Kundalini Meditation and Chakras
The word Kundal signifies a loop or in Hindi, it is also the word used when we refer to a woman’s earring.
When a snake is coiled around something, it keeps its head resting at the top of the coil as if it is protecting something that is hidden inside its coils. Hence its head stays alert like a guard. In the fables of India, the Nag was always symbolized as the protector of precious gems. Here the precious gems refer to the Kundalini energy that is stored within us. Every one of us is born with this energy. Only, it lies dormant within us till the time of awakening. This awakening can sometimes happen naturally and we are unaware of it, or it can happen through specific yogic and meditative practices.
Kundalini in essence is divine vital life energy. We are currently using only half the energy potential that exists inside our body while the rest of these life forces rests dormant. This dormant energy is the kundalini energy. To live a completely normal and active life, it is not necessary to awaken the kundalini. Most people don’t even know of its existence and live a perfectly adequate life.
It is important to remember that one should be ready for the awakening of one’s kundalini energy. In a way, it can be said that Kundalini Yoga and meditation can be the most potential as well as the most potent form of practice. The awakening of the Kundalini can open up many dimensions in a person’s life. However, even if the best things come to us at a time when we are not ready for them, it can mean huge negative consequences and wouldn’t be a good thing. Hence, it is important that when you are working on your Kundalini, you should only do so under constant vigilant guidance. Otherwise, one must not attempt the practices. The awakening of the Kundalini can cause your life to change instantly. If you are not ready or aware of how to handle these changes, then things may fall apart in your world. Nowadays a lot of books are written on the subject and many people read these and try to adapt the practices. This can be very dangerous. There are various steps that must be followed with strict discipline, focus, and many changes in one’s lifestyle and these must be done under vigilant guidance.
Kundalini Yog can transform the way you are within days. It will cause you to make huge changes in your lifestyle and the way you treat yourself and those around you. Hence it is also advised to stay away from too much social contact and the distractions and temptations of the senses. It may change everything inside your body, and if not done under the right guidance, you may find yourself to be a stranger inside your own vessel. We can awaken the kundalini by creating a conducive atmosphere for it to rise gradually or the other way would be to. provoke it to rise quickly. A quick rise will also cause quick changes, while a slow rise will cause slow changes in time which you may be capable of handling better.
We usually compare the kundalini to the symbol of a snake, because it is easier to imagine the process of a snake uncoiling itself and gradually traveling upwards along the Nadis, it connects the 6 main chakras from the Mooladhara, where it uncoils, and travels upwards to the Swadisthana, the Manipura, Anahata, Visuddhi and ends at the Ajna or third eye chakra. This is another reason why it is compared to a snake. Once uncoiled completely, it touches all the chakras at the same time and stays in contact with each chakra till it reaches Ajna. Here it stays awakened by being in contact with all of the chakras.
Another way that a kundalini sometimes gets activated is through the process of Bhakti Yog to a particular deity or entity. Here we accept that God knows better than us and it is up to him to activate the chakras. There are in fact about 112 ways to activate our chakras. Some of these include yoga and meditation, specific kundalini yoga and meditation practices, pranayama, guru shakti path (when an enlightened guru touches your head and activates it), and mantra chanting. Once the kundalini is awakened, it never goes back to sleep.
Let us now discuss each of the chakras in detail:
Mool - root. Adhara - base / foundation. Hence it is called the root chakra.
This chakra is located at the base of our spine on the back part of our body. It is the perineum in the male body and the cervix in females.
It is associated with food and sleep. When this chakra becomes activated, food becomes a selective process and one sleeps with awareness, you are even aware when you are dreaming.
- Colour - red
- Lotus - 4 petalled lotus /Chaturtakamala( chaturta- 4 in Sanskrit, kamala - lotus)
- Element - earth
- Deity - Lord Ganesha. One worships and asks for his help to activate this chakra.
- Beej Mantra - Lam ( l - from LambodhanaGanpati or big-bellied Ganpati, am- om)
The Muladhara chakra is the resting place of the dormant serpent. It is the source of all energy whether sexual, emotional, mental, psychic, or spiritual. The more you are conscious of this chakra even when you are not meditating, the higher your chances of activating it. To concentrate on it, we visualize the color red while focussing on the perineum or cervix of the spine and repeat the Lam mantra.
When this chakra is not activated, a person can be increasingly lazy, angry, slow, in a habit of postponing things, and have a very Kapha-like personality.
Swa- self. Adhishthana - dwelling place. The literal meaning can be one’s own abode.
Approximately two fingers above the mooladhara chakras are the swadishthana chakra.
It is associated with fears and all desires including sexual desires. Fear includes the fear of dying, losing someone, the fear of sadness or happiness, and any other big, small, or irrational fears. The activation of this chakra may cause one to travel more, choose courage to face one’s fears, and may also cause an increase in desires and cravings.
- Colour - Orange. As it starts to activate, one can notice that it is more orange at the bottom and yellow at the top.
- Lotus - 6 petalled lotus / Sasthankamala (sasthan- 6 in Sanskrit)
- Element- water
- Deity - Lord Varun, the God of water. ( for women it is also associated with the Goddess Saraswati connected with the womb area)
- Beej mantra - Vam ( v- Lord Varun, am- om)
The swadishthana chakra is the storehouse of all our past mental impressions and most deep-rooted instincts of humankind. By purifying this center we transcend our animal instincts. We could try to visualize a deep ocean beneath the night sky, whose dark waves represent the movements and flow of our awareness.
Mani- gem , pura - place. Therefore the storehouse of gems or jewels.
This is located on the back of the spine just below the navel area or the solar plexus. It is directly related to the digestive organs, food metabolism as well as adrenal glands.
This is where karma is recognized, a person whose Manipura is activated ends up becoming a Karma Yogi. He travels because of the activation of the swadisthana chakra but then returns home as he realizes that real happiness lies at home and this is where he chooses to do his Karma as it will bear him the most fruit. Karma referred to here can be of any form and should not be confused with Karma Yoga for others.
Eg: Gautama Buddha left home and traveled in search of himself and peace. When he found this, he started to realize that he couldn’t share his knowledge or Gyan while he was constantly traveling. At this time, he chose to stop at one place and from here he started to preach.
This chakra is called the hidden gem because we can change our destiny with our karma. (to know more about Karma and Destiny, please refer to our Vipassana article)
- Colour - yellow
- Lotus - 10 petalled lotus / Daskakamala (Daska- 10 in sanskrit)
- Element - fire
- Deity - Lord Shiva (rudra)
- Beej mantra - Ram ( r- rudra, am- om)
When this chakra is activated, we work smart instead of hard. All our psychological processes are speedier, making us more alert with a higher level of intensity in our bodies' abilities and blood circulation. When this chakra is dormant, those people don’t understand the value of karma or intentions, They are finicky and tend to keep changing their minds. They aren’t considered to be dependable people and generally have a lot of expectations.
To concentrate on this chakra we can visualize a blazing sun or ball of fire radiating from this region and permeating the entire body.
Anahata is the universal sound. This is our heart chakra where originates the sound of Om that is present all over our body. It is endless. The literal meaning of the word Anahata is unstruck.
- Colour - green
- Lotus - 12 petalled lotus / Dwarkamala (Dwar- 12 in sanskrit)
- Element - air
- Deity- Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, the God of. Balance.
- Beej mantra - Yam ( Y- Yogi as Krishna was the biggest Yogi, am- om)
It is symbolized with a hexagon that is shaped from two triangles. These come from the lower Manipura chakra (yellow) and the higher vishuddi chakra (blue). (Blue + yellow +green)
When this chakra is activated, a person exuberates kindness, compassion, and creativity. Such people function from their heart and are often misunderstood by those with the wrong intentions and sometimes get hurt harder. It is associated with the heart, lungs, and respiratory organs.
Shiv (adi yogi-adi means ancient) meditated to Vishnu
Krishna meditated for everyone since he was Vishnu himself.
Vis- throat, shuddhi- purification. This is the filtration or purification chakra. It is located on the throat, behind the throat pit. It governs the ears, the vocal cords, the larynx region, the thyroid, and the parathyroid glands.
- Colour - blue
- Lotus - 16 petalled lotus / Sookamala (Soo- 12 in sanskrit)
- Element - air
- Deity- GoddessSaraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and illumination.
- Beej mantra - Ham ( H- Hasini is another name for Saraswati, am- om)
This is the chakra of communication, transparency, speech, speaking, motivation, right understanding, and discrimination. It is also called the Truth Chakra. The dualities of life are. accepted and the person in whom this chakra is activated flows with life and allows things to happen as they will.
If it is blocked, the person generally says one thing but does another, they cannot be trusted, have no integrity, and makes empty promises. If their heart is bad, then they tend to create a bad will in relationships with words.
When this chakra starts to open, there is a possibility you will start to feel the snake on your neck. To visualize this chakra, imagine a large white drop of nectar falling down your throat delivering a feeling of bliss.
Ajna - command.
This is the last chakra and is referred to by different names such as the third eye, the eye of wisdom (jnana), Triveni or the confluence of three rivers, guru chakra, or the eye of Shiva. We receive guidance from our inner gurus or our higher selves by meditating on this chakra.
It is connected to the pineal gland and is also our bridge between the mental and psychic dimensions. It is responsible for clairvoyance, clairaudience, and telepathy.
- Colour - Blue
- Lotus - 2 petalled lotus / Dourkamala (Dour- 12 in Sanskrit). These two petals represent the sun and the moon, the ida (negative) and Pingala (positive), and the convergence of these two in the Sushumna.
- Element - air
- Deity- Lord Shiva
- Beej mantra - Aum
The activation of this chakra leads to an increase in wisdom and intuition. One becomes steady, strong, fully aware, and is able to gain full control of their prana and thoughts. It stimulates all the faculties of the mind and also increases concentration and memory power.
To visualize this chakra, we can imagine a tiny point of light or the Om symbol at the center.
Sahasrara literally means one thousand which symbolizes the thousand-petalledlotus, there are 50 petals on 20 lines. It is situated at the crown of the head. In the center of the lotus is the jyotirlinga or the lingam of light or pure consciousness. It is the union of Shiva and Shakti, the fusion of consciousness with matter and energy, the individual soul and the supreme soul.
One cannot really meditate on this chakra. It is the state of pure intoxicating bliss that is achieved by jumping into the abyss where one gains supreme knowledge and passes beyond birth and death.
A side note:
Sometimes we hear people talk about their chakras being unbalanced. This can happen if one of the chakras has been activated while the others are still dormant.
For eg: if a person’s Ajna chakra is activated, then this person will always have a thirst for knowledge and philosophy, thinks a lot but may suffer in areas that concern emotions, feelings, and the heart. It also possible at times that a chakra gets activated or some of the petals of the lotus may open up unknowingly due to various reasons. But this is not related to Kundalini as the snake always activates them all starting from bottom to top and going simultaneously. The chakras can open in many ways but by default, they lie dormant.
This article is in no way meant to serve as a guide to the activation of your kundalini. We are just sharing information based on our own knowledge and experiences. We reinstate that you must work with a teacher in person if you wish to practice any sort of kundalini awakening, yoga meditation.