The traditional paths of yoga have as a defining experience the rising of the energy from the lower chakras to the higher centres. Western psychology proposes that the creative force, that leads to art, as well as intellectual achievement comes through a process that is called ‘sublimation’ of the sexual energy, which corresponds generally to the traditional yogic experience of the energy of the Muladhara, the seat of the sexual energy, rising up through the higher chakras until it eventually reaches the crown of the head. As it opens each chakra, it liberates powerful forces of vital energy, emotion, speech, will and intellect.

Practitioners of the integral Yoga have a somewhat different experience generally, which is felt as a descent from above rather than as a rising up from below of the spiritual force. Many times they report a sense of pressure at the top of the skull, or even a sense of drilling through the skull as the higher force descends. Some describe a ‘dripping’ of peace from abovve through the crown chakra and others an inrush or sudden submerging of the awareness to a sense of Peace and Silence.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “It is the universal experience of sadhaks that force or consciousness or Ananda like this first comes from above — or around — and presses on or surrounds the head, then it pierces the skull as it were and fills first the brain and forehead and then the whole head and descends occupying each centre till the whole system is full and replete. Of course there are, or can be, preliminary rushes occupying the whole body for a time or some part of the system most open and least resistant to the influence.”

“It is possible that there may have been too much haste in this attempt to open the navel and the lower centre. In this yoga the movement is downward — first the two head centres, then the heart, then the navel and then the two others. If the higher experience is first fully established with its higher consciousness, knowledge and will in the three upper centres, then it is easier to open the three lower ones without too much disturbance.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Spiritual Transformation, pp. 209-229

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 books and editor in chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.