Kundalini is an energy that exists in everyone’s body, usually in a dormant state. This means that most people never feel it and never know it is there. But in a very few people, perhaps one in one thousand, this energy becomes aroused, activated. This can be a happy event or it can be scary and disruptive, depending on whether you aroused your kundalini on purpose or by accident.
The Sanskrit word “kundalini” means coiled, like a snake. Kundalini energy is not recognized by medical science, and is often little understood even among teachers of Yoga and meditative traditions. It is, however, mentioned extensively in the literature of Yoga and Tantra (both Buddhist and Hindu).
Because the word “kundalini” has become widely used, many people, I believe, consider it to be metaphoric or legendary. This statement by Yogi Bhajan, for example, suggests a somewhat metaphoric view of kundalini: “(Kundalini is) the creative potential in the man.” (Kundalini, Evolution and Enlightenment, edited by John White, Paragon House, 1990, p. 25) Yet those like me, who have aroused their kundalini, cannot possibly consider it to be a metaphor. It is quite literal.
The yogi or yogini who successfully and safely arouses their kundalini gains a great ally on their spiritual journey. That ally is an energy, a vitality, that smooths the path, that makes the steep slopes easier to climb, and that acts like a sword to cut through inertia and conditioning. In short, Kundalini can change you quickly. It can advance your spiritual aspirations. Moreover, according to authors of some of the Tantras (ancient writings), aroused kundalini energy is essential to a yogin (practitioner of yoga, male or female) attaining complete liberation in this modern distracted age (called Kali Yuga).