Signs of a Kundalini Awakening
Lately, there has been a buzz around the word kundalini and what it means to have a “kundalini awakening.” Is it dangerous? How do I know if what I’m experiencing is kundalini, or something else entirely? What do I do if my kundalini energy is waking up?
Lots of “symptoms” get blamed on kundalini – from muscle spasms to seeing colors vividly to not being able to sleep. Likely, it’s not the kundalini energy itself that is causing problematic symptoms, but the physical, energetic, and mental blockages that are not allowing that energy to flow. Kundalini energy is divine feminine energy that awakens the awareness that exists in all of us. When we experience kundalini “symptoms,” that energy is knocking on the door to get our attention and awareness so that we can make positive changes. When that happens, we can become who we are meant to be and wake up to our destiny.
The soul has taken a body and come here for a reason, and if you are not living out that purpose, kundalini can show up as disruptive so you can change course. It’s a (sometimes not so gentle) reminder so that we don’t sleepwalk through life.
Eight Signs of a Kundalini Awakening
Below are eight signs of a kundalini awakening.
1. Things Feel as Though They are Falling Apart
Part of the kundalini awakening process can look similar to a mid-life crisis, or a Saturn return in your astrological chart, where everything that you had committed to previously begins to dissolve or be taken away.
Old habits and addictions, relationships, family connections, diet, work and career – everything comes up for review. If it’s not in alignment, it will most likely be removed from your life.
We can resist this process out of fear, but usually, that only makes the changes more painful. This is the beginning of a journey that will take courage, discipline, and support to make it through.
2. Physical, Emotional, and Energetic Symptoms
Some people will experience physical and energetic symptoms at this point. Some can be emotional rather than physical (anxiety, depression, despair), but many people speak of very obvious signs (shaking, visual disturbance, inability to relax, a major rush of energy, a near-death experience).
The nervous system is unable to handle the amount of energy that is wanting to move, and this can show up in a myriad of ways.
For some people, the experience is slow and steady, for others it is intense and immediate. The important thing is not to obsess over the symptoms but find ways (discussed below) to allow the energy to move by healing the body and opening up the channels of energy. Don’t focus on the particular symptoms, but find ways to heal the body and release the blocks. Western medicine will often resort to prescription medications that do nothing to address the root cause of the blockages.
3. Courage, Willingness and Desperation to Try New Things
The intensity of these experiences will often be enough to drive people to try new things.
People seek changes in diet, seeking out healers, leave relationships, change jobs — all done in an attempt to respond to what is happening on the inside.
When what we know isn’t working, we tend to become more open to doing our work.
4. Miracles and Synchronicities Appear and You Receive Support From Unexpected Places
Once we are desperate enough to be willing to try new things, we become available to receive support and miracles from unexpected sources. We meet the right people, attend the right workshop, stumble across the right book, find the right yoga studio…whatever we need shows up at the right time in the right way.
5. Increased Sensitivity to External Things (Food, Media, People and Places)
Once we start to make these changes, we can expect to become more sensitive to things that we used to be able to tolerate. To help with these sensitivities, learn to cook wholesome, vegetarian food, and become more aware of the media you might be consuming. During this phase, many of us find that we have to change our “playmates and playthings” as our system adjusts and we learn to stabilize a new homeostasis. Perhaps we realize we need to move out of the roommate situation and find our own apartment so that we have space to take care of ourselves. We might also find it necessary to avoid watching violent TV shows or be around large crowds of people. The nervous system is undergoing changes to be able to handle more energy, and this leads to increased sensitivity. This isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of increased awareness and potential.
6. Awareness of Internal Energies, Intuition, and Inner Truth
Not only are we more aware of what’s happening around us, but we become more sensitive and attuned to the thoughts, feelings, and energies within us. We know when our old habits are starting to sound enticing, or when our heart is beginning to shut down. We pay more attention to our intuition and begin to develop a relationship with our soul, our Inner Teacher. What other people say or think about us becomes less important to us, because our inner compass is more reliable and clear and perhaps we become aware of areas of the body that need some attention, especially in the lower chakras. If we feel ungrounded, we tune in to what we need to feel more stable and connected to our body and the Earth. If we feel a lot of shame, and that our creativity is blocked, maybe we need to work on past sexual trauma or wounding. If we feel blocked in moving forward with our life, maybe we need to work on our core, our navel area, to feel more connected to our personal power.
We become our own healers by becoming aware of what we need in the moment, and learning the skills to take care of ourselves.
For many people, this includes a daily yoga and/or meditation practice. We need time on a daily basis to work with our own energy, quiet the mind, and give ourselves an opportunity to look beyond ego and personality, to our deeper selves. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition, this time is called Sadhana, meaning a daily personal practice or discipline. Knowing the tools that lead to inner transformation is a first step, but in order to actually heal and evolve, we need to use them regularly.
7. Increased Compassion, Desire to Be of Service, and Recognition of Oneness
When we become more aware of ourselves, we become more aware of the world around us. Our energy has healed through the lower chakras, and now it can move into our Heart Center. Our compassion for our self leads to compassion for others. We wake up to the suffering of others, and because our heart has been opened, we feel it more intensely. This naturally leads to a desire to help, to give to others the help we’ve received along the way. The age-old truth of the interconnectedness of all beings becomes an inner knowing, instead of just a thought.
Knowledge has become wisdom through our experience, and we desire to use our wisdom and compassion in the service to others.
Once we feel more settled into our own body, we feel a closer connection to Mother Earth, that which supports our bodies and lives in every way. We can no longer turn away when we see injustice or environmental degradation. The task becomes, how do we continue to practice self-care, while we also act to protect and preserve what is sacred to us.
8. Sense of Purpose and Destiny
The final indication of the kundalini awakening, is a growing sense of purpose. The master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan, called it destiny. When we have worked on ourselves to heal our past, when we know the tools to clear the energy in our body on a regular basis, and when we have made a connection to our heart and our Soul, we are ready to “deliver our destiny.”
We can express who we are, and feel our connection to the Divine more and more. We can begin to do what we came here to do.
Maybe that means we become a yoga teacher, a writer, or an artist. Perhaps we run a non-profit organization, become a great parent, or we volunteer in our community. Yogi Bhajan said, “By giving from the heart, we reconnect to that source, elevating our soul and fulfilling our destiny.” When we are living out our destiny, we feel a sense of purpose and energy, a willingness to do whatever it takes to be of service and show up with our gifts. The Universe tends to support us in doing this, giving us opportunities to share what we have learned and experienced. The point of a kundalini awakening isn’t to be able to see people’s aura colors or have esoteric powers, but to show up and be a steward to our world. To become who we were meant to be. To live in integrity with our own spirit.
What To Do If You Are Experiencing a Kundalini Awakening
Try out a Kundalini Yoga class. This ancient modality was designed to clear out the energetic blocks and stimulate your own healing potential. If you are experiencing anxiety and uncomfortable symptoms, stay in the body, not in your head. Pay attention to what bothers your nervous system and avoid those things, especially before bed or upon waking.
Increase self-care. Beware the mind’s tendency to overthink or get obsessive. Take it easy. Decrease stress. Find ways to serve others. Trust the process. Find others who are like-minded, either in person or through a virtual community. Develop your daily practice of yoga and meditation. Eat well and let go of old habits and addictions. Know that you are not alone and that more and more people are being called to leave their old lives behind them, and step forward into the life they are meant to live.
What Is Kundalini Yoga?
There aren’t many things that retain their full potency when they are blended together. Ok, maybe Pert shampoo and conditioner. Maybe Simon and Garfunkel. Maybe cronuts, but that’s about it. In yoga, Kundalini is the exception.
Kundalini yoga is a blend of Bhakti yoga (the yogic practice of devotion and chanting), Raja yoga (the practice of mediation/mental and physical control) and Shakti yoga, (for the expression of power and energy).
A well-taught Kundalini yoga class leaves you feeling like you’ve gone to therapy, had an awesome workout in the gym, made it to your yoga mat and enjoyed a fun singing session with friends. The purpose of Kundalini yoga is to provide a modality by which people can achieve their maximum creative potential, free themselves from Karma (the lasting effects of past actions) and realize their life purpose. Experiencing a Kundalini awakening is like being given the secret code to always winning a blue ribbon, along with a get-out-of-jail-free card, at which point you gleefully fire your life coach because now you know more than he does.
Is That a Snake in Your Spine or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
To understand how Kundalini works you first have to understand that you have a snake in your spine. The Sanskrit word kundal means “circular,” and it can be a noun for a coiled snake. The feminine kundalī means a ring, bracelet, or coil of rope. This concept was adopted as kundalinī into Hatha yoga in the 15th century and, by the 16th century, was used in the Yoga Upanishads.
So the term Kundalini means “a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine,” which is usually conceptualized as a coiled-up serpent.
The practice of Kundalini yoga is supposed to arouse the sleeping Kundalini Shakti from its coiled base through the six chakras that reside along the spine, and through the seventh chakra, or crown. Chakras are wheels, or hubs of energy, along which energy or prana, travels like a superhighway to distribute energy throughout the body.
Like a snake being charmed out of a basket by a bansuri, Kundalini weaves and coils, waking up energy and clearing stagnancy along the way. Without the fangs.
These days Kundalini yoga is a synthesis of many traditions, and the kriyas and meditations in Kundalini Yoga are designed to raise complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system, and mind to handle the energy of Kundalini rising. Many of the physical postures are designed to activate the navel, spine, and focal points of pressurization on meridians (energy points). Through breath work (pranayama) and the application of yogic locks of energy (bandhas), the release, direction, and control of the flow of Kundalini energy is achieved.
The technique of alternate nostril breathing (left nostril, right nostril) which is described as a simple breathing technique, is one of these often-utilized techniques. When you’re dealing with a stuffed up nose, there’s nothing simple about breathing out of one nostril. Especially the one plugged up. I’ve found the simplicity comes through first attempting, then practicing. This type of breathwork is taught as a way to cleanse the nadis, or subtle channels and pathways, to help awaken Kundalini energy. Probably the last thing you want to do when you’re congested, but can be quite helpful!