Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Try to quiet your mind. What do you feel?
Chances are that you’re aware of your pulse. If you get quiet enough, you may just be able to feel the energy buzzing through your veins and circulating through your muscles and the rest of your body.
Ever been able to give it a name before? If you answered ‘no,’ I’ve got an answer for you. It can be considered Kundalini.
What is Kundalini Energy?
Kundalini is a universally acknowledged and deeply revered energy that pervades everyday life. While it is recognized by many different names (Holy Spirit, Shakti, etc…) based on the contextual belief system or religion, there is a commonality in this realization of a cosmic energy.
The term is derived from the Sanskrit kundal meaning “coiled one.” Dharma teaching dictates that this internal energy is coiled (like a serpent) near the base of the spine.
The aim of Kundalini is to awaken that slumbering energy. Those who decide to pursue Kundalini as a practice to release this coiled energy are said to be rewarded with spiritual enlightenment and higher conscious awareness.
Kundalini energy rests like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. When this dormant energy is freed it flows upward through the seven chakras – which are the energy centers of our body – and leads to an expanded state of consciousness, known as a kundalini awakening.
The diagram below shows how this energy flows through the chakras.
Those who awaken Kundalini energy are said to be more creative, more inspired and more balanced; emotionally and spiritually.
As Kundalini can be considered the life force that drives the everyday functioning of our bodies and minds, and in a greater sense, the one that supports our spirits, it only makes sense that unlocking it would help practitioners unveil their true potential and creativity.
Though the practice has developed in India over the last 1,000 years, the West has only experienced Kundalini since the late 1960s, thanks in part to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, also known as Yogi Bhajan.
Following his migration to Toronto, Canada, he began teaching at YMCAs and founded his own Yoga center. The rest is Kundalini history.
What’s Yoga Got to Do with Kundalini?
While Yoga was originally taught as a route to enlightenment, more and more practicers today gravitate toward yoga for the anxiety relief, and- let’s admit it- the yoga body. Those who are interested in enlightenment, however, seek out Kundalini as their yoga practice of choice.
Instead of a singular focus on body, mind or spirit, Kundalini yoga seeks to incorporate all of these into a holistic practice that leads to energy release.
In the physical aspect of the practice, poses focus on key energy meridians (points where energy flow is greatest) in order to bring awareness to and activate areas like the spine and the navel.
In addition, the use of key breathing techniques like pranayama are used that help practitioners control their breath and unlock their inner energy.
These physical steps taken to achieve a sense of higher awareness can be linked to Kundalini Yoga, but the awakening of the energy itself and the higher consciousness that results can be considered Kundalini Meditation.
How to Awaken Kundalini
Using the Kriya Technique
Consider trying the Kriya Technique, which focuses foremost on the breath. You can do this quite easily at home, and practice once a day in a quiet room free from distraction.
Breathe into your tailbone, at the very tip of your spine. While breathing, direct your breath through your spine in an upwards direction and up through the crown of your head. Continually focus on that upward movement of energy and breath.
Next, cycle your breath back down, from the top of your head, to your third eye (located in between your brows) and then down to the throat and to the heart.
Once these breathing cycles have been completed, activate some energy through a chant directed toward a spiritual teacher or even a one word mantra (such as “love” or “peace” or “truth”).. Chant as you inhale and exhale.
You might like to combine Kriya with our Kundalini Awakening meditation, which is designed to unlock tension and stress in the body and help release that Kundalini energy from the base of your spine.
15 Ways to Awaken Kundalini
If you want to discover and awaken your own Kundalini energy, here are 15 ways you can help facilitate progress in your Kundalini practice:
1. Focus Your Breath: Controlling your breath is at the heart of both yoga and meditation. Try to begin by focusing intensely on the way you breathe. Focus your breath to the tail of your spine, directing it upward, toward the crown of the head.
2. Sit Up Straight: It’s much easier to breathe correctly if your spine is straight and the crown of your head is pointed toward the ceiling. Be sure to sit tall with your spine stacked.
3. Reject Negativity: Your practice will definitely be improved by a focus on the positive aspects of each day’s session and on the more positive aspects of your life as a whole.
4. Refine Your Diet: You are what you eat! If you’re trying to awaken your infinite internal energy, power your practice with whole, healthy, plant-based foods. It makes a difference and can help determine your mindset, mood and overall health.
5. Move Your Body: Unlocking your energy requires care and devotion- but shouldn’t your body get that same kind of love? Be sure to move your body through exercise that you enjoy everyday- whether it be a long walk or a series of stretches or a fun team sport.
6. Be The Watcher: Some days, it feels like everything is going wrong. Everyone experiences this. Instead of getting wrapped up in negative emotions, acknowledge their presence and let them pass. You’ll be (emotionally) better off for it and more able to focus on your Kundalini practice.
7. Find Your Tribe: Subconsciously, you mirror the people and the environments you are surrounded by. Choose consciously to surround yourself with only the kindest, most supportive, honest and positively challenging people. Your quality of life is sure to improve when you’re buffeted by good energy.
8. Get a Mentor: Whether it be a fellow yogi or just a wise soul, find someone to connect with on a deeper level. You may even want to share your Kundalini experience with them.
9. Chant, Chant, Chant: This can be odd for yogis who have been practicing in silence, but chanting is a devotional practice that helps facilitate the mood for Kundalini. Find a teacher or a saying that you feel comfortable repeating and see if chanting helps ground you in your practice.
10. Activate Your Interests: A lot of the time, we focus on tasks because we feel like we should- not because we enjoy them. Set aside an hour a day to pursue tasks that you feel connected to, whether it be art, music, gardening, sports or programming. Make whatever it is that you get enjoyment from a daily priority.
11. Here and Now: As you go throughout your day, make an effort to remain aware of the present moment at all times. Try to cut out extraneous thinking and direct your focus to the task and the moment at hand. Mindfulness always helps a Kundalini practice and can leave you feeling more satisfied and grounded.
12. Go With The Flow: Micromanaging your life can seem appealing, but there is liberation in letting go of the intense planning of everyday life. View each morning as an adventure that you’re willing to partake in. Don’t freak out if your day doesn’t go the way you expected it.
13. Affirmations: If you can be kind to everyone around you….except yourself, your Kundalini practice (and your overall health and happiness) is going to falter. Take time out of each day to remind yourself of your many talents, blessings and attributes.
14. Cut Distractions: It’s so easy to numb yourself to the real world with TV, the internet and cell phones. Avoid the temptation. Awakening your spirit will be even harder if you refuse to truly engage with the people around you and yourself because of these distractions. If possible, turn your phone off or put your devices away for a set time each day or make a commitment to checking them only periodically.
15. Try using music for relaxation: Listening to music or rhythms that relax your mind and body is conducive to promoting a meditative state that can assist in your Kundalini practice. Music like this allows you to relax more easily and to tap into an internal energy flow.
Don’t Rush in Your Quest to Release Your Kundalini Energy
We live in a goal oriented world, and it can be tempting to want to rush from point A to point B, especially if point B is spiritual enlightenment and an intense connection to our internal energy.
Don’t succumb to that. Kundalini is a practice and it does not happen overnight. So be mindful.
Appreciate that it is a process and strive for progress, not any kind of perfection. It can be frustrating, but be patient, you’ll start feeling more in touch with your energy soon enough.