Kundalini has been known by many as the serpent or snake power. Perhaps, due to the root word meaning coiled. This term applys to coiled energy (not literally a snake) better known as shakti in ancient eastern culture. This coiled energy is known to be asleep, but more clearly, it is simply in a state of inertia, lying at the base of the human tailbone. Kundalini is often associated with Tantra Yoga or Kundalini Yoga but also appears in a variety of other eastern Indian systems and traditions. Yet, in the western world, this term is often misunderstood.
Most people in the western world associate kundalini with a spiritual awakening during physical forms of Tantra practice. This association is often depicted as a bodily union of Shiva (male) with Shakti (female). Various statues and artifacts display forms of physical/sexual union. Yet, this physical representation of kundalini is not the complete picture. The correct definition of a Kundalini awakening goes far beyond physicality. The fact is that Kundalini awakening occurs on an astral (energetic) level. When the Kundalini (shakti) becomes awakened it travels from the tailbone area up the Sushumna (spine) and merges within the Sahasrara Chakra (the crown chakra, also known as Shiva) Thereby, the union of Shiva and Shakti. This is an astral/etheric union of male and female energies (within our own body). This union causes higher states of conscious awareness and because of this greater awareness one becomes more compassionate and connected to all nations of the world. If one is truly awakened their desire to serve the world would take precedence over any personal or selfish needs.
In the basic Sanatana Dharma teachings taught in Hindu, Sikh and other eastern practices, the human body must be prepared for the awakened energy to move freely without discomfort. A practitioner may experience the energy moving downward before it moves upward. This might be uncomfortable and therefore the main reason to prepare properly before attempting to awaken this incredible force. In comparison with other spiritual texts, the Holy Bible may possibly have varied accounts of what may seem like an awakening. Easterners often relate the biblical Holy Spirit to The kundalini awakening. In the ancient teachings pertaining to Abraham, he appears to have some degree of fear of the Holy Spirit, and referred to it as being painful, shaking, and other difficulties. Abraham describes it as descending down upon him and then a series of difficult physical experiences. In other accounts, Moses is said to have ‘lifted up the serpent in the desert‘.
A kundalini experience is not the same as a kundalini awakening. Some people may experience kundalini energy traveling up the spine during deep states of meditation. Others may feel the energy rising spontaneously during ordinary activities or may have varied experiences in a lifetime. Yet, an actual awakening is a more complicated process and many people have practiced for years in order to have a true awakening. Devotees have reportedly been awakened by the touch or gaze of their enlightened Spiritual Master. Yet, according to experts on this subject, an awakening cannot remain without their personal and devotional love for God. The heart and crown chakra are connected via a nadi (energy pathway) known as chitta nadi. Divine Love increases the flow of energy particularly around the heart center drawing energy up from the tailbone and through the spine then finally flowing all the way to the Crown Chakra, where kundalini, previously in a static state, can become fully awakened.
So, what does one need to do in order to awaken their kundalini? First, one must have the aspiration or desire to bring themselves to a higher state of consciousness. One must then draw upon divine love and pray for spiritual guidance in this matter. Finding the correct teacher to give specific guidlines for preparation and practice is mandatory. In my opinion, the only person who can correctly lead you to a true kundalini awakening would be one who is already awakened.
For information about Kundalini Yoga: 3HO Foundation.