By El Collie
Since early 1991, I've been living with Kundalini manifestations twenty-four hours a day. The most constant of these varied symptoms are the kriyas.
Kriya is a Sanskrit word that means 'action'. In the context of the risen Kundalini, kriyas refers to involuntary movements which result from increased life force pranic energy in the body. Those who meditate or do yoga regularly may also experience kriyas during their practice.
For me, the kriyas began with a slight palsy-like shaking motion of my head. At the time, I didn't realize I was having a Kundalini awakening and this uncontrollable movement worried me. I thought it might indicate a serious neurological problem, although the many medical tests I'd had in the previous weeks revealed no abnormalities.
A short while later, I began to experience little muscle twitches all over my body. These were painless but also worrisome to me. They occurred sporadically throughout the day and night. Soon after this development, the twitches became outright muscle contractions. These were deep and achy.
For awhile, they occurred randomly, mostly in my arms and legs. Then they took over my entire body. This time they were agonizing. From the soles of my feet to the top of my scalp, muscles I didn't know I had were convulsing and wrenching as if trying to rip loose from my skeleton.
This was accompanied by a horrible burning sensation that felt as if my very cells were broiling in acid. Fortunately, this excruciating condition only lasted a few days. It was a week after this that I became aware that my mysterious affliction was the result of a spontaneous Kundalini awakening.
Then came the most wild of the kriyas. They continued day and night, but were most vigorous when I was lying down at rest. I hardly slept at all during this period. My body would jerk around in radical, spasmodic movements. These often involved very specific muscle groups, such as those in my feet, hands, stomach, back and so forth.
The kriyas would involve only one of these bodily areas at a time. I would feel the soles of my feet tighten and my feet clench and relax over and over. Then the energy would move into my ankles, flexing my feet up and down for long periods of time. Later, it would reach into my calves, rigorously kneading and contracting the muscles there. I felt as if I were being intensely rolfed by an invisible force.
After some days of this, the 'callisthenics' began. The joints of my body were more pinpointed in this phase. My limbs would begin to twist and turn in wrenching, repetitive movements that at times were so violent it felt as if the joints were being dislocated.
As these kriyas continued, my body seemed to be slowly loosening up and each phase was less painful than the preceding one. I entered a period of 'piano exercises' in which my fingers would one at a time bend and straighten, very rapidly and rhythmically.
Sometimes each finger would flex a set number of times one, two, three, four, before the next would begin to move. These movements were far faster than anything I could have done myself.
Then my arms would fly up and down in a similar kind of rapid and rhythmic motion. My legs would kick up and down in the same way. These movements were hard and martial, as if I were practicing military marching while lying in bed.
With my body going through these gymnastics, I felt like a marionette whose strings were being controlled by a hyperactive child.
By this time, the only discomfort I was feeling from these kriyas was the moderate electric shock sensation that preceded each physical movement. Also, the long bouts of kicking and arm flailing, which would sometimes continue unabated for hours, were tiring to my body and made my muscles ache.
When the muscles of my back became involved, I would be abruptly arched forward and back, so that I bounced on the bed. If I was standing or sitting, these movements were like greatly exaggerated hiccups. No part of my anatomy was spared in these strange exercises.
My head would go through its own workout, twisting sharply left and right, or vigorously nodding forward and back. These movements were so swift they made me dizzy, and so powerful that I feared my neck would snap. My facial muscles moved also. My jaw would 'lock' or slide back and forth; my nose would wriggle like a rabbit's; my face would contort into weird expressions.
My tongue would take on a life of its own, causing me difficultly eating and making me bite my tongue when I was speaking. My scalp muscles moved too. My forehead would crease up, then stretch so tight I thought the skin would rip.
The most frightening of all these movements were in my eyes. They would roll around furiously, feeling as if they would burst out of their sockets. Sometimes the movements were rapidly back and forth, or my eyes would rotate cross-eyed, or up into my head so I could not see. These severe movements were painful. I could feel and hear tissue popping and tearing around my eyeballs when these sessions occurred. I had read that such violent eye kriyas sometimes caused temporary blindness; this did nothing to diminish my fears.
Luckily, I suffered no visual damage during this period. After about two months of this, the mudras began.
Mudras are sacred hand movements described in some yogic texts. They can be seen in classic statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities. They are also the basis for hand movements in certain ancient dances, such as temple dancing, belly dancing and the hula.
For me, they began with significant finger movements. My thumb would be drawn flat across the palm of my hand, or extended outward at a right angle from my palm. Each finger would be pressed and held down at certain points on the palm. I would often feel corresponding sensations in my body when these points were pressed. Whenever the thumb pushed at the base of the ring finger, I would feel a sudden, ecstatic little ripple in my chest. I called these sensations 'heart orgasms' and was sure this mudra had a positive effect on the heart chakra.
The most frequent mudra I experienced was my thumb and index finger of the same hand being drawn together as if by a powerful magnet. I would actually feel a streaming electrical current flowing through this mysterious circuit. It seemed to be regulating and balancing the energy in my body. This specific mudra often would be held for a long time, once over sixteen hours straight.
I learned quickly to be very protective of these joined together thumb/finger mudras. If I accidentally jarred them apart, usually when turning in my sleep or trying to use my hands to do something, I would immediately go into a seizure and shriek with a sensation of being electrocuted.
Conversely, I learned not to play around with the finger mudras myself. When I experimented with this, I found that when I tried to imitate the mudras, there were none of the sensations I felt when they came automatically. Worse, sometimes I would get stabbing little electric shocks when I tried to put my fingers in these positions myself.
Out of curiosity, when my husband tried placing his own fingers in the mudra positions, he felt no reaction whatsoever. Then came the most astonishing spontaneous movements yet. One afternoon, the kriyas began to come on hard and strong.
I had by this time learned it was better to relax into these movements and let them take me over. Otherwise, if I stiffened or resisted, I felt pain in my body. I had also become accustomed to the rhythmic jerking of my arms, which sometimes caused them to swing to and fro like pendulums or flap like bird's wings, but now something different was happening.
The arm movements were becoming more sinuous and complex. As these arm motions became more fast and furious, I went to a full length mirror to witness what was happening. All at once I had the most eerie feeling, as if my body was 'remembering' something.
My hips, knees and legs began to sway and undulate as the intricate arm motions continued. These arm movements were dynamic, but unmistakably graceful and choreographed. I stared at the mirror in awe.
My body was performing some kind of exotic dance. Then my arms came forward and my hands met, palms pressed together in a prayer-like pose, and drew up to the centre of my chest. A force pulled me over into a bow and held me there an instant. Then my knees buckled, and I found myself kneeling prostrate on the floor.
The thought hit me; 'I'm worshipping something', but worshipping what? Then I knew: I had just performed a sacred temple dance.
This was the first time that I seriously questioned my sanity. I wondered, with alarm, if I had become schizophrenic. This suspicion was short-lived. My rational mind laughed: schizophrenics do not suddenly break out into beautiful, exotic dances and then realize they are schizophrenic.
The temple dancing continued to occur for the rest of that day, and by evening there were also episodes of what seemed to be some sort of tribal dancing as well. This went on for hours, even though I was in a state of physical exhaustion.
Although the temple dancing recurred daily for several weeks after this, it never again pushed me to my physical and mental limits.
It was during this time that I also began being thrust into spontaneous asanas, yoga positions.
These would happen at night, sometimes in my sleep, or when I meditated. I would awaken to find my body contorted in unusual postures. When sitting in meditation, my body would suddenly be thrown forward into a cobra pose, or other unexpected positions.
Eventually, whenever I arose in the morning, my body would be pushed into a series of exercises which would go on for about an hour. These were everything from toe touches to hatha yoga postures to Tai Chi movements. I realized that I was becoming more flexible than I had been in over fifteen years.
What causes these kriyas? Most of the literature I have found says that when the 'prana', or life-force is increased in the body, it's crudely analogous to water pressure being increased in a hose. If the pressure is radically increased and the hose is narrow, the force of the water will make the hose whip around furiously.
In order for high vibration energy to flow smoothly through our systems, we need to be enlarged and unobstructed. This expansion and clearing takes place on many levels: physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally.
The activated Kundalini produces kriyas when it comes up against inner blockage. This blockage may be in the form of stored physical or emotional trauma, limiting beliefs and attitudes, or psychic debris from collective toxins, past lives, astral dimensions, and other arcane sources.
The externally evident kriyas, visible as uncontrolled movements of the body, signify a great inner healing process. It's unnecessary for us to be consciously aware of the exact nature of our blockages. As the shakti engages these blockages, it works to dissolve them.
While this dissolution is occurring, lots of previously frozen, unconscious material becomes available to us. This may arise as thoughts, physical sensations, or emotions. At this stage, we often feel physically sick and emotionally unstable. Without warning or apparent provocation, we plunge into fits of rage or chasms of grief or despair.
These erratic and overwhelming feelings are simply ancient energies which were locked within us. As the shakti empties us of these trapped energies, we temporarily relive them. This also happens on the physical level. Old injuries and illnesses are temporarily re-experienced. Although it can be painful and difficult to tolerate these physical and emotional states, they are not harmful.
To the contrary, they are signs of deep, forgotten, festering wounds which are at last being opened, drained, and healed. Some of the texts refer to inner blockages as 'resistance'.
Unfortunately, this word has been misinterpreted to mean that kriyas occur if one has a resentful or resistant attitude toward the transformational process. Some 'experts' insist that those who maintain a positive attitude toward their Kundalini awakening have very few and mild kriyas.
From my own case, I know this is untrue. Even though my personal experiences have been intense and often painful, since I became aware that I was having a Kundalini awakening, I have accepted this process as a great gift. I cannot imagine how I could have been more surrendered to it than I have been.
I have trusted Kundalini more than I ever trusted anything in my life. When my kriyas began, they were initially painless tremors and twitches. Then they developed into agonizing spasms. This again changed and for awhile, every Kriya was preceded by a sensation that felt like an electrical shock.
Then the shocks came less often, though I could usually feel a tell tale tension in my body, similar to the way it feels before a sneeze, when a Kriya was coming.
By the time the kriyas had been going for a year, something wonderful happened. They began to be enjoyable. In and of themselves, the spontaneous jerking movements caused neither pleasure nor pain, but they would be immediately followed by waves of sensual energy surging through my body. These were my first continuous sensations of physical bliss since my Kundalini awakening began.
For me, the kriyas seem to intensify when Kundalini is amplifying the energy in my body. Every night when I first lie down, surges of energy flash up from my feet into my spine. These energy rushes make me shake all over, and start my body jerking and my legs kicking and thrashing.
Depending on how strong the energy is, and how much blockage it comes up against, these nocturnal kriyas can last anywhere from a half hour to most of the night. Sometimes they go on so long and so vigorously that sleep is impossible. Other times, they subside, then became active again and awaken me from sleep.
I still frequently have kriyas in the day as well, but rarely are they as racking or as relentless as they were in the early stages of my Kundalini awakening. Now, the daytime kriyas are generally concentrated in areas of my body where the energy is working through blockages.
For instance, for many months the Kundalini was most active in my chest and neck area. I had all kinds of physical symptoms in this part of my body: coughing, throat problems, chest congestion, deep muscle pain in my neck and upper back, sharp, shooting pains in my chest, arthritic stiffness and soreness in my cervical spine area, and much more.
During this same time, my shoulders would automatically hunch up and down for long periods of the day. These shoulder kriyas released bursts of soothing energy that circulated the afflicted area. While the kriyas may involve any part of my body, the mudras occur primarily in my hands, fingers and arms.
The kriyas are often spasmodic and jerky, but the mudras are always very graceful and precise. The mudras still occur for me, but they have gone through various permutations. Now, I rarely have the finger mudras, though the arm and hand movements that began with the temple dancing continue.
In contrast to the finger mudras, which were generally held in certain positions for long periods of time, the arm and hand mudras are usually rapid and continuously in motion. This may be part of what is being represented in the Hindu statues of many-armed deities.
While I hesitate to classify the mudras by category, they do seem to serve several purposes. At points, I was given to understand the meanings of specific mudras.
For example; when both arms extend outward with palms parallel to each other and facing upwards, non-attachment is symbolized. Specifically, I was inwardly told that this mudra means; 'I come to God empty-handed'.
Another mudra is both hands suddenly flying up over my head, with hands open and stretched back, palms upward. This would occur frequently during the day, and always when I sat down for a meal. Another woman had this same spontaneous mudra occur when she went to a restaurant with her friends.
The friends, embarrassed, told her to stop it. She felt humiliated and 'out of control' with no idea why her arms had shot up like this. When I told her that I had experienced the same thing, she felt relieved. She was deeply touched when I told her that this mudra signifies gratitude and consecration. "Your body was saying grace" I assured her.
Specifically, this mudra means, "Everything belongs to God". Other mudras have a distinct effect on my system. I can physically feel these movements smoothing and stabilizing my energy. These are the aura balancing mudras. The arms and hands move in automatic, graceful and often rapid configurations. The chakra areas are particularly influenced by these mudras.
Conversely, whenever one of my chakras is unbalanced, my hands will fly into motion to redistribute the energy there. This happens often when I am in the presence, even through telephone contact, of someone in mental or emotional pain.
For instance, people who are angry or worried, even if they are not outwardly expressing these feelings, frequently have third or solar plexus chakra disturbances. If I am with them, my own third chakra resonates distress.
This is felt as 'butterflies' in the stomach, or as nausea and sharp pains in this area, or even as a sudden sensation of being punched in the stomach.
In the presence of someone sad, a heavy feeling will weigh on my chest. This automatically triggers the mudras. There is a mudra which seems specific to calming the heart chakra. One hand, held vertically, fingers pressed together, is brought up and held with the thumb side against the centre of the chest.
There have been occasions when my hands would move spontaneously to cleanse my aura. My fingers would appear to be grasping a length of something and extricating it from my body. From my previous study of metaphysics, I knew the 'something' was psychic cords. Sometimes these would be short, and quickly removed from my body as if my fingers were plucking out porcupine quills.
Other cords were so long my hands would turn round and round as though twirling a long strand of spaghetti. Though I could always feel a sensation when this happened, rarely was it unpleasant.
Once, a cord was pulled from inside my mouth that seemed to be rooted somewhere in my abdomen. I gagged several times during this operation.
A woman who knew nothing about auras or mudras told me that at times her hands would seem to be gathering something up from around her body and then forcefully throwing something away. This throwing away motion is familiar to body workers and psychics, who are taught this as a means of eliminating foreign and undesirable energies.
My own hands would also do these expelling motions on occasion. I was also able to do some healings on others at this time by working on their auras.
I say that 'I' was able to do this, but in truth, I have no idea what I did. It was the Kundalini moving through me and automatically moving my hands and arms that brought about these healings. Likewise, I have no formula for detecting cords or doing anything else to balance my own or anyone else's energy. How the Kundalini directs my hands to do this remains a great mystery to me.
My husband and I have become so accustomed to the mudras and kriyas that we think nothing of them. But other people, having no exposure to or understanding of these phenomena, are very uncomfortable around anyone manifesting kriyas or mudras. The kriyas resemble neurological problems, and are less likely to be criticized than the mudras.
People have trouble believing that these are automatic, uncontrolled movements since they are so graceful and seemingly deliberate. For this reason, my on-going kriyas and mudras make me feel very self-conscious in public or in the presence of others.
While not everyone undergoing a Kundalini awakening experiences kriyas or mudras, most do to some degree. Even mild kriyas and mudras can be frightening when do we not realize that they are a natural response to greatly heightened energies in the body.
Psychics or other healers who are unfamiliar with Kundalini may interpret these energies in a negative and sometimes terrifying way.
For instance; suggesting that some evil force is causing these uncontrollable body movements. Doctors who are ignorant of this phenomena may regard it in pathological terms, as signs of neurological dysfunction or somatized psychological disturbance.
Dangerously addictive drugs, such as the benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Paraflex, Clonopin, etc.) are frequently prescribed. While these medications may be needed during the most physically painful part of the process, withdrawal after extended use will dramatically intensify the kriyas.
While those who have not had personal experience with mudras and kriyas may find my case fantastic and stretching credibility, I have not written this to thrill readers with a strange tale of science fiction/spiritual adventure. I am telling my story for the sake of others who are experiencing similar things, and who may find reassurance in learning that these manifestations are not a sign of insanity, brain damage or demonic possession.
They are simply part of an amazing and mysterious transformation of consciousness.