Mary- I have been doing Ashtanga yoga for several years. It has completely healed my scoliosis issues and helped me through divorce and the death of my sister. Six months ago I started attended Kundalini yoga classes with my friends. I am used to feeling energy and have gotten my Reiki 1 and 2. A few months ago during class I had an experience and am not sure what happened though. I was in class and started feeling my body shaking and heat in my body. I felt my spine get all of this heat in it and started crying because I felt so much joy. Since this is anonymous I will say that I started feeling orgasms and hopefully nobody noticed that part at least. I also felt love for my friends, for the whole class, and really for everything. After that it was like everything went back to normal. I felt a bit shaky and like something big happened, though. I asked my teacher and she said it was a Kundalini awakening, but didn’t have anything else to say. Was she right? What do I do now? Where do I go from here?
– Yogigirl in Florida
Thank you for such a clear description of what is going on with you. I get questions and reports about this sort of thing happening all the time, so your question is perfect and will certainly help many others who have had similar experiences.
A few things. Yes, what you were experiencing was Kundalini. There is a difference in the type of experiences and intensities that you can have when encountering Kundalini. In general, there are Kundalini stirrings, Kundalini experiences, and Kundalini awakenings. What you experienced was a Kundalini stirring.
So what is a Kundalini stirring? A Kundalini stirring is pretty close to what you experienced. It is an encounter with the Kundalini energy that typically lasts for a short period of time and is relatively mild in nature. It allows you to feel consciously your connection to the divine. It allows you to have greater understandings that were out of your current realm of experience- such as great amounts of love, feelings of interconnectedness, and realizations about your true nature (or who you might be if you didn’t have to deal with physical conditioned reality, day-to-day stuff, etc).
Kundalini stirrings also allow access to the strong current of energy that is Kundalini. The feeling of heat coming up the spine (although about 5 percent of people experience Kundalini as cold) is actually what Kundalini stirring describes. It is an energy that comes up the Du channel in Chinese Medicine. The Du channel is an extraordinary channel (one of the deepest reservoirs of energy in the body) which is one of the channels that has formed that body- physically, mentally, spiritually- on all levels. Kundalini energy typically stays fairly dormant at the end of the sacrum (the sacrum bone is actually formed like a cup to hold the massive reservoir of kundalini energy), and when it stirs, a wave of heat, bliss, orgasms, and deep insight occurs.
The experience of Kundalini stirring is typically pretty momentary- meaning that it happens once for a short period of time. That momentary experience can happen many times over the course of a lifetime, but if it does not go beyond the symptoms that I have described, or does not become a permanent and common occurrence in your life, it is technically not a Kundalini experience or a Kundalini awakening, although stirrings can be the first signs of Kundalini awakenings. A Kundalini stirring can be a life-changing experience and can deepen your spiritual understandings and your experience of this world from even momentary access to the energy of Kundalini.
So, yogigirl, it sounds like from your description that you experienced a classic Kundalini stirring. I would encourage you to gently keep on going on your path. You do not need to do anything. Let your experience of the energy guide you to be a more loving person who is closer to the nature that you experienced in that class. Kundalini is not something that should be forced or experimented with, and is best if awoken gradually and naturally so it does not lead to crisis. If you begin to experience more significant or permanent symptoms, you may be experiencing a Kundalini experience or a Kundalini awakening.
What is a Kundalini experience? A Kundalini experience in simple terms is a more intense experience of Kundalini. Like the stirring, it is typically momentary, although its implications for your life can be long-lasting. A Kundalini experience can happen as part of a Kundalini awakening, or can be a singular experience.
Let me explain. A Kundalini experience involves not only the “stirring” of Kundalini and a gentle snake-like rising out of slumber but a full body experience that is quite intense. There would be no hiding this experience. Shaking, crying, moving into full body postures (kriyas and mudras), extreme amounts of energy running through you, feeling of earth energies and the whole world, pain, drastic increases of psychic abilities, profound spiritual realizations, access to spiritual energies outside of the self, communion with God or other powerful beings, temporary blindness, and extreme overwhelm happen. All at the same time, typically.
A Kundalini experience is extremely overwhelming and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks (I once worked with someone who had been experiencing it for a month and a half with this intensity, but that is atypical). With this experience, you are not able to function or act normally to the world. Luckily, for most, this experience only lasts for minutes rather than hours.
This experience can be triggered by many things. The Kundalini experience can be a natural part of a Kundalini awakening, or can happen without a full Kundalini awakening. Typically, most people I have run into who experience a Kundalini experience without a full awakening have had it occur through energetic transmission from a powerful guru (shakti/attunement) or through attending an intense spiritual workshop, although I have heard of it from energetic transmission from a place as well (Mount Shasta, Victoria Falls, and Sedona area if I recall correctly).
Although I say that this experience is momentary, it has far-reaching implications for the rest of your life. Basically, you will never be the same after. The experience of such profound energy has changed you- your outlook, your beliefs, your understanding of the world. Since this energy has moved through you, it has quickly opened up channels and destroyed old beliefs, blocks, and baggage you have carried. It also suggests that you are likely to open to a full Kundalini awakening, or are beginning to experience one.
What is a Kundalini awakening? The main thing that differentiates the Kundalini awakening from the experience or stirring is the intensity and the permanence. I differentiate the experience and the awakening because of cases of Experience that have not resulted in Kundalini awakenings. A Kundalini awakening is permanent. It is not a momentary experience, or a few experiences.
Although many K awakened experience Kundalini experiences, the true Kundalini awakening is like a wave, constantly bringing up new material to process. It leads you deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole until it is a fully completed circuit and the Kundalini energy can run fully through you without resistance or blockages. There are less active stages of Kundalini, but it is always with you and can always be sensed. It does not go away. Many people report to me having a Kundalini awakening in 1978 and 1995 and then two days ago. These are stirrings or experiences of Kundalini, not an awakening.
So what are the main differences? A Kundalini stirring is a momentary access and ability to feel Kundalini energy. It is profound, but typically mild compared to other experiences, and you will typically be able to function (respond to others, still be a part of the world) while it is happening. In a Kundalini experience, there is the chance that it will be a profound experience likely to repeat a few times throughout the course of your life. It will likely change you dramatically. It may or may not lead to or be a part of a full Kundalini awakening. The Kundalini experience is more intense than the stirring. There is a loss of ability to function, a drastic increase in energy and body movements that are spontaneous and out of your control, and afterwords a drastic shift in worldview, beliefs and understandings will occur.
A Kundalini awakening is a permanent awakening of the energy. It acts like a wave- and can be as intense as a Kundalini experiences, or more dormant and gentle. It will work its way through your blockages and drastically change everything about you and your world. Kundalini experiences happen within Kundalini awakenings- the main differentiation is the permanence of the awakening. With a Kundalini awakening the change is permanent- the energy is always with you and always doing something. It is a permanent spiritual process that has been started and will never stop.
I hope that explains and differentiates the symptoms and experiences for those who have inquired. You can find more information in my books, including Working with Kundalini and The Spiritual Awakening Guide.