The term “Kundalini” comes from the Sanskrit word “kundal,” which means “circular.” Like a coiled snake. Kundalini Energy is like a coiled snake that lies dormant at the base of the spine until it is activated (as by the practice of yoga) and channeled upward through the chakras in the process of spiritual perfection.
Through spiritual practice, it begins to rise from the base of the spine through the central channel (Sushumna Nadi) to the top of the head. While it does so, the Kundalini awakens each of the 7 chakras along the way. Once awakened it uncoils and ascends through the central channel in the spinal column (Sushumna) to the Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) at the top of the head.
The activation and balancing of the chakras is accomplished by the mixing and uniting of Prana Vayu (cosmic energy) with Apana Vayu (eliminating energy). It creates pressure at the base of spinal cord in muladhar chakra. This pressure force Kundalini to rise, by means of Pranayama (breathing exercises), Bhandas (body locks), in Kriyas (exercise sets), using Asanas (postures), Mudras (gestures), and Mantras (sacred sounds).
The nature of kundalini is such that when it is still, you do not even know it exists. Only when it moves, you realize there is so much power within you. Till it moves it is almost non-existent. Because of this, kundalini is symbolized as a snake because a coiled-up snake is so hard to see unless it moves. Similarly, you do not see this coiled-up energy unless it moves. If your kundalini is aroused, miraculous things that you cannot believe possible will happen with you. An unleashing of a completely new level of energy begins and your body and everything behaves in a completely different way. Through the practice of Kundalini Yoga, an individual can unite his/her consciousness with Cosmic Consciousness on a regular basis by carefully performing the exercises and meditations in specific sequence and combination.
What is Shaktipat or Shaktipat Yoga?
Transfer of energy from Guru to His Disciple is called shaktipat or shaktipat yoga.
Shaktipātyoga or Shaktipāt refers to the bestowal of spiritual energy on one person by another i.e. mainly a Guru/spiritually evolved person to His disciple. Shaktipat can be transmitted with a sacred word or mantra, or by a look, thought or touch – the last usually to the “Ajna” chakra ( Third Eye chakra — forehead, above between the eyes) of the recipient. It is considered an act of grace from the Guru to a deserving disciple. This transfer of energy itself initiates the Kundalini awakening.
After it is awakened, the rate at which the Kundalini rises is dependent on the disciple’s continuous and ever-increasing efforts in spiritual practice.
Key aspects of the Kundalini
Just as the heart is the principle centre (organ) of the circulatory system and the brain of the nervous system, similarly the subtle energy system has various centres (chakras), channels and ducts.
There are 72,000 subtle-channels. Of these channels, the three main subtle-channels are:
- Sushumna Nadi, that is, the central channel that extends from the base of the spine to the top of the head,
- Pingla Naḍi or the Surya Naḍi (sun channel), that is, the channel that runs to the right of the Sushumna Nadi, and the
- Iḍa Naḍi or the Chandra Nadi (moon channel), that is, the channel that runs to the left of the Sushumna Nadi.
The Vital energy is transmitted in the body through the Sun channeland theMoon channeland the other smaller channels. The vital energy flow alternates between the Sun channel and Moon channel.
The Kundalini is spiritual energy and it generally lies dormant, coiled at the base of the Sushumnanadi for an average person. Through spiritual practice it begins to rise from the base of the spine through the Sushumnanadi right till the top of the head. While it does so, the Kundalini awakens each of the chakras along the way.
As the Kundalini passes each chakra along the Sushumnanadi, there is a thin subtle-valve that it needs to push through at each chakra to make its onward journey upwards. As it keeps pushing through the wall there is sometimes an increase in the amount of spiritual energy from the Sushumnanadi at that chakra. Having nowhere to go, it sometimes flows out through the surrounding subtle-ducts and becomes converted into Vital energy (Praṇa–shakti). For that period of time, the concerned person may experience a heightened activity associated with that area.