A Collection of Articles on Kundalini
Excerpt from Words From the Soul: Time, East/West Spirituality and Psychotherapeutic Narrative (pgs. 162-165) by Stuart Sovatsky
Patanjali's "eight-limbed" ashtanga apollonian formulization of yogic maturations can serve as our starting point:
YAMA soteriological ("redemptive-healing") sentiment observations
NIYAMA soteriological sentiment cultivations
ASANA bodily development through postural movements (the popularly known postures of hatha yoga)
PRANA YAMA breath or vital-energy development
PRATYAHARA perception and inward attention-span development
DHARANA inward concentration-understanding development
DHYANA meditative knowledge development
SAMADHI enstatic wisdom liberation development.
In keeping with our approach, which views kundalini yoga as endogenous, we must strip away this formulaic structure and look at the stages as if they could be seen as fitting in a generalized way into the following developmental schema:
BEGINNING. Sperm-ovum fertilization: zygote, blastula, and gastrula stages develop;
FIRST MONTHS. Starting at the embryonic spinal base, kundalini energy-intelligence guides the formation of the neural groove, the evolutionary fundament of all evermore complex vertebrate bodies, from amphioxus on; gill arches, tail, and other "ontogeny phylogeny recapitulation" vestigial phenomena emerge and vanish; organs form, heart beats as ananda-maya kosha (causal body), vijnana-maya kosha (reflective-mind body), mano-maya kosha (neuroendocrine-based mind/emotion body), prana-maya kosha (mitochondrial-meridian vital energy body) and anna-maya kosha (food-eating or ordinary fleshy body) develop;
MIDDLE MONTHS. Jiva ("the one who lives") enters the causal body;
LATE MONTHS. Continued gestation of the fetal body toward fragile sufficiency by the sixth or seventh month as kundalini completes its formation of the body and recedes into dormancy at the spinal base; the more generic life energy of prana of the prana-maya kosha (udana, samana, apana, prana, vyana circuits of head, gut, elimination, respiration, and circulation, respectively) continues as the flesh body's (anna-maya kosha's) sustaining force, as nourished with earthly foods and oxygen via the umbilical connection to mother;
BIRTH. First breath, umbilicus cut, eye contact;
FIRST HOURS. Reaching, anahata-nada (polysignificant neuroendocrinal developmental utterances that are related to the yogic developmental breathing of pranayama-a "crying" that can be overassociated with adult anguish); psychomotor developmental movements akin to sahaja ("spontaneous") yoga asanas and hand and finger mudras emerge; nursing;
FIRST DECADE. Teething, walking, play; glandular secretions underlying soteriological sentiments of yamas and niyamas begin to fructify within the child's social and family context; language appropriates mind, tongue and psychosomatic enculturation occurs; prepubescent pranotthana ("intensified life energy") sustains the child's growth, visible as "the glow of childhood";
SECOND DECADE. Childhood pranotthana intensifies, fomenting genital puberty/fertility as the embodiment of infinite future human possibilities (the basis of the "endless impermanence" or survival of the species); hormonal-temporal urgencies quicken as gender-oriented desires; intermediate puberty of yama and niyama neuroendocrine secretions emerge, with emphasis upon developmentally sublimative brahmacarya (first ashrama, or "neophyte learner" stage of "following the Telos"); basic prepubescent asana and pranayama emerge in willful and minimal sahaja or "spontaneous" forms, further maturing sapient embodiment toward kundalini embodiment;
THIRD DECADE. Karma yoga, the life of responsible action and character maturation; the mind matures beyond childhood's scattered vitality toward pratyahara, the capacity for sustained perceptions and careful attention; second ashrama of "householder" family creation of pravritti path or the solitary mystic nivritti path is entered; diverse worldly involvements are varyingly dharmic or aligned (aligned, as in religion) with the endogenous maturational process; the maturations known as the mensch, good neighbor, or well-balanced person emerge; if pranotthana continues to intensify via dharmic life, the postgenital puberties of urdhva-retas quicken.
FOURTH DECADE. Dharana begins: the dawning of awesome awareness of/as endless impermanence and soteriological radiance-secretions of tejas (" brilliance-radiance" of spiritual zeal) and virya ("virtue-secretion/radiance") emerge; advanced asanas, mudras, bandhas (inner yearning contractions) and shaking mature the body for more intensified energies; dhyana begins: devout and unwavering appreciation of the flow of endless impermanence and the poignant grace of life; the puberties of the linguistic anatomy (tongue, larynx, brain centers) underlying further meditative/mental maturations begin: simha-asana (tongue-extended "lion pose" seen in certain goddess images) and nabho mudra (inward-turned tongue, "heaven-delight gesture") precursors of khecari mudra (tongue curls back in delight above the soft palate), initiating the puberties of the hypoglossal, larnyx, hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal; anahata-nada, known rudimentarily as "speaking in tongues" and resounding in the sacred chantings of numerous cultures, emerge;
FIFTH DECADE. The desire-self identity matures toward the immortal soul-self identity; soteriological radiance of auras (halo-auric glow of spiritual maturity) emerges; continuation of khecari mudra, culminating in the soteriological (subtle pineal?) secretion-radiance of soma or amrita ("immortal-time essence," revitalizing endorphinlike hormone), the uroboric embodiment of endless impermanence; kundalini awakens, initiating the puberties of the six chakras and the inner shamanic heat; shambhavi mudra, the puberty of the eyes and the pineal leading to inner vision of the soul's (melatoninlike) radiances and the matter-time-space-scent-taste-light-bliss continuum emerges as a phenomenon of embodied eternal impermanence; unmani mudra, the "delight-gesture of free consciousness" cerebral puberty emerges; internal or breathless respiration in the akashic-ethers emerges; grandchildren emerge for house-holders and then the third ashrama of retirement and the fourth ashrama of worldly renunciation; great-grandchildren emerge for householders.
Sabija-samadhi and Nirbija-samadhi: fully matured origin-consciousness with, and then without, future waverings emerge;
REPEAT TWENTY-FIVE TO FIFTY INCARNATIONS. Divya sharira: exceedingly rare full maturation of the ensouled body as "divine light body" and moksha: complete maturation of all soul-body potentials; ultimate liberation.
Also, consider this brief description of the successive passions involved in the unfoldment of the psychospiritual puberties as they emerge within the chakra subtle-energy system along the Jacob's Ladder of the spinal axis: muladhara (root): passion of survival and locus of latent kundalini; svadhishthana (pubic): passion of genital puberty; manipura (navel): passion of willfulness and of urdhva-retas heating; anahata (heart): passion of longing and love; vishuddha (throat): passion of expressed longing, gradually nearing union; ajna (midbrow, hypothalamic-pineal): unitive fulfillment and dispassion.
In sahaja yoga, specific mudras and asanas emerge in conjunction with each chakra. Yoga mudra, spinal twist, back stretching, fish pose, reverse pose, and cobra pose, respectively, is one possible correlation of chakras and asanas. Here, we also have the basis for a "chakra developmental psychology," which bears some resemblance to the psychoanalytic psychosexual oral, anal, latency, phallic, and genital stages of maturation.