CHAPTER 9 – Misconceptions About Kundalini
Now to the bare essentials of kundalini yoga. The kundalini is a spiritual force or energy, symbolized by a serpent, which remains sleeping or inactive in a potential stage like a coiled spring in all human beings, male or female, at the extreme lower end of the spine in a centre called muladhara chakra. A yogi is different from the ordinary human being in that he, by controlling the sexual impulse intimately linked with the kundalini, and by practice of spiritual exercises taught by his guru, manages to arouse the kundalini serpent from its sleep and guides it upwards step by step along the central sushumna channel in the spine until it reaches the sahasrara chakra or the sahasrara padma, the thousand-petalled lotus situated in the head.
In all human beings, the prana, or the lifeforce, moves and performs its functions through two nadis or paths, called the pingala on the right side of the spine and the ida on the left. The pingala, also called ‘ha’ in Hatayoga, is the positive channel and the ida, also called ‘tha’ is the negative. The central nadi, on both sides of which are the ida and the pingala, is called the sushumna and lies in the core of the spinal cord.
The sushumna channel is closed normally, and the yogi opens it up by his practice, brings the negative and positive pranas together at the base of the spine through pranayama and, striking the kundalini, wakes her up and takes her up along the cleared central sushumna. As the kundalini moves upwards from the muladhara, it passes through five other centres, situated one above the other, called swadhistana, a little above the reproductive organs, manipura in the navel, anahata in the middle of the chest, vishuddha in the throat and aajnya in the space between the eyebrows before it reaches the seventh centre in the brain.