HJ: It is important to note that kundalini energy does not in and of itself produce enlightenment. It is rather a symptom of the raising of ones consciousness and the subsequent healing of the mind, body and spirit. If you are having kundalini experiences, it is a ‘good sign’ meaning that you are healing your mind/body/spirit triad to the point where the conditions that give rise to kundalini energy are created. It is possible to prematurely raise the energy through certain yogic and esoteric techniques, but this is dangerous because if ones consciousness is not sufficiently advanced to be able to handle the expanded mental capabilities and awareness, it can indeed be highly imbalancing and cause one to fall prey to ‘traps’ on the path — instances where one can indulge those qualities one is typically trying to transcend or heal on the journey to higher consciousness.
Therefore it is always important to make sure you are concurrently developing yourself spiritually while practicing techniques or yoga that specifically works with kundalini. Any legitimate guidebook on the subject will recommend doing this and if it does not, be forewarned. Not only is this a safety measure, but developing yourself in spiritual terms while also working on your kundalini energy will in fact speed up the process, which is typically what most people are after anyways.
By Swami Shankardevananda Saraswati, MB, BS | Yoga Mag
Kundalini therapy is the healing technique of the near future which will result from the change in consciousness presently sweeping the world. It is the culmination of all healing methods, from yoga to allopathy. The word kundalini is derived from two roots – kunda meaning ‘pit’ and kundali meaning ‘coiled’. Kundalini is the coiled energy which resides at the base of the spine and in the depths of our consciousness. Therefore kundalini therapy helps to remove disease by utilising this energy.
To achieve total health we can tap this energy through asanas, pranayamas, mudras and bandhas which stimulate certain endocrine glands. This in turn releases energy from the chakras and rebalances the nervous system, thus affecting all the body organs. When we stimulate mooladhara chakra, energy rises up the spinal cord and enters the brain-mind complex. This is not what is referred to as an arousal of the kundalini, it is merely tapping a drop of the life-giving energy force to strengthen the body, remove and prevent disease. At the same time the body is prepared to receive the tremendous bolt of energy which rises up the spine when kundalini awakens.
Kundalini therapy is a means of coping with life rather than avoiding it. It will give you the strength required to face all problems with equanimity. Even though the final goal of transcendental awareness may still be far off, as you follow this path you will become healthier and stronger. Life will take on new meaning and you will have more energy with each new day.
The endocrine glands manufacture certain chemical compounds called hormones which regulate all the functions of the body. The body and personality are dependent on the proper functioning of the endocrine glands for the maintenance of good health. For example, an over secretion of thyroxin makes us irritable, tense, overexcited, speedy. Thoughts race around and the body metabolism speeds up. This is the opposite picture of under secretion. To attain optimum health, every gland must work efficiently and in harmony with the other glands. Together they form an axis controlled by the master pituitary gland and brain.
The major endocrine glands form the basis of kundalini therapy. They are closely linked with the chakras: gonads – swadhisthana, adrenals – manipura, thymus- anahata, thyroid – vishuddhi, pineal – ajna, pituitary- sahasrara. Mooladhara chakra doesn’t have an endocrine gland equivalent. However it is associated with the perineal body, a vestigial gland which has lost its function in man and must be reactivated so that it can awaken the dormant kundalini. This is achieved through yogic practices.
At a more subtle level the glands are channels for pranic energy which enters the body via the chakras. According to William A. Tiller, Ph.D., Professor of Material Sciences at Stanford University, the endocrine/chakra pairs are transducers that allow energy to enter the body. When there is balance between the two systems then the energy harnessed is coherent and synchronised. However, if the chakras or glands are even slightly out of balance, this energy is dissipated rather than utilised fully and improper function of the bodily organs and systems results.
Chakras can be thought of as whirling vortices of energy, but in most people they are not whirling nor are they in line. The aim of kundalini therapy is therefore two-fold. On the psychic level it opens up the chakras so that more energy can be transmitted through them. On the physical level it rebalances the endocrines so that this energy can be received and properly relegated for the promotion of health and vitality throughout the whole body-mind complex.
With the awakening of kundalini, new hormones are released by the pituitary and the balance of the chakras and endocrines nears perfection. Thus all body functions are ordered and total health results.
The central nervous system
The brain, which controls the whole nervous system, is the physical correlate of sahasrara, the highest chakra. It is the means to control all the other centres of the body-mind. To achieve total health it is important that all the brain circuits are integrated, ordered and harmonised. Within the brain are all the switches and faculties of higher awareness waiting to be turned on at the correct moment.
The brain is like a flower and the spinal cord its stem. When energy ascends the spinal cord from mooladhara, it rises as a spark, piercing through the various chakras. Eventually it reaches the brain and there it opens many dormant centres, thus expanding our awareness. Kundalini therapy is designed to bring the unconscious faculties of the lower brain into conscious awareness, just as the lotus unfolds its many petals. This will increase your potential for living and give you control over your bodily functions and what happens to you.
The central nervous system is the master controller of the body; it gives split-second reactions to internal and external bodily needs. The endocrine system is much slower, being designed to regulate the body metabolism and other functions over a period of minutes to days. The endocrine and nervous systems are linked together and with the chakras for more complete control. An increase of prana in the body helps to rebalance the neuro-endocrine interaction, which in turn stimulates the body organs to function more efficiently. This is a delicate process and requires the touch of a master.
Try to remember that kundalini is not just energy in the nervous system; it is the sum total of cosmic energy. This energy is transmitted through the nervous system, so you can imagine how strong you need to be to handle such a force. Awakening the kundalini is like sitting on top of an atomic-bomb blast.
The third eye
Ajna chakra is situated at the eyebrow centre. Its physical correlate is the pineal gland. When this chakra begins to function, through practices such as moola bandha, shambhavi mudra, meditation and so on, internal visions take place. This is the opening of the third eye, the eye of intuition. Eventually, when ajna is opened more fully, you receive visions of the chakra itself as a circle with an aum symbol in the centre and two smoky-grey petals on either side of it. For the two petals to appear, both sides of the brain must be working and co-operating with each other in an ideal relationship. The symbol appears when brain and mind are integrated, and the nervous system and bodily functions are balanced.
Within each side of the brain is a fluid-filled chamber called a ventricle. When the brain is seen front-on, these ventricles look like the two petals of ajna chakra. Their fluid is a smoky colour. The pineal gland is in the centre of the head and is represented by the central circle of the chakra.
Thus ajna chakra, the receptor of intuition and instructions from the highest consciousness, is manifested on the physical level. The two petals are the ventricles containing cerebrospinal fluid and the aum in the centre is the pineal gland. When we open our third eye through kundalini yoga, we begin to perceive things on the psychic level. Because the psychic and physical planes are intimately related, the mental form is a reflection of the physical matter.
Through yogic practices you can awaken your third eye, thus affecting the correct functioning and integration of the pituitary-pineal gland complex and the brain. When this is accomplished, the whole mind-body complex becomes healthier because you can consciously control your nervous system and hormonal secretions.
Travelling through the tenth gate
During the last stage of kundalini awakening, the aspirant goes from ajna to sahasrara, just above the head. This is the most difficult stage of yoga and it requires the guidance of a guru to voyage successfully through the labyrinth. The aspirant must travel from the pineal gland through the maze of fifteen billion neurones to gain access to the central sulcus, the space between the two sides of the brain. He then travels through the fluid in the sulcus and pierces the top of the skull to enter sahasrara. Some schools of yoga claim that the skull actually opens and when this occurs the yogi can leave his body at any time he wishes. He is no longer dependent on the physical body and sense organs to maintain consciousness.
All yogic techniques are part of kundalini therapy, the path to perfect health, from the simplest asanas onwards. Some techniques, however, are more direct than others.
Asanas such as padmasana and siddhasana create magnetic circuits, and this flow is especially concentrated in the spine. Asanas and pranayama remove obstructions to the flow of consciousness through the nadis.
Bandhas such as jalandhara bandha (throat lock), uddiyana bandha (navel lock) and moola bandha (anal lock) are powerful methods to stimulate the endocrine glands and chakras. They liberate vast amounts of energy.
Mudras, gestures or symbols with deep, archetypal meaning, are methods to control the flow of energy. Through mudras we can control the amount of energy coming into the body and become aware of the inner energies of the body.
Asanas, pranayama, mudras and bandhas have been integrated into one system called kriya yoga. This powerful method increases and directs the pranic flow of consciousness to the psychic centres of the body and awakens them from their dormant state.
The above techniques should only be practiced under the guidance of a master who is aware of the many pitfalls which await unwary, impatient or unskilled practitioners. The master knows which organs should be injected with prana in order to balance our whole personality. Then the appropriate psychic, spiritual or occult faculties spontaneously start to manifest and enhance our lives.