What are Chakras, Kundalini, and the Kama Sutra?
Our goal here is to shed some light on some common terms that most people may have heard, but don’t necessarily understand, related to Tantra.
What is the Kama Sutra?
Let’s start with the Kama Sutra. This was one of the first books written about the Art of Making Love and is actually a compilation of ancient Indian (Middle Eastern not American) knowledge written in Sanskrit. The primary problem with this book is that most people have not seen the original translation, but a Western version which amounts to primarily dizzying myriads of sex positions. While these can be an interesting source of inspiration, most of these positions are too challenging for any but experienced yogis to perform. I have learned far more about effective and inspiring sex positions by watching my friends versus any book.
There are however many other parts of the book (sex positions accounting for only 20%). It describes 36 tantric arts that are recommended along with sex including the art of pillow arrangements and teaching a bird to talk. It goes over ways to relate to both one’s wife and or mistress, the profession of prostitution, and what women should be allowed to study. It discusses how to acquire a wife, seduce other’s wives, and prevent your wife from being conscripted into the royal harem. Though interesting, quite a bit of it is no longer very relevant in my opinion.
However, it is a very Tantric Book and that though dated, brings up some excellent points. First, it introduces the concept that sex can be a spiritual experience beyond just physical pleasure. Second, it explains that setting the mood and making a romantic space is very important. Third, it demonstrates how to slow down and enjoy every aspect of the love making process, especially foreplay including tips on kissing, biting, scratching, spanking, etc. And of course it provides a copious number of positions and other techniques such as oral love making.
That said, it does not really teach one much about our view of how to perform Tantra yoga. The practice of using breath, sound, movement, visualization, etc. to maximize energy and utilize if for a variety of purposes is not really covered. Mastering one’s energy and becoming one with the universe is where the magic is created. So, though the Kama Sutra may add some philosophy, texture and color to one’s love life, I don’t really think it does much for one’s practical Tantra skills.
What is Kundalini
So, what is Kundalini? The Ancient Indian Sanskrit definition is that this is primal energy and consciousness located in the base of the spine. It can be thought of as the source of life, alternately called or similar to Prauna, Chi, Bio-electic field, Aura, Electricity, Atoms, or the Force. Modern science is able to identify, photograph, and measure it, but is still far from understanding it. Through life events and spiritual practices, one moves this energy up one’s spine for greater levels of awakening. This has been found in many spiritual traditions and yogic practices, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Native Americans, and Gnostic Mystics. It is sometime represented by a snake or spiraling helix like DNA and the goal is to move it up one’s spine to raise one’s energy and vibration.
Most people are not really aware of their energy or realize that they have the ability to control it. This is not just woo woo mysticism, it is science. When one visualizes or thinks about a part of one’s body, blood and our corresponding energy, flows to that area. By mastering fairly simple but powerful Tantra techniques, one can begin to feel, move and use this energy. The key practice of Tantra is taking the energy that is usually expended or wasted during sex (which is intended for making babies), and moving it up our bodies vs. out of them. Two or more partners can move this energy through each other’s bodies in a circuit and ever increasing flow. Some amazing benefits come from this practice vs. just sending energy out of our genitals, primarily through opening up our Chakras, which we will describe in a moment.
What are Chakras?
Chakra’s in Sanskrit means wheels, and correspond to areas of the body where this energy is spinning or turning. Our Tantric System works with 7 primary centers. The 1st or Root Chakra is at the base of the spine around the perineum or prostate. The 2nd Sacral Chakra is our sexual center around our genitals and below our belly button. The 3rd Solar Plexus Chakra is our power center just above our stomach. The 4th is our Heart Chakra and emotional center. The 5th is our Throat Chakra and location of self expression. Our 6th is our Third Eye Chakra for intuition and clear vision. And our 7th is the Crown Chakra or top of our heads that connects us to spirit and the divine.
Now I know this sounds a bit farfetched, they don’t teach this in most Western physics or biology classes. I thought this was complete baloney when I first heard about it and frankly disbelieved in any of this for over 10 years, even after learning the basics of Tantra. But then, I had a Kundalini awakening (or even a series of awakenings) and the evidence of my own body showed me there was something to all this. Western science has not yet demonstrated that we have Chakras, just as it has yet to prove spirit or love exists, though metaphysics is starting to catch up and prove what Tantricas have known for thousands of years. There are now numerous studies showing that our consciousness and thoughts alter the physical world. Regardless of what one believes, one can think of Chakras as a model, map, metaphor, concept, or focus for our attention when meditating. The “proof” like love is in feeling the experience.
When visualizing or moving Kundalini through these energy portals, it creates balance and harmony in the body, emotions, and spirit that can create amazing range of benefits. It improves our health, feelings of security, ability to manifest and tap into our creativity, own our power, open our hearts and be more loving, be fully self expressed and speak our truth, become more psychic and see beyond unconscious patterns and illusion, and open oneself up energetically to the greater cosmos around us.
What is a Kundalini Awakening?
If our Tantra techniques are practiced, one will sooner or later experience a phenomenon called a Kundalini awakening, which usually marks the beginning of an ever expanding world of blossoming miracles. Some have it before knowing what Tantra is, others like myself took years of practice before it occurred. It can be gradual for many or one of the most powerful orgasmic experiences of one’s life. This awakening is usually triggered by Tantric practices, but can also happen from significant life events, use of recreational drugs, or even spontaneously. When done in the context of a safe Tantra practice like Ecstatic Hearts’, this is often a euphoric spiritual awakening experience that creates numerous benefits including a connection to the divine that never goes away. When done non-consciously it can be a traumatic, fearful, and confusing experience. If energy is not moved back down (i.e. grounded), this can also lead to Kundalini psychosis. This is where a person temporarily goes crazy and most Western Doctors will place a person undergoing this in a mental institution for a month or so, which usually adds to the trauma. A danger is that for many having an awakening they don’t understand what it is, they feel better than they ever have before in life, so they want to stay in this blissed out state for days vs. coming back into their body or moving this energy into the Earth. Without practice, the brain is not used to containing this much energy and kind of short circuits while it is transitioning to dealing with this higher frequency. The good news is that even if this dramatic version happens, reason returns and most people who undergo it still feel more connected and happy than before this happened. Awakening with an understanding of what is occurring, using proven safe techniques passed on from our teachers, this experience can be one of the most amazing, powerful, beautiful, and spiritual experiences of one’s life.
A Kundalini awakening is usually experienced as physical sensation of energy flooding the body. This can be accompanied by spontaneous movements, shaking or spasms, a release of various emotions, a wide range of physical or temperature sensations, and often visions or other psychic phenomenon. There are also usually significant shifts or openings in one’s body, mind, heart, and spirit. One’s view or perceptions of reality and ego identity is altered as one becomes “awakened”. This often opens up new ways to energetically and emotionally connect with oneself, other beings, the universe, and divine infinite consciousness.