What IS Kundalini?

Profile picture for user Lawrence Lanoff

Lawrence Lanoff

I was leading a workshop called The NEW Relationship Roadmap in Sedona, Arizona this weekend. One of the questions that came up during the workshop relates to something called “awakened kundalini” energy.

So what is kundalini? If you have never heard of kundalini before, consider this to be a rational primer.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit word that literally means “coiled.” It refers to the idea that, in the base of the spine, there is a potential energy - instinctual, libidinal, unconscious - that awaits awakening and transformation. It is often envisioned as a goddess or a serpent that, through meditation, yoga, and other esoteric exercises, uncoils and rises up the spine in order to be transformed from animal into godly perfection.

Of course this is all metaphor. There is no real snake or goddess. There is no actual godly perfection. Kundalini is an ancient people’s way of trying to understand and control the power of instinctual sexual impulses. When these instinctual impulses freely move in the body, up the spine, and into the brain, the kundalini is said to be awakened - and the sexual energy is said to be purified.

Some traditionally accepted signs of an “awakened” kundalini include:

Involuntary jerks, tremors, shaking - especially when becoming sexually aroused.
Energy rushes or feelings of electricity circulating the body.
Intense heat (sweating) or cold.
A state of constant orgasm.
Pressure inside the skull and headache
Bliss, feelings of infinite love and universal connectedness, transcendent awareness

For me, kundalini is best understood as a deep trance state, where unconscious impulses can move freely without the conscious mind controlling those impulses. The more we allow these experiences, the more the brain’s capacity to deal with these powerful impulses expands.

The impulse release can cause a disconcerting firestorm for many people if they don’t understand what’s happening. I knew one woman who lived with involuntary jerks (not men) for 3 years before she came to me and I was able to help her.

I see more and more clearly - everyday - how sexually repressed we all really are. When sexual impulses are free to flow through the body, something beautiful happens inside of our psyche. Ecstatic feelings, endorphins flow, life feels pulsating and delicious. Fear and terror may arise as well in resistance to pleasure.

For me, this free flow of sexual energy is a profound experience - but one that I have full control over. By going into a deep trance, I give these very sexual and sensual parts of myself complete room to express. I allow them to have sound, energy, movement, freedom in my body. My body shakes, waves, rocks and rolls, and feel like I have had one of the best workouts in the world.

We all want to be accepted for who we are. We want to feel normal in our sexual impulses. We want to feel good about our bodies. This is natural for us mammals. We want sexual freedom without social consequence. Kundalini - as a trance state - can allow us some experience of this.

When I let my body flow freely - it can be anywhere from minutes to hours - I can completely loose my sense of self. Bring the “kundalini” into your lovemaking and incredible trance states can occur with your partner. Through these kinds of experiences, ideas of sacred sexuality appear in our culture. Sex is transformed, but I don’t agree that that is the highest form of sex. There are so many flavors, it seems a shame to limit our sexual self expression in the name of spiritual ideals.

Most spiritual paths have some kind of ecstatic dance or ritual - from speaking in toungues to the Sundance. The problem is that spiritual and religious paths concretize the metaphor. They lead us to believe that the energy is coming from the spiritual path, the guru, the technique or the religion.

Really, it’s coming from impulses deep inside our own bodies that we give ourselves permission to release. Though this hasn’t been extensively studied by science yet, at some point it will be and we will see the neuro-storm that happens when our sexual impulses are freed without self judgement and restriction - and the “kundalini (trance state) awakens”.

Mentions And Related Topics