Kundalini yoga is an esoteric school of yoga which deals with awakening of the inner dormant power in every human being called Kundalini Shakti. The Kundalini lies dormant below the base of the spine, above the Muladhara Chakra or the root plexus. In Yoga and Tantra texts, the kundalini is depicted as a feminine divine power or Shakti that raises up the spine like a serpent to meet the male divine principle called Shiva or Para Brahma. Kundalini Yoga is also called Laya Yoga or the Yoga of dissolution or total absorption.
Kundalini yoga and the process of awakening the kundalini appears in many ancient texts starting from the Upanishads. The Yoga Kundalini Upanishad and the Yoga Tattva Upanishad contain the Vedic references to kundalini and its awakening. Classical Hatha yoga texts like Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Gheranda Samhita also talks about methods to awaken the Kundalini Shakti. Special mention should be made of a text called Shad Chakra Nirupana written by Swami Purnananda, which has been translated and commented on by Sir John Woodroffe in his popular book, The Serpent Power.
The goal of Kundalini Yoga
The goal of Kundalini yoga is to awaken the dormant feminine energy at the root plexus or Muladhara and raise it up to the crown of the head or Sahasrara Chakra. The whole process involves opening up of the various plexuses and purifying the Pranic energy channels called Nadis. When the kundalini reaches the crown chakra, it merges with Shiva or the male principle. This leads to blossoming of the total potential of the human brain. After merging at Sahasrara, the kundalini returns back to the root chakra and rests there. But it brings with it the knowledge and awareness of the higher realm, which is manifested in all actions of the practitioner.
Prerequisites for awakening the Kundalini Shakti
Preparing the central channel for the ascension of the kundalini is essential. Traditionally, the preparation starts with activating the Chakras or the plexuses along the spine. If the chakras are not developed, the kundalini can get blocked at those centres. There are 6 Chakras or plexuses starting from Muladhara Chakra, Swadhistana Chakra, Manipuraka Chakra, Anahata Chakra, Vishuddhi Chakra and Ajna Chakra which have to be developed and opened up. After that, the Nadis or the Pranic channels have to be purified. Ida Nadi (left channel along the spine) and the Pingala Nadi (Right Channel along the spine) are activated and finally the central meridian or Sushumna is purified and opened up. Only after this, it is safe to awaken the kundalini Shakti through various spiritual practices.
Methods of awakening Kundalini
The kundalini can be awakened by various methods including Mantra yoga, Pranayama, Raja Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Intense austerity or Tapas, Shaktipat or direct energy transfer from guru to disciple, certain tantric initiations, use of certain herbs or Aushadhi, etc. For all these methods, the guidance and formal initiation from a genuine master is essential.
In some cases, Kundalini may be awakened from birth itself. Such individuals should seek a master to take the energy safely upwards for further spiritual evolution.
ARTICLES ON KUNDALINI YOGA
See below a list of articles on Kundalini Yoga. Click on the image to read the full article.
Need for a Proper Guru
Kundalini yoga is one branch of yoga, that cannot be practiced without the help of a Master. Practitioners are advised to seek a qualified master for learning Kundalini yoga.