I am concerned about the great surge in people teaching Kundalini yoga and the numbers of students that they are attracting. Kundalini yoga is little understood by the majority of western minds, for if they truly understood what it really is and the immense power of what it can do, they wouldn’t be putting themselves out there teaching it. With that said, there are of course some exceptions - those who truly do know what they are doing. But the practice of Kundalini yoga has become trendy of late with many teaching this practice who don’t understand what they are doing and the potential dangers involved. This is my concern.
Kundalini yoga is an age old practice using specific yoga poses to awaken the Kundalini. The Kundalini is a cosmic force that resides at the base of everybody’s spinal column. As it awakens within an individual, awareness is heightened, wisdom deepens and ultimately an awakened or enlightened state is reached. This is called Cosmic Consciousness.
In our modern age, it seems there is rush to awaken what would awaken naturally.
If we look back through human evolution, we find in the beginning humans had a Simple Consciousness (caveman). This over time evolved to Self Consciousness (present day man/woman). Now as a race, we stand on the verge of Cosmic Consciousness.
The Simple Conscious man is aware only of his basic survival needs, protection, pro-creation. He is only aware of his instinctual needs. This is a group consciousness.
The Self Conscious man has become conscious of his self and therefore aware of his emotional and psychological needs. This is an individual consciousness.
Cosmic Consciousness is an awareness of connection to the whole, a connection to the entire Universe. It is a knowing that all is one.
The process of evolving from Simple Consciousness to Self Consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness happens naturally as humans on a global scale awaken. The practice of awakening the Kundalini is a process to assist this.
Now, many are using it in an attempt to speed this process up. And here-in lies my caution: YOU CANNOT SPEED THIS PROCESS UP. You can nurture it and gently assist it to develop (this is where techniques to develop the Kundalini taught by a truly knowledgable teacher can be of assistance). But you cannot speed it up.
I am warning others about the dangers of this and share from experience because I tried to do just that as a young man - speed up the process with almost disastrous consequences.
Here is a snapshot of my introduction to Kundalini. I hope you can learn from my story.
In my early ‘20s, I lived in an Ashram (a place in which people studied meditation and yoga).
One day, there appeared at the door a young man who claimed to be a teacher of Kundalini yoga. While I knew what Kundalini was, I had no idea of the potential damage awakening it could result in. I was eager to do anything I could to assist in my spiritual awakening (as I am sure many seekers are today).
During the specific exercises given by this “teacher”, I was suddenly “hit” by what I could only describe as a lightning bolt to the base of my spine. This resulted in me being thrown across the room a distance of about 12 metres (hard to believe but true). I slammed into the wall and lay on the floor a crumpled heap, with a raging burning pain in the spine.
I was terrified.
I stared at the “teacher” who looked at me with fear in his eyes. He turned around, without saying a single word, grabbed his gear and ran out of the room, jumped into his car and took off. I never saw him again!
Meanwhile, I was left in excruciating pain and terror. WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME???
The pain was a burning deep inside my spine. It felt as if there were balls of fire moving in circular motions in each of the chakras (the seven energy centres located along the spinal column). But the biggest problem I had was what was happening to my mind - I felt like I was going mad. And I felt incredibly alone.
All of this was to continue for about two years. I knew not to attend a doctor - I would be considered a mental case (and I was). Medically, I would have ended up drugged to the eye balls in the nut house.
I didn’t tell my friends, I knew they wouldn’t understand and just worry about me.
I knew I had awakened the Kundalini and I knew my body hadn’t coped. It hadn’t been ready for it. I also knew you couldn’t 'turn it off'. I had to find my way through it.
I contacted spiritual teachers far and wide. Not one of them was of any use to me. Most said they knew what was happening to me and could help me… I knew from their initial response that they had no idea whatsoever!
All this made me feel even more isolated and as time went on, more terrified.
I found that trying to meditate made it worse and that the only thing that helped was when I talked to someone who was really earthed, like the fat lady who sold potatoes at the market. I would ask her about growing potatoes. I am sure she thought I was nuts, because every Saturday I would be there and she couldn’t get rid of me (I ended up helping her with her stall).
Eventually after many months (and lots of prayers), while rummaging through a large box of used books, I came across a blue hard covered book (which I can still see in my minds eye) with the word Kundalini written across its cover. I eagerly opened it and began to read.
This book was the story of a yogi in India who had had exactly the same experience as I had. I immediately felt 50% better - I knew I wasn’t going mad. This had happened to someone else and he had survived, he had found his way through it.
He also had not found anyone who was able to help him and that was why he had written the book.
By doing the exercises he had offered in the book, I began to finally find some relief but the help mainly stemmed from knowing I wasn’t alone. It was a huge life lesson of the importance of someone understanding what I was going through, a lesson which stays with me today and is a big part of the reason why I work as a therapist helping others.
We all need someone who gets us, and the only ones who do are the ones who have been through similar situations which we find ourselves in. But it still took many months after finding the book for the balance in both my body and mind to return to any sense of normality.
Without realising, I had ended up with a higher voltage travelling through my body than was safe. It was way beyond what my body could cope with. It distressed my body and threw my mind into chaos.
I believe in past times, a number of people who have gone mad and been locked away have had such experiences. One thing is for sure, medically trained people would have no idea about how to deal with such an individual.
So perhaps now you can see why I have caution about awakening Kundalini. To all those of you reading this who have an interest in awakening their Kundalini (the giant within), BE CAREFUL. Find someone who truly knows what they are talking about or simply leave it alone and pursue a different form of yoga or spiritual path.
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