KUNDALINI AWAKENING IN THE SPINE
Kundalini Awakening is highly regarded and almost equally feared by many yoga practitioners. Kundalini awakening may offer the yoga aspirant a first glimpse of the depth of human potential awareness. Her movement clears and widens vision to include the radiance of Awareness as the fundamental reality of existence. Kundalini is inherently a benevolent force of evolution and in a well-toned and receptive body-mind her awakening is a gift, the grace received from diligent and skillful practice that is wise in its sequencing, and remains steadfast and persistent over a long period of time.
The life force of kundalini is so strong that as she rises she begins to wash away – or jar away, as the case may be – many of the obstacles to a broadening awareness that she encounters. Kundalini’s force can be too much to handle in a body-mind system that is not properly prepared through yoga practice.
Individual experiences vary tremendously. The opening of the channel and her rising can be radical and ferocious, comfortable, sweet and satisfying, terrifying and painful, or anything in between. If the opening is abrupt in an unprepared practitioner, kundalini’s movement can definitely wreck havoc. In an unprepared body-mind the bodily effects and increased vision that kundalini ignites can feel genuinely destructive to the individual.
By far the most comfortable awakening of kundalini takes place over a long period of time. Time and regular practice of all aspects of yoga, assist in making the transition to a full awakening a tender and loving process. If one maintains a regular practice of a wise combination of behavior, asana, pranayama, and meditation, kundalini rising can be a gentle and personally rewarding process.
Kundalini, being the most powerful of the pranas, usually remains dormant at the base of the spine until the aspirant is fully prepared to handle the radiance of healing and vitality that she provides. Those who chose to allow kundalini to be freed in her own time will reap the rewards of their practice in a generally comfortable way. That is not to say that there are not obstacles and difficulties along the path. Even the most regularly toned and balanced body and mind will feel the effects of the cleansing. The key is to allow the process, to not resist the cleansing of old patterns, and to be kind and acceptant of the inner resistances that arise…and pass away.
THE SPREADING OF KUNDALINI AND THE EMBODIMENT OF SUSHUMNA
Sushumna is the channel and kundalini is the life force. When the channel is open kundalini can flow. Healthy kundalini awakening is a process and the process continues long after the initial experiences have died down. Once sushumna is clear and kundalini is flowing the pace of personal evolution picks up speed in a certain kind of way. It becomes a matter of infusion. Kundalini life force spreads.
In the beginning, kundalini is located right inside the spinal cord. It is a clear and narrow path flowing up from the lower spine and flooding into the region of the brain. In my experience the sensation of kundalini rising was very pleasant and interesting. At first I felt afraid but the knowledge that I had gained through reading and practice allowed me to know that I was likely safe and that this was a natural part of my personal evolution.
Initially the sound was loud enough to startle me. I resisted the experience. Realizing what was happening I decided to yield to the movement. The feeling and the sound were both very strong as the life force reached and flooded though my brain. The rush of sensation was very similar to an orgasm although the feeling was not at all sexual, just deeply comfortable, a crescendo of sound and sensation, a rhythmic surging, and a washing.
This experience happened fairly regularly for a number of years. I believe that the cleansing and opening of the channel was simply taking its time. I was comfortable in my life because the opening was not too fast. It was consistent and gentle, lasting over a good long period of time. My hatha yoga practice and my meditation definitely helped to open the channel and to smooth out the effects of kundalini rising. Asana practice seems to be the best way to soften what sometimes can be the agitating effects of the powerful healing and cleansing of stressful patterns that have been lodged in the nervous system for most of a lifetime.
THE RADIANCE PHASE
At first I was still attached to a concept of kundalini leading to a certain kind of disembodied state. I was interested mostly in the transcendental qualities of the experience, still attached to the idea of moving beyond this “earthly” existence and into a pure experience of Only Awareness. But what actually happened was that I found myself more engaged in my life. I began to feel a sense of usefulness and a desire to work and to be active in the world. This was confusing to me. I had always expected to let go of my “attachments” to life and gain a sense of freedom form the trials and tribulations that are so obviously present in all of our lives. The joke was that instead of leaving this plane I entered it more fully. Feelings became more intense. Love began to dawn into my being but also more sadness and a resonating with the suffering as well as the joy of being alive. I really hadn’t expected this and thought that maybe something had gone awry!
As time went on I began to notice something else. I began to notice that there was growing within me a sensation/sense/reality of a thick tube of light that occupied my entire central body from my pelvic floor to approximately the base of my brain. This reality has only continued to become clearer and clearer. I have found this to be the greatest gift of the process of kundalini opening and flowing. This is an awakening that spreads through the entire personal being. This is the radiance, the shakti that is present in every cell awakened within the core of the body.
Kundalini’s life force infuses every aspect of the physical and the subtle bodies. This is what we have been calling in Embodyoga® the embodiment of sushumna.
ATTACHMENT AND NON-ATTACHMENT
The embodiment of kundalini flowing in the personal body mind is not a release from life. It offers and brings a full engagement in life. The question of “attachment” becomes a very interesting one indeed. It turns out that one can be fully engaged, love life, feel its sorrows and its joys without the same “attachment”. Non-attachment doesn’t mean non-involvement. Non-attachment means simply that one sees the bigger picture along with the personal.
This feels like a life lived in fullness; recognition of the essence and source of life that is continuously present along with all that a personal existence brings. Pain…yes. Sadness…yes. Joy, love, spontaneity, and sorrow…all yes. Actual suffering? Not really. How can one really suffer when the radiance of life is genuinely witnessed in all of it and the continuity of Awareness is the basis of all that we perceive?
PRACTICAL AND NECESSARY SUPPORTS FOR KUNDALINI AWAKENING
- A deep and thorough commitment to doing all that is necessary to recognizing life as it is. (Practice).
- Securing knowledge through personal practice, self-study, and the trusted word of others that healing can happen and there is more to life that what we commonly perceive.
- Deep resting practices that allow the body-mind to release chronically held patterns and stresses: meditation, yoga nidra.
- Hope and love based on faith and the proper use of mantra.
- Yoga asana and pranayama appropriate to the body-mind of each individual.
- Meditation and embodied-inquiry into the nature of body-mind-spirit.
- Kundalini awakening techniques that are gentle and persistent.
- Patience and perseverance.