If you’re someone whose on a spiritual journey, you’ve probably come across the term “Kundalini Awakening”. When Kundalini awakening happens, all of the chakras become activated and balanced. Any energy blocks are released and you now have access to the spiritual gifts of each chakra. If that sounds really mystical, it’s because it is. This is a spiritual awakening.
Out here in the West, the chakras have mostly been reduced to simple positive psychology. “Activate the solar plexus to be more confident.” “Unblock the sacral chakra to reduce shame.” However the chakras are so much more than simple “life hacks”. They are sacred, and learning to unblock and balance each one is a spiritual journey. When they are all unblocked, you have achieved Kundalini Awakening. This is no small feat.
The way to achieve Kundalini Awakening is through a consistent practice of Kundalini Yoga. This is a style of yoga that you probably aren’t going to see being offered at your local yoga studio. This is also not one of those yoga practices that’s going to “get you ripped”. The movements seem to be designed to massage each of the chakras. There are no sun salutations, downward facing dogs, or warrior poses. There is a heavy focus on breathing exercises and chanting. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try.
I’ve done so many of these spiritual practices over the years that promise to bring about enlightenment, that I’ve learned to keep my expectations low. I decided to do roughly 30 minutes of kundalini yoga per day for 30 days straight to give it a fair try. I figured that at the very least it would be good for strengthening my back muscles and would help with my back pain. And it did!
It was about 2.5 weeks into my practice that I noticed this “rush” feeling. It was very similar to a panic attack feeling. Everything in and about my life just felt very wrong. I just sort of sat with the feeling until it went away. Apparently this is a very common reaction to Kundalini. It was very unpleasant, but I decided to stick with the practice anyway.
As I continued, I got the panic feeling probably two more times. Then there was a shift. I started to experience random memories from my childhood related to trauma. I have been diagnosed with PTSD. One of the myths out there about PTSD is that it is caused by a singular event but everything outside of that event in that person’s life has been fine. My feeling is that if that was the case for me, I wouldn’t have PTSD.
I think a more accurate understanding of PTSD is that for many people there was a “triggering event” that then set off a cascade of other traumatizing experiences. Rather than being experienced as isolated events, they become an unending pattern of trauma within that person’s life. This is why PTSD is about so much more than just “getting over that one event”. It’s more like ending a never-ending curse, but in order to end the curse you have to unravel it and understand the meaning behind it. This is what kundalini yoga did for me.
Most of the memories that came up for me were things that I hadn’t thought about in years. I wouldn’t say that they were “repressed memories” in the traditional sense, more like memories of times that had caused me to decide something bad about myself that then supported the trauma. What was different though is that immediately following the memory I would gain an insight about that event that was not trauma-fueled. I came to an understanding about the memory that was accurate rather than traumatizing. Although “accurate” does not always mean “positive”, it did mean that the pain associated with that trauma was now gone. I was healing.
This process of systematically going through memories and processing and releasing them is known in shamanic practices as “recapitulation”. Often these rituals would take place in a sweat lodge. In shamanism, the process of recapitulation is ongoing and never truly ends.
Something I didn’t know until after I had started is that kundalini yoga IS a proven treatment for PTSD. I was really shocked by how effective it is, and yet you never hear about it. Also add to the fact that you can do it for FREE. This was something I did in my regular clothes while watching kundalini yoga videos on youtube. The channel I liked best was called Refeel Yoga, but there are other good ones too.
Those 30 days have come and gone, and I am still doing a regular practice of kundalini yoga months later. The memories that are coming up are coming closer to present day. Although I wouldn’t say that I am 100% healed yet, I feel better than perhaps I have ever been. I talked about my experiences with kundalini yoga, trauma, and spiritual awakening in this video.
If you decide to give kundalini yoga a try after reading this article, it’s important to understand that kundalini awakening is not the be all and end all of spiritual development. It’s actually only the beginning. Think of it as a sort of “initiation ritual”. If you wish to continue to develop the chakras and the abilities associated with them, the next step is to practice Raja Yoga.
Although I plan on continuing kundalini yoga, I do plan on integrating raja yoga into my practice as well. You can expect to see a similar post on my experiences with Raja in the future.