Kundalini yoga

It is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness. According to yogic philosophy, kundalini is a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine. It is conceptualized as a coiled up serpent. Considered an advanced form of yoga and meditation its purpose is to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others. Practitioners call Kundalini yoga, the yoga of awareness because it focuses primarily on the practices which expand sensory awareness and intuition in order to raise individual consciousness and merge it with the Infinite consciousness of God.  At its highest form, is practiced for the purpose of attaining bliss, opening the heart center, developing power, serving others, attaining self-realization and ultimately merging into God consciousness.

History

Until modern times, Kundalini Yoga was on the whole a secretive and misunderstood technology – it was not widely taught by any master teachers outside of India until Yogi Bhajan, a renowned spiritual teacher from India.  He re-incarnated the previously restricted yoga form and introduced it to the West as comprehensive spiritual system for personal growth and transformational technology for self development  and to counter the drug abuse of the 60’s. Throughout 35 years teaching until his death in 2004, Yogi Bhajan built up a legacy of information and teachings around the yogic lifestyle practice of Kundalini yoga, including the publications of over 100 related books on the applications of the yogic technology.

Kundalini energy

Technically understood as being sparked during yogic breathing when prana and apana blends at the 3rd chakra (naval center) at which point it initially drops down to the 1st and 2nd chakras before traveling up to the spine to the higher centers of the brain to activate the golden cord – the connection between the pituitary and pineal glands – and penetrate the 7 chakras. Yogi Bhajan has also described the aura as a supporting 8th chakra which he claimed is essential for integrating and containing the energy.

In practice

The practice of Kundalini yoga is designed to raise complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system and mind to handle the energy of Kundalini rising. The majority of the physical postures focus on naval activity, activity of the spine, and selective pressurization of body points and meridians. Breath work and the application of bhandas (3 yogic locks) aid to release, direct and control the the flow of Kundalini energy from the lower centers to the higher energetic centers. Along with the many meditations and practices of Kundalini Yoga, a simple breathing technique of alternate nostril breathing, left nostril, right nostril.

Methodology

Literally, kundalini or kundala is that which is coiled (Sanskrit kund, to burn; kunda, to coil or to spiral). It is believed that Kundalini yoga is that which arouses the sleeping Kundalini Shakti from its coiled base through the 6 chakras, and penetrate the 7th chakra, or crown. This energy is said to travel along the ida (left), pingala (right) and central, or sushumna nadi.  This process can be seen even today in modern medical grahic, as two snakes spiraling a central staff, and although the origin of this image is more directly derived from the Caduceus of the Greek god Hermes, it may express the same or a similar principle.

Benefits to health

Some studies have shown that the physical and physiological benefits cover a wide spectrum of ailments, including healing treatments for memory problems, asthma, diabetes, pain, stress-related diseases, rehabilitating addictive behavior, and treating mental disorders.

Observations

According to some traditions Kundalini techniques are only communicated from master to disciple once the disciple is deemed ready.  In these cases, yogic masters believe that in ascetic settings ignorance or refusal to follow instructions of a master can lead to harmful effects.  Some of the psychological difficulties associated with intensive spiritual practice are claimed to be “kundalini awakening”, “a complex physio-psychospiritual transformative process described in the yogic tradition”. the concept of kundalini, known as kundalini syndrome. Believers say that the negative experiences might occur only when acting without appropriate guidance or ignoring advice, as this is a system designed for personal spiritual growth.

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