Kundalini crises

The purpose of this webpage is to use internet excerpts and links to back up my conjectures that kundalini crises are fairly common. And I hope to convince readers that seeking a kundalini awakening and enlightenment are fool’s errands with lurking dangers.

I am offering my conjectures based on my analysis and based on the experience of my 1990 “kundalini crisis” that occurred after fervently chasing enlightenment for 18 years.

During my kundalini crisis, I had commonplace symptoms of psychotic mania such as excited mental states, euphoria, grandiose delusions, and over-confidence. I had never experienced any kind of psychotic symptoms prior to 1990, and I have not experienced any psychotic symptoms since 1990.

There is no scientific validation of kundalini, chakras, enlightenment, or reincarnation. There is only subjective experience and opinion from gurus and other exponents. I don’t trust subjective experiences of kundalini for many reasons including grandiose delusions and over-confidence are symptoms of a kundalini crisis.

  • A kundalini crisis is an overwhelming mind-body experience caused by spiritual practices.
  • A kundalini awakening is the apparent rise of energy from the kundalini energy center (which is also called the Muladhara chakra or root chakra); kundalini energy is considered to be related to enlightenment and the growth to enlightenment.
  • Kundalini syndrome is the symptom complex (such as kriyas, heat, white light, ecstasy, delusions, pain, and more) which apparently occur when kundalini is activated.
  • A spiritual emergency is an identity crisis where an individual experiences drastic changes to their meaning system typically because of a spiritual experience.

While gurus and others think that a kundalini crisis is caused by a large eruption of the kundalini energy center, I suspect that a “kundalini crisis” is caused by a profound dysfunction of the brain, spine, and neurotransmitters that is similar to the dysfunction of psychotic mania.

I hope to convince readers that life can be great by just feeling good! And seeking enlightenment or some peak experience is not realistic.

I have another blog post that has descriptions of 22 enlightenment experiences with most having overwhelming kundalini-type experiences. The list of my other blog post titles have links to posts describing the harrowing experiences of well-known people.

The following are excerpts and links related to kundalini:

From “The Safety of the Heart” by Bob Boyd at http://www.pentagonmeditationclub.com/bob-boyd—the-safety-of-the-heart-his-personal-kundalini-story.html
There are many Kundalini casualties similar to mine. Kundalini energy literally crippled me mentally in terms of what academic achievements and future accomplishments I may have had. Some people it has destroyed. My best friend who was initiated into the same tradition as mine wound up in a psychiatric ward with a full blown nervous breakdown from which he never fully recovered. In the view of most wide-eyed believers that could not have happened: the Guru or God would not have let it. Here is a hard lesson I have learned in my lifetime: Not all spiritual stuff is safe, even if you believe “God only gives you what you can handle.” Pray to God, but tie down your camel.
It bewilders me that many people don’t appear to heed the warnings about the dangers of raising Kundalini. I didn’t have any. I didn’t know what Kundalini was until it was far too late to do much about it. I have read and heard of case after case where severe conditions have developed. I have an acquaintance who used to be involved in a Tibetan meditation community, an offshoot of Tail of the Tiger, and he avoided practices that could trigger Kundalini because in his words, “Everybody I know who has gotten involved with it has had serious problems.”
I think one of the problems is that Kundalini sounds enchanting to many people due to claims of the powers it can unearth. If a person is hellbent on trying to awaken it, good luck, but be aware that there are people all over the world who rue the day they walked into the Kundalini ring of fire. This reminds me of the words of a guru who said, “Everyone wants spiritual experiences until they get them.” Believe me, there is more truth to this than I can express.

From comments a defunct website http://www.xojane.com/healthy/ill-try-anything-once-kundalini-yoga
Christian Koncz
Well, I’m obviously not a chick, but I did experience a Kundalini awakening and all I can say is be careful what you wish for. I am a bit concerned that the awakening of the Kundalini is promoted as some sort of health and wellness thing… It is the very opposite of that, extremely terrifying and not for the faint of heart. Almost no one goes through one without serious health and/or emotional problems, which is why knowledge of it has been hidden for so long, an unstable person with an awakened Kundalini is a danger to herself and society as a whole. You should only pursue it if you are free of attachments, fears, anxiety and truly ready in your heart to give up everything you once held dear. Once you go through the process, you will be a different person. Same on the surface, but completely different inside. Yes, the orgasmic, ecstatic feeling is great but in truth it is like being plugged into the mains whilst having an orgasm at the same time and it doesn’t last longer than a few minutes. After it happens you will be lucky if you don’t go insane and will probably have to leave your job and lose interest in friends and family. On the plus side you will see things you didn’t see before and understand profound spiritual truths without effort whilst developing an uncontrollable urge to write or to express yourself creatively in other ways. Read Gopi Krishna’s writings if you really want to know what it entails, my experience confirms most of what he wrote.

MoonDancer Christian Koncz
I’m so sorry your experience with Kundalini left you with such negative feelings. Perhaps you would be interested in continuing to research the ‘phenomenom” and read about other peoples’ experiences as well as the knowledge and learning of other teachers.
True Kundalini Awakening is different for each individual and will happen when it is meant to happen, perhaps in this lifetime, perhaps in the next. For some, such as myself, Kundalini Awakening has been a gradual process over a matter of years, decades for some, which doesn’t mean it will be any less profound or even less frightening for some. For others it is nearly instantaneous and vastly profound, and can be more or less frightening. It also can initiate a Kundalini Crisis/Syndrome in such cases rather than a full Awakening, but can (and will) still lead eventually to a full Awakening. In the meantime, finding an holistic physician, a Yoga Master, Reiki Master, etc., is extremely helpful in dealing with the symptoms of an “incomplete” awakening, or what, for many, is more likely a Kundalini Experience.
Just don’t give up. The negativity you are feeling is one of the processes you will go thru as you heal yourself in mind/body/spirit while preparing for a full Awakening. I do not claim to know it all, but I have done a lot of research over the years and very recently am experiencing the beginnings of a full Awakening. Apparently the Universe has decided I’m ready, whether I think so or not, lol. 😀
May you walk in the Light! ❤

Bryan Southern MoonDancer •
Christian Koncz, this is a year ago post so I hope you somehow read this. This weekend I had a unintentioned Kundalini awakening myself and I know exactly what you are talking about regarding being plugged into the “mains” – you must have experience as a musician as I’m interpreting that as the mains of a PA from a soundboard. Perhaps because I’m one ( a musician), I’ve projected this interpretation.
It was extremely disturbing and transforming and I feel empathy for anyone that undergoes it without knowing what it is. There is no question your sanity will be challenged and you are never the same after. I woke from a musical dream (I often write music in my sleep and wake up either with a song I’ve currently been writing or with a new one). A single silver note rang in my consciousness as I awoke and I realized this was a mantra someone or something had implanted in my consciousness. I’m 53 and have been meditating recreationally since I was 16 so I knew basically what was happening in the part of your mind that is left to you when these experiences initiate. My ego was presented to me in all it’s short comings and all my experiences held up to the savage/brutal/beautiful perspective of the infinite. If you make it through this you are rewarded with many insights that leave you changed forever, though pressed, I can’t and possibly refuse to list them.
I really don’t think this Moondancer realizes what she’s playing with. It’s quantum. You’ve either experienced it or you haven’t and her smiley faced reply to you indicates she doesn’t realize it not something you approach and negotiate what this will feel like.
After my “awakening” I was crippled for 4 days as the energy shot up my spine and some was diverted from childhood injury to my spine into my shoulder. I went through 9 circles of hell and came back again.
Having gone over the experience in my head and acknowledging fully my limited understanding of such matters, it seems clear that a lifetime, if not many, of preparation is desirable for such an experience. But I didn’t have the luxury of this as I was chosen rather than chose.
Moondancer, I don’t know anything about you. I was drawn to this page by Christian. But I feel I have to say, that the universe we are in is not simply goodness and bliss. That is one side. There is darkness and pain everywhere around us and it comes from something you won’t find on your yoga mat and crystals in the window and the succulent plants you undoubtedly nurture. Be careful. Your teachers don’t necessarily know anything but their ego.

Dan Ghelling
I had a spontaneous kundalini 4 years ago…at the time, i had no idea what kundalini was…kundalini is like being on a psychedelic drug that never subsides…kundalini awakening is unlike anything else…of’course it does lead to profound insights that can’t be accessed any other way…everything becomes illusory…free will, ourselves, religion, and even enlightenment are just illusions…the best i can explain what kundalini is like is that it’s a state between existence and non-existence…

From the blog of a Transcendental Meditation teacher who experienced a kundalini crisis while on an advanced training course for TM teachers. Go to http://patriciabralley.blogspot.com/search?q=I+SAW+GOD
There are some very smart people investigating the nature of consciousness: theoretical physicists and mathematicians, cognitive scientists, neurophysiologists, philosophers, and a fistful of Nobel laureates to categorize a few. Of course, these brilliant minds have not agreed upon even a definition of consciousness, although they do speak in terms of both the “hard” and “easy” problems. One estimate suggests that the easy problem will take 100-200 years to solve. What is clear is that to participate fully in this dialog one needs years of training in some sophisticated areas.
My approach is simpler. I’m going to tell you a story- my story, the experiences I have had and the questions I have faced. The shorthand that I use to myself is that “I saw God.” Or sometimes, enjoying framing it as having gotten caught up in some bad Country Western song entitled, “I saw God and all Hell broke loose.” Back in 1970’s, my father simply called it “kundalini burnout.”
Whatever words you choose, the experience sent my mind and body into a chaotic gyration from which it took me years to recover. After all, sensory perception is a subsystem of that complex system called our brain and physiology, and complex systems are renowned for chaos. So, while I count myself blessed to have had the vision, I feel extremely lucky to have survived the experience intact.

1 star comments from Amazon about a CD entitled Awakening Kundalini
1.0 out of 5 starsPlaying with Fire
ByRainbowEyes on June 1, 2011 Format: Audio CD
One other reviewer wrote that this is playing with fire, and a commenter asked how. I’m here to tell you how. I always do my research before jumping into anything- why do you think I’m here looking at reviews? At first I thought maybe these people were being over cautious- but actually looking into it and doing research instead of just saying they’re trying to scare me off I’ve found that what they say is true.
Many sites, even those teaching how to trigger the awakening, link to this site, Shared Transformation ([…]). It was created from one who had and had many friends how had spontaneously awakened Kundalini energy. Yes, awakening can be a joyous, beautiful, incredible thing! The discovery of what we call God, even. But it’s not ALL rainbows, unicorns and fluffy bunnies. This is a force powerful beyond our comprehension. While it can evolve your spiritual being, many many people find that their bodies are not capable of handling the process- which can be life long.
Thousands of people having all kinds of severe and mysterious health issues that can not be explained or treated by doctors, modern medicine, even holistic and spiritual healers. That is why that site was founded- after all, how can you even begin to explain this to others, let alone ask them to help or be supportive of you during the process?
Signs and Symptoms of Awakening ([…])- read the symptoms and the letters to get a hold of what very realistically you could be facing. Constantly feeling disconnected from this world, depression, chronic pains, heart and sleep issues, even mental and nervous break downs. This is why some spend years preparing to initiate the awakening.
I usually am a big fan of Kelly’s mp3s but this one I wiped from my hard drive- I know that I am not ready for this. I’m quite disappointed that she gave not one word of caution- makes me worry she doesn’t really know what she’s doing or that she doesn’t care to caution people on this important subject for fear she’ll scare off customers, rather than be concerned about their well being.
I believe that if your Kundalini awakens it should do so in it’s own time. Forcing it could be potentially very dangerous on all levels of your being- and once it’s awakened there is only dealing with the long term effects, because there is no going back. I’m not saying it’s all bad, but it’s defiantly not all good either. I’m not trying to scare anyone away, all I am asking is that you please, please, PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF AND MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION BEFORE YOU CONSIDER USING THIS PRODUCT!!

1.0 out of 5 starsBeware.
ByGaia1museon March 8, 2008 Format: Audio CD
(If you’d like to know why I take the position I do below, please see the comments attached to this post.)
Take great care in exploring Kundalini. Exercise caution. A book which tells you how to do so without recommending a teacher or extensive training can be dangerous to your mental, physical and emotional health. Research the term and look at Kundalini stories on the web before going forward.
There are an untold number of people who “played” with new age practices and awakened Kundalini “spontaneously” or unintentionally. And then realized they had gotten much, much more than they bargained for. This force, whatever it is, and it is little understood, is potent beyond most people’s wildest imaginations.
There is the debate of what is the “goal” of Kundalini. Many would say it is enlightenment. However, no matter how wonderful you think that may be — the actual process of going forward toward enlightenment via Kundalini can be torturous and devastating to those unprepared. The path is often lifelong and not reversable.
Many people who read a book like this may have pleasant sensations.However, it seems Kundalini can be “kindled” at any point in life and then awaken at an apparently unrelated time without any seeming connection to the “kindling.” Still, exercise caution.
A few may have adverse reactions — stop immediately if this is the case. Trying to awaken Kundalini can be playing with fire.

1.0 out of 5 stars Kundalini Warnings
By Jeannette R. Clark on May 12, 2010 Format: Audio CD
Kundalini should in no way be awakening intentionally without being under the guidance of a living Guru or Enlightened being. Enlightenment will not occur from listening to this CD. One reviewer claimed to be enlightened when really they were experiencing the amazing feeling of One-ness. Beautiful as it may be, it is not the End.
Once your Kundalini is awakened, it cannot be put to rest. If the energy is not balanced it can have serious consequences in your life; anything from pain to insanity. It takes serious effort, not just putting on a CD. If you desire to have Kundalini awakened in you, you must find someone who can walk you through it and the commitment to manage it’s effects in your life.
This CD might sound very beautiful, but it is dangerous.

From comments at http://theyogalunchbox.co.nz/kundalini-awakenings-symptoms-process-benefits-support-help/#comments

Hilary says
MAY 12, 2014 AT 6:12 PM
Hi kara-Leah,
I have just found your website. I hope that you are still recieving e-mails. I had a Kundalini awakening 5 years ago. It has been a VERY INTENSE, DISRUPTIVE and fascinating experience. which has shown me and taught that we are energy and that we are created from an intelligence/understanding far far greater than what most people have. The intelligence of the process is extraordinary., like you my body does yoga to. incredible actually. But also, it has been a very issolating experience, I have longed to connect with others who have had a similar experience. I have some amazing experiences with it and continure to do so. I dispare at times that my life will ever be normal again as it has disripted my career and other aspects of my life. But I have had some wonderful healing from it to.
I would love to share some of my experiences with you. I reall appreciated you warning to be cautious with yoga teahcers. I havae very recently started doing Kundalini Yoga because I tought it might help… it is helping stir things up!!! but I was dissapinted with some of the instructors because they denied the kundalini awakening but worst of all they told me it was nothing… which is not true… its a very big deal when it happens to you and I felt very .unsupproted and felt they tried to discount my experience or own it by defining it for me and telling me what it is and so forth…. I felt my reall experience so discounted and negated by people who I thought would be interested and supportive. I found their definitions of my experience to be very small with out any reall understanding of the experience at all…. Anyway, am finding the yoga practice very beneficial so I will stick with it… even though my body can do it’s own!!!!!! my body gets a little crazy sometimes in class.!!!!! but I realize deep emotional stuff is being activated to be released…. it is so uncomfortable…. and sometimes I cry a lot! I have had a lot of very different ‘symptoms’ which i realize are quite something to have experienced. I have regained the full mobility of my hands/fingers that were painfulf from arthritis, I have regained the mobility in my hips from dance injuriies. I no longer walk with a limp or need any painkillers. And recently I realize I don’t feel the intense anger I had carred around for so long. I tried to deny it all whille I was at University over the last few months because it was busy I could keep the kundalini at bat… for awhile…. I became bound and so phusically and emotionally uncomfortable I had to let it work…. so I started going to yoga classes to help loosent it up again and let it flow…. and to accept it and learn more about it rather than try to deny it…. even though it works all the time!!! I got depressed and feeling crazy because people don’t believe me or think I ‘m crazy so I started feeling so out of place and issolated… I needed to find someone who has had the same experience… Hence your website. i hope your .website is still going and your are still at the other end of this e-mail. The woman I was working with thgough the experience kept telling me I should write a book and shere imy experience…. but I doubted anyone would be interested…especially since the respoinse from Kundalini instructors… most of the female ones interestingly. the two male ones I had were interested because my body was so busy in their classes they couldn’t deny it.
I have had many of the sympotms of the physical kind that i have read about on websites.,
I hope you get this, or anyone else who has similar experiences
Have a great day!

Kara-Leah Grant says
MAY 14, 2014 AT 12:05 PM
Hey Hilary,
Yes, I am still running this website, and I still get the comments that come through. I’m glad that my articles continue to be of value to people like yourself in realising that you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy.
In my experience, few yoga teachers have real experience with Kundalini – even those who teach Kundlini Yoga!
Sometimes, it does help to write down your experience, whether or not that material ever becomes a book. It can be a vital tool for processing everything and helping to keep one grounded.
Many blessings,

Kundalini experiences sometimes occur after trauma. Comment from http://www.openhandweb.org/03_06_09_a_full_blown_kundalini_awakening_my_story
I now have a clearer understanding
28 February, 2013 – 08:38 — MARKBH
When I was 14 years old, I had gone through a bereavemnt of a childhood friend, I was at a very low point in my life and had more or less wanted to ‘let go’ of everyone and everything around me. One night I fealt what I can only describe as a cold fire sensation around bottom of spine, this rose up in waves up my spine. I had a complete sensation of love and eurphoria, at the time I did’nt know what it was or why it happened.
Now 23 years later I have found the answer I was looking for, this appeared to be a sponaneuos Kundalini Awakening. It explains alot to me about the effects it had on my life for many years. I suppose they would be deemed as the negative effects, e.g. loss of equilibrium feeling dis attached from the world. not recognising myself. To combat these effects I have had to ‘ground myself’ and work with people with disbabilities and provide care and support.
The experience was something I was’nt prepared for and for yours I have been searching for an answer to explain what happened, I would like to use this energy but dare not meditate for fear of feelings of dissattachement again.

A comment from someone who has Bipolar Disorder in the family
Meg|Thu, 2016-02-18 08:13
This is exactly how I have experienced Kundalini awakening – surges of chi and a samadhi like experience. More than anything the experience is characterized by deep connection with everything (EVERYTHING) and the sense that everything thing…human, animal, vegetable, mineral, is a teacher. When attending to anything, I feel like I have some sort of connection to eternal knowledge. This happened more than once in my life before I began to learn the lingo/traditions around it. Because I have bipolar 2 in my family – I have had similar questions about the nature of my experience such as the “am I crazy” question.
I do not routinely discuss this experience with others. Partly because I anticipate the first response will be to think of me as “crazy.” (Reasonable enough since I wonder too.) In circles of people who have greater knowledge of so called Eastern traditions, when I talk about my experience it almost sounds like showing off. It seems as though others have either not had this experience or chosen not to talk about it. The belief seems to be that only gurus have these experiences. I am no where near a guru and simply do not have a very ambitious pratice – just sporadic yoga and qigong classes. So I wonder, Is silence about it the better path until, if the day ever comes, I am more educated about all of this?
I have to say, it feels so good to hear that I am not alone. What can be particularly hard for me is that, when I am not in this state, I often feel like I am somehow failing. I feel like my teachers–those I am only aware of in a state of awakening, have abandoned me or possibly I have abandoned them – even though I yearn for their return. Like you, I have found the best way to take care of myself is to meditate and keep reminding myself to trust this process, but somehow I find it very hard to stay in a routine. (And, for the most part I am living in a setting where most people I interact with do not know about, and certainly do not trust, this process.) I would like to interact more with others who have have had this experience and, particularly, those who want their life’s work to be more directed by the experience. Is there some sort of support group somewhere? Thank you so much for sharing, for reminding me about the importance of meditation. If you can suggest resources for more contact with others, I’d sure appreciate it.

A huge Swedish website on kundalini risks is translated to English at http://kundalini.se/en/. This website has many personal stories of kundalini and supporting information on kundalini.

YouTube Videos

Video of Gabriel Morris reminiscing about his kundalini crisis in which he walked around town as in a “bad drug daze”, was asked to leave a library, and had 6 months of “insanity”. This part of the story starts at 4 minutes. From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_NRFLdwlFI&t=632s and another video discusses this starting at 5 minutes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_psIaEDGNzo

Video of Craig Holliday entitled, “The Bliss and Nightmare of Kundalini Awakening” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTyCYHpeJYE&t=32s

Video of a Marine, Samuel Schmitt, talking about his kundalini experience and that he was in and out of a hospital for 2 years. He became interested in kundalini after hearing about DMT. Video no longer available at the link originally used in 2017, but it can be viewed as part of a long video by (painstakingly) forwarding to 38 minutes 38 seconds at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hc_-hN_Q2o&t=2641s

Video of Vivek Govekar on “The Dark Side of Kundalini” talking about his kundalini crisis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loyG8Y_VYVQ&t=26s