KUNDALINI YOG (KRIYA YOG)
“Kundalini ” literally means coiling, like a snake. In the classical literature of hatha yoga Kundalini is described as a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. The image of coiling, like a spring, conveys the sense of untapped potential energy. Perhaps more meaningfully Kundalini can be described as a great reservoir of creative energy at the base of the spine.
It’s useful to think of Kundalini energy as the very foundation of our consciousness so that when Kundalini moves through our bodies our consciousness necessarily changes with it. The concept of Kundalini can also be examined from a strictly psychological perspective. From this perspective Kundalini can be thought of as a rich source of psychic or libidinous energy in our unconscious.
Prana and Kundalini
Prana has been translated as the “vital breath” and “bio-energetic motility”; it is associated with maintaining the functioning of the mind and body. Kundalini , in its form as prana- Kundalini , is identical to prana ; however, Kundalini also has a manifestations as consciousness and as a unifying cosmic energy.
Science of Kundalini (Kriya Yoga)
The science of Kundalini Kriya Yoga pranayam offers the inhaled Pranic breath into the exhaled Apanic breath and vice versa. By this process the yogi neutralizes the two life currents of pran and apan. This results in the arresting of decay and growth in the body. This is done by rejuvenating the blood and body cells with life energy (prana) that has been distilled from the breath and moved into the spine and the brain. The Kriya yogi arrests all bodily decay, thereby quieting the breath & heart.
The Bhagavad Gita makes a mention of this science in chapter four. The Kundalini Kriya Yoga pranayam called the pran-apanic fire rite by the Yogis, teaches man to untie the cord of breath that binds our soul to the bodily cage. Thus releasing the soul to fly & expand into the super conscious skies of omnipresent spirit and come back at will into the little body cage. No flight or fancy but a true experience of divine bliss.
There are two main currents in the body. One is that of prana which flows from the coccyx to the point between the eyebrows. The nature of this life current is soothing;
The other main current is that of Apana which flows from the third eye ( Agya) to the Muladhar. This downward flowing extrovert current distributes itself through the coccyx center to the motor-sensory nerves. This keeps devotees consciousness delusively tied to the body.
The Apana current is restless and engrosses man in sensory experiences. Kundalini Kriya Yoga pranayama arrests bodily decay connected with Apana, manifest in the exhaling breath, by fresh inhalations of life-force (Prana) distilled from the inhaling breath. This Prana enables the devotee to do away with the illusion of decay & mutation; he then realizes that his body is made of lifetrons of congealed light. The body of the Kriya Yogi is recharged with extra energy distilled from the breath and energized by the tremendous dynamo of energy generated in the spine, the decay of body tissues decreases. This ultimately makes the blood cleansing functions of the heart unnecessary. The heart pump becomes quiet owing to the non-pumping of venous blood and exhalation & inhalation of breath are evened out. The life energy unites in the currents in the spine. The light of pure prana scintillates from the six charkas to all the bodily cells keeping them in a spiritually magnetized condition.
Kundalini Kriya Yoga is a process of converting breath into life-force and realizing the body as light. When the body & mind of the Yogi are prepared to accommodate the high voltage of so much Kundalini Kriya Yoga, his Guru will advise him that he is ready for the experience of Samadhi.
In the practice of Kundalini Kriya Yoga, the will and imagination transmutes the oxygen of breath into life energy and blend it into the spiritual currents of the spine. In Kriya Yoga, when you inhale and exhale continuously, oxygen is quickly converted into life energy that recharges the entire body, especially the blood and the lungs with vital sustenance. As you focus your eyes and willpower between the eyebrows and strongly visualize the circulation of life breath Prana & Apana, up & down the spine respectively, both positive and negative poles are established on the opposite sides of the hollow spinal tube, between the Agya Chakra and the Muladhar. The magnetic pull between the two poles brings the actual circulation of the Sushumna current, and awakens the subtle layers of the Kundalini.
The inhalation exhalation of Prana- Apana is the true Prana-Apana Yagna (the Fire Rite of the Nath Yogi). As the positive and negative poles are established in the cerebrospinal column the spine becomes magnetized and draws all sensory electric Prana to the spinal reservoirs of lotuses. By Pratyahara the reversal of life currents from the senses occur resulting in the disconnection of our senses from their external objects. This introverts the mind from outer distractions, and enables it to concentrate fully on one’s Divine Indweller, ultimately leading to a state of Kevali Kumbhak. Then the spiritual body is seen as the five pointed Soul Star of Pranic light in the third eye, penetrating which one enters state of Samadhi.
Can I use Kundalini yoga simply to improve my health?
Yogic exercises which were traditionally used to purify the body in preparation for awakening the Kundalini can also be used simply to improve the health.
So how can I awaken Kundalini ?
Indirectly Kundalini can be awakened by devotion, by selfless service, or by intellectual enquiry. In these paths the blocks to the awakening of Kundalini are slowly removed. Occasionally, individuals on these paths will experience a sudden awakening of Kundalini but generally because the blocks are slowly and gently removed Kundalini -like experiences evolve slowly in these paths. Broadly speaking there are two radically different direct approaches to awakening Kundalini . One approach requires initiation by a guru and relies upon a technique called Shaktipat, or “descent of Shakti.” It is variously called: Siddha Mahayoga, Kundalini Mahayoga or Sahaja Yoga (Spontaneous Yoga).
The other approach uses intentional yogic techniques. That include Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga or Kriya Yoga. Fundamentally the approach of Siddha Mahayoga and the Kundalini Yogas are different. In Siddha Mahayoga the guru awakens the Kundalini and after that the core of the practice is the inactive and non-willful surrender to Kundalini . In Kundalini Yogas the will is used to awaken the Kundalini and to guide its progress. Clearly these are different approaches. Nevertheless, elements of the each approach occur in the practices of the other. Siddha Mahayogins may use asanas, pranayamas and other hatha yoga practices. On the other hand gurus in Kundalini Yoga may give infusions of Shakti to their students to help them at particular points in their practice.