Traditionall Understanding | Contemporary Understanding | Kundalini Work





                                    This mechanism, known as kundalini, is the real cause of all

                        genuine spiritual and psychic phenomena, the biological basis of evolution and

                        development of personality, the secret origin of all esoteric and occult doctrines,

                        the master key to the unsolved mystery of creation, the inexhaustible source of

                        philosophy, art, and science, and the fountainhead of all religious faiths, past,

                        present, and future.

   Gopi Krishna





Kundalini energy is the supreme internal energy of human life with a core somatic orientation around the spine. A transmutation process brings kundalini as physical energy from the base of the spine upwards into the brain where the energy is changed (transmuted) into psychic and spiritual energy. When this happens in full transmutation, a person is transported into blissful expanded consciousness. There are numerous expressions of kundalini energy on lower levels and several systematic ways to work with kundalini energy. The word “kundalini” is the short way of referring to kundalini energy and the kundalini process.


Kundalini work refers to the effort, promotion and conciliation necessary to develop kundalini energy in a balanced and productive manner.


Kundalini yoga is just one system of working with kundalini energy and should not be confused with kundalini energy itself or other ways of working with the energy. In a very real sense all yogas work with kundalini at their cores.


It is helpful to have an understanding of traditional knowledge about kundalini and how this differs from current understanding of kundalini.


Traditional Understanding of Kundalini


 Briefly summarized:

Ancient yoga and tantra teachings of India are the source of the kundalini traditions. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning “coiled” and the image usually invoked is that of a snake coiled three and one half times around the base of the spine. In the dormant state kundalini remains completely inactive, but if it is awakened the energy—considered to be principally feminine and associated with the goddess Shakti—rises in a spiraling manner through “subtle body” channels associated with the spine. If the rise is complete kundalini unites all seven chakras and the holy man will go into samadhi or an extended state of divine realization and bliss.


According to tradition everyone has the kundalini trait but few people ever gain even the smallest rise and only a few rare individuals ever achieve Samadhi. The traditions are dominated by men, but women's kundalini activity is also known. While spontaneous kundalini awakenings are not unheard of in the traditional view, the traditional teachings say that long years of meditation and assiduous inner work under the guidance of a guru are necessary to achieve a kundalini awakening.


There are a myriad of physical manifestations of kundalini, which when listed often appear to be contradictory, such as chills on one hand and hot flashes on the other. Obviously chills or hot flashes do not necessarily indicate kundalini. It takes a whole view of an individual’s symptoms to determine kundalini activity. Generally there is a level of psychic manifestation that accompanies the physical symptoms which makes for kundalini activation. Gurus with strong kundalini sometimes perform shaktipat on their followers by placing a hand on the followers’ forehead or other part of the body. Then followers typically feel the gesture of grace physically, energetically and psychically.



Contemporary Understanding of Kundalini


Perhaps the most significant change in perspective in modern thinking about kundalini over traditional thinking is the recognition that everyone has some kundalini activation everyday. This is really a revolutionary idea. While rare, sudden, full blown activations are still the object of most contemporary studies, there is a growing interest in smaller activations. All humans exhibit at least a small modicum of kundalini activation with a potential full range continuum of kundalini activation to the highest levels. And kundalini is operating all of the time. The pertinent question that a reader can ask right now is, "What is my level of kundalini activation as I read this?" This type of question can be asked at any time in any situation. Probably very few know enough to answer reliably, but nevertheless, the question focuses on the importance of kundalini in a way that the world has heretofore never considered. Omega Arts (see below) makes careful use of these questions and the understanding of kundalini in daily life in its overall system.


Experiencing kundalini and understanding kundalini are quite different. Experiencing kundalini is ubiquitous, yet understanding kundalini is virtually nonexistent in today’s modern world. All experiences of kundalini are invariably conceived and identified with symbolic and cultural trappings, which are outer accouterments. The basic movement of kundalini—its “default position”—is upward and outward from the base of the spine. This centrifugal movement up the spine and through the chakras has the effect of throwing a person’s attention to external objects. Here is the root of our daily consciousness and also our enduring consciousness: attention is directed toward the external world, starting with our lowest bases and continuing into the highest levels of consciousness and cultural synthesis.


Kundalini can also move up centripetally or inwardly, which ultimately leads to alchemical transmutation of the energy in the brain. This process is the unrecognized hallmark of the evolutionary development of humans’ upright, bipedal posture. Usually it takes considerable effort to accomplish and maintain a complete realization of this centripetal movement, but many spiritual paths work at this whether or not kundalini is understood as the basis of any extremely high level accomplishment of spiritual goals and syntheses. Again, the spiritual goals and syntheses are invariably conceived and identified with outwardly directed symbolic and cultural trappings. But the centripetal movement of kundalini can move to high levels without going to the highest levels. The creative work of artists, scientists and others are examples of this. For that matter, nearly everyone has experienced creative ideas and so a modicum of centripetal kundalini movement is ubiquitous as well. Actually the pattern is fairly clear: at the most basic level kundalini is virtually all centrifugal (outer directed) movement with eating food and sex activity being good examples, but on a daily basis some centripetal (inner directed) movement does occur. While there is some ongoing centripetal kundalini movement, the energy invariably moves at some level towards a centrifugal  or outer development and the relevant external objects or symbols receive attention. There are also several types of downward kundalini flows, but this is too complex the explain here.


Individuals, and the world for that matter, need to better understand kundalini. It is surely difficult for someone, who has no previous sensitivity or recognized understanding of kundalini and who has never experienced a full ecstatic trance, to gain understanding of how kundalini is active in his or her daily life. Even mystics who have experienced full blown ecstatic alchemical kundalini experiences typically identify the experiences in terms of cultural trappings, the experience of “God’s grandeur” for example. Yet it probably falls to the mystics to lead the way to better kundalini understanding. One way to start is to recognize the need to transcend culture in attaining enlightenment. 


The term, “kundalini,” has very little recognition in America and the West—even among yoga practitioners. There certainly is room for much greater awareness and education about kundalini. In spite the of general lack of recognition and understanding there are some new developments coming out of the 20th century which both add to and challenge the traditional view of kundalini. Here are three briefly summarized:


  • Gopi Krishna 

Gopi Krishna (1903-1984) was an Indian householder who after years of regular meditation had a sudden, powerful kundalini awakening. His symptoms were quite difficult, painful and persistent. He could not find anyone to help him since very few “master” yogis in India actually know anything about kundalini. After many months he finally found help and he went on to greatly champion kundalini by writing and lecturing. His mission became that of telling the world that kundalini’s higher consciousness is the evolutionary birthright of humanity. Gopi Krishna was one of the first to call for scientific investigations of kundalini.

  • Physio-Kundalini Model or Syndrome

Itzhak Bentov and Lee Sannella, MD are two of a number of western pioneers in the study of kundalini. They have made some very modest gains in placing kundalini studies on a scientific basis. Rather than focus on spiritual definitions and relationships the scientific approach has (1) concentrated on kundalini’s physiological symptoms to find an explanation for the phenomenon and (2) looked at cross cultural studies which indicate that kundalini is a worldwide phenomenon. Others, such as Stanislav Grof, have studied kundalini from psychological perspectives.


  • Omega Arts

Created by David McCain, Omega Arts is a comprehensive approach to kundalini based on years of personal mystical experiences. Mediation using kundalini alchemy—transmutation of physical, sexual energy into psychic, spiritual energy—is the primary driver of Omega Arts. Omega energy is the term for fully transmuted kundalini energy and the whole process requires a very precise physical and psychic alignment. Traditional yoga and Buddhist mudras (hand or finger gestures) are static and are sometimes held for a long period. However, the moving Omega mudras gently move the kundalini in spirals and create an expanded, blissful consciousness while balancing the Omega energy with precise alignment. Omega Arts also works with polarities and a complex procedure of symbolization. Aside from working with the highest levels of transcendent consciousness, Omega Arts recognizes that everyone has at least a very small modicum of kundalini activation everyday. Working in little increments creative and expansive kundalini developments can integrate into a person's life.



Some Considerations for Kundalini Work


The following ideas and suggestions about kundalini come from Omega Arts and are meant to be a practical guide. However, the words below are much too brief since each point deserves a lengthy discussion.

  • v  Kundalini Is the Drive to Wholeness
  • v  Most Kundalini Work Is a Matter of Removing Blocks
  • v  Kundalini Is Found Only in the Moment
  • v  Consciousness Is Largely a Kundalini Expression
  • v  All Creative and Religious Experiences Are Based in Kundalini
  • v  Kundalini Everyday!
  • v  Kundalini Is Directed by Movement and Thought
  • v  Alexander Technique Works Directly by Kundalini
  • v  Alexander Technique and Tai Chi Are Excellent Ways in Centering and Grounding Kundalini
  • v  Kundalini Is Analogous to Electrical Wiring
  • v  The Dangers of Kundalini Are Usually Overstated
  • v  Kundalini Is the Result of Human Evolution
  • v  It Is Most Useful to Know How to Stop or Mitigate Kundalini

Kundalini Work Articles