After having discussed about both theoretical and practical aspects of kuṇḍalinī, in this last part, we will discuss activating kuṇḍalinī using the techniques discussed in the previous parts. However, it is extremely important that no excessive force should be used in any of these practices. Similarly overdoing any of the procedures could cause damage to the physical body. Such damages are known as ‘kuṇḍalinī syndrome’ and many times, this may not have proper treatment. Therefore, it is extremely important that all the previous parts are read and understood properly. In particular, one should be conversant with nāḍi śodhana prāṇāyāma and abdominal breathing. At this point it is assumed that we are conversant with all the procedures explained in the earlier parts.
This practice could take longer time, around an hour. This includes making the kuṇḍalinī to leave its base, the perineum and take it to sahasrāra and bring her back to Her abode, kula sahasrāra, a point below mūlādhāra chakra. Typically, this is known samayācāra worship and this is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 98.
During this practice, one’s sitting posture is significant, as improper posture could cause shoulder stiffness, back pain, headache, rashes in the body, lack of appetite, weight loss, etc. Diet restrictions are also essential. Intake of higher amount of milk products, plain water, more fruits and vegetables along with normal diet is the right diet. As far as possible, spicy food should be avoided. In general sattvic food (purity and benignity) is ideal during this practice. Once kuṇḍalinī is well activated, it will decide what is essential for the body. When we speak about kuṇḍalinī, we refer to the subtlest form of Parāśakti. Therefore, ascension of kuṇḍalinī also depends upon one’s karmic account.
Importance of posture:
Since one has to be seated for a longer duration, the seating should be the most convenient posture, often called sukhāsana. The surface on which one is seated should neither be hard nor soft. Sitting under a fan or sitting in air conditioned room, etc is to be decided on the climatic conditions. As this practice could generate heat in the body, it is better to have water in a container by the side. During this practice, the practitioner’s body should not be touched by anyone and there should be no sound anywhere nearby.
Open the palms and place them in the place between thighs and abdomen, as shown in the image. Please note that this posture is different from the postures explained under mudra-s and bandha-s earlier. While practicing them, our palms were kept on the knees. Here they are to be placed differently. The gap between the trunk and the upper arms should also be the same as shown in the image. The advantage of this posture is that arms will be in line with the trunk, which will not cause any stiffness in the shoulder. Further, while sitting in this posture, the head should be slightly tilted backwards. The position of the head can be marginally adjusted forwards or backwards depending upon the feel of movement of energy through the neck area. During practice, this can be observed. Shoulders should be slightly lifted so that there is no stiffness in the sternum area (this is the place where neck muscles are inserted in the top of the trunk region in the front). Pressure in this area can be felt if the position of the shoulder is wrong. Similarly, both the shoulders should be in a perfect vertical line. These are extremely crucial as they alone cause syndrome.
Both the nostrils should be kept clean. It is advisable to wear lose clothing. Inner garments should be loose and should not hold on to the body tightly. The entire practice should be done in empty stomach. A sip of plain water should be taken just before the commencement of practice. It is ideal to practice this either in the morning or in the evening or night, provided stomach is not full.
Movement of kuṇḍalinī purely depends upon breath and consciousness (total fixation of awareness at a particular point at a given time). It is assumed at this point that the citriṇī nāḍi and all the psychic chakras are cleansed. These procedures are explained in the previous sections. Entire procedure is given below in numerical order. Whenever inhalation, exhalation and breathing are referred, it means only yogic breathing (contraction and expansion of abdomen). Eyes should remain closed lightly.
Preparatory and warming up:
While performing the first three, concentrate on the mūlādhāra chakra and notice for any subtle vibrations there. Many times vibrations will not be felt, hence feeling the vibration is not the criteria, whereas fixing our consciousness at mūlādhāra chakra is crucial.
1. Inhale and simultaneously do aśvini mudra; exhale and release aśvini mudra, both at the same time. Repeat this three times.
2. Inhale and simultaneously do vajroli mudra; exhale and release vajroli mudra, both at the same time. Repeat this three times.
3. Inhale and simultaneously do mūla bandha; exhale and release mūla bandha, both at the same time. Repeat this three times.
4. Take rest and do normal breathing. It is preferable that eyes remain closed throughout the practice. However, if giddiness is felt, eyes can be opened and closed. It advisable to keep the eyes closed, as opening the eyes could result in dilution of our concentration.
5. Inhale and simultaneously practice all the three mudras discussed 1, 2 and 3 above. Contact the abdomen using uḍḍiyāna bandha with air within (kumbhaka). While inhaling, raise your shoulders marginally up. While doing this, focus on maṇipūraka chakra. Release the three mudra-s and uḍḍiyāna bandha and exhale.
6. Resort to normal breathing.
7. Inhale, do all the three mudras (1, 2 and 3 above) along with uḍḍiyāna bandha. During inhalation, lift your shoulders by applying pressure on the place where palms are kept. Now, bend the head forward by gradually exhaling, which is known as jālandhara bandha. By the time chin touches the chest (kūrmanāḍi), you should have completely exhaled the air.
8. Resort to normal breathing and relax your shoulders.
9. In this stage, we have to make the kuṇḍalinī go up and up from mūlādhāra using short breaths. It is like making a badminton ball not to fall down using a racquet. When the ball comes down, we hit it back to go up. In kuṇḍalinī meditation, ball is the kuṇḍalinī, our breath is the racquet and the arm holding the racquet is our consciousness.
Inhale, do mudra-s (1, 2 and 3) above. While inhaling, expand the abdomen (uḍḍiyāna bandha). Do jālandhara bandha, while fixing consciousness on mūlādhāra (not on viśuddhi chakra). While bending the neck forwards exhale slowly and gradually synchronising with the movement of the chin towards the chest. At the time of exhalation, raise the shoulders and pull the energy from mūlādhāra. If the shoulder is not raised, it could cause stiffness. After two or three rounds, area around mūlādhāra will become warm. Repeat this process few times (3 to 5) times and resort to normal breathing for a few minutes.
10. Inhale, do the three mudra-s and expand the abdomen and exhale. This should be done in quick successions. Inhalation and exhalation along with the three mudra-s and jālandhara bandha should be done in quick succession. During every exhalation, visualize that literally the kuṇḍalinī is being pulled from mūlādhāra. Its crawling movement will be felt in the spinal cord. Feel of the crawl could vary. It could be in the form chillness or warmness. This feel differs from person to person. In some persons, this sensation will never be felt.
11. Further upward movement of kuṇḍalinī should be effected using the three mudra-s and through abdominal breathing. In order to ensure that the kuṇḍalinī does not go back to mūlādhāra, very short breaths should be used to keep it in higher chakras (like badminton ball and racquet). Eye balls should be internally focused on the point where kuṇḍalinī has ascended. While levitating (ascension against the gravitational force) kuṇḍalinī, we have to use short breaths, lifting of shoulders, the three mudra-s and the eye balls. This is to be practiced till kuṇḍalinī reaches anāhata (heart chakra).
12. From anāhata to ājñā, the same method is to be followed. Additionally, using nāsārga dṛṣṭi, fix the attention on the heart chakra. Along with the breath move the eye balls to focus on viśuddhi chakra. Short breaths should always be used to keep the kuṇḍalinī in higher chakras.
13. Now, we will be able to feel powerful vibrations in ājñā chakra. The pressure in ājñā chakra will be felt around the head, more so in the forehead. The air we exhale will be warmer than the exhalation during normal times.
14. Remain in ājñā chakra for a longer duration, say about five minutes. Practically, we will not be aware of the time, as our concentration will fully fixed on the kuṇḍalinī. Losing concentration on the movement of kuṇḍalinī will hamper the practice.
15. To complete one full cycle, we have to move kuṇḍalinī till sahasrāra. From ājñā to sahasrāra, other mudra-s need not be used except short breaths and śāmbhavī mudra (with closed eyes).
16. When kuṇḍalinī is perfectly awakened and quite active, on its way to sahasrāra, it passes through two minute, yet very powerful chakras known as mind (manas) chakra and soma chakra. When kuṇḍalinī reaches manas chakra, it causes Bliss. When the kuṇḍalinī crosses manas chakra and reaches soma chakra, it produces nectar (amṛta), which drips down towards the throat. This nectar not only strengthens the body, but also acts like immunity booster against diseases. In the initial days, this nectar can be consumed. Later on, this nectar is to be pushed back by using śāmbhavī mudra (with closed eyes).
17. When kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra, it will reach a point called brahmarandhra, which is an extremely minute aperture. This is explained as Brahman's orifice, a suture or aperture in the crown of the head, through which the soul is said to escape at the time death. When kuṇḍalinī reaches brahmarandhra, it establishes a connection between our body and the cosmos. Since kuṇḍalinī is neither the soul nor consciousness, it will not go past brahmarandhra. When kuṇḍalinī is in sahasrāra, top of the head becomes very warm and this could cause some blisters or rashes in the body. How to reduce this heat has been already discussed.
18. When kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra, it also triggers higher levels of trance (nirvikapla samādhi). This stage is similar to unconscious stage, which could make the body to fall down. Hence, one has to be extremely careful. There should be no lamps burning in the area of meditation. Such minute things should be taken care of. This does not mean that everyone will enter this stage or could fall down during this stage. Intensity of this stage depends upon one’s ability to control the mind.
19. When kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra, one has to take some time to experience this unique and inexplicable stage of happiness it produces. This is the time when Parāśakti showers Her Grace, known as Śaktipāta. The effect of Śaktipāta is phenomenal and inexplicable. It is called the Descent of Divine Grace. Many things could happen after Śaktipāta. It also paves way for absorption into Śiva (liberation). There are other interpretations for Śaktipāta and according to many Śaktipāta is possible during proper initiation by a Self-realized Guru. The right and logical explanation is that Śaktipāta is possible only through the Grace of Parāśakti through initiation by a Self-realized Guru.
20. Bringing down kuṇḍalinī from sahasrāra to lower chakras is also important. In highly evolved practitioners, kuṇḍalinī will not go down beneath maṇipūraka (navel chakra). This is perfectly in order. Descent of kuṇḍalinī should be managed only with breath and consciousness (consciousness means using both the eye balls to look at a particular point). Kuṇḍalinī on its own will move down from sahasrāra towards lower chakras via ājñā. But this descent should be supported with breath and consciousness.
When kuṇḍalinī is in sahasrāra, it would have produced a lot of energy and this energy would have accumulated in the area around sahasrāra. This entire energy is also to be moved down and grounded, otherwise, it could cause inconvenience in the head. In order to move down this energy, we have to visualize that we are inhaling through brahmarandhra. It is only visualization; breath will only enter and exit the lungs and not through other parts of the body. Generally, inhalation and exhalation are visualized to move the kuṇḍalinī up and down the spine. Effectively this is visualized by fixing our consciousness on a particular point. We have to fix our consciousness on a particular point and visualize that we are inhaling and exhaling through a particular point and the vibrations can be observed on that point. This visualization is often used to bring down the kuṇḍalinī from higher chakras to lower chakras. If kuṇḍalinī is not descending smoothly, we can rotate our shoulders in anticlockwise manner. Similarly, clockwise rotation of shoulders will smoothen kuṇḍalinī’s ascension. During this practice, it is important that head is slightly pushed backwards. When the shoulders are down, we have to push the kuṇḍalinī down with our breath during its descent and when the shoulders are up, we can push the kuṇḍalinī upwards during its ascent.
21. When kuṇḍalinī reaches maṇipūraka during its downward journey, kuṇḍalinī meditation is complete. After completing kuṇḍalinī meditation, without getting up immediately, lie down flat in supine position (face facing the sky). Stretch the hands sideward ensuring enough gap between the hip and palms. Palms should be opened completely and should be facing the sky. Similarly, sufficient gap should be there between the feet, so that inner thighs do not rub against each other. Do normal yogic breathing and relax. After sometime, turn towards the left and get up slowly and sip water.
Kuṇḍalinī meditation, if performed after thoroughly understanding and practicing various postures, will not cause any harm. One should not rush through to taste the ultimate result. If we progress slowly and steadily, we can surely become a Yogī. There are contradictory opinions about marital life while practicing kuṇḍalinī meditation. It is wrong to say that one should follow celibacy during this practice or thereafter.
There could be many doubts while practicing kuṇḍalinī meditation. All such doubts should be referred to the teacher who teaches this meditation. It is always better to practice this in the presence of the teacher. If one does not have a teacher, such doubts should be referred to a person who has practiced kuṇḍalinī meditation.
With this, this series on kuṇḍalinī meditation is concluded.