Kundalini, which translates from Sanskrit to “coiled snake,” describes the energy that rests, often dormant, coiled at the base of the spine. When it rises or awakens, it can cause a number of experiences and symptoms.
Here’s what you need to know about Kundalini awakenings:
Kundalini is considered to be a life-force energy, meaning it’s a major source of internal power. We all have it, but not all of us have experienced it as “awakening.”
“It’s your consciousness,” spiritual teacher and author of Transcendence Calling Monique Rebelle puts it. “Everything that you are, you think, you remember, that you can visualize—anything—that’s your consciousness,” she adds. “That’s Kundalini.”
She explains that this energy, which is traditionally thought to be feminine (sometimes called Kundalini Shakti), is only able to flow freely when one’s chakras are totally clear and open.
“The chakras are like gates to the dimensions of perception,” Rebelle says, noting that for many, blocked chakras do not allow Kundalini energy to flow.
What causes a Kundalini awakening?
The truth is, there’s no one answer to this question. For some, a Kundalini awakening can happen after years of cultivating a spiritual practice, doing Kundalini yoga, meditating, etc. But just as well, it can happen spontaneously, with no prior training.
As Kundalini yoga teacher Krishna Kaur explains to mbg, “The Kundalini rising is an automatic thing that happens—and it can happen under any type of spiritual discipline, any style of yoga.”
So, it’s not something you should necessarily seek out.
Through the practice of enriching your spirituality and inner world, you may eventually become so neutral and so balanced “that you know you’ve reached a place of total awakened-ness,” Kaur notes, adding that she does not teach people to raise their Kundalini energy with an awakening as the goal—and doesn’t think people should attempt it.
Signs you’re going through one:
- You have a feeling of freedom, from the ego and from the material realm.
- You feel euphoric in the moment and have a sense of resounding peace.
- You transcend the dual nature of the mind and are able to see that we consciously create our reality.
- You feel love and compassion for all that is and recognize yourself as an intrinsic part of all.
- Your mind is noticeably more still, with a new ability to focus on one thought at a time.
- Your mind is able to witness, observe, and discern (thanks to an open crown chakra).
- Old problems and even past trauma do not have the same effect on you anymore. You remember them, but they no longer bother you.
- You might feel pleasurable physical sensations—like a full-body orgasm but one that is more sensual than sexual.
- You have profound new insights into your life or even past lives.
- You have a newfound strength and clarity that allows you to make positive changes in your life without fear.
- Your creativity surges.
- You have a significant increase in empathy.
- Your body may shake. (This can happen if Kundalini is rising but your chakras are not clear, so the energy isn’t able to flow.)
- You feel heat in the spine. (This would, again, be an instance of rising Kundalini energy not quite flowing properly, Rebelle says.)
- You have trouble sleeping. (This is another example of what can happen when Kundalini rises in a body with chakras that are not fully clear.)
Pros & cons of a Kundalini awakening.
- A Kundalini awakening can bring you to self-realization, or as Rebelle explains, “self-realization of the soul as an immortal being.”
- You may reach a state of bliss and resounding love.
- You may have a quiet mind. “Any problem can be solved with a clear mind, a mind that isn’t congested with lingering structures and all that’s stopping us from growing—stuck in who we think we are,” Rebelle adds.
- You may experience spiritual enlightenment, “which is a connection with all there is and an understanding that we are continually creators of all there is, all the time,” Rebelle notes.
- You may have increased creativity and compassion.
- It is possible to raise Kundalini energy by accident and/or without being ready. “Most of us have chakras that are very congested,” Rebelle notes, adding that people should be careful of trying to go about waking up their Kundalini. Kaur echoes this thought: “You can raise your Kundalini by accident, but it doesn’t raise your consciousness.”
- Kundalini awakenings will be different for everyone, and some say it can feel like a bad drug trip or psychosis.
- In a body that does not have clear chakras, unpleasant physical symptoms can also arise, like body spasms and feeling hot.