But isn't Kundalini Dangerous?
I get this question a lot.
People hear that kundalini can fry you, burn you out, make you crazy. I've even read that it's the devil.
So they avoid Kundalini Yoga. Or avoid going deep in their practice.
Let's start by making a very clear distinction: Kundalini energy is NOT Kundalini Yoga. These are two different things.
You can practice Kundalini Yoga without ever having a kundalini awakening. And you can have a kundalini awakening without ever practicing Kundalini Yoga.
What is Kundalini energy?
The yogis call kundalini, the "nerve of the soul". It is a "coil" of energy that resides at the base of the spine. Everyone has this energy, it's part of the subtle (energy) body. However, in most people it lays dormant.
When it awakens, it rises up the shushmana, the central energy channel which runs along the spine.
The kundalini awakening itself is physiologically manifested as an upsurge in movement of the cerebral spinal fluid. (There are scientific studies which show this.)
This movement of cerebral spinal fluid sometimes shows up during awakening as spontaneous kriyas (postures). In fact, this is one of the hallmarks of a kundalini awakening (although not everyone will experience it).
The awakened kundalini can result in more energy, more creativity, clear intuition, extreme sensitivity, vision over time and space, neutrality, fearlessness -- and a myriad of other symptoms and siddhis (yogic powers). The list of what could happen is quite long, but let's not get stuck there.
Kundalini can awaken totally spontaneously in anyone, at any age -- (whether or not they even know what kundalini is!) or it can be coaxed awake by yogic, tantric or meditative practices which create a psychic "heat" in the navel cavity.
It can awaken all at once, in a very dramatic explosion, often referred to as a lightning bolt. Or it can happen slowly, over years or even lifetimes.
It can happen in any and all religious or mystical systems.
Recently, I heard a prominent teacher say that kundalini awakening is not any big event, that it's the same as just being a "little more happy" or a "little more creative". I'm going to have to emphatically disagree with this.
While there is no roadmap for awakening itself, I think if you ask anyone who has experienced a kundalini awakening, they will tell you there is nothing much subtle about it. It is a profound shift in how one relates to existence and will, in one way or another, split your life wide open.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Most often, what is referred to as "Kundalini Yoga" in the West is a practice of Yoga taught by Yogi Bhajan, an Indian Sikh who brought the practice to America in the late '60s.
(It should be noted that there are other types of Kundalini Yoga with practices which are different than what Yogi Bhajan taught. For the purposes of the blog, I will be referencing Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.)
The practice of Kundalini Yoga awakens dormant energies within the body, strengthens the nervous system and tones the glandular system.
All yoga, at its heart, is designed to awaken the kundalini energy. This is the merger for which the word yoga - to yoke - references. It is the awakening of the finite self to the infinite or "god self".
"As the rivers end up flowing into the same ocean, all yoga ends up just raising the kundalini.” - Yogi Bhajan
So is Kundalini Dangerous?
The answer? In essence, no, kundalini is not, in and of itself, dangerous.
“The uncoiling process or manifestation process is known as Kundalini. What is dangerous about it? What is going to be uncoiled is already in you.” - Yogi Bhajan
But it is a potent and unpredictable force of energy. And although rare, it can go sideways (listen to the recording below).
Less rare, it can be a difficult process.
I definitely do not recommend participating in any practices which try to "force" the kundalini to wake.
The awakening of kundalini energy can totally destabilize your life. (Or not.) It can be intense, sometimes frightening. (Or not.) You could experience spontaneous kriyas. (Or not.) We could do this forever...
There are no rules, you see. There are no guarantees. And so it is with all of spiritual awakening. You will find little ground here.
(Ps, if anyone tells you they know exactly how the kundalini awakening process will go for you they are full of shit.)
What about Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is certainly not dangerous. In fact, Kundalini Yoga is a yogic technology designed to clear blockages and strengthen the nervous system so that the experience of the rising kundalini energy is SAFE and manageable.
The kundalini energy is mega-wattage. When it rises it releases energy at far higher levels than we are normally used to. It is necessary that we have the nervous system capacity to handle this influx of energy. Kundalini Yoga gives you that strength.
And again, just because you practice Kundalini Yoga does not mean you will have a kundalini awakening. In fact, most people who practice do not.
I believe Kundalini Yoga is one of the best things you can do to support a kundalini awakening process.
Above all TRUST YOURSELF.
Don't be scared of kundalini. Don't be scared of trying Kundalini Yoga.
But if you try the practice and it doesn't feel right for you, then don't do it! Pretty simple really.
In the below conversation we dive a little deeper into the question and I share some from my own experience of kundalini awakening and Kundalini Yoga.
Find an excellent lecture from Yogi Bhajan on this topic HERE
I also recommend the following books:
If concerned, frightened or in crisis: