Are you seeking nirvana? Millions of people go on spiritual quests each year – to India, meditation retreats, and yoga studios – in search of nirvana. If you are looking for nirvana in far off or esoteric places, you are likely still searching. Nirvana, also known as Kundalini awakening, is a practice you can do at home. Kundalini is not a metaphorical place but a proven practice of mantras, breathing and yoga used to balance body and mind. Finding Balance and Bliss is a 10-minute meditation for some and a 10-day retreat for others. Once you learn Kundalini, you can practice in a few minutes a day.
The Kundalini Awakening
Until the 1970s, Kundalini was a private practice passed down by masters to their students. Yogi Bhajan made this ancient Hindu spiritual practice public when he began to teach it in the West. Today, a Kundalini class can be found in most cities in North America. Many people sample a slice of Kundalini rather than going through the formal process of a Kundalini awakening. You have likely already been exposed to Kundalini practices in a yoga, meditation or mantra class.
A Kundalini awakening is a restorative process and a source of mind-body balance you can draw on throughout your life. It is among the most powerful meditations that heal. KundaIini seeks to balance the opposing forces inherent in all life: the Shiva and Shakti. Kundalini energy lies dormant at the base of the spine as a serpent coiled three and a half times. Considered to be the female Shakti energy of creation by Hindus, it is activated by the awakening of the chakras.
The seven chakras run from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Activating the chakras involves yoga poses, breathing and mantras.
That Kundalini awakening is based on the seven chakras. The seven chakras are the tailbone, pelvis area, naval area, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow — and the top of the head. Shakti represents is the lower chakras. Shiva represent is the higher chakras. Each chakra vibrates at a different frequency.
The root chakra (red) is at the base of the spine. This is the base of Kundalini – the serpent’s spiral tail. It is associated with the earth and being grounded. When it is balanced, we feel physically safe in the physical realm and our basic needs are met.
The sacral chakra (orange) lies between the pubis and navel. When it is in balance, we are connected with others, self-awareness, and sexuality.
The solar plexus chakra (yellow) rests above the navel. It is associated with fire and connecting with our internal energy source, self-identity and self-confidence.
The heart chakra (green) is seated in the heart. Once the heart is opened, we are non-judgmental, accepting and experience the unity of life.
The throat chakra (blue) is a communication center where we both receive and transmit truth. When balanced, our consciousness is clear and we are at peace.
The third eye (purple) sits between the eyebrows and the forehead. Through our third eye, we are connected to inner and universal knowledge.
The crown chakra (white) is at the top of the head. It is a pathway to universal consciousness and understanding.
Kundalini awakening starts at the base, root chakra. The focus then moves up the seven chakras. A Kundalini is often portrayed as a sleeping serpent with a coil at its base. A mantra (below) is used to activate the heat that moves the energy up the nadis, or energy channels. As the energy rises and purifies the channels, the mind opens up. First, through breathing, mantras and yoga poses, the lower chakras begin to open up. Next, the energy moves from the lower chakras to the naval chakra, which opens the passage to the heart chakra. From the heart chakra, the energy moves to the throat chakra. The mind is then opened as the energy moves to the forehead and through to the top of the head.
It is easy to let your mind wander during yoga practice and replay events of the day. This is counter-productive. If your mind and breath are not synchronized with your body, yoga becomes a physical workout rather than a mind-body workout. If you use yoga as a physical workout, it is a good time to explore, what is yoga as meditation? Start by practicing the basic mantras such as OM before moving into the Kundalini mantras.
Mantras are one of the most powerful ways of awakening the serpent. Sounds resonate at a different frequency with each chakra. Starting with the base chakra, sounds create the heat that drives the energy through the chakras.
The chant is the catalyst used to alter your states of consciousness. Sounds are used to raise energy and mediate the awareness between mind and body. As the sounds become deeper, they will begin to resonate with the sounds of your own body. Listen intently for your own body sounds. The focus is on centering by listening to the sounds to balance mind and body.
Pranayama is the magic elixir of Kundalini awakening – the mantras and breathing. Energy rises up through the chakras through the Nadis, or energy channels. These channels must be purified to allow the energy to flow. Pranayama, mantras using special sounds and letters, is a core technique for purifying the Nadis.
Prana, or breath, is the flow through the Ida and Pingala corresponding with the left and right nostrils, respectively. The ultimate goal is to allow prana to flow through sushumna. The two purification processes of the maxis are called samanu and nirmanu. Nirmanu refers to physical cleansing. Samanu is the use of mantras and breathing to purify the nadis.
Samanu Purification Process
- Sit in padamasana, also called Lotus pose. Repeat ‘Yam’ – It represents the air element and is the color of smoke. Inhale through the left nostril while repeating Yam 16 times. Hold the breath while repeating Yam 64 times. Then, exhale through the right nostril slowly repeating Yam 32 times.
- Meditating on the navel, repeat the breathing sequence on the opposite side – inhale right nostril, say Yam 16 times; retain breath repeating Yam 64 times; exhale left nostril repeating Yam 32 times.
- Meditate on the tip of the nose. Inhale left nostril repeating ‘Tham’ 16 times. Retain breath repeating Tham 64 times. Imagine all the nadis opening and prana running through them. Exhale slowly through the left nostril repeating ‘Lam’ 32 times.
Kundalini pranayama is the most commonly used pranayama. You may have done it in a yoga or meditation class. Meditate on the root chakra. Block the right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through the left nostril while saying ‘Aum’ three times. Close the left nostril and retain the breath for 12 counts. Feel the energy move down the spine to the root chakra, awakening the Kundalini serpent. Inhale through the right nostril for six Aums.
Practice different Pranayama breathing techniques and discover the ones that work for you.
Kundalini awakening is a powerful restoration and balancing practice. It is even used to treat psychiatric disorders, including symptoms of autism. In the treatment of mental disorders, it should be used in consultation with a doctor.
If you are not already in a meditation practice, consider an introductory course to meditation such as Meditation for Self-Healing for basic lessons in breathing, relaxation techniques, postures and the chakras. Meditation: Straightforward and Unencumbered will fit into your busy life. Learn how to meditate to the sounds in your life such as waterfalls and crickets, as well as the noise. Numerous guided and time meditations will get your started on your mindfulness journey.