At some point on the spiritual path we will experience the rising of the kundalini (snake energy) that merges our feminine and masculine energies.
For some people this will be an intense awakening that shifts their subjective experience in an instant, for other it’s a slowly meeting of these energies.
In this post I wanted to discuss what a kundalini awakening is, why it happens and how to navigate it.
What is a kundalini awakening?
Kundalini is a Sankrit word for ‘coiled snake’; it refers to the divine feminine energy or Shakti which is said to be located at the base of our spine, resting in the root chakra. In Hinduism this is an important concept in Shaiva Tantra.
When this energy is activated it makes it way up towards the crown chakra, uniting with the divine masculine energy or Shiva, which brings about a complete transformation of our consciousness, deep bliss and connection.
Why does kundalini awakening happen?
An awakening of the kundalini happens for many reasons. Often because we are undertaking a course of kundalini yoga, specifically focused on this energy. However more and more people are experiencing these symptoms through general energy work, breathwork, meditation or other spiritual guidance.
When we go through a spiritual awakening a lot of stuff comes to our awareness at once. We get more in tune with our energy and our body. Therefore we become aware of the kundalini and as a result it becomes stimulated.
Is kundalini safe?
The kundalini can rise prematurely if we don’t have the right guidance, if we go at this alone and try to skip ahead – which I recommend against.
Kundalini will naturally rise as we clear our energy, strengthen our energy system (nadis) and purify our vision. It’s a completely natural process when we go deep within ourselves for this energy to become unlocked and rise upwards.
You’ve probably seen horror stories of people being sent to the hospital for physical injuries or experiencing psychosis after a kundalini rising.
Many of the more intense symptoms associated with kundalini occur due to these incomplete practices. Where our energy systems have not been properly cleared, the rising of the kundalini exposing all of those dark spots and heavy energy.
When we do spiritual work it’s important to consider the emotional and psychological element. Often we approach things from a mental level, without considering the recurring emotional issues we still haven’t faced – thinking we can somehow bypass them.
When we go through any type of awakening, all of that stuff is brought up to the forefront. We can ignore it but it will still be there when we come back to earth.
1.Physical symptoms in the body
This represents the physical side of this awakening, and these will likely be the most noticeable symptoms at first.
- Surges of heat through the body
- Tingles, vibrations and energy movement
- Changes in appetite
- A shift to your sleep schedule
- Increased sexual energy
A kundalini awakening will make it clear just how connected our energy is with our physical body. Often we see these two sides of ourselves as completely distinct, operating side by side by not necessarily as one.
The most common symptoms we experience is intense heat through the body, often accompanied by tingles or vibrations.
The kundalini burns through all of the energetic impurities in our system, making us aware of where we need to release, heal, detox. The level of intensity we experience will be in line with how much work we have done to clear ourselves beforehand.
If you are experiencing this energy you are likely to notice large shifts in your sleep schedule. I know for me this energy is most active at nighttime where we are in a more receptive brain state. Shifts in your diet and daily routines will follow.
2. A shift in perspective
This represents the mental side of this awakening, our entire outlook on life and our roles here can shift drastically.
The reason this shift is so dramatic is because kundalini awakening is associated with the dissolution of aspects of our ego or ‘ego death’. The ego is what helps us to maintain an identity in this physical world, it keeps us protected.
When aspects of our ego are dissolved, we struggle to find our place in a world that is very physically focused. This can either be an opportunity to reconsider everything and create a life that is more aligned, or we can become arrogant, convinced of our spiritual superiority.
On another note, this shift in perspective can be a life-line for us. We see things differently, and are prompted to make healthier choices in relation to all aspects of our life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Don’t be surprised if you are prompted to make changes to your daily habits, diet, social circles and what you do for work.
3. Increased sensitivity
This represents the emotions side of the awakening.
- Deeper sensitivity towards others
- Deeper sensitivity to your triggers
- More frequent synchronicity
- Strengthening of psychic abilities/senses
Kundalini gets us in tune with our bodies on a deeper level, and so for some time after we’re going to feel our own and other’s emotions more intensely too.
You might notice that you are feeling more solitary, needing more alone time and self care, and that you might be hyper-sensitive to certain behaviors.
This can be a lot to handle at first, but if you remain cognizant of how you are feeling and how you might be projecting that outward, you’ll develop your sensitivity in a more balanced way over time.
4. Connection to the divine
This represents the spiritual side of this awakening.
- Heightened intuition and deeper ‘knowing‘
- A deeper sense of connection and peace
- Spontaneous mystical experiences
Spiritual and kundalini awakenings are connected, kundalini offers us a deeper integration of the spiritual concepts we’ve taken in on a mental level.
Feeling deeper states of joy, bliss and peace are all characteristic of a kundalini awakening. When our energy system is clear, we release blockages and face different shadows, but we also experience a joy which represents our natural state.
There are a lot of dark symptoms associated with kundalini because our energy systems are so often clogged up, blocked, filled with heavy energy. When the kundalini rises we are confronted with this all at once.
What cannot be understated in how willing we’ll be to embrace our joy because so much of our shadows are tangled up in that. It can be difficult to be positive, to embrace uncertainty and to allow yourself to feel happy.
We’ll be prompted to make changes in our life in accordance with this.
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What to do during kundalini awakening
Remain calm, notice the sensations you feel and keep in mind that a lot of the more extreme symptoms go back to an unclear energy system. Seek out support and community. This will pass.
Take care of your nervous system: take a warm bath with Epsom or Himalayan salts, practice some light, calming breathwork (nothing too stimulating), eat more heartier foods like root vegetables.
If your kundalini has awakened prematurely, ground your energy, take some time away from your spiritual practice and when you come back focus on energy clearing and building a better foundation for yourself in all aspects of life.
Take a step back and evaluate how you are approaching your spiritual journey. Are you trying to reach a specific goal, are you rushing ahead? Go back to the basics and notice where you are neglecting self care.
What’s the difference between a kundalini and spiritual awakening?
Looking at what happens during a kundalini awakening, you might be wondering, ‘How is this different to a spiritual awakening?’ A lot of the symptoms overlap.
A kundalini awakening can come alongside a spiritual awakening, working on our energy will naturally bring about both. However spiritual and kundalini awakening tend to activate different sides to us.
Spiritual awakening leans mentally, kundalini awakening leans towards the physical and emotional of things – although there isn’t a hard line here. As I mentioned before, the physical effects of the kundalini are intense and demonstrated quite clearly, how our energy and physicality are related.
A kundalini awakening tends to occur some time after a spiritual awakening, and can come as the embodiment or integration of so many of the concepts we’ve internalized on a mental level.
Generally speaking, you want to allow a kundalini rising to come naturally, once your body and mind are ready. This is an awakening that yogic and spiritual practitioners spend many years diligently preparing for, not something to be forced.