Kundalini Yoga: Dangers and Beauty

Kundalini is a spiritual potential energy or life force located at the base of the spine. The means and practices to awaken this spiritual energy are known as Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini yoga awakens the “Saraswati Nadi”, the hidden channel in the spinal column.

There are hundreds of practices. The practices are flexible. It is not a rigid path. As you practice and go forward, you need to adjust and add new flavors to it.  Rigidity is the only problem. If you are too rigid to the steps and practices, you can not progress much. It will be some mechanical exercises. Kundalini yoga is like good cooking, you have to learn it and modify it gradually to get the best out of it.

History of Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga was first described in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad, which is one of the 108 Hindu texts of meditation.  It is a part of Yajurveda. Most probably it was written around 1000 to 1400 years before the Birth of Christ. (BC).  The classical literature of Kashmir Saivism also discusses more about the nature of this kundalini energy. Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gherandha Samhita and Shiva Samhita are three famous books of kundalini yoga.

In the late 1800s John Woodroffe, an Oxford graduate, in his famous book “The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic” discussed this occult science of tantra and kundalini energy awakening practices. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon and became a major contribution of the time to the appreciation of Hindu philosophy and spirituality.

In 1935 Sri Swami Sivananda wrote a detailed, but esoteric portrayal of some historically classic Kundalini Yoga practices in a treatise called Kundalini Yoga.

Obviously, there are many schools of thoughts about the nature of practices. Different cults, sects and gurus have their own methods. However, packaging may be different but the core teachings of the Kundalini yoga are same.  It is a journey of Divine energy from Muladhara Chakra (lower end of the spinal column) to the Sahasara Chakra at the top of the head.  Kundalini yoga is a science, it is not a static thing, new discovers, new experiences adds new dimensions to it.

Dangers of Kundalini Yoga:

Awakening of the kundalini energy brings joy, pure knowledge and love, but like all powerful scientific experiments, if you do it wrongly it may cause problems.  Hence, you must take necessary precautions before doing Kundalini Yoga. In yoga sutra (1.29), Sage Patanjali said “OM” chanting removes the obstacles of yoga.  This is valid for all yoga techniques, including Kundalini Yoga.

Precautions and safety practices of Kundalini Yoga:

Safety #1:

You are your own judge; do not rely too much on external teachers. They may have their own agendas. You have to apply your intelligence and commonsense in every moment.

Safety #2:

Do the practices one by one. Do not be in harry.  Give sufficient gap between two practices. Learn gradually.

Safety #3:

Learn the basic techniques first. Modify them according to your needs. As my teachers say “Kundalini yoga is not a static concept. You need to re-discover it in every moment. ”

Safety #4:

Forceful kundalini awakening is dangerous. It creates imbalances in the mind. So avoid these forceful techniques. Forcefulness comes from ego. Ego enjoys it. However, you have to go beyond the ego.

Safety #5:

Do the practices with patience and love for the Divine energy.

Beauty of Kundalini Yoga:

Benefit #1:

Brings balance in life.  It provides peace and stability of mind.

Benefit #2:

Releases accumulated emotions such as anger, fear and insecurity.

Benefit #3:

Re-establish our natural bio-rhythm.

Benefit #4:

It develops the feeling of joy and happiness along the spinal column.

Benefit #5

It provides more Strength and Energy.

Conclusion:

Kundalini yoga techniques are developed for greater physical and mental fitness, which prepares one for higher wisdom. It ignites the creative energy of our system. It guides the energy flow in the brain and it is best way for self healing.

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Kriya Yoga Tips

Kriya Yoga Tips:

Kriya Yoga is a very old and scientific yoga practice. It was very popular in ancient India around 19th century.  The ancient texts like “Hatha Yoga Pradipka”, “Shiva Samhita” and “Bhagavad Gita” mentioned the usefulness of these methods in harmonizing body and mind in our day to day life.

Circulating the bio-energies in our body is the key element of kriya yoga practices. Kriya yoga ignites the dormant cells in our spine. As soon as the dormant cells of our spine are lighted up, the toxins from our body are gradually eliminated and we feel lighted both in body, spirit and mind. Kriya yoga helps us to supply optimal oxygen and energy to each cell of in our body.  It helps us to eliminate the metabolic waste more efficiently. Kriya yoga uses asana, pranayama and mantra practices.

The basic steps of Kriya yoga practices are discussed in our earlier post. Here, we will discuss some useful tips for daily kriya yoga practice:

  1. First spread good will to yourselves. Then spread good will to others. Let everyone be happy.
  2. Accept and Relax:  Sit silently and listen all the sounds happening around you. Suddenly, you will fell some energy moving upwards along the spine. Just feel the energy flow in your body. You don’t need to do pranayama at that moment. Just feel the movement of the prana.
  3. Chant a mantra mentally and slowly. The mantra may be any thing that gives good energy to your body and mind. If you do not have any specific mantra. You may chant long Om mantra.  The mantra chanting should be effortlessly.
  4. Put your awareness just two inch below the naval. Feel the sensations around that area for few minutes.  Chant your mantra in that area for eleven times.
  5. Gradually, move your awareness along the spine. Feel the sensations inside the spine at different chakras along the microcosmic orbits. By putting awareness try to awaken your dormant kundalini energy.

Kriya yoga is a gradual process. It takes few months to master the practices. Along with the practices explained above, Kriya pranayama is to be practised regularly in the morning.

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Ujjayi Pranayama for Kriya Yoga – In Three Simple Steps

Ujjayi pranayama is an essential part of kriya yoga practice.

During the inhaling or exhaling of  ujjayi pranayama intentionally try to make some small vibration or sound in the throat area. Don’t give much pressure, throat glands are very sensitive, they should be in a relax state. If you think you are comfortable in making the throat vibration during inhaling do the vibrations during that time. Then you don’t need to make the sound during exhaling. If you prefer to make the vibration during exhaling, you can do it like that. You  can keep your mouth open during making the throat sound.
There are several benefits of  this pranayama. The general steps for Ujjayi Pranayama are as follows:

Step 1:

1.1  Sit on vajrasana yoga posture on a suitable yoga mat.

1.2  You need to put your hands on your knees.

1.3  Keep your fingers together.

1.4 Inhale slowly and mentally chant AUM for three times.

1.5  Hold the breath comfortably and mentally chant Om for four times.

1.6  Exhale slowly and mentally count Om for six times.

1.7 Hold the breath comfortably as long as you can.

Repeat step 1.4 to step 1.7 for SIX times

Step 2:

1.1  Sit on vajrasana yoga posture on a suitable yoga mat.

1.2  Place your hands on your chest.

1.3  Fingers of  your hand should be joined together.

1.4  Inhale (puraka) deeply and mentally chant AUM for three times.

1.5  Hold (inner kumbhaka) the breath comfortably and mentally chant Om for four times.

1.6  Exhale (rechaka) slowly and mentally chant Om for six times.

1.7  Hold (outer  kumbhaka) the breath comfortably and mentally chant Om for two times.

Repeat step 1.4 to step 1.7 for SIX times

Step 3:

1.1  Sit on vajrasana  yoga posture on a suitable yoga mat.

1.2  Place both the hands on the back of your shoulder.

1.3  Keep your fingers together.

1.4  Inhale (puraka) deeply and mentally chant AUM for three times.

1.5  Hold (inner kumbhaka) the breath comfortably and mentally chant Om for four times.

1.6  Exhale (rechaka) slowly and mentally chant Om for six times.

1.7  Hold (outer  kumbhaka) the breath comfortably and mentally chant Om for two times.

Repeat step 1.4 to step 1.7 for FOUR times

Step 1 to step 3 is one cycle of ujjayi pranayama. After completing one cycle of pranayama take rest for two minutes. Be comfortable before starting the next cycle.

Do this pranayama for two to three cycles in the morning.  If you are not comfortable sitting on  vajrasana  yoga posture, you can sit on a comfortable chair and do this breathing exercise. Ujjayi pranayama helps you stay young and fresh.

To know more visit Ujjayi Pranayama.

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khechari mudra

Benefits of Khechari Mudra

There are several benefits of Kundalini Yoga and Kriya yoga pranayam, when it is practised regularly, with sincerity. This yoga should be practised slowly and gracefully. If you are hurried, you may not achieve the results. According to the scriptures kundalini yoga, particularly khechari mudra, ujjayi pranayam and bandhas should be practised regularly. The mind should be free from strong desires. If you have a strong desire, you may need to work more. Gradually, you will be free from the strong desires. Mind should be free from the impurities like Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Matsharja. Which means mind should be free from anger, desire, hatred, attachment, aversion  and strong ego feelings.

khechari mudra
khechari mudra

If you practice the yoga mudras and bandhas regularly, those impurities will go away soon. The main benefits of successful Khechari Mudra are:

  • Mind will be free from anger, desire, hatred, attachment, aversion  and strong ego feelings.
  • Your voice will become sweet and attractive.
  • Your face will be bright, attractive and shining.
  • Fat on your abdomen will be reduced
  • You will get more vitality and energy to work
  • Your eyes will sparkle like diamond.
  • According to scripture you will be free from all deceases.

These khechari mudra practice should be done early in the morning, with love and devotion. Bandhas are very important. Mula Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha should also to be practised regularly.

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Art of Spontaneous Kechari Mudra

I am yet to see or heard about any great yogi who got enlightenment or something near to that by cutting the frenum under the tongue. But I know many yogis who can touch the uvula with the tip of the tongue. Many great yogis have different views on Kechari Mudra. Touching the third eye is one end of the Kechari Mudra story. Thre are many other stories. People are often confused. The basic question is what is achieved by these exercise? Of course, the first answer is bliss.  However, just turning the tongue backward and meditation on the tip of the tongue is having  several other benefits.

According to Paramhansa Yogananda one of the benefits of practicing Khechari Mudra is “It draws energy from the cerebrum and medulla by connecting the tip of the big tongue with the little tongue (uvula).” Again he said “Right attitude, devotion, and attunement to the Guru are more important than an over-reliance on exotic techniques such as Khechari Mudra.”


In the book “Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style” Sri Amit Ray of Himalaya, Uttarkashi brilliantly explained “I have seen several yogis buttering, massaging and pulling their tongue in the morning and in the evening. Definitely, these practices helped them to keep their attention on the tongue area. There are many sensitive invisible micro astral nerves on the palates and on the tongues. Physically, numerous taste cells are positioned not only on the tongue but also on the uvula, soft palate, larynx, pharynx, and epiglottis. This type of tongue massaging activates those taste buds on the tongue, and stimulates the secretion of certain endorphin like hormones. This produces some bliss energy in the third eye area. That is definitely a good incentive for a new yoga student. But that temporary bliss is not the objective of a true yogi. Even to get that great bliss energy you don’t need to cut the frenum under the tongue. With the help of some herbs and mantra kriya practices on the tongue you can get much better result. It is foolishness to cut the frenum under the tongue.


Kechari Mudra is much more than that. It is a great mystery. It is the mystery of exploring the inner vastness. It is merging into the nectar of inner and outer vastness. The role of physical exercise is very limited. Discovering the micro astral nerves on the palates and the uvula is the first challenge. For that you need to focus your one pointed awareness and attention in the area of ….”

Before proceeding to true Khechari Mudra, you need to do other practices to prepare the body and mind. It needs purification. It needs the practice of Sila, Samadhia and Panna. Just cuting the frenum and turning the tongue backwards and touching the palate is not enough.

When our mind will be pure and heart is full of love Kechari Mudra will occur spontaneously. Our mental purification is more important than tough physical exercise.

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Seven Steps of Kriya Yoga

To be a true kriya yogi you don’t necessarily need to read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda or any other book as such. You need to practice gently seven kriya steps.  According to Shiva Samhita reading useless books on yoga is the first hindrance of Kriya Yoga. The second hindrance of course will be looking for a Guru or Kriya teacher. All Kriya teachers are not good. Of course there are exceptions. You can judge that yourself on time, as you progress. There are plenty of books in the market, but spending too much time on books are not at all fruitful. Most of them will confuse you.

The best is, practice the steps slowly at a comfortable pace at your own.

Our body (Microcosm) is said to be a small sample of the universe (macrocosm). The whole body of a big tree is hidden in a tiny seed. In a small sperm lies the cast of the entire human body.

There are seven lighted jewels in our body.There are Seven steps in Kriya Yoga.

Step #1 : Know your Seven Energy Bodies

Step #2:  Know Seven Bija Kriya Mantras for seven energy vortex

Step #3:  Know Seven Astral Planes of existence

Step #4:   Know Seven master Postures of Yoga

Step #5:   Know Seven Yoga Foods to activate centers

Step #6:   Know Seven Breathe and Mind fluctuation energy

Step #7:    Know Seven Spiritual Grace centres in brain

Out which the sixth steps which is known as Kriya Pranayama is most vital is explained here.

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Kriya Yoga Energy Balance – The Inner Alchemy

Kriya Yoga practice is the pursuit of returning to the inner source. It involves systematically refining our internal energies  physical, mental and spiritual.  And provides us a means to better understand ourselves, the universe we live in, and our purpose in life. All energy is conserved – no energy gets lost. Only we need to transform the lower energy to higher energy. My spiritual masters taught me number of ways to transform lower energy to higher energy forms.

The harmony, interaction and connection of Heart and Kidney are crucial in Kriya Yoga.

Within Kriya Yoga there are structured guidelines and practice methods regarding the attainment of unity with nature. These guidelines and practice methods are divided into external energy yoga and internal kriya Yoga.

During the practice, you need to calm your mind and descend your Heart Fire to warm your navel. Which then changes into physical energy and travels through the small-energy loop at your back. When Yang Qi has accumulated in your Lower chakra, move the energy to the Middle chakra. Then place the spiritual energy middle chakra for cultivation. When you are comfortable gradually move the energy to the upper energy loops.

Kriya Yoga and Vipassana have the same purpose: adjust and balance the energy circuits.

Kriya Yoga Energy Balance
Kriya Yoga Energy Balance

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ulva

Visual Khechari Mudra

I learnt the great art of visual khechari mudra from the Himalayan yogi Sri Amit Ray ji of Uttarkashi. According to him it is not necessary to cut your tongue to practice khechari mudra. Khechari mudra releases the subtle astral knot of the tongue. It is also vital to bear in mind that techniques alone can never give you enlightenment or liberation. However, khechari mudra is a significant exercise to wash away the past karmas, the impressions and the samaskars. It is also known as kechari mudra. It is part of kriya yoga.

Sri Amit Ray ji strongly advised that “For getting success in khechari mudra, it is not required to cut the frenulum (the soft membrane under the tongue). To get success you need to use your imaginative power that will connect the negative energy of the tongue with the positive energy of the third eye. That connection gives eternal bliss”  According to him khechari mudra is a combination of mental and physical exercise.  Role of physical tongue exercise is very little. During the process, you just need to fold the tongue to touch the upper palate and keep the tongue in a very comfortable and relax position.

Khechari Mudra Technique:

Mostly it is a mental visualization process. First concentrate on the tip of the tongue and then concentrate on the tip of the uvula, the little tongue. Gradually build the awareness around the little tongue.  According to him building a visual micro loop around the third-eye, throat, tip of the tongue and the uvula is the secret of khechari mudra. It is much more than the physical tongue exercise techniques. Devotion, love, awareness and purity is the key to khechari mudra.

Paramhansa Yogananda in his book “little tongue” published in 1926 mentioned about khechari Mudra. He explained the role of khechari Mudra  to achieve the deep spiritual states of consciousness.

In the ancient text Siva samhita it is mentioned “Pointing the tongue upwards, when the yogi can drink the nectar flowing from the two eye-brows, within a month he certainly would conquer death” [2.72] Of course it is not talking about the physical death.

You may know more about Khechari Mudra

 

the little tongue
the little tongue

 

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Essence of Yoga and Vipassana

The concepts and methods of harmonizing body, mind, and spirit introduced centuries ago by Patanjali have been adopted by scientists, religious and spiritual leaders, and experts in the field of physical and mental health, as well as by the public at large. The concept of observing the breath and the tingling sensations of the body have been adopted by Gautam Buddha. Kriya yoga and vipassana are the two wings of a spiritual journey. If one is weak you cannot fly comfortably. God realization and stillness of mind both are important.

Buddha said “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. “ Vipassana is the art of conquering yourself.

Essence of Vipassana
Essence of Vipassana

Paramahansa Yoganandanin the writer of the spiritual classic,“Autobiography of a Yogi”, said “Meditation is the science of God‑realization. It is the most practical science in the world. Most people would want to meditate if they understood its value and experienced its beneficial effects. The ultimate object of meditation is to attain conscious awareness of God, and the soul’s eternal oneness with Him. “

 

In the teachings of the Zen masters we observed “What we call the body and mind in the Buddha Way is grass, trees and wall rubble; it is wind, rain, water and fire.”

 

Himalayan spiritual master Amit Ray of Uttarkashi in his book,  Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style”  said “There are three aspects in yoga, the first one is keeping the body and mind in harmony and healthy. The second one is stilling the mind and the third one is realising the inner sprit. Yoga deals with the first aspect of life. Vipassan is more about the stilling the mind and for the third one you need your own inner grace.”

Ramana Maharshi the master of yoga through self-inquiry mentioned that “self-inquiry is certainly not an empty formula and it is more than the repetition of any mantra. If the inquiry `Who am I?’ were a mere mental Questioning, it would not be of much value. The very purpose of self-inquiry is to focus the entire mind at its source. It is not, therefore, a case of one `I’ searching for another `I’. Much less is self-inquiry an empty formula, for it involves an intense activity of the entire mind to keep it steadily poised in pure Self-awareness.” Self inquiry is the art of knowing yourself.

Sri Aurobindo tried to amalgamate the older religions and said “Eevolution is the method by which it liberates itself; consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient, and once having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and higher and at the same time to enlarge and develop towards a greater and greater perfection. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness; mind is the second; but the evolution does not finish with mind, it awaits a release into something greater, a consciousness which is spiritual and supramental. The next step of the evolution must be towards the development of Super-mind and Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. For only then will the involved Divinity in things release itself entirely and it become possible for life to manifest perfection.”

Great yogi Ramakrishna Paramhansa taught ceaselessly for fifteen years the basic truths of all religion through parables, metaphors, songs and by his own life. He said “There are pearls in the deep sea, but you must hazard all perils to get them. If you fail to get at them by a single dive, do not conclude that the sea is without them. Dive again and again, and you are sure to be rewarded in the end. So also in the quest for the Lord, if your first attempt to see Him proves fruitless, do not lose heart. Persevere in the attempt, and you are sure to realize Him at last.”

Essence of Religion
Essence of Religion

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Winter Yoga

If you prefer the outdoor yoga, dress correspondingly and get out for a walking yoga. Walking through the snow might be a brilliant way of getting the heart rate up in the cold winter months. You can have an even better time if you join with your yoga pet for the walk.

If you do not like the traditional way of yoga, then you may pick up the snow shovel and go for shovel yoga. This is an excellent technique of physical activity. You will have a great time together with your children and family by practicing this shovel yoga.

Remaining active in winter is must. According to the Himalayan yoga master Sri Amit Ray “Activity, spirit and fun is the essence of yoga.” Get as much as you can to allow your body to produce as much seratonin as possible. Expose yourself to plenty of sunlight. Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed early and rise when the sun does.

If you are doing indoor yoga, turn the room temperature up to at least 100 degrees. During exercise the heat allows your body to be more fluid and flexible.  You may sweat a lot depending on the humidity levels of your room, but heat is the key. If you are doing Vipassana yoga keep your awareness on the sensation of heat and cold. Just observe the feelings.

Lahiri Mahasaya was Yogananda’s guru’s guru explained the beauty of kriya yoga during winter.  Great yoga teacher Sri Ramana Maharshi explained winter as the best time for concentration.  Yoga Guru Sri Ramakrishna said  “Repeat God’s name and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God’s devotees and holy men. “.  Winter is the best time for that.

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