This is a nice light article which gives an overview of kundalini yoga. I like to reprint articles about ky and other topics to give a greater perspective and different voice to the site… enjoy
The Essence Of Kundalini Yoga
By: Nicholas Martens (with permission from ezinearticles.com)
Kundalini refers to the dormant power in the human organism, which lies at the root of the spinal column and is the individual bodily representation of the great cosmic power. The Kundalini energy is generally described figuratively as a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. The coiled state of the kundalini represents the unmanifested spiritual power and consciousness of humans
The main purpose of Kundalini Yoga is to awaken this Kundalini energy which gradually takes the practitioner to progressively elevated levels of consciousness. The awakened Kundalini energy merges the individual consciousness of the practitioner with the vital consciousness of the entire universe and thus bestows upon them many divine, occult powers. It also brings upon the practitioner the realization that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. The keyword here is realization, that is, when the practitioners understand this as the truth in the very core of their being.Kundalini Yoga is the highest form of yoga and all other forms of yoga are merely preparations of the mind and body for its practice. A focused and diligent practice of other forms of yoga will ultimately lead the practitioner in this direction, of its own accord, by raising their levels of consciousness.
The awakening of kundalini energy requires long practice and preparation under the expert supervision of a teacher through the various stages of discipline involving asanas (postures), mudras (psycho-physical gestures), bandhas (muscular locks), pranayama (breath-control), meditations and mantras. These disciplines enable the practitioner to purify and balance the two subtle channels of energy, called ida and pingala, which run adjacent to the spine on each side. This results in the gradual ignition of the kundalini energy at the base of the spine and it begins to rise up through a central channel in the spinal column, known as the sushumna nadi. As it rises, it passes through various psycho-energetic centers known as chakras. As the chakras are interconnected with different dormant areas of the brain, when the kundalini passes through them, all of the latent faculties and divine potentialities, innate in mankind, are awakened. You can find more information about chakras here.
In yogic traditions there is a mention of three types of spaces: Mahakasha, Chittakasha and Chidakasha, all derivatives of the word akasha which means sky in Sanskrit. Mahakasha means the space outer to oneself. Then comes Chittakasha or Mental Space, which is the abode of all thoughts, dreams and imaginations. All experiences at this level are hallucinations when compared to genuine spiritual experiences. And finally, we have the Chidakasha or Knowledge Space, which is where all genuine spiritual experiences take place. The practice of Kundalini Yoga gives us access to this Chidakasha.
Kundalini Yoga is simply the most efficient method for balancing body, mind and spirit with the infinite nature of the Universe. Once the Kundalini energy is awakened and reaches the topmost chakra called the sahasrara the practitioner achieves spiritual enlightenment and experiences a state of joyfulness, which radiates in every aspect of their living.
Nicholas Martens is a long time practitioner of Yoga. For more information about Kundalini Yoga visit the Kundalini Yoga Site