lives. When we meditate, we are trying to do this on a conscious level so that instead of getting just a minimal level of Kundalini, we feel its power flowing through us.
How does it feel when the Kundalini is flowing? It's a tough thing to describe, but you just feel better about life. You have more energy; you are happier, you get sick less often, and you just tend to see the bright and beautiful side of everything. It isn't some warm fuzzy feeling, but rather you just feel life at a more intense level instead of being largely numb to it.
The process of meditation is the process by which you bring Kundalini energy up from the lowest chakra to the higher level chakras, and experience the more refined states of mind associated with those chakras, ultimately bringing the Kundalini up to the crown chakra and attaining Enlightenment.
Describing what Kundalini is like is to define what the wind is. It is a movement. It is the movement of Divine Consciousness. This wind is in all of creation. It has been described as the divine consciousness that animates all things. It is the "Life Force". The movement of Kundalini is what we know as "Life". The difference between a corpse and a living man is the flow of Kundalini.
Yet as hard as we try, we cannot truly describe what it truly is, because it comes from and is a manifestation of the indescribable. Even though we cannot see it, we can definitely feel and experience it's effects. This experience is known as the "Awakening". It seems as though this experience varies with the individual. This awakening can also vary in it's intensity and duration. Most of us have had some extraordinary experiences in shifts in awareness and spiritual perception. These "epiphanies" are just a precursor to the full blown awakening of Kundalini.
It is important to start working with an advanced teacher when this starts to happen. An advanced teacher can guide and assist in this process greatly. Some people have this "awakening" happen spontaneously and are not prepared for it. In our culture, we lock up and drug people who are awakening on their own. It is a most disturbing occurrence and yet, when guided in the proper way, the same experience is the most wonderful, exciting and fulfilling experience that is available to us.
If you start to experience powerful surges spontaneously, then I strongly suggest that you seek out the most advanced teacher you can find and pray for full Liberation that is possible during this time!
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