For millennia Kundalini has been at the very heart of Yoga. Though often spoken about in vague and esoteric terms, what the traditions point to is being reenacted in every space where spiritual process has been kept as a living energy. It is understood that most of these classical yogic methods of postures (asana) breathwork (pranayama) neuro-muscular locks (mudra & bandha) that are part of the biologically based spiritual technology of Yoga, arose spontaneously in the bodies of many meditators when they entered expanded states of consciousness. In these states it is the awakened energy of consciousness (Kundalini) which guides the process, Yoga is a happening... not a doing. None of the classical yogic methods were invented, rather they emerged as spontaneous happening within the nervous system of the awakening human being.
It is this unbroken exploration which has over the historicity of time, that has birthed the sophisticated vocabulary of the varied yogic practices we see today. Yoga is about the awakening of consciousness, there can be no Yoga without Kundalini.
So what we are left with in the modern times are the remnants of what unfolded in a living spiritual culture. The science of Kundalini is the Yoga of Neuro-biological transformation of the human person. It is time to Re-member Kundalini as the author of living Yoga, to read this new chapter of yoga in our very body, blood & breath.
Neuro-dharma of the digital age
Tradition points to us that Awakening of Shakti happens at the point of perfect equilibrium/union (Samadhi/Yoga) between the Pingala (active/extrovertion/masculine) and the Ida (calming/introversion/feminine) forces within the system. Now translating this into a language we can all speak, which is science, this insight maps on to the harmonizing & interplay between the the sympathetic and the parasympathetic during out circadian rhythms that opens up the portal of REM Sleep where we enter the classical state of meditativeness. It is here that Shakti comes alive as the polarity of our autonomic nervous system engage in this scintillating dance of equilibrium or yoga.
The moment we begin to break down the process of energetic activation into the language of science and see how the awakened Kundalini is a neuro physiological process just as much as a spiritual one, we can begin to open into a new narrative of Yoga as Neuro-Dharma, something that is universal and not based on some localised belief system. But more than that we can streamline the process of awakening Shakti when we can untangle the science of energetic activation from the cultural narrative that it is usually wrapped up in.
According to the tradition, the human nervous system is a treasure trove of blissfulness & clarity. They even go as far as to say that enlightenment can only be found in the body and that for awakening to be complete it has to be brought to the level of the body, ‘cellular enlightenment’.
Awakening isn’t purely a subjective experience that occurs merely at the level of awareness, just as each state of mind & emotion has an impact on the body, the higher states of awareness cultivated through spiritual discipline brings about a total rewiring of the nervous & endocrine system. Without this rewiring one would not be able to sustain these higher levels of consciousness.
In some traditions which are more awareness oriented, this transformation of the body happens over time as the higher states are sustained over long periods of meditation. But in the tantric lineages, this integration begins to occur right from the start of the journey making the process more efficient and coherent. This is one of the primary functions of Shakti, the awakened energy of the practice.
The term 'Kundalini' and it's associated concepts/frame works including Yoga comes to us from the Tantric tradition. Though in the modern world Yoga teachers either aren't aware of or don't acknowledge that Tantra is the parent body of Yoga. The whole understanding around Prana, Nadi & Chakra comes to us from the many Tantric schools that existed in medieval India.
To begin with, the word tantra is made up of two words ‘tanoti’ which means to expand and ‘trayati’ which means liberation. So Tantra is the science of liberation of awareness through the expansion of energy. There are many systems of methods within the tantric system which lead towards the expansion of the energy flows.
The word 'tantra' also means 'to weave into'; the path is one of reweaving the threads of all aspect of who we are into the fabric we call the human person and eventually reweaving this harmonious being with the fabric of life itself. This process of reweaving or integration starts first with the balancing of our nervous system.