Kundalini awakening is accompanied by various symptoms, which can manifest on physical as well as mental and spiritual levels. On a physical level these can be easily distinguished as spontaneous body movements called Kriyas, Yogic Asanas, Bandhs, Mudras and Pranayams.
When such physical symptoms manifest they are hard to dismiss as being just one’s imagination. They are also easily differentiated from various nervous disorders because these spontaneous yogic asanas and Pranayams happen with amazing precision, accompanied by exact breathing movements and correct mental & physical state. Furthermore, these spontaneous body movements occur only during meditation or during a meditative state of mind (at least, as per my personal experience. Therefore, if they seem to occur at other times also, then it would be best to get a professional opinion).
When these kriyas started happening to me I didn’t get afraid because they were very mild and I had already read about them in Baba’s books. Furthermore, being born in a Hindu family meant getting accustomed to some religious activities that involve reading and listening to devotional music, during which I had noticed similar mild body movements in myself, as well as, other people. These body movements also occurred in instances when I tried hard to memorize something related to school work, like poems, mathematics formulas etc. Therefore, when Kriyas started happening during meditation, I was a bit confused whether it was due to Kundalini or my usual body response to mantra chantings (OM NAMAH SHIVAYA) that I listened to during meditations…
(Here I would like to go a bit off-topic and write about something which, I think, may be helpful for some people – There are no doubts that meditation is an extremely beneficial practice (or state) for everyone; but for people new to meditation, it can be such a drag! Nevertheless, Meditation is really not meant to be taken as a bitter medicine, rather it is meant to be enjoyed, like any other indulgence. I know it can be very difficult initially, as I went through the same difficulties. But, there is one thing that I’d like to suggest:
Based on my own experience, I can say that some form of music, whether it is a chanting or a piece of nature music (ocean, stream, rain, waterfall etc., basically the white noise), can be very beneficial in calming the initial restless mind during meditation. I have also found that music with binaural beats is particularly effective in facilitating meditation (I would like to specifically mention ‘Holosync’ here). However, in due course, one would find that even music tends to become a disturbance, as one’s meditation becomes more subtle. Therefore, when one reaches a certain phase in mediation where music is no longer required or beneficial, it is best to drop the dependency on music and practice meditation in perfect silence.)
Coming back to my original topic…
Initially, the kriyas were very mild – just a slight swaying of body, involving both sideways and front & back movements of spine. Subsequently, movements of neck began. Those were side-to-side movements, as well as rotational movements on a central axis, and then later on both neck and spine movements simultaneously. Sometimes the Kriyas would become so rigorous that I could hear cracking sounds between my joints. Still, it wasn’t something that frightened me, albeit I did tend to be amazed by how my body was performing movements involuntarily, without me consciously wanting to do so. In fact, those movement were, and still are, very enjoyable and relaxing as if exercising my neck and back 🙂 . Till now, I have never ever experienced any bad or side effects from those movements, rather only the good ones – my cervical spondylosis was greatly relieved and eventually my migraine disappeared too! (though, it has reappeared now, may be because I have not been practicing meditation since almost 7 years). Now, that I have resumed my practices the Kriyas have begun too…along with the yogic asans and pranayams…the most frequent ones being – Matsyasan, Yoga mudra, Sarvangasan, Halasan and a new one that I just recognized in a yoga book today – it’s called the Padma- Sarvangaasana (one never ceases to learn :)). Bhramari pranayam is also regularly happening these days…
This brings me to the topic of the other spontaneous body movements associated with Kundalini awakening called Asans, Bandhs, Mudras, and Pranayams. Compared to Kriyas, yogic asans are more precise in the positioning of limbs and breathing movements and hence, I believe, also a better confirmatory physical symptom of Kundalini awakening, if they occur spontaneously. However, I also know about people who have an awakened Kundalini but still don’t perform Kriyas or spontaneous asanas. These people tend to display other subtle symptoms like well-developed intuitive abilities and greatly enhanced creative tendencies, along with various other symptoms. These people also tend to experience similar (or better) depths of meditation compared to those who exhibit spontaneous kriyas or yogic movements. The reason being: Kriyas or spontaneous body movements are sort of preparatory exercises for the body & mind and may not be absolutely essential for people who are already well prepared. For example, initially I used to experience a lot of spontaneous Kriyas , which were then subsequently overshadowed by spontaneous asans like Dhanurasan, Sarvangasan, Halasan, yogamudra posture, Bhujang asan, Matsya-asan, among others. Later on even asans stopped happening and only the bandhs and pranayams like Jalandhar Bandh, Uddiyan Bandh, Kumbhaka, and Bhastrika occurred (I’ll discuss about them in my subsequent post).
Here, I’d also like to mention that, although I was taught yoga in my school it only included the relatively easier asans like Taadasan, Vajraasan, padmasan (not so easy) etc. So, when asans started happening spontaneously during meditation, I wasn’t even aware of every asan that was happening at that time. For example: Halasan, a rather difficult yogic posture/asan, about which I didn’t know until I read about it in a yoga book at Lambu’s home (those days internet was nonexistent for me). Yet, all those Asans happened spontaneously with perfect precision and sometimes were even accompanied with other variations which are not mentioned in common yoga lirerature – for example – I used to perform a variation of Dhanurasan that is accompanied with rocking movements. Furthermore, a majority of these asans were specifically related to stomach disorders and the solar plexus (Manipura Chakra) – a very important indication that I will write about later, along with Yogic bandhs, Mudras and Pranayams (which together becomes a rather complex topic).
However, right now, I would like to share a video that I came across a website: http://www.thekundaliniyoga.org/ (one of the few websites providing authentic information on Kundalini, as per my limited knowledge & experience). I would also like to clarify that neither do I follow the Guru shown in the video nor do I endorse his practices; I also cannot comment on the credibility of both the Guru and the person performing the Kundalini Kriyas. Yet, what I can confirm is that the Kriyas or body movements shown in that video, if really spontaneous, are very similar to the ones I experienced in the initial stages of kundalini awakening. I hope, this helps anyone who is frightened by similar Kriyas or body movements during kundalini awakening, thinking they are possessed 😉 .
Additionally, I would also like to clarify that such Kriyas are indeed a ‘healthy’ symptom of Kundalini awakening, if happening only during meditation or in a meditative state of mind, unaccompanied by pyschosis or physical disorders. I would also like to re-emphasize that it’s better to consult a reliable yoga practitioner if there is any doubt about one’s physical and emotional health, rather than blindly considering such, and other related happenings to be symptoms of Kundalini awakening.
This reminds me about an argument that I read in one of the journals comparing symptoms of kundalini awakening with those of Psychosis. The journal suggested that when people read about Kriyas, asans, and other symptoms of Kundalini awakening, they may desire an experience of such things themselves and therefore tend to voluntarily do such movements under an influence of belief that those movements are spontaneous and indicate Kundalini awakening (presumably, it give a false sense of ego gratification).
Therefore it is very important to always keep in mind that these Kriyas or spontaneous movements are not the aim of meditation or one’s spiritual practices; rather, they are just some sort of preparatory exercises for the body & mind and can, therefore, also be performed voluntarily under the professional guidance of a yoga Guru. One needs to remember that there is nothing very enlightening, enticing or glitzy about spontaneous body movements and therefore one should instead fix their desire on the ultimate aim of meditation.
Furthermore, the sequence and type of asans are very specific to the requirements of one’s own body and practicing the wrong asans, in a wrong way or even in a wrong sequence can be contra-indicatory to one’s physical, mental and spiritual health. But, if practiced properly and under careful guidance, these Kriyas, asans, Bandhs, Mudras and pranayama have also the potential of actually awakening the Kundalini and therefore they can be learnt through an experienced Kriya yoga or Hatha Yoga Practitioner.
In case of spontaneous occurring of such movements, during Kundalini awakening, one does not need to worry about all the know-hows of such Asans and Pranayams. The awakened Kundalini in itself is all-knowledgeable and therefore will only instigate such asans in a person’s body which are deemed necessary for that person’s spiritual growth. It’s much like an automated process, where one doesn’t need to know anything about Kriyas, Asans, Bandhs, Mudras and Pranayams because Kundalini itself takes care of everything. The only thing one needs to have is – complete faith and surrender to the Kundalini.
However, at a particular stage and point of time, I became frightened and doubtful about such happenings and lost hold of my footing. Now I’m trying hard to regain my position, which seems almost like starting from the very beginning (except, this time I already have some insight about Kundalini, thanks to the internet :), and also about the event that frightened me enough to dwindle my practices…!)
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA