All the (Kundalini!) Feels:
In this free video on kundalini excerpted from a 2011 live online Q&A sessions on Skype, KAP Senior Instructor Tao Semko answers the question: “What are different ways that people feel kundalini in their bodies?”
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“For quite a long time, I didn’t realize that what I was experiencing was Kundalini. This is because it’s usually described as an electric shock, or a fiery current running up the back. Later I realized that there are people that experience the physical aspect of Kundalini in a similar way to me, i.e. more like a fountain of champagne bubbles moving in waves throughout the body. Do you know why there is this difference?”
That question is from Wales in the UK.
Yes. There are a number of ways that Kundalini is physically experienced in the body, and those two are actually the most common. People tend to feel it either as a stream of electricity running through either the vagus nerve or the spine.
Or as a fiery feeling current, especially when it first emerges from the lower parts of the spine and the pelvic floor, and some people even the feet and the legs get that fiery feeling moving up them. And certainly there’s a lot of metaphors in the bible and elsewhere, a lot of sacred texts around the world that will use fire analogies or lightning analogies.
But, there is a smaller percentage of men, and a larger percentage of women who do experience it more like champagne bubbles moving in waves throughout the body.
It’s a slightly different experience than the simple experience of breath energy, or chi, or prana which does have a sort of plasmic fluid feeling in the body when you start to do a lot of deep breathing combined with movement, whether you’re doing pranayama or QiGong or Tai Chi, you do get a somewhat fluid feeling with those experiences of human breath energy or vital energy moving through the body.
But, Kundalini when it takes on this fluid feeling is a good bit more intense.
First of all it feels like it’s moving to some degree on its own. Once it’s free of blockages, it moves in waves throughout the body, and it can feel like tiny little champagne bubbles. It can also feel like a lava lamp, like the shifting plasma inside of a lava lamp actually moving up through the body. And it can also take on the feeling of a serpent, either a hot or a cool serpent moving in waves through the body.
That wave-like feeling, in terms of the shape of its contours, has to do with the fact that Kundalini — although it can move through the spinal nerves, in order to completely connect all of the different centers in both the subtle body and the physical body — it needs to travel along the area of the vagus nerves which go right through the central core of the body in a wandering wave like fashion.
Vagus comes from the same Latin root as the word vague meaning wandering, and the feeling of the snake-like coursing of energy through the body has to do with the fact that it’s not running along a straight line. It’s actually moving in waves. In addition you have the oscillating wave like effect.
Kundalini tends to move in actual oscillations. It has rhythm to it, and it can be deeply, and profoundly affected by external rhythms: music, drumming, etc. once it’s actually moving. It can be affected by the rhythm of the breath, of the heartbeat. It can be affected by the movement or rhythm of the hips of two lovers making love.
Now as for the reason that some people experience it as this fiery or jagged, electric current shooting through the body like lightning, and other people experience it as this softer, more fluid, more feminine, slightly less volatile and slower moving almost like molasses or champagne bubbles slowly moving through fluid: that has a little bit more to do with the physical constitution of the individuals involved. The constitution both as it’s reflected in their body, in terms of their blood type, in terms of how awake their nervous system is, versus how much their muscle movements are involved.
In the traditional sense, in Hindu Tantra for instance in Ayurveda, this difference between the fiery or electric feeling, and the slightly more fluid feeling has to do with the swara, the breath phase or breath cycle during which the person is conceived, and during which they are born.
When they are born in what is called a watery or earthy phase, they tend to have more of this smoothness, smooth oscillations, fluid feelings to the Kundalini itself.
But it’s still a lot more powerful — and it feels like it has its own intelligence, its own mind, its own desires, at least at first until you’ve integrated your cognitive personality with the Kundalini — than the feeling of simple prana or breath energy, chi.
If you do a lot of deep breathing of any kind, and your body’s fairly relaxed when you’re doing it, you will start to feel tingles in your body, in way or another. You might feel them as cool, or warm, but you will feel tingling sensations moving through the nerves, through the subtle channels of the body.
Kundalini is another animal.
It’s a lot more intense. It feels a lot more alive. And it changes as it goes through different parts of the body, if that makes sense. As it goes through different nerve plexuses and endocrine systems in the physical body, and also as it goes through different regions of the subtle body, opening up different forms of consciousness.
People whose constitutions tend to be much more high strung, who tend to have more nervous dispositions where they’re constantly sending nerve signals through their brain and through the peripheral nerves of the body — as opposed to people who are relaxed, and more calm, and more heavy by nature — that tends to be also, to some degree, the difference between the people with the fiery or electric sensation Kundalini, and that of the more watery or bubbly sensation.
As for the reason that you almost always hear or read traditional stories expressed as fire or lightning metaphors: I’ve noticed, and we’ve had the opportunity to both awaken Kundalini in a lot of people through this system and also through the other systems that I teach, but we’ve been able to also talk to a lot of people who spontaneously went through Kundalini or who awakened Kundalini using other systems as well.
And what we found is that the personalities of those who experienced the more fiery or electric Kundalini also tend to be the personalities that want to mythologize or storytell a lot about their experiences. They’re the ones who want to let the world know that they saw the burning bush so to speak, whereas the people who tend to be more watery including a great many of the women who go through this experience and maybe 20% of the men, they tend to be more chill about it, more sedate.
I myself have experienced at different times of my life, when different stages of Kundalini sort of opened up, the first ones [were] spontaneous, meaning I wasn’t trying to awaken Kundalini, and the later ones with both Tantric systems and KAP I experienced the more watery version first, and later on because of a different disposition of personality and body, I experienced a little bit more of the fiery electric radical sensation. I can’t say that one’s better than the other.
Typically people who go through the bubbly version, it takes them a little longer, but they also get a more complete opening of the physical body to the flow of the energy, whereas people who experience it in very rapid ascent, it tends to wire together just one pathway through the body and unless the person consciously tries to integrate the rest of the body, it’s a very rapid experience, but it may not be quite as complete in the sense of rewiring the entire physical body.
— Transcription by Spencer Stevens
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