Let’s start this Kundalini yoga meditation guide by understanding a few core concepts of yoga including what’s Kundalini, the chakra system, the significance of each chakra, why they could be blocked in your system, the power of chanting mantras, and the general attitude a Kundalini Yoga meditator needs to develop. We strongly recommend you go through all these sections carefully and only after that, make an effort to get into this meditation to reap its maximum benefits.
History of Kundalini Yoga Meditation
As old as Hinduism itself, Kundalini Yoga is believed to be more than 10,000 years old. It is said that Kundalini yoga’s principles were discovered or perceived for the first time by Lord Shiva himself. Which is why we also call him Yogeshwara or the Lord of Yoga. For thousands of years, this form of yoga has been in practice by the sages and seers of the Indian subcontinent with the sole motive of attaining Mukti or Moksha.
Swami Sivananda used to teach some aspects of Kundalini Yoga to his disciples during the 1935s. He even wrote a book on the subject. However, it was Yogi Bhajan who introduced the nuances of Kundalini Yoga meditation practices to the western world during the late 1960s. He combined the principles of Hatha Yoga with Kundalini Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. He also incorporated this mix with a variety of Sikh mantras to create his own brand of Kundalini Yoga practices. These practices are still being taught by his foundation, ‘Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization’ or the 3HO.
Kundalini and the Seven Chakras
Kundalini is the basic life force that governs everything in the physical realm of existence. All living beings have access to this energy on one level or the other. But only human beings have the capability to explore the full potential of this potent energy. According to the yogic tradition, Kundalini energy is located at the base of the spine, in its latent form. For most people, it works in a rudimentary manner, as necessary for their survival processes. But if you are willing and have the necessary awareness, you can make this energy rise to evolve every aspect of your life.
The basic concept of Kundalini awakening is to activate this energy and then to make it rise upwards through the seven chakras (energy centers), which are located along the length of your spine. So, the main purpose of practicing any kind of Kundalini Yoga meditation is to remove the blockages that restrict the free flow of Kundalini via these energy centers. Below, you’ll find what are these seven chakras and why they may be blocked in your system –
● Muladhara (Root Chakra)
It is located near the perineum (the space between the anal outlet and the reproductive organ). This chakra is the foundation of your physical existence. If your energies are dominant in Muladhara, you tend to be extremely compulsive about food and sleep. This chakra is blocked by fear, insecurities, hatred, and anger.
● Swadhisthana (Sacral Chakra)
This chakra is located just above the genital organ and it deals with pleasure and procreation. If your energies are dominant in this chakra you enjoy seeking the pleasures of the physical world in many different ways. Swadhisthana is usually blocked by guilt, emotional trauma, hurt, and distrust.
● Manipura (Solar Plexus)
This one is located just above the navel and it deals with materialistic pursuits. It is also the maintenance center of the body. It tends to get blocked if you feel victimized, worthless, anxious, and shameful.
● Anahata (Heart Chakra)
Anahata is located a couple of inches below the point where your rib cage meets. This chakra deals with creativity and love. Anahata is the transitional chakra between the lower three chakras that deal with the survival mode and the higher three chakras which are more spiritually inclined. Toxic relationships, disloyalty, revengefulness, and a tendency to hold onto grudges blocks this chakra.
● Vishuddhi (Throat Chakra)
This one is located in the hollow of the throat and it deals with self-expression, the pursuit of power, and the development of willpower. It tends to get blocked by stubbornness, people-pleasing, and self-centeredness.
● Ajna (Third Eye Chakra)
The energy center associated with spiritual awakening, heightened perception, and mysticism, Ajna Chakra is located between your eyebrows. It tends to get blocked by depression, illusions, and skepticism.
● Sahasrara (Crown Chakra)
Sahasrara is the center associated with divine consciousness, bliss, ecstatic states of meditativeness, and spiritual enlightenment. It is usually blocked by your attachment towards materialistic possessions, egoistic nature, and fear of change.
The role of Kundalini Yoga meditation practices is to help you clear all these blockages one after the other so that this divine energy can find its highest expression. Since the energies of different people can be stuck at different chakra points, there are so many different kinds of Kundalini meditations that can be practiced. Traditionally, your Guru decides what kind of meditation is best suited for you. The one we’ve mentioned below can be practiced by anyone, irrespective of where your energies are at the moment.
5 Steps to Kundalini Yoga Meditation
Pick the Right Place and Time
This Kundalini Yoga meditation can be practiced anywhere even at your workplace or in a public space. Just make sure that your surroundings are quiet and that nobody disturbs you during the process. Also, it can be practiced at any time of the day, anywhere between 11 to 21 minutes. But if you could manage to do it during the Sandhya Kalas (twilight zones), nothing like it!
It would be really beneficial if you could do this meditation at a fixed spot every day and at a fixed time. For example – doing it in the morning every day, 30 minutes after you wake up, at a fixed spot in your living room. By fixing a place and time for your daily meditation practice, you’ll make it a part of your lifestyle. This will help you in being consistent. Since Kundalini Yoga meditation involves raising your primal energies to a higher pitch, not just your system but also the space where your practice becomes charged up with your energies. This space will eventually become your meditation spot. And after some time, just by stepping into this space, you’ll be able to get into a state of meditativeness with minimal effort.
Choosing the Mantra
During this Kundalini Yoga meditation, you need to use a mantra to help you maintain your focus and at the same time to direct the flow of the energy through your chakras. You can use a simple mantra like ‘sat nam’ which means ‘truth is my only identity’. Or you can use ‘wahe guru’ which means ‘Oh the wonderful creator of the world!’
You can also use the chants associated with each of the chakras –
- Muladhara – Lum
- Swadhisthana – Vum
- Manipura – Rum
- Anahata – Yum
- Vishuddhi – Hum
- Ajna – Aum
For Swadhisthana, there’s no chant. This chakra represents the eternal nature of the cosmos so usually, there’s no need to speak anything at all.
Before picking a mantra for a specific chakra, you need to identify where your energies are at the moment. Usually, in a Kundalini Yoga meditation session or retreat, a senior member of the group or the Guru does that for you. But if you are practicing all by yourself, spend some time exploring your own consciousness. Ask yourself – what am I compulsive about? What are those characteristics that define my true nature? Identify which traits of your personality could be blocking your chakras and then accordingly pick a mantra for your Kundalini yoga meditation.
How to Start
Before you start, make sure your stomach is empty. It’s ideal to have a 4-5 hour gap between your meditation and the last big meal you had. If you are practicing in the morning, eat your breakfast after the meditation and not before it. Wear loose-fitted cotton clothes, ideally in white or any other lighter color.
Now, start by sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position. You can sit in Sukhasana, Padmasana, Siddhasana, or Ardha Siddhasana. If you want, you can sit on a folded blanket or take the support of small cushions under your thighs. Keep your spine comfortably erect and place your hands on the thighs, with your palms facing upwards. The important thing is that you should feel comfortable and relaxed while keeping your spine straight. Working on the chakras with a hunched spine is a big no-no!
Breathwork and Chanting
Gently close your eyes. Relax and start breathing slowly and deeply. Your inhalation should be as long as your exhalation. One shouldn’t be longer or shorter than the other. Concentrate on the natural flow and movement of your breath. Once you are able to maintain a steady focus on the flow of your breath, incorporate the mantra to it.
Chant ‘sat’ as your inhale and ‘nam’ as your exhale. You can either chant out loud or you can whisper. If you are working with a chakra mantra, chant the sound every time you inhale or exhale. For instance, if you are working on your Anahata, chant the word ‘Yum’ as you inhale and again chant ‘Yum’ as you exhale.
You can also create and use your own mantra if you wish. You can say something like, ‘I am not the body’ as you inhale and ‘I am not even the mind’ as you exhale. Or any other mantra that resonates with you.
What you are trying to do here is – to connect with your divine nature or your higher self by giving it focused, single-pointed attention for as long as it’s possible for you. As you practice the breathwork and the mantra chanting, it’s natural for your mind to get distracted by one thought or the other. At that moment, your work is to discard the thought by acknowledging the fact that it’s just a thought. Let it go and come back to your breath. Every time you get distracted, acknowledge the thought, discard it, and come back to your breath, all the while chanting the mantra as sincerely as you can. Keep doing this for anywhere between 7 to 17 minutes.
Relax and Come Out of the Meditation
Now, stop chanting the mantra and sit with a slightly upturned face with a mild focus on your Ajna chakra (third eye). Maintain this position for about 4 to 6 minutes and then gently open your eyes. If you wish, you can sit for longer as well. Initially, it’s okay to practice for just 11-12 minutes in totality but gradually try to increase the practice time to 19 to 21 minutes.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga Meditation
It’s highly recommended to practice this meditation with a sense of surrender. It’s always ideal to go into any kind of Kundalini Yoga meditation without setting an intention of getting anything out of it. That’s so because it’s the job of your mind to keep asking – “What will I get? Or what’s the purpose of this?” But when you practice Kundalini Yoga meditation, you are trying to get above the chatter of your mind to be able to connect with your divine nature.
Also, for different people, the experience of Kundalini awakening can be different. Again, that depends on which chakra(s) tends to dominate your personality most of the time. But usually, Kundalini awakening experiences are associated with the following list of benefits –
- Since this dimension of energy activates all your seven chakras, you experience a strong sense of balance and stability. You feel physically more alive, mentally more alert, emotionally more stable, and energetically more charged up.
- Your ability to remain calm and peaceful even in the most stressful of situations enhances manifolds. This means reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. This meditation can be particularly beneficial if you are dealing with grief or any kind of addiction.
- You become far less compulsive about everything, be it food, sex, or materialistic desires.
- Kundalini Yoga meditation practices help you develop a more creative mindset. Also, your ability to maintain a focus on something without getting easily distracted tends to increase.
- Your sleep quality becomes better. Your sleep quota reduces as well. You wake up fresh every morning even after sleeping for just 4 to 5 hours.
- Kundalini awakening can improve your health miraculously. It boosts your immunity and can even slow down the aging process.
- Most importantly, it helps you evolve spiritually, giving you an experience of inexplicable bliss. If you could learn how to maintain that state of blissfulness in your life (and not just while you are meditating), your experience of life becomes very sweet and joyful.
Kundalini Yoga meditation practices work directly on your energy system to evolve you on every level by activating your chakras and raising your consciousness levels. It’s ideally practiced by those who have an inclination towards spirituality, but one can also make it a part of his/her routine to assist their other yoga practices like Hatha Yoga and Pranayamas. Educate yourself with what it’s all about, how to practice it, and with what kind of a mindset. This will help you progress really fast because ultimately Kundalini Yoga is all about self-exploration and realizing your true potential as a human being.