Fundamentals of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient art and science dealing with the alteration and expansion of consciousness, the awakening and raising of Kundalini Energy up the spine through energy centers called Chakras, activating them. This is accomplished by the mixing and uniting of Prana (cosmic energy) with Apana (eliminating energy) which generates pressure to force Kundalini to rise, by means of Pranayama (breathing exercises), Bhandas (body locks), in Kriyas (exercise sets), using Asanas (postures), Mudras (gestures), and Mantras (chanted words).
Kundalini Yoga sets also use Visualization, Projection and Focused Attention to attain specific effects.
Through the practice of Kundalini Yoga, an individual can unite his consciousness with Cosmic Consciousness on a regular basis by carefully performing the exercises and meditations in specific sequence and combination. A student soon becomes adept at perceiving the movement of energy within and outside of his body, and consciously begins to direct its flow to stimulate and awaken the chakras, for healing himself and others, and clearly becomes a co-creator with God.
(taken from Transitions to a Heart Centered World - Guru Rattana, Ph.D.)
An incredibly powerful storehouse of psychic energy, sometimes called Shakti, symbolized as a coiled, sleeping serpent at the base of the spine ("Kundal" means 'curl'). Once awakened it uncoils and ascends through the spinal column (in the psychic channel, Sushumana) to the Sahasrara (the masculine Crown Chakra) at the top of the head, and triggers a transcendent spiritual state. Repeated experiences produce enlightenment.
Prana is the basic life force of consciousness in the air we breathe and the food we eat, assimilated effortlessly, and Kundalini yoga practice enhances its absorption. Apana is the elimating energy stored in the lower chakras. When it is raised and united with Prana (by breath retention & body contractions or locks), psychic heat is generated which raises Kundalini through the chakras.
A series of one or more exercises or postures in combination with pranayama, locks, chanting, visualization, projection, etc., in specific sequence designed to produce specific effects. Kundalini Yoga kriyas are centuries old. The total effect of a kriya is greater than the sum of its parts. 'Kriya' literally means 'work' or 'action'.
A pose or posture designed to stimulate glands, organs or body awareness, and to quiet the mind for meditation. Asanas often apply pressure on nerves or accupressure points, reflexing to the brain and body for certain effects.
A gesture or position, usually of the hands, that locks and guides energy flow and reflexes to the brain. By curling, crossing, stretching and touching the fingers and hands, we can talk to the body and mind, as each area of the hand reflexes to a certain part of the mind or body.
Body locks or muscular contractions applied for the retention and channelling of Prana.
In the body, centers of exchange between the psychic and physical dimensions. Like transformers, then change subtle prana into physical energy flowing through a system of 'nadis' (psychic channels like the meridian system of Oriental medicine). Chakras are energy vortexes perceived as spinning discs of light ('chakra' means wheel) situated along the spine.
A mantra is a syllable, word or phrase in one of the sacred languages (like Sanskrit & Gurmukhi) or sometimes in English, which elevates or modifies consciousness through its meaning, the sound itself, rhythm, tone, and even the reflexology or the tongue on the palate. Mantra is "The Yoga of the Mind".
Breathing to channel and direct the flow of prana and alter consciousness.
The stilling of the rational, reasoning, dualistic egotistical mind to allow the neutral mind to focus awareness on inner reality beyond intellectual concepts, and on outer reality beyond physical, earthly objects. Meditation uses many techniques to achieve this purpose, and produces a calm, sensitiveless emotional, alert, intuitive, effective, efficient and self-controlled personality, and an enhanced sense of being and consciousness. Consistent meditation promotes inner peace, happiness and life in higher consciousness.
Important components in the practice of Kundalini Yoga are Focus (we may be asked to gaze at the nose, focus on the spine, a chakra, the breath, a mantra, physical functions or on something outside of the body), Visualization (of energy movement, magnetic fields, thought forms, astral bodies, ether, light, color, etc.,) and Projections of Consciousness out into the Universe. These practices develop awareness of the mobility of consciousness, the ability to hold several things in the mind at once and to direct energy movements empowering our sense of dominion and potential impact on the world.