Kriyas are a set of exercises done in a particular sequence to work on a specific theme. There are a wide range of Kriyas available, each refined over thousands of years to optimize their effectiveness. Kriyas utilize all the available Kundalini Yoga mechanisms to work their magic. They employ asans (postures), movement, pranayam (breathing exercises), bandhas (body locks), mantras (sound vibrations), mudras (hand positions), laya yoga (yoga of rhythm and sound), mental focus and meditation to do their work.
Dynamic movement and asans bring expanding and contracting pressure via multiple angles to various areas of the body, this is accompanied with powerful pranayams, the combined effect of which is that the target regions are saturated with highly charged and oxygenated blood. This nutrient rich blood fills the capillaries forcing them to discharge toxins and other harmful elements, which are then eliminated, neutralized or expelled by the body. The health of the region thus improves and the nerves fire more completely, the glands and organs are invigorated and regain their natural voltage and secretion levels are returned to a condition of strength and vitality.
The key above is the removal of blockages (granthis) that is taking place on many levels of the organism thus facilitating the flow of energy. There are Kriyas designed for working on almost every part of the human system (Immune, Glandular, Circulatory, Digestive, Nervous, Respiratory, Sexual, etc…), working on our various traits and characteristics (Awareness, Intuition, Willpower, Confidence, Compassion, Charisma, etc…) and also for healing many different types of ailments and diseases. Lets now see how this ties in with the Chakra (energy vortex) system.
There are 7 primary chakras that lie all along the spine from the base to the crown of the head. Associated with each chakra are the primary nerve junctions and organs of that region. Furthermore, each chakra is responsible for certain traits and characteristics that make up our personality. When we strengthen and rejuvenate the nerves and organs in a particular region, we are in fact activating these energy centers that reside there and are thus working on ourselves not only at a physical level, but also at an emotional and mental level (by affecting our traits and characteristics). Practiced over time, the chakras become charged and come into balance with each other, bringing us into physical, emotional and mental well being. Again, it should be noted that the work being done is primarily about dissolving granthis (blockages) in these regions which introduce disease and imbalance into the system by preventing the chakras from functioning at their optimum level. Finally, let see how this relates to Kundalini Shakti.
Kundalini is energy. It is the fundamental energy whose flow through the organism allows for all its systems to operate, at all levels of consciousness. It is the energy of awareness, it can be said that where your awareness is, that is where Kundalini is flowing or that where Kundalini is flowing is where your awareness is. To awaken Kundalini means to dissipate blockages in the gross and subtle systems in your being and allow for greater and greater flow of energy and awareness. As blockages are cleared trapped energy is released and pathways are cleared. Kundalini then is able to flow freely though those regions, healing, nourishing, rejuvenating and balancing them.
The dissipating of blockages can also be thought of as the clearing away of the subconscious mind, the collection of unresolved emotional and physical disturbances, where lies the root of many of our attachments and fears. So overall Kundalini Yoga is a system by which one, through the process of dissolving the past, allows the infinite to shine through into the present.
I am going to describe some of the physical symptoms my students or I have felt due to kundalini awakening. I know there are many emotional and mental symptoms as well, and you are welcome to share those with us in the comments section below. I am grouping the experiences into 3 categories, common, uncommon and rare, according to what I have observed.
Common Kundalini Awakening Symptoms:
Tingling in the body and brain region. Also sometimes described as ants walking, tickling energy or flushes of energy. The brain being flushed with energy is quite pleasant :-).
Heat or cold in the system, or running along various channels and chakra centers.
Fluttering or twitching of muscles.
Pinching or burning in various regions of the body or brain.
Uncommon Kundalini Awakening Symptoms:
Pressure in the Third Eye Region (Ajna Chakra). This is pressure, tingling or other sensation in the center of the forehead. Can go on for years (14 years and counting so far for me). Caution: If the pressure, due to certain practices, intensifies to uncomfortable levels you feel are “immense”, you should cease that practice and consult a competent kundalini yoga teacher.
Sudden bursts of energy anywhere in the body. These are almost always short lived, from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Spontaneous yoga asans or kundalini yoga movements. They may come on spontaneously, or they may take over, as if on auto-pilot when one is practicing Kundalini Shakti rising up and elongating the spine.
Incredible feeling of love and desire for your partner (not ordinary lust, alcohol induced or otherwise :-). Usually comes upon you spontaneously, deep in the night. Sex feels like it’s the first such experience and the intense feelings of attraction emanate from somewhere beyond yourself.
Unfortunately, pain in the lower back, back of the neck and headaches.
Rare Kundalini Awakening Symptoms:
Experience of divine light within. Very intense light, usually pure white and incredibly beautiful. I call it the Radiation of the Lord.
Tremendous vibratory energy (sometimes feels like it’s coming from the inner ears). Very blissful, but can intensify to the point where it would completely overwhelm your consciousness if you let it.
Spontaneous bliss, intensely pleasurable.
This one is a bit scary. Complete paralysis of the body. Complete immobility and rigidity takes place. As with the all consuming vibratory energy, it requires some courage to allow.
This one is exceedingly rare. I have experienced it only once in my life, and have only ever read about it being experienced by one other – the master of awareness, the arms and legs churn like that of a baby. It happens naturally and cannot be simulated. It is also intensely pleasurable and quite a remarkable experience.