One of the most frequent types of calls/emails/text messages I have received over the past decade (other than the standard question about class times) has been from people going through – or guessing they were going through – a Kundalini Rising or disturbance. These were always calls from people who were not yoga students of mine, but who had found my website during their internet searches aimed at trying to understand what was going on with them – very often they were very confused, scared, anxious, and very much in the dark about what was happening to them, as most sudden kundalini awakenings can be quite disruptive, and frightening if you don’t know what is going on.
(Note: these sudden awakenings are not what a teacher-guided practice of Kundalini Yoga will result in, quite the opposite; the focus on strengthening the nervous system, balancing and opening the chakras and 3 main Nadis – Ida, Pingala and Sushumna – will make sure that any rising of energy happens in a controlled and more gradual way and through the right energy channels. The sudden awakenings often happen when people are practicing things they found online or in books without the guidance of a teacher, but they can also follow traumatic experiences, near-death experiences, meeting a teacher with an awakened energy, or by handling certain energy-charged spiritual objects – and when people’s nervous systems aren’t prepared ready to handle this huge charge of what is ultimately atomic energy, when their chakras are wholly or partially blocked, when their Sushumna Nadi isn’t open, this energy rise will usually be disturbing, chaotic, disruptive, …)
So I’ve decided to put together a webpage with some information on Kundalini Awakenings or Kundalini Risings, some useful pictures for guidance, and information on how I can work with you as someone who has the experience of living with a free-flowing and gradually awakened Kundalini energy myself (thanks to my Kundalini Yoga practice, my daily life and practice as a Sikh, and Guru Sahib’s immense kirpa (grace), I fortunately haven’t had to go through the disruptive sudden awakenings), and who spends most of her days helping people with either working towards gradually awakening it too, or teaching people how to manage sudden risings and guide the energy correctly.
Properly-flowing Kundalini Rising vs. Problematic Risings and Disturbances
Kundalini Awakenings look very different depending on whether the 3 main Nadis – Ida, Pingala and Sushumna – are open or not, and whether the chakra system is full open or not. The below picture shows some of the ways a Kundalini Rising can look like. The 4th type will be unproblematic and is usually the result of a great preparatory practice through yoga/meditation as described above – but I usually won’t have people contact me with that questions around that type as it will often be something they have been consciously working towards, and the process is gradual, controlled, and blissful instead of disruptive. The other 3 however (and other non-shown variations) can all come with a host of symptoms of imbalances and with problems which we can address by guiding the Kundalini energy through the correct channel, and by opening the chakras that are still blocked, so it stops wreaking havoc or causing imbalances as it moves through incorrect pathways.
Some of the symptoms of a Kundalini Rising or Disturbance
Bonnie Greenwell describes 7 categories of Kundalini phenomena which I usually enquire into in our initial conversation — the list might help you understand if any Kundalini phenomena are happening for yourself:
1. Pranic activity or kriyas – involuntary body movements including shaking, vibrating, jerking, tingling, rushes of energy, or of sensation of heat or cold.
2. Yogic phenomena – involuntary movement into yoga postures (asanas) or hand postures (mudras) – even if they are unknown to the person. This can also include hearing chanting, bells, drums. Spontaneous rituals.
3. Physiological symptoms – digestive/gastrointestinal problems, hyperactivity, nervous energy, pain in back/head/stomach, rushes of heat/cold, aggravation of old illnesses. These can spontaneously come and go.
4. Psychological and emotional upset – mood swings, waves of anxiety/guilt/depression – that may feel unrelated to one’s personal life, waves of compassion/love, heightened sensitivity to
5. Extrasensory experience – can be visual (lights, images, symbols), auditory (hearing music, mantra, voice) or olfactory (smelling incense, perfume).
6. Parapsychological experiences – psychic awareness, unusual synchronicities, healing abilities, heightened sensitivity to others, may be dramatic shifts in creative ability.
7. Samadhi or satori experiences – absorption of consciousness into state of union with all that is; sense of unity, peace, light, energy; sense of ‘I am’.
(Quoted from The Kundalini Guide by Dr Bonnie Greenwell. For a more detailed review of symptoms/experience relating to kundalini rising, we recommend visiting her website:
How can I support you?
For nearly a decade I have been working with clients and students who have experienced sudden Kundalini Awakenings or Kundalini Disturbances and sought guidance and support – and for the past 15 years I’ve been teaching Kundalini Yoga to students exactly in ways where we prepare the nervous system, chakra system, nadis, and the mind for any possible awakening of this energy so that the process will be nurturing and healing instead of disruptive. Some of these clients I only had a few sessions with, some have become long-term students, some have become yoga teachers. (Some were yoga teachers but were not trained with enough emphasis on this aspect and were at a loss when it happened for them). I am not expecting you to become my yoga student when we set out on this work – my only goal is to help you learn to manage this freed up energy (as it won’t go dormant again, so ignoring it isn’t the solution) and harness its deeply healing power – because ultimately, this is innate healing energy simply being misdirected by blockages in its normal pathway. But if not directed properly, it can lead to psychoses, depressions, and more.
We usually start with an (in-person or online) conversation of 1-2 hours (that will depend on the amount of questions you have for me at the onset) where you tell me exactly what is happening, and where I will ask lots of questions to help determine what set the awakening off, which nadi(s) the Kundalini is moving through, where it’s meeting blocked chakras, … I always explain the process of Kundalini energy rising up (what is this energy exactly? where does it lie dormant in the body of someone who doesn’t have it awakened? how is it meant to move through the nadis and chakras once it is awakened – and comparing that normal movement to what is happening with you personally (based on the information you are giving me and based on what I can see or sense from you) – , and then explaining what it will be like when the energy is guided correctly, so you know what you are working towards.
This conversation always sheds a lot of light for people on things going on that they would often not think are related at all. Based on the insights I gather from our conversation, I can then further support you with advise around adaptogens or supplements, pranayama techniques, yoga exercise, advise around lifestyle and nutrition (what not to eat or ingest / what to focus on ingesting), etc. I will make suggestions on any further course of action – this could take the form of some more regular coaching conversations or you checking in when you need support, private yoga classes, group yoga classes, Rebozo or Closing the Bones work in some cases, … – but it’s entirely every client’s choice what they do with that.
Feel free to contact me if you are looking for support with your process.