What is Kundalini? From the Biological, Energetic, and Psycho-Spiritual Perspectives:
Well first question is: what is Kundalini, and that’s certainly of general interest. Kundalini — very deep question too, because it has many layers of truth about it. On the biological level, Kundalini is a response of the nerves and the endocrine system.
The energy that’s referred to as Kundalini energy, the particular kind of electric response through the nervous and endocrine systems begins typically in the lower areas of the torso, and in some cases in the legs, and it feels something like an electrical current running through the body. Not just little jolts, but ripples, rumblings, kind of like peals of thunder but experienced as feeling.
Most people have experienced little tiny bits of this if they’ve experienced a very powerful orgasm, or if they’ve been urinating, and they cut off the stream of urine using the muscles of the pelvic floor, and they feel a little jolt go up their nerves either up through their spine or up through the vagus nerves that go through the central core of the body.
Those are tiny tiny little examples of the Kundalini response. Basically, its kind of like turning on a little flash bulb light as opposed to turning on the city lights.
That same response however can be fostered, and expanded, and moved through the whole body so that it’s experienced not as a particularly sexual response, but as a full response that has a whole spectrum of different experiences connected to it because of all of the different brain connections, all of the different endocrine connections, and all of the emotions that are connected to each of those in turn. So a whole spectrum of emotional feelings, sensory responses. All sort of things begin to open up.
If Kundalini is guided through the whole body, and steadily amplified — and the way to do that so as not to imbalance the body is what many of these traditional and more recent Kundalini methods are focused on.
The advantage of KAP is that it is both secular and also scientific. It’s not something that is built on some notion of, you know, you do some magical formula and instantly magic happens. All of the traditional methods that used, for instance, mantra, or prayer, or devotion, or specific religious practices work because of what those practices do to the hormones in the body, or what the sound, the resonance of the music or the mantra or the prayer that is being used does to the nervous system of the body.
The actual reverberations cause effects, that cause changes, that cause the brain and the nervous system to go into particular wave states.
So, although somebody can be given a seemingly mystical practice, and it can cause these changes to take place in the body, you can actually look at that practice if you have an understanding of the mechanics of both Kundalini, and the physical and subtle bodies, and break it down and actually look at it and say, “Oh it works ‘cause of this, this, and this.”
[That] doesn’t mean that there isn’t an aspect of mystery and wonder about all of this, because there’s an aspect of mystery and wonder about everything. Any mundane thing you look at, if you don’t’ see it as being pretty amazing, it’s just because you’ve grown so accustomed to it that you’re not actually looking at it with fresh eyes.
So, that’s the biological answer. The spiritual answer is that because of all of the shifts that take place in your physical body, or if you’re using a Chinese medical model or yogic model, the shifts that take place in the subtle body (the meridians, the chakras, etc.) you become much more aware and open up to a lot more levels of awareness. Different emotions that you may not have experienced fully before open out.
Subtle awarenesses of things that do not have subtle reality, and yet are experienced by everybody who’s gone through this Kundalini experience, somewhat subjectively, but they’re all still experiencing it in more or less the same way.
It is possible just through the cultivation of breath, prana or chi — prana being vital energy from the breath — to start experiencing some of those things, and so people often get confused as to what is an effect of Kundalini or what’s an effect of chi practices or prana practices. Just doing deep breathing alone causes profound changes in the human physiology, and in the human consciousness.
But, Kundalini is experienced a little bit differently from prana or chi. The experiences that have been labeled prana, or chi, or ki, or ruach, those particular models, these are names that been given to an experience that practitioners go through. Typically, those things are experienced as a slow-moving tingling almost fluid sensation going through the body.
There are some exceptions. Some more faster moving signals that go through the body that may have more heat to them. But it’s a little bit different from Kundalini which is usually experienced as a much more electrically alive sensation that moves much more rapidly through the body, instantaneously just like electricity seems to.
The less resistance there is in the body, the faster the signal moves, and it moves as a constant trembling current. A divine vibration if you’re really opening yourself up sort of on the level of embracing it with the heart area, the thymus, with the pituitary the pineal gland, etc.
So it is a different experience. However, many times when somebody is experiencing one, there is also a movement of the other going on. You can be experiencing Kundalini moving through the body and at the same time, because you’ve been doing a lot of deep breathing, also experience the effects of chi.
And that can lead to some confusion as to what people are labeling one thing versus another if they haven’t really done a lot of practice, and a lot of experimentation with themselves until they can really differentiate all the different things they’re feeling.
— Transcription by Spencer Stevens