Kundalinî Yoga concentrates on psychic centers or chakras in the body in order to generate a spiritual power, which is known as kundalini energy.
Kundalini is the potential form of prana or life force, lying dormant in our bodies. It is conceptualized as a coiled up serpent (literally, 'kundalini' in Sanskrit is 'coiled up') lying at the base of our spine, which can spring awake when activated by spiritual disciplines.
The practice comprises of awakening and then forcing this energy, flowing through nadis or channels, up the psychic channel of the sushumna, which runs from the base of the spine to the brain. The three main channels running alongside the spinal cord are ida, pingala and the sushumna. When this kundalini energy, pictured as the serpent residing in the first chakra at the root of the spine (muladhar chakra), is raised up through the rest of the chakras until it reaches the seventh and the highest chakra (sahasrara) located at the crown of the head - self-realization occurs. This induces the blissful state of samadhi. The school of Sahaja Yoga is very similar to the Kundalini school.
The Importance Of Kundalini Yoga
In Kundalini Yoga the creating and sustaining Sakti of the whole body is actually and truly united with Lord Siva. The Yogi goads Her to introduce him to Her Lord. The rousing of Kundalini Sakti and Her Union with Lord Siva effects the state of Samadhi (Ecstatic union) and spiritual Anubhava (experience). It is She who gives Knowledge or Jnana, for She is Herself That. Kundalini Herself, when awakened by the Yogins, achieves for them the Jnana (illumination).
Kundalini can be awakened by various means and these different methods are called by different names, viz., Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, etc. The practitioner of this Kundalini Yoga claims, that it is higher than any other process and that Samadhi attained thereby is more perfect. The reason that they allege, is this: - In Dhyana Yoga, ecstasy takes place through detachment from the world and mental concentration leading the variety of mental operation (Vritti) of the uprising of pure consciousness unhindered by the limitations of the mind.
The degree to which this unveiling of consciousness is effected, depends upon the meditative power, Dhyana Sakti, of the Sadhaka and the extent of detachment from the world. On the other hand, Kundalini is all Sakti and is therefore Jnana Sakti Herself�bestows Jnana and Mukti, when awakened by the Yogins. Secondly, in Kundalini Yoga there is not merely a Samadhi through meditation, but the central power of the Jiva, carries with it the forms of both body and mind.
The union in that sense is claimed to be more complete than that enacted through methods only. Though in both cases the body-consciousness is lost, in Kundalini Yoga not only the mind but the body also, in so far as it is represented by its central power, is actually united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra. This union (Samadhi) produces Bhukti (enjoyment) which a Dhyana Yogi does not possess.
A Kundalini Yogi has both Bhukti (enjoyment) and Mukti (liberation) in the fullest and literal sense. Hence this Yoga is claimed to be the foremost of all Yogas. When the sleeping Kundalini is awakened by Yogic Kriyas, it forces a passage upwards through the different Chakras (Shat-Chakra Bheda). It excites or stimulates them into intense activity. During its ascent, layer after layer of the mind becomes fully opened. All Kleshas (afflictions) and the three kinds of Taapa will vanish. The Yogi experiences various visions, powers, bliss and knowledge. When it reaches Sahasrara Chakra in the brain, the Yogi gets the maximum knowledge, Bliss, power and Siddhis. He reaches the highest rung in the Yogic ladder. He gets perfectly detached from body and mind. He becomes free in all respects. He is a full-blown Yogi (Purna Yogi).
Excerpt from the book Kundalini Yoga by Sri Swami Sivananda.
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