The Role of Energy Flow in Consciousness

Our level of consciousness depends primarily on the direction our energy takes in the spine. According to yoga science, cosmic energy enters the body at the base of the brain, then descends down the spine and out through the chakras and nervous system to fulfill our physical needs. Unfortunately for the meditator, this outward flowing energy draws the mind outward also.

Paramhansa Yogananda spoke of this when he said, “The contemplative mind, attempting its return to divinity, is constantly dragged back toward the senses by the life currents. When the energy can be coaxed to reverse its flow from the senses to the brain, it reveals to our consciousness another world.”

A world — not of matter but of Spirit.

What Is Kundalini Energy?

Every person has a positive magnet at the top of the head (the spiritual eye and crown chakra), which pulls our consciousness upward toward our innate oneness with God. At the same time there is a magnet at the base of the spine that pulls us toward negativity, selfishness, and unawareness.

The French have a phrase, nostalgie de la boue, nostalgia for the mud — in other words, our longing to return to the less aware state from which we’ve evolved. Kundalini energy, centered at the base of the spine, is the outward thrust of our consciousness that is identified with matter. This storehouse of energy is what pulls our mind toward restlessness when we meditate.

True inner religion is reversing the life force away from its lair at the base of the spine and uniting it with the positive pole at the top of the head. When this union happens, enlightenment occurs.

Some seekers, hearing how important it is to raise and activate the kundalini energy, use violent breathing exercises and other intense practices to shake loose the life currents. Kundalini is a great power, however, which like fire, if misused or mishandled, can be extremely harmful. Over-stimulating Kundalini by too physical and willful means generates tremendous heat in the body and can damage the nervous system.

The Highest Technique for Awakening Kundalini Energy

In his book The New Paththe founder of Ananda begins his chapter on Kriya Yoga — the highest technique for awakening Kundalini energy — with the following words from the Bible: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” There is a good reason why every spiritual tradition encourages students to follow moral precepts — doing so puts them in tune with their Godly nature. Whenever we think generous or loving thoughts, energy is released upward, while any personal desire draws Kundalini downward in order to fulfill that desire.

Yoga’s purpose is redirecting the life force up the spine. To achieve this lofty goal, our outer life has to reinforce our meditative efforts, otherwise, contractive attitudes bring our life force downward and opposite to where we are trying to go spiritually.

Kundalini energy can be likened to a large river: If one’s motives are right, Kundalini is drawn up safely through the inner spine, just as a river follows its natural channel. However, if a seeker motivated by ego forces Kundalini energy upward by extreme breathing exercises, his consciousness isn’t internalized and refined enough to allow the energy to flow freely in the spine’s deep channels. This forced energy has to flow somewhere, and as it does, it can damage the nervous system, like a river overflowing its bank.

Young woman meditating

The Safe and Balanced Approach to Kundalini Awakening

Yogananda strongly discouraged using intense yoga practices and taught a balanced and spiritually mature approach to enlightenment. His path of Kriya Yoga is completely safe and doesn’t force Kundalini so problems to the nervous system don’t occur. Yoga techniques are marvelous for stimulating the life force, but they have to be used in a broader context.

Combining purity of heart and right attitude with scientific technique makes for a united and total effort. When yoga is practiced in a loving spirit of self-offering, the life currents are released upward harmoniously in a safe, yet powerful way.

12 Simple Things You Can Start Doing to Awaken Kundalini

Focus on the following to learn how to awaken Kundalini naturally and safely.
  1. Love God. See everyone (and everything) as expressions of the Divine.
  2. Serve others.
  3. Keep a positive attitude. Be expansive and generous and avoid negativity of any kind.
  4. Live in the consciousness of Light. Affirm your higher nature.
  5. Live in greater awareness. Avoid the temptation to sink into sleepy, unconscious energy. Avoid anything that dulls the mind.
  6. Meditate. Highly recommended are the meditation techniques of the path of Kriya Yoga as taught by Paramhansa Yogananda.
  7. Do gentle breathing exercises, visualizations, yoga postures, Energization Exercises.
  8. Chant. Devotional chanting is very powerful for raising Kundalini.
  9. Say “Yes” to life. Embrace every situation and be energetic in everything you do.
  10. Keep good posture and your spine straight. Learn to live in the spine and stay centered there.
  11. Learn to draw Kundalini up from above, rather than force it up from below. Create a strong field of magnetism in the upper chakras, particularly the spiritual eye.
  12. Think of saintly people and let their magnetism help you. They will empower and pilot your efforts.
Two people praying

Frequently Asked Questions About Kundalini

Rising consciousness and rising Kundalini go hand in hand: The higher states of consciousness — above all, nirbikalpa samadhi, which is the highest state — cannot be attained unless the Kundalini energy rises. As Swami Kriyananda noted in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga: “Kundalini represents the entrenched vitality of our mortal delusion. But Kundalini is also man’s greatest single key to enlightenment. Only by arousing this force from its ancient resistance to divine truth [i.e., only by raising Kundalini] can the soul hope to reunite itself with the Spirit.”

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Kundalini awakening is a very powerful surge, so strong that you can hardly stand it. It throws you into ecstasy. It is the cosmic current.

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When kundalini rises, the third eye opens and your consciousness is brought there. In this stage, you perceive as he explains in the Autobiography of a Yogi, “the center of the empyrean [cosmos] as a point of intuitive perception in my heart.” In deeper stages, one’s consciousness becomes settled in the sahasrara (crown chakra), which takes you to the dimensionless and timeless Absolute.

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You need to work with kundalini’s energy sensitively; never try to dominate it or force it in some way. Especially, never try to raise kundalini forcibly, from below. Avoid violent breathing exercises or repeated impacts on the lower spine to awaken energy there.

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