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Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini Yoga – Techniques and Pitfalls

By Dipankar Khannat

Mind-Body Fitness at Gaiam

Breath, sound and meditation are the main resources of kundalini yoga. For example, a school of Kundalini yoga is probably best recognised for its frequent use of ‘Breath of Fire’ and the mantra ‘Sat Nam’. Breath of Fire is a breathing exercise where you inhale and exhale rapidly through the nose without pausing, and pump the navel point while using the abdomen as a bellows. Sat Nam means ‘truth is my identity’ and, as a chant, is used to stop mind chatter by creating a rhythm that produces higher consciousness.

Breath + Sound + Meditation = Kundalini Yoga


The postures, or asana , of kundalini are mostly taken from hatha yoga. The difference is that Hatha yoga postures are typically held on in same position for some time, while kundalini postures primarily use continuous movement — breathing, chanting and flexing the spine – to allow the kundalini, the life force, to circulate freely in the body thus energising the subtle and invisible charkas in the astral body.

Some techniques

Take your RIGHT hand and make a fist with your thumb out straight. Put that thumb in your upper heart/heart chakra area. Now look at your fingers they are going the way a healthy chakra would go. This applies to all the chakras down the front of your body, 3rd eye / throat / heart / solar / sacral and the root / base, however for your root the thumb should be pointing up vertically into your body.

Pitfalls Of Kundalini Yoga

We are treading sacred waters here. To plunge in recklessly is to risk self-annihilation. When Kundalini awakening happens to people who are not on a spiritual path, the experience can leave them fragile and fragmented. As the Kundalini process involves a redefinition and reintegration of self, it adds extra pressure when people wish to suppress the transformation and insist to lead their lives normally.

Of greatest benefit is a supportive framework, which can allow people to make sense of the intricate connection between spirit and the movement of physical energy in the body, rather than fearing they are going insane. It is important to understand that Kundalini awakening is a process that taps into the blueprint for higher consciousness, which is latent within every human. While the enormous changes associated with a spiritual awakening may demand psychological and social adjustments, they are not in themselves necessarily indicative of illness. Communication and connection with others who can provide support and a meaningful context for understanding the process reduces the isolation and overwhelm and can help to minimise the disturbance. Someone who has the personal qualities of creative adaptation to change and a flexible mental framework is more likely to weather the changes with grace and style than those who are rigid in their beliefs and world view.

Essential precautions When practising this system of yoga, please be careful about these points:

There may be heat developing in the body. You may wish to go slow on the exercises a little for some days.

There may be tingling sensations in the spinal column, palms of the hands or soles of the feet. This is due to energy rising and freely circulating leading to opening of sleeping charkas. You should not bother too much as it will gradually subside.

Negative thoughts and desire to express violent emotions. This is part of the energy rising and cleansing process. Control and practise the yamas and niyamas strictly.

The following are common manifestations of the risen Kundalini:

Muscle twitches, cramps or spasms.
Energy rushes or immense electricity circulating the body.
Itching, vibrating, prickling, tingling, stinging or crawling sensations.
Intense heat or cold. Involuntary bodily movements (occur more often during meditation, rest or sleep):
Jerking, tremors, shaking; feeling an inner force pushing one into postures or moving one’s body in unusual ways. (May be misdiagnosed as epilepsy, restless legs syndrome (RLS), or PLMD.)
Alterations in eating and sleeping patterns.
Episodes of extreme hyperactivity or, conversely, overwhelming fatigue. Intensified or diminished sexual desires.
Headaches, pressures within the skull. Racing heartbeat, pain in the chest.
Digestive system problems. Numbness or pain in the limbs (particularly the left foot and leg).
Pains and blockages anywhere; often in the back and neck.
Emotional outbursts; rapid mood shifts; seemingly unprovoked or excessive episodes of grief, fear, rage, depression.
Spontaneous vocalisations (including laughing and weeping) are as unintentional and uncontrollable as hiccups.
Hearing an inner sound or sounds, classically described as a flute, drum, waterfall, birds singing, bees buzzing but which may also sound like roaring, whooshing, or thunderous noises or like ringing in the ears.
Mental confusion; difficulty in concentrating.
Altered states of consciousness: heightened awareness; spontaneous trance states; mystical experiences (if the individual’s prior belief system is too threatened by these, they can lead to bouts of psychosis or self-grandiosity).
Heat, strange activity, and/or blissful sensations in the head, particularly in the crown area.
Ecstasy, bliss and intervals of tremendous joy, love, peace and compassion.

Psychic experiences:

extrasensory perception; out-of-body experiences; past life memories; astral travel; direct awareness of auras and chakras; contact with spirit guides through inner voices, dreams or visions; healing powers.
Increased creativity: New interests in self-expression and spiritual communication through music, art, poetry, etc.
Intensified understanding and sensitivity: insight into one’s own essence; deeper understanding of spiritual truths; exquisite awareness of one’s environment (including ‘vibes’ from others).
Enlightenment experiences direct Knowing of a more expansive reality; transcendent awareness.

About author:
Dipankar Khanna
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