Kundalini Yoga derives from kundalini, described in ancient Vedic mythology as an immense energy that lies dormant at the base of our spine until it is successfully channeled and directed upward in the course of spiritual evolution. Kundalini is considered by many adherents to be vital energy associated with the feminine divine. Its symbol, the kundalini shawl, is worn by many devotees who seek to activate this powerful force within themselves. It has recently become fashionable for westerners to wear a medallion of Kundalini flowers on their left hand or waistline; there are even Kundalini Yoga retreats and classes in countries as far afield as Australia and France.
While there is much similarity between kundalini yoga and Hatha Yoga in terms of meditation, practice and spirituality, they are very different from each other. In Hatha Yoga, the goal is enlightenment, whereas kundalini yoga aims at awakening the potential within each of us for spiritual realization. As both depend fundamentally upon the existence of consciousness, it follows that awakening can only be achieved by breaking down the barriers that keep awareness stuck in our lower, mundane thoughts and sensations. The word kundalini literally means “that which rises.” Although it may be tempting to think that this implies that the kundalini rises out of nowhere (something which we can’t imagine), the truth is that it exists within all of us, even those who are most consciously aware of it. The kundalini awakening that occurs during the practice of kundalini yoga is thus not a sudden phenomenon, but rather the gradual emergence over time of portions of this powerful inner force.
A small 2020 study conducted in the UK by a group of scientists concluded that as many as thirty percent of us have an inner kundalini which is active but inactive at any given time. This represents an enormous scope of people who could benefit by practicing kundalini yoga. This represents another exciting advance in science, which helps to explain how this ancient wisdom has been able to grow in popularity so rapidly. Though the benefits of this ancient art will always remain uncertain, the growing evidence indicates that it may well be a path to better health, spiritual development and emotional well-being for millions of people.