Kundalini– Devine cosmic energy. Kundalini is believed to be an energy that rises from within and gives life to the practitioner’s own creativity, intuition and even supernatural powers.
‘Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.’ B.K.S Iyengar
Yoga is a practice that brings its benefits over time; it does not offer immidiate results, like other forms of exercise. Flexibility and body strength can progress noticably in only few months of consistent practice, however more important benefits such as higher physical awareness, might take years to be truly appreciated. The ability to be mindful and in-tune with your body, which is what yoga offers, is something that allows a fuller experience of life. As we progress in our practice, we notice the experience of life through more layers and textures; the body and the mind become more sensitive and each everyday event has more to offer than just one point of view.
Relying on traditional Yogi literature this rebirth into a more authentic state of mind can be attributed to the awakening of Kundalini energy. Kundalini energy can be awakened through specific practice such as: Chakra meditation, Pranayama and Kriya. These are all great practices but I must say that even our more “westernised”, active practice of physical postures can bring transformation to the way the practictioner sees his own world.
Speaking from my own experience, I admit that yoga truly opened my mind. Being naturaly fit and flexible, I noticed improvement in my body shape and its range of movement only after more than a year of practice. I believe that a change in my mind came even later.
It was probably five years into my practice that I suddenly woke up one morning with an erdge to paint. Since early childhood I enjoyed expressing myself through writing and inventing stories but drawing or painting was never my thing. I never knew how to write in full, rounded letters or decorate carefully with glitter; it was always about the words for me, not their presentation. That morning, however, I craved spilling buckets of colour on a large piece of canvas. I imagined it all to be bright orange and pink and toxic green. By the time I left the house, I already had three different ideas for paintings that I wanted to preform. I went straight to an art supplies shop and spent around $200 on canvases, brushes and acrilic colours; I even bought a stand for my canvas. I had full confidence that I will use all of that, frequently and thus it’s worth it. I imagined myself standing in front of my elevated canvas, mixing colours on a palette. The images I wanted to create were so vivid in my imagination that I had no doubt I’ll nail it. And I believe I did.
That year I created around 20 different paintings. I sold two of them and exhibited a series of paintings in an artist’s café by the end of that year. Not to say that I am a brilliant artist but I truly believe that I put a lot of my own passion in my work. And that what made it successful to me. Being tuned in with my body and thought, the ability to imagine really vividly, the courage to share my volunerability, those are all skills that I believe I gained through my practice. Without those skills I would have never succeeded to create those images.
I don’t know if I ever awakened my Kundalini. After ten years of practice I haven’t gained any super-powers and frankly, I lost any interest in reaching any sort of supernatural or recreational states of mind; the colourful experience of my everyday became enough for me.
Arriving on the mat is an opportunity to get to know ourselves better. As we become more sensitive to life, first from getting to know the body and the breath and then through learning to control and accept our mind, we are also able to express ourselves better. We start appreceating smaller beauties and become drawn to creative arts or other expressions of subtle joy. Open-mindedness is not about experiencing an explosion, some mindblowing supernatural ability like hovering of the earth or getting into recreational drugs. It is much more subtle and we don’t need to go very far to find it: just be still and listen.
We start from the body. The most primal essence we own. Listening to the breath: that one thing that is always there. You can start right now! Try to sit down and close your eyes. Find stillness in your posture. Breath only through your nose. Try and detach yourself from all noises around you and any other thoughts that run through your mind. Notice that when you inhale, cold air is coming in through the nostrils and when you exhale hot air is coming out. Then maybe slowly you will be able to notice more and more details: the rise and fall of your chest, the broadining and contracting of your abdomen, the clarity that comes to the mind as you concentrate only on the breath.
Physical intelligence is one of the biggest benefits we can gain from our practice. The ability to understand and connect to the details of our body gives us incredible control. We learn to know exactly where each toe is at any moment and to notice all the subtle changes of our breath, instead of just taking it all for granted. As we listen more, we can hear more, even if nothing around us changes.
Through this practice of observation, our experince of life becomes richer, full of both bright colours and also darker shades. It all becomes more dramatic, but we learn not to judge it for being so. Life is worth living exactly for its crazy tragedies and incredible triumphs, not for the long ordinary bits. If you don’t accept the resistant edges, you can’t truly balance in the centre. If we don’t commit to take all out of our experience, for better or worse, what’s the point of having those experiences in the first place?
Eventhough it sounds as a drastic transformation, usualy our life will just become a bit more reserved; we will need less to have a meaningfull experience. You probably won’t get a new house through practicing yoga but you will definitely start loving your old one more. We won’t have to go on a wild trip overseas to experience joy, we might find it in a quite night at home. We will stop relying on the holidays to fill our void, we will truly enjoy the everyday.
We might also get melancholic more easily; we might feel really sensitive and fragile. This is mainly because we are learning to understand our feelings better and eventually we will accept them as they are.
No matter what you encounter in your observation, look at this journey as a positive one! For better or worse, we are only coming closer to our own truth.