Last updated on November 18th, 2023.
Kundalini awakening is a powerful and interesting process, however how it works is best understood if you break it down into separate phases.
The process of a Kundalini awakening can really be divided into three basic phases; Arambra (The Beginning), Ghata (Cleansing) and The Awakening of the Third Eye. Each phase involves clearing the way for the kundalini to awaken and rise, spreading energy up your chakra system.
Whether you think you may be in the process of your own kundalini awakening, or you’re just setting out to explore spirituality in its many forms, we’ve got you covered. We’ll begin by briefly defining what kundalini awakening actually is and its cause. Once we have a good foundation we will expand on each phase of the awakening process and symptoms that come with them.
What is a Kundalini Awakening?
The word kundalini translates to “coiled snake.” It is considered a feminine spirit represented as a serpent coiled around the base of the spine. The kundalini is awoken through various spiritual practices and travels up the body, passing through each chakra- or energy center- to the crown chakra. The energy released opens the third eye and brings awareness and enlightenment. Learn what the chakras are to understand each of them and their function fully.
What are the signs of a Kundalini Awakening?
Even before you get into the thick of the first phase of your kundalini awakening, you may notice some telltale signs suggesting it is about to begin. Some of these are subtle, but when you put them all together, they indicate that you are on your way to some transformation or growth, at the very least.
Below are some of the most common signs a kundalini awakening is happening to you:
- A sense of oneness with the universe. There is a sort of dissolution of the ego that occurs when one has a kundalini awakening. When you have a kundalini awakening, you will experience the interconnectedness of all things.
- A deep feeling of peace and blissfulness. When a person has a kundalini awakening, they feel waves of peace and blissfulness roll over them as they dissolve into the universe.
- Increased self-love. Kundalini awakening can release shame and guilt, allowing you to understand yourself better and make positive changes in the future.
- Increased empathy. In achieving a greater understanding of yourself, you also ain a greater understanding of others; after awakening, you’re more likely to be forgiving and patient.
- Change in time perception. You begin to experience the eternal now truly. You will no longer feel as weighed down by the past or the future.
Of course, these are only some of the signs you’re having a kundalini awakening. You can also always dive further into Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. A comprehensive list of signs could fill a book. Suffice it to say you will experience a boost in creativity and share fresh new insights about yourself and the world around you. You must ensure you are ready for these insights, or they could be overwhelming.
What triggers a Kundalini Awakening?
A kundalini awakening can be triggered in several different ways. However, there is some controversy among interpretations of kundalini over some of the methods. Traditionally, one would trigger a kundalini awakening through meditative, spiritual practice. This way of having a kundalini is still the most common and accepted by all who practice some form of kundalini yoga.
Less common ways of having a kundalini experience vary, but they all revolve around spiritual cultivation–symbolic, literal, or both, depending on the interpretation. They argue kundalini awakening can happen naturally throughout turmoil or change. Others even say the use of psychedelic drugs to induce a state that is nearly identical to kundalini.
Whatever way your kundalini awakening is triggered, it’s important to remember that you should not just aim to have an exciting experience. Instead, focus on genuinely applying what you learn in your day-to-day life. If you don’t, the insights you gain will likely fade over time.
What are some interpretations of Kundalini?
As we alluded to previously, practitioners have some controversy over the implications of Kundalini. Views range from considering the elements of Kundalini’s awakening symbolic of a subjective experience to thinking of them as a supernatural reality that objectively exists.
Whatever background you come from, you will probably find one of the following interpretations of Kundalini to fall within your broader philosophical and religious views:
Traditional religious view. The practice of kundalini awakening traces its roots back to Ancient India and the Yogic Upanishads. Those who follow the original traditions usually represent the chakra system without the color coding of other contemporary adopters. Even the Kundalini appears in multiple alternate areas like the naval or the rectum.
New age view. The New Age movement has spawned many different interpretations of Kundalini. They also depart from the original yogis who practiced Kundalini in that they include sudden shaking and vocalizations during the awakening process. While this can be found in other traditional forms, it wasn’t in the original Yogic Upanishads.
Secular view. On the more naturalistic side, you have famed psychologist Carl Jung and “philosophical entertainer” Alan Watts, who suggested Kundalini should be viewed as symbolic of an inner experience. They didn’t treat it as an objective reality but as a language to discuss subjective experience.
We fill volumes explaining all of the different ways in which people interpret Kundalini. However, it’s sufficient to be aware that these different takes exist. There is something to be learned from all of them.
The Phases of a Kundalini Awakening
The phases of Kundalini’s awakening play out most clearly through meditation. During each stage, you must clear a certain number of Granthis (knots) that block the Kundalini from moving up through all the chakras. Each of these has its challenges in being untangled, and there are several with each step.
Below, we will break down each phase of the kundalini awakening and describe the symbolic reality of what is happening on the inner level:
Phase One: Arambha
Newcomers are often surprised to find the first phase of kundalini awakening isn’t always a pleasant affair. From the get-go, you need to know that the awakening process will elicit a whole spectrum of emotional and spiritual experiences. Of course, much of the struggle comes from dealing with the Granthis that block your chakras from receiving the energy from the kundalini.
In this stage, the meditator will typically use chants and kriyas (meditative exercises) to attain a specific vibrational frequency to undo the root knot blocking the first chakra. Before trying this for the first time, there can be some fear and trepidation, but with every knot you get through, you will become closer and closer to being fully awakened.
Phase Two: Ghata
Now that your awakening has begun, you will move on to deal with some more seemingly severe aspects of your life. Throughout this stage, you will need to learn how to deal with all that holds you back from understanding things as they are. It will be released here if you feel guilty or ashamed of your mistakes, insecurities, or other personal problems.
The meditator will use visualization techniques corresponding to their spiritual symbolism to release this negative energy. They visualize channels called Nadi that can become blocked in our bodies, not allowing energy to pass through. The foremost of these channels is called Sushumna Nadi, and it is the one that runs directly down to the kundalini.
In clearing these, they will learn to transcend their egos and finally untie the Vishnu knot that blocks the next chakras.
Phase Three: Awakening
Meditators must bring together everything they’ve learned to complete phase three of the Kundalini Awakening process. If they successfully awaken and open their third eye/activate their pineal gland, the boundary between themselves and the universe will reveal that they are nothing but mere illusions. Everything is one process or happening.
This will create a sense of pure bliss and compassion for all living things. The awakened person will recognize that those people, creatures, and plants are just another side of themselves, experiencing life from a different point of consciousness while still fundamentally connected.
So, all of that sounds nice, but how is it accomplished in the final phase? It would be best to untie the Rudra knot that blocks the kundalini from traveling to the last chakra in front of the pineal gland. Some people believe it’s the biological basis for the third eye. To unblock it, one must finally accept that they are not a separate soul by bringing their consciousness into the present.
A Brief Note on How The Third Phase is Interpreted
Before we wrap up, we want to give you one last thing to consider regarding the final awakening in Kundalini. It won’t necessarily change how you do it, but it will provide you with food for thinking about how to interpret it. Some genuinely fascinating dialogues are how different kinds of kundalini practitioners analyze the final awakening stage.
From the natural view, the symbolic awakening is real subjectively. Still, on a scientific level, the meditative states likely cause the pineal gland to release a psychedelic compound known as Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). While DMT hasn’t been detected in human pineal glands yet, it has been found in the pineal glands of rats. It certainly seems like a strong possibility.
Some traditional yogis will argue that aspects of the kundalini awakening, like chakras, were initially meant to be viewed as symbolic. However, other aspects, like the energy channels, were an early understanding of how the body worked.
Then you get more contemporary views, with many in the new age movement ascribing a semi-supernatural quality to the awakening, arguing that even if the chemical induces the state, the state itself has a mystical quality.
So What are the Phases of Kundalini Awakening?
There are three primary phases to the Kundalini Awakening: Arambha, Ghata, and the awakening event. In each phase, your ability to channel energy through your body is increased by untying knots that block your chakras. You slowly let go of your ego throughout the process, ultimately realizing that there is no you but only one great happening of infinite complexity.
This can leave you with a sense of connectedness to all things. You will be more likely to be compassionate and caring to people, no matter their situation or how little others value them. In seeing the sort of divinity in everyone, you must conclude it is in you and develop a self-love that allows you to give more.