Kundalini, The Force of Spiritual Awakening – Interview by Conscious Living Jewel

Apr 16, 2024 | Articles, Interviews

Dani Antman is an energy healing practitioner, spiritual guide and author based in Santa Barbara, California, USA. She experienced 14 years of Kundalini process under the careful guidance of Swami Chandrasekharanand Saraswati, (Swamiji) who died in 2016 and Joan Shivarpita Harrigan, PhD who retired in 2017.

The following is from an interview with Dani Antman (DA) written by and published through ConsciousLivingJewel.au (CLJ). All rights reserved.

(CLJ) What is Kundalini energy, and how does it function within the body?

(DA) It is a common misperception that Kundalini is energy. Kundalini may stimulate movements of energy in the body,
but she is not energy. “She” is the subtle, divine feminine force of awakening within every human being. Kundalini resides in a static, un-awakened, state, coiled around herself three and a half times at the base of the spine, in the first chakra, until circumstances are perfectly aligned for her release.

After being released from her home at the base of the spine, she ultimately rises to the top of the head, Bindu, to
unite with Shiva, her masculine partner, or pure consciousness. This process is a profound spiritual transformation that takes place in a spiritually oriented person over lifetimes. Gopi Krishna, an Indian pundit, who wrote many books about his experience of Kundalini,
believed that it also played an important role in the evolution of humanity and the raising of consciousness as a whole. He promoted scientific research on the phenomenon of Kundalini and mystical illumination to eventually prove its role as the impetus of genius, creativity and expansion of consciousness.

My teacher Swamiji often said, “Some people think she is dangerous because they’ve heard about people who’ve had difficult experiences. But She is not dangerous. She wants you to be enlightened and doesn’t stop until she brings you to the Source.”

Swamiji was very insistent that Kundalini was not energy. Although weird movements of energy can accompany the upward movement of Kundalini’s progress, she is not energy per se, she is the Supreme force behind the movement of energy.

He described Kundalini as, “The first subtle power of pure consciousness to manifest into this reality. She is omnipotent. She is the Divine Mother of existence. She is radiation, vibration and light. She is supreme grace and love, imperial majesty, intelligence, the life of the life force, self-illuminating, forgiving, the source of all emanation, the principle of sound, pure joy and bliss.”

Kundalini is also not a “syndrome”, a word which has been applied erroneously to Kundalini in popular parlance. A syndrome is defined as a recognizable complex of symptoms which indicate a specific disease of disorder. Kundalini is not a disease or disorder, and the symptoms of a Kundalini rising are unique to each person; it is a complex and subtle process.

People use the general term “Kundalini awakening” to describe a process that usually happens in distinct stages, each with its own challenges. The stages of Kundalini process can manifest differently in each person and are hard to discern without expert guidance. The stages can vary from an initial Kundalini arousal or release, a stuck, stalled or deflected rising, or a full rising up through the upper Ajna (sixth) chakra, called Makara point, or a complete Kundalini rising to the top of the head, called Bindu. Sometimes people who have experienced a powerful initial arousal or release of Kundalini think that they are already complete, when the process has only just begun.

(CLJ) How does Kundalini relate to spiritual awakening or enlightenment?

(DA) Kundalini is the inner force that enables awakening to happen, and has been called by many different names in different spiritual traditions: Holy Spirit, Divine Mother, Shekinah, Holy Grail and Shakti, to name a few. Once awakened within, she is always working to improve a person’s spiritual progress, and her completion signifies enlightenment or Self Realization. Kundalini’s mission is to bring the person into direct and abiding experience of Pure Consciousness.

(CLJ) What are the primary practices or methods to awaken or activate the Kundalini?

(DA) Kundalini can be activated or awakened through meditation and spiritual practices, through the presence of an awakened teacher or guru, as well as through trauma, extreme experiences and grief. It can also awaken spontaneously through no outwardly observable cause. There are some people who are born into this life with an already awakened but not completed Kundalini process. If so, they will most likely manifest a strong spiritual inclination and a deep desire to progress spiritually which then leads them to the next level of unfoldment in their Kundalini process.

It is not recommended to use methods for the forceful or premature awakening of Kundalini because they can produce negative effects in an unprepared practitioner, and cause a spiritual emergency. Spiritual emergency is the term that was coined by Stanislov Groff to describe the overwhelming emotions, visions or sensory changes that can be induced by over-zealous spiritual practices or use of psychedelics, which then lead to a crisis of identity that becomes destabilizing.

(CLJ) Are there specific signs or experiences one might encounter during the awakening of Kundalini?

(DA) There are many different signs or experiences that one might encounter during the awakening of Kundalini. They include unusual breathing patterns, intense experiences of energy rushing up the spine, visions of light, hearing of subtle sounds, feeling subtle vibrations, increased sensitivity to subtle reality, psychic perception, healing abilities, involuntary movements, periods of total bliss, and an intense desire to know God, to name a few.
There are many different signs or experiences that one might encounter during the awakening of Kundalini. They include unusual breathing patterns, intense energy rushing up spine, visions light, hearing subtle sounds, feeling vibrations, increased sensitivity to reality, psychic perception, healing abilities, involuntary movements, periods total bliss, and an desire know God, name a few.

It is also possible to not experience any overt symptoms, but rather to naturally have a deep and abiding desire to be of service in the world and to help humankind to evolve spiritually.

(CLJ) What are the potential challenges or difficulties one might face during the Kundalini awakening process and how can they be managed?

(DA) Kundalini transforms the individual from the inside out, purifying the physical, emotional, mental and subtle bodies to enable the person to eventually abide in the experience of union with the Divine.

As Kundalini progresses upward through the subtle body, the challenges may include mood swings, anxiety, headaches, and uncontrollable body movements. There can be a disconnection from friends and family, and feelings of depersonalization. There can be periods of spaced-out bliss and an inability to function normally in the world.

For some, it can feel like the Pandora’s box of unhealed traumas have come up for healing. For others there is a roller coaster ride between extreme bliss and depression. The brain and the nervous system get rewired, and the psyche needs time to integrate these changes.

Regardless of the nature symptoms it’s important to remember that Kundalini is a spiritual force, not something dangerous or get rid of. The difficulties in process are usually caused by previous traumas, damage from past lives, improper lifestyle choices, depleted energy.

Kundalini can also rise up through unfavourable channels due to trauma or extreme circumstances. This type of rising, called a deflected rising by Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care (PKYC) needs subtle esoteric guidance to correct it, and to allow it to progress through the central column along the spine. There are two common types of deflected risings and each of them can cause very challenging symptoms, both of which are probably responsible for giving Kundalini a bad “rap.” See Kundalini Vidya, referenced below, for more information and greater detail.

When the person receives proper spiritual guidance for their specific challenges, Kundalini arousal and awakening can be safe and regulated. All spiritual traditions emphasize the need to be grounded in a balanced moral and ethical life, with tempered desires before doing advanced spiritual practices.

(CLJ) Can you explain the role of chakras in the Kundalini awakening process?

(DA) The chakras are part of a subtle system of energy channels that Kundalini uses to prepare the person for illumination and enlightenment.

The word chakra in Sanskrit means: wheel or that which revolves. A chakra is composed of petal-like structures, which revolve around a central point, and can appear as a spinning, colored vortex of light.

The chakras transmit energy into the body and also outward through the levels of the subtle body. Although most Western books on the chakras name 7 chakras, in the Eastern view of the chakras, there are only 6, with the 7th referred to as Sahasrara, or the 1000 petalled lotus situated at the top of the head.

The chakras are not physical – but they help keep our physical body functioning by channeling energy to all the organs. There are many books with all the qualities, functions and symbolism of each chakra. They are important in the awakening process because they are likened to the inner wiring through which Kundalini does her work.

The chakras function as a portal between our inner and outer worlds. Kundalini process will open them fully, and as they open, “stored karmic baggage” is purified out, which can be challenging.

When the clearing is complete, their opening allows for the stabilization of higher states of consciousness and realization.

(CLJ) Are there any recommended breathing techniques, meditations, or exercises to help manage or enhance Kundalini?

(DA) I have read many books by teachers recommending breathing techniques or visualizations to help raise Kundalini. I personally don’t recommend that people forcefully try to arouse Kundalini in this way, unless practices are given by a vetted spiritual guide who has specialized knowledge of Kundalini, and who can both see and supervise the effect the practices have on the practitioner.

I usually recommend that people do very gentle practices like deep belly breathing or alternate nostril breathing. Gentle sitting meditation is also beneficial, as well walking meditation.

Kundalini yoga classes that are currently popular often use very intense and activating breathing techniques that can be harmful to certain people depending on the state of their rising.

Kundalini process responds to sincere prayer for spiritual guidance, the study of spiritual texts and gentle meditation techniques. It is important when searching for a teacher to find one who has been through the process themselves. 

(CLJ) Are there specific lifestyle changes or practices that support the safe and balanced rise of Kundalini? What advice do you have for individuals interested in working with Kundalini while maintaining balance and stability in their lives?

(DA) The person experiencing Kundalini process needs to put a tremendous amount of effort into self-care. That means attention to vital, healthy food at regular intervals, resting when needed, creating time to go inward through meditation, and keeping right company. Often the whole structure of one’s life is reorganized by the needs of Kundalini. It can be hard on family life, when the needs of the family have to be balanced by the need for the per n to devote time to themselves and their spiritual practice.

It can also be difficult to hold down a 9-5 job, especially if the job causes stress and energy depletion. Challenging Kundalini symptoms are more likely to appear when there isn’t enough vital energy in the energy system. Taxing emotional dramas deplete energy, as do negative thinking and over-caretaking others.

I would advise people to simplify their lives, get enough rest, keep the company of other spiritual people. Avoid drugs, alcohol and stimulants. Relationships should be loving and supportive, versus toxic and addictive. Sexual activity should be loving and moderate, so as to not deplete energy. Read spiritual texts and biographies of spiritual adepts and sages. Most importantly, choose a spiritual path that is grounded in the aspect of the Divine that most speaks to your soul. Find a spiritual guide or director that is ethical, wise and advanced in their own Kundalini process, or join a group of others who ae spiritually oriented and are experiencing Kundalini awakening.


Kundalini Vidya by Joan Shivarpita Harrigan PhD

Making Sense of Spiritual Awakening: A 5-module self-led course to help you navigate the rollercoaster ride of your awakening With Dani Antman and Kate West https://www.makingsenseofspiritualawakening.com

Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care www.kundalini-science.ch
Silvia Eberl (Viryananda Saraswati)

Lightning Strikes Community www.lightningstrikescommunity.com

Center for Spiritual Emergence http://www.centerforspiritualemergence.com