By Jigyasu Bhakti Ratna (Kate Woodworth) - Kate is a senior yoga teacher and yoga therapist from Yoga Vidya Gurukul (www.yogapoint.com), she is teaching and practicing yoga for the last 10 years. She is also Resident Officer at Yoga Vidya Gurukul. She is initiated in to Jigyasu Sannayasa by her Guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati.
Kundalini is the buzz word and the latest craze around the world at the moment. All kinds of Kundalini Yoga classes and workshops are popping up all over the place with a variety of different ways to ?awaken your hidden potential.? Many, and I think I can say here, most, are for profit.
Kundalini yoga comes from the Tantras. It is said in Tantra that there is mental experience based on objects, through the senses. Experience can be within a framework of object, time and space. However there can also be experience beyond this framework. This type of experience happens when the mind expands beyond its given definitions and borders and it causes energy to be released. It is known by many terms - samadhi, nirvana, self-realisation etc.
It is known in many cultures that there is a potential force within the body and mind, it is called Kundalini. It is a dormant energy, seated at Mooladhara chakra and symbolised as a 3 ½ coiled serpent. When awakened it leads to the expansion of the mind, beyond all that we know. It changes the quality of awareness, experience, intellect and of the mind. It awakens our potential, our hidden qualities and abilities. A little bit hard to comprehend for most people. We know there is a lot more to us than what we see. We know that we only use a very small segment of our brain, less than 10%, only a tiny bit of our potential. Looking at it in this perspective, imagine if we were to use 15%, 30% or even more. Imagine what could be accomplished. So far science has not been able to help us out here.
When we want to follow the path of Kundalini yoga we must follow a strict and gradual process. If not we may cause much harm to ourselves, both physically and mentally. Many people try to rush the process through other means and this can lead to permanent problems. The path is not to be taken lightly, and though, Kundalini awakening may be out of the reach of most, there are many other positive aspects of these practices. This path of yoga uses asanas, pranayama, kriya yoga and meditation with the focus on cleansing and purifying the chakras, which help to evolve our personality.
A chakra is a wheel, circle, or vortex of energy. They are the main energy points of the body and are the switches for distribution to other areas. There are many chakras but six of them are most important. They are Mooladhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi and Ajna.
Mooladhara is the first chakra, where man goes from animal consciousness and begins the human world. It is the last chakra of the animal evolution, the beginning of human spiritual evolution. It governs the basic emotions of fear, security, courage and survival instincts, as well as the sexual and excretory functions.
Swadishstana is the second chakra and relates to the reproductive organs, joy, happiness, pleasure and sexual desire.
Manipura is the third chakra and relates to power, action, willpower, self-esteem, vitality and ego. It governs the digestive system.
Anahata is the fourth chakra and relates to compassion and indiscriminate love. It governs the heart, lungs, circulation and respiration.
Vishuddhi is the fifth chakra and is the communication centre as well as purification. It governs the throat, vocal chords, thyroid and neck region.
Ajna is the sixth and most important chakra. It is said that Ajna has control over all the functions of a person?s life. It is the command centre of the mind, the opening or access point. It relates to the intellect, intuition, wisdom, psychic abilities and the central nervous system.
Many techniques are used to help awaken and purify these chakras. Only when the chakras are ready will it be possible for the Kundalini to arise. We will not go into detail about yogic techniques used in the chakras and Kundalini yoga as it is a very big topic and the practice of these techniques should be done in a very systematic and balanced way. Though it should be mentioned that what is used most are asanas, mantras and various types of meditation, as well as pranayama and kriya yoga techniques.
Kundalini Yoga is a very much sought after, but much misunderstood practice. The aim is to awaken the kundalini shakti, the dormant energy, but in the process it helps to balance the mind, body and spirit. So even if we are not trying to achieve that final aim we can still reap the many benefits of this practice.
By Jigyasu Bhakti Ratna (Kate Woodworth)
Reference books -
Kunadalini Tantra - Swami Satyananda (Bihar School of Yoga Publications)
Yoga Vidya Dham, Kaivalya Nagari,
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