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Yoga and Meditation Should Make You More Peaceful Right? (Reflecting on Kundalini Awakening)

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article focuses on the issues arising from the increased power that can come from meditation and yoga practice, in particular looking at the effects kundalini can have our consciousness. I think this is an important area to be aware of in terms of negotiating it appropriately, and recognizing that it as a natural stage that we go through as meditators.

Yours in the spirit of balanced inner power,

Yoga and Meditation Should Make You More Peaceful Right? (Reflecting on Kundalini Awakening)

In my final year of University I reduced my “hard exercise” routine and took up yoga for the first time in order to make more time and energy for my studies, and to rest my body a little which was getting tired from me throwing it around all the time. The book around which my yoga practice was based (which I did religiously for between 30mins to 1.5 hours a day) was a set of asanas such as you would find in a lot of common yoga classes. So I just did these poses as well as I could, and felt better for it.
On the final page of the book there was a short description of what it felt like when your kundalini, or life force energy got activated by the yoga poses; how it felt like a snake curling up the spine from the base toward the crown of the head. I read this and did not think about it too much, but duly after a few months of practice I could feel it rising from the base of my spine at the end of each session as I lay on the floor relaxing.
There were three principle effects of this initial stimulation of my kundalini:

  1. My Sex drive increased fairly dramatically (when the kundalini rises the first chakra it rises into is the sacral chakra, which is the sexual/emotional centre)
  2. My awareness of inner and outer conflict, and feelings of superiority/inferiority with regard to others in social situations was substantially and not very pleasantly increased (the second chakra that the kundalini moves into when it rises is the solar plexus chakra which is to do with ego and the power drives of the personality)
  3. I started to experience regular and consistent “expanded” states of transpersonal awareness (a result of the kundalini hitting the higher energy centres from the heart level upward)

With regard to the fist effect I was relatively lucky in that I had a compassionate and frankly very tolerant girlfriend at the time who was able to absorb that part of my personality change with somewhat bemused amusement.
The second effect, the increased awareness of (perceived) conflict or negative emotions around other people made me rather more reclusive and more reluctant to engage socially, as the experience of doing so was not all that pleasant in the face of the energy changes in my body and the effect that it has on my mind.
The third effect, that of expanded states of awareness (I had not done ANY meditation at this stage of my path) was that I became even more of a space kadet than I had been before! Quite fun, but not exactly enhancing of my fundamental inner peace OR my functionality as a person…

So, my first basic point here is that when yoga and meditation really start to awaken our inner powers (through kundalini and other factors), the effect can actually be quite volatile, and needs careful thought and awareness to negotiate. In the long term, and treated in the right way, increased sexual energy, a sense of power at the personality level, and access to expanded awareness have the potential to make our life far more happy and fulfilling. However there is also a lot of potential for any one of these factors to go wrong, and start causing problems on one level or another…

Dealing with Kundalini Awakening in Meditation
Subsequent to my initial kundalini awakening described above, I then did actually start meditating, and periodically found myself grappling in my meditation either with sexual imagery that would NOT go away, or with powerful images of conflict, sometimes violence. Initially I found it quite perplexing, but in the long term I found that the best thing to about it was nothing much. When I sat down in meditation and started to focus my mind, my kundalini would naturally start to rise into my sacral chakra (cue sexual images; “Hello ladies!”). If I then left these images alone and relaxed, the energy would continue to rise up into my third, or solar plexus chakra, often giving rise to images of conflict and power struggle (“Hello violent, sweary people!”), but again if I just left them alone (not feed them or fight them) then the kundalini would just continue to rise up to my heart and the higher energy centres, and by the 5th minute or so if my meditation I was up and running in a state of expanded awareness. Eventually over time this process became reduced to

  • an initial strong feeling of sensual bliss shortly after sitting down
  • followed by and enhanced feeling of power in my personality
  • followed by a release into a consistent state of formless meditation, nice simple and minimal.

I feel like a bit of an old man taking about this now, as this stage of my practice was a long time ago, but I think it is a stage that we all go through as we practice (with different subjective experiences resulting), and it is important to negotiate it well…
Of course you still have to learn to deal with sex, power and expanded awareness as it applies to your daily life and relationships (bit more complex as you can imagine), and get it right on that level. But that is a subject of another time!

© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website