Kundalini is a very powerful, transformative energy that has been used for centuries for growth, enlightenment, sexual enhancement and healing. Sometimes pictured as a snake rising up the spine (like the medical symbol used in Western medicine), it has been referred to as a divine fire.

You may have heard of it in relation to yogic or sacred sexuality practices. While Kundalini is not the same energy as sexual energy—I will go into detail about this later—it is often used in conjunction with sexual energy and sometimes even confused with it, since Kundalini can easily turn on during orgasm.

Kundalini energy alone can be quite compelling, and it can sometimes be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared for it. One of my teachers long ago said she had met people who’d thought they had fallen in love with someone, when it was only their Kundalini turning on while with them! Kundalini is an energy of healing, change and transformation that spiritualizes the body. It is actually a body energy itself that originates from the first chakra. What I mean by "spiritualizes" is that as you run it, it takes the energy and pictures stored in the body, and over time raises their vibration and frees the energy from that state. A quotation from Indian yogi Paramahansa Yogananda relates to this process:

"As water by cooling and condensation becomes ice, so thought by condensation assumes physical form. Everything in the universe is thought in material form."

In keeping with that analogy, you might think of Kundalini as one of the ways that energy gets warmed up into a less "material" form. This warming is a process some refer to as enlightenment, which is one of the reasons people meditate. As you raise the vibration of your body, clearing and cleansing it of denser energies, you will be able to bring more of your own energy and awareness as spirit into and through your beautiful physical form.

People have used Kundalini to handle intense energy, such as sexual energy or intense emotions. I was taught that many orders of monks, especially Eastern monks, run Kundalini energy. One of many reasons is because it is very satisfying to the body and helps with celibacy. It is also the energy associated with those stories about yogis being able to withstand the mountain cold or melt snow and ice. The energy itself when run gently can also clear out blocks to its running. It is associated with movement; the body likes to move in some way when running it. My guess is that it also stimulates endorphins, the body chemical that produces the "runner’s high," although I have no scientific proof of this.

Raising vibration may not be how you think about Kundalini. When I was growing up, I heard about Kundalini, but it was always shrouded in mystery and sometimes fear. I heard stories of people having injured themselves using it, that it was dangerous to use and that you had to have numerous years in some hidden school to gain access to it. There are reasons for this aura of concern around this energy. It is very powerful, it runs through specific channels, and you can indeed do damage if you don’t know what you are doing or try to crank it on all at once. You may not have anything bad happen to you, but it is always best to learn what you are working with before doing the work. Be warned also that you will certainly start profound change by working with Kundalini, and that this change is not trivial.

The good news is that you can learn to use Kundalini energy consciously and gently to great benefit to you and others. It can be a wonderful addition to your personal meditation. When you get it running smoothly and gently, Kundalini feels fabulous! The body loves this energy. It makes it really easy to meditate for extended periods of time, and it can help you handle and process those more difficult vibrations that we are all faced with.

Regardless of whether or not you want to use Kundalini on a daily basis for meditation, I think it is important to know what the energy is and how to work with it to some extent, such as how to turn it off. Knowing how to shut Kundalini down can prove useful if you’re running it unconsciously, for example.

This energy often runs in the body all by itself under specific circumstances, but we don’t always recognize it. It often turns on when you are ill. It is associated with the fever that helps kill germs in your body. People also often run it at night while sleeping, since it is used to help process information and rejuvenate the body. People who do this get very hot to the touch in bed. If you wake up really hot and sweating, chances are you have been running your Kundalini while dreaming. When you start to work with it during waking hours, you may have to retrain your body so you don’t immediately want to go to sleep when you start meditating.

If you ever get insomnia and you are all hot and bothered—not in a good way—that can also be your Kundalini running rampant. A number of other physical problems can be traced to Kundalini running improperly in some way, including headaches and unexplained skin rashes.

Hot flashes are also usually connected to an experience of Kundalini energy. As the female body is shifting its focus biologically from mother to crone, a process that happens whether or not we want to have children, we as spirit in female bodies shift spaces. We move from a physically creative space, preparing each month to create a new body for some lucky spirit, to a more specifically spiritually creative one, moving toward menopause. It’s a time of shifting energy, and Kundalini often kicks in to facilitate this process.

Unconscious Kundalini isn’t all bad. When you get chills up your spine, it can be Kundalini running. Sometimes, certain music will set it off. Very often, spiritual experiences will pop it open, such as being in circle, in a church or in the presence of great art.

The main problems with Kundalini happen when this energy isn’t run through the channels it prefers or when it hits a block in a channel while running too intensely. In either case, Kundalini can flow out into other areas that can’t handle that energy directly. One analogy is to think of how useful electricity is when it runs through wires, and how unpleasant the alternative can be.

Although many types of energy can move anywhere through the body and be just fine, Kundalini runs most happily through either the main channel (the spine) or the secondary channels (which run up the legs and down the arms and connect to smaller channels that run on both sides of the spine). You can run Kundalini through the chakras as well, but I won’t go into that in this book.

In addition to using the right channels, it is incredibly important to be grounded when you use this energy—think back to electricity again. Grounding helps your body to work safely with higher vibrations of energy. It also helps your body release and process the energy that is stimulated by the healing power of Kundalini. At the end of this article, I will give some short guidelines on how to ground, how to clean the channels for Kundalini and how to turn the energy on and off.

When you use Kundalini energy in meditation, letting the body run it for at least 15 minutes at a time is important so there is time for it to get moving. It is helpful to keep your spine straight, so the energy can run easier. Remember to keep breathing; your breath will assist how the energy flows. Drink a lot of water; you will dehydrate faster when running Kundalini. Consider taking a shower or sponging off when you are done if you have been running it really intensely and plan on going out afterward. Kundalini helps to cleanse toxins from the body, and those toxins will come out through your sweat and your skin. Showering can feel fabulous and can also assist to avoid “smelling like a wet dog,” as one teacher used to say to her students.

Another thing to bear in mind is that Kundalini starts by clearing out first chakra energies, since it starts running from that chakra and the base of your spine. As I mentioned before, by running Kundalini you begin the process of spiritualizing the body, which starts by clearing the denser energies. Denser energies are the ones that vibrate slower, such as fear, hate, resentment and emotional pain. You know the ones. Don’t panic! Don’t run and hide! Running Kundalini is worth it. Enhancing your grounding will make everything easier. Plus, you don’t have to do everything all at once.

Kundalini is an important component in spiritual evolution. This is true not only for us as individuals, but also for our planet Gaia—our larger body. The Earth itself is going through some big evolutionary shifts, clearing out those same denser vibrations. The energy from the Earth’s Kundalini is the energy that runs through the secondary channels in the body. During times of change like these, Kundalini is actually running though the planet and is available to use from that source as well.

Many people are being affected by this changing energy and do not understand it. One thing that happens when you cleanse something is that it gets stimulated first so you can actually clear it. Furthermore, when cleansing we all can forget who we are and identify with the energy we are clearing out. We get drawn into it, into fear and hatred. Remembering who we are and what we are doing spiritually is essential when doing such hard work. Our work is ultimately one of enlightenment and the raising of consciousness. Recall that to help keep from being drawn into denser energies. Let yourself remember the purpose of the work, and consciously prepare your body, then you can comfortably use the Kundalini energy coursing through the very ground beneath you to assist in healing yourself and the planet.

Enough with the fear and hate! I mentioned sexual energy earlier. This energy often is associated with Kundalini, but it isn’t the same energy. It feels wonderful, however, to run them at the same time. Sexual energy is a vibration that originates from the second chakra, which often is experienced as a lighter vibration than Kundalini and which can run anywhere in the body just fine. This energy doesn’t just have to do with sex; it has also to do also with regeneration, rejuvenation and new life, it’s incredibly creative. One way to look younger is to start actively letting your sexual energy run. There is a lot of nature in sexual energy; picture new, light-green leaves and spring shoots coming up through the moist soil. Kundalini can turn on your sexual energy, and sexual energy can turn on your Kundalini; they work well together. You might run each separately and then together to feel the differences. Plus, it just feels good!

On its own, Kundalini when worked with properly can greatly help you get in touch with yourself as spirit. It is a powerful tool that can create dramatic change and transformation. You can learn to use it safely and enjoyably, and it really moves energy. I love it!

Make sure and read through all of the information following before proceeding. That way, you will know how to turn your Kundalini energy off before you turn it on.

Kundalini Meditation

Find a comfortable chair where you can sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Then begin by grounding and centering. I strongly recommend getting comfortable with grounding and centering by doing both a number of times before running your Kundalini.

Grounding and Centering to Clear and Get Ready

• Be aware of your first chakra. This is simply an energy center or vortex that is located in the general area near the base of the spine. For women, the center is usually near the area between the ovaries (the chakra position doesn"t change if you have had your ovaries removed). For men, the location is slightly lower in the body, because the chakra placement is associated with the testicles.

• Be aware of this area, and allow a cord of energy to flow downward from your body through the chair you are sitting in, through the floor and down through the building you are in, through the foundation and into the deep soil beneath. Allow your grounding to flow down into the Earth past all the rocks and layers of the planet, past the water -- deep, deep into the Earth, into the heart of the Mother, until it reaches the center of the Earth.

• Allow your grounding cord to connect securely into the center of the planet. Be aware of your grounding cord being securely connected also to your first chakra. Breathe and relax and experience your grounding, your spiritual connection to this beautiful planet. Notice how your body responds to you grounding and becoming more present in it. Release tension and discomfort down your grounding; allow it to simply drain away.

• Now that you are grounded, you can take the next step and center yourself. Take a nice, deep breath, and bring your awareness into the center of your head. Feel free to use your index fingers to help you to focus there if you wish.

• Notice how your body responds. It might have a reaction to you being centered. Let that reaction simply be; notice it. If you experience any discomfort, release it down your grounding. Be aware of what the center of your head is like right now. Is it light? Is it dark? Is it crowded, or empty? Cold or warm, big or small? Are you aware of sensations, sounds, images, scents? Relax and breathe yourself into the center of your head. Get comfortable and begin to own this safe, neutral place. Continue to use your grounding to release energy from this space so that you can make more room for you to focus there in the present moment. Say hello silently to yourself as spirit in the center of your head.

Clearing the Head Channels

• Step one is to clear the head channels. The head channels are connections between eight small chakras located around the head. These small channels can get clogged easily and are one of the most frequent causes of headaches associated with Kundalini. They can be easily cleared by using your index fingers to press on each matched pair of chakras for a few seconds while running your healing energy through them. It feels fantastic!

• Work with the chakra pairs that sit across from each other. The locations of the pairs are as follows: One small chakra lies at each temple. One chakra lies at the small hollow at the back of your head, where it connects to the skull; this chakra matches up with one in the center of your forehead. The last two pairs of chakras are a little harder to find. In the third pair of chakras, one chakra is located on the right between the temple and the middle of the forehead on the brow, a little above the eyebrow; this chakra matches one on the right side of the back occipital lobe, those bones at the lower back of your head. The fourth pair matches the third but is on the left side of the head.

Clearing the Main and Secondary Channels

• Step two is to clear out the main and secondary channels. To do so, as you relax in your chair, grounded and centered, create a mental image of a white rose. This is going to be your “dust mop” rose. Take the rose, and starting from the very tip of the curve of your spine, near the first chakra, clean out the main channel by bringing the rose up through the spine and out the top of your head, allowing it to collect energy and blocks as it goes. Now, using your mind’s eye, look at the rose. Has it changed color as it picked up energy? Pop the rose like a bubble to clear the energy. Repeat this process until the rose stays white. Next, do the same process with a gold rose. Remember that it is important to have working channels so the energy runs smoothly.

• After you are done with the rose cleaning, run some of your own healing energy through the channel and allow it to mend any breaks or cracks in the structure. You don’t have to know how this happens; you can simply run some neutral, cleansing gold energy through that channel and use your mind’s eye to watch the healing take place.

• Repeat the whole process for the secondary channels. These channels run up from the feet, through the legs, connecting on either side of the first chakra with channels that run up along the spine on each side of the main channel and out the top of the head. Where these secondary channels pass up through the neck area, the arm channels begin and run down each arm and out the hands. Draw first a white and then a gold rose through these channels, then run healing energy to mend breaks.

• Once the channels are clear and repaired, recheck your grounding and take some deep breaths. You can now begin to gently awaken the Kundalini.

Kundalini Awakening

• Be aware of your first chakra and the base of your spine, the portion that has that little curve in it at the very tip. Breathe and become aware of that area. Allow the Kundalini energy to very gently begin to awaken. Say hello to it. Take your time.

• Allow it to begin to gradually move up the main channel, your spine. It may move in a slightly spiraling motion. Breathe and ground and allow the energy to gently move.

• With your mind’s eye, picture a dial that is marked from 1 to 10. Set this dial at 1, or even at 0.5 if you prefer. This is a great way to direct the rate of flow for this energy. If the flow gets uncomfortable, let it diminish until it feels good again and then keep running the energy gently.

• Let this process continue until the energy flows up and out the top of your head. Breathe and allow it to flow. Notice how it feels. You may find that you are gently swaying a little from side to side. This is normal, as the body likes to move when it runs this energy. Continue to check your grounding and centering and breathing. Allow the energy to run until you are comfortable with its flow.

• Work with the dial at a position of 1 or 2 for a few sessions until you are used to the feeling of the energy.

Whenever you begin to run your Kundalini, make sure that you allow at least 15 minutes for it to flow, or your body may get grumpy with you.

• At some point, you may want to add the secondary channels to carry Kundalini. To activate them, simply become aware of the bottoms of your feet where the channels begin and allow the Kundalini that is flowing in the Earth to gently flow into your body. Allow the energy to gently flow at the same rate as in the main channel, if that is comfortable. Let the secondary channels fill with this energy, and let the energy flow up and out the head, down your arms and out your hands.

(For those of you who run earth energy and cosmic energy, please note that these channels are similar in placement as those used for running earth and cosmic energy but not the same. You can run earth and cosmic energies and Kundalini separately).

• Allow the Kundalini energy to flow through both the main and secondary channels; let the energy gently clear any things that get in its way. Once it’s moving and you’re used to it, you can simply let it run and use it as a background energy to your other meditation work.

Turning Off Kundalini

• When you are done and want to complete your session, turn off the energy. To do this, create a ball of ice-blue, cool energy above your head. Allow that ice-blue energy to gently enter the top of your head, flow slowly downward through the channels and begin to cool the Kundalini energy and put it back to sleep. Take your time. Let the Kundalini energy cool, and move it down until it curls back up at the base of your spine/first chakra area, in the case of your main channel, or until it moves out the bottoms of your feet into the earth, in the case of the secondary channels. Breathe and notice the change.

• After you have completed this step, create a large ball of healing gold energy above your head and follow that blue energy with a gold “chaser,” down the main channel to cap off the energy at the base of the spine.

• Bring some of the gold down the secondary channels and out the bottoms of your feet. You can also allow some gold energy to run down your arms and out your hands.

• Notice how you feel; release energy down your grounding. Allow your energy to come to a comfortable equilibrium. Make notes in your journal if you have one. Enjoy!

Author's Bio: 

Erika Ginnis, author of Essential Mysteries: A User's Guide for the 21st Century Mystic, has served as a Clairvoyant Reader, Healer, Ordained Minister and Spiritual Teacher since 1982. Combining additional study in New Thought, Theta Healing, Astrology, and Ritual Work as a 3rd degree Sylvan HPS, her private practice draws a variety of energetic traditions, and is open to all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation. Her book is available on amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She is available in person and over the phone http://www.inbreath.com, and you can also join her on her blog http://consciousmetamorphosis.com/