The 5 Kundalini Awakening Stages: Understanding The Transformative Journey Of Kundalini Shakti

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The kundalini awakening stages are highly personal and can range from being very intense to subtle. Everyone will experience their Kundalini rising differently and there is no one-size-fits-all when this primordial cosmic energy begins its ascension.

Connecting to a general overview of the different kundalini awakening stages can best prepare you for your own kundalini awakening journey.

In this article we will deep dive into the different kundalini awakening stages and what to expect in each one as well as the various kundalini awakening symptoms.

In this article, we will cover:

Let’s dive right in!

person cupping a flower with their hands


As a disclaimer, it is highly advised you work on activating kundalini under the supervision of a knowledgeable yoga teacher or mentor. Kundalini Yoga can be considered beginner friendly but it is an advanced practice to be approached with caution and awareness.

Kundalini awakenings can open up different waves of consciousness and dimensions that require your inner and outer environment to be prepared for this potent energetic activation.

Because of this, tending to kundalini energy (feminine energy) once it is awakened requires intuitive listening, nurturing, and integration that will aid you in sustaining your heightened awareness.

While activating kundalini can seem like an exciting venture toward enlightenment, this powerful energy can create intense feelings that can feel frightening – hence the supervision of a teacher is advised.

What is Kundalini

Kundalini means Sanskrit for coiled one. In a spiritual context, it is the most primal form of shakti (divine feminine). In yoga philosophy, Shiva and Shakti’s energy makeup our entire cosmic existence.

It’s a pretty lofty concept to wrap your head around but a great way to understand it is through a theater metaphor where Shiva is the stage (unmanifest- awareness) and Shakti is the play being acted out on it (manifest- form- aliveness).

two people doing yoga by the sea

When Shakti (Kundalini) energy uncoils from the base of the spine, ascends at Sushumna nadi (center channel), and reaches Shiva residing at the crown, she embraces him, and their union is considered enlightenment.

Next, we will discuss the nadis, prana, and their importance in working with kundalini energy.

Kundalini and Prana

Prana (life force energy) is an integral part of kundalini – working to direct it removes energetic blocks that are impeding the flow of energy from moving up the base of your spine and root chakra through the chakras (energy centers) to the crown chakra.

Nadis are the energy channels that carry prana up and down the spinal highway. The nadis converge at certain points creating the 7 chakras (energy wheels) which have a direct impact on the way we show up in the world, think, and create.

The Sushumna nadi is the center channel from which kundalini energy passes to make its ascension towards the top.

The Ida (cold) and Pingala (hot) energy channels are the usual pathways through which prana flows and are responsible for creating the dual reality (good and bad) we live in.

While prana moves around the Sushumna (the channel for enlightenment or spiritual awakening) it doesn’t arouse it toward enlightenment, only kundalini can awaken it.

energy body in the kundalini awakening stages

The 5 kundalini awakening stages

Stage 1 (Stepping onto the Path)

The first stage. The journey towards awakening your kundalini all begins with seeking. Most of the time we are seeking happiness.

Ultimately this relentless seeking for something more or the sensation of an itch we can’t seem to scratch leads us to seek the end of seeking, leading us to step on the path toward self-discovery.

This yearning to connect to something bigger than material gain and egoic desires takes us down a spiritual path. This path naturally leads us to get curious about meditation, yoga, and other esoteric practices as a means of coping with life.

Stage 2 (Activation)

Through dedicated spiritual practice, we begin to unblock energy channels for the flow of prana to travel unobstructed. Psychedelic plants and substances might also lead to the activation of kundalini energy such as Psilocybin or LSD.

Eventually, this dedicated ‘seeking to end seeking’ ignites the spark for the kundalini energy to begin rising.

It can happen gradually or suddenly during meditation, after yoga practice, or in the waking hours of the day.

There is no set timeline but one who seeks shall indeed find.

Whether you know it or not, this part of the kundalini awakening is called the activation of Kali, who is the goddess of destruction and death for the purpose of being reborn.

statue of kali ma

Kali, the Mahavidya that symbolizes kundalini energy, is dormant during the regular flow of energy which moves up through the ida and pingala energy channels.

Activation of this dormant energy can happen during a particularly difficult time when we feel at rock bottom and at our lowest.

Kundalini awakening symptoms during the activation stage:

  • Beautiful rays of light or color suddenly during meditation
  • Physical symptoms of feeling a burning sensation up your spine
  • A veil that was clouding your perception of reality suddenly being removed
  • Clairaudience where you hear divine messages from the astral plane with an instruction or important message.

Stage 3. (Purification)

As referenced in the activation phase, our kundalini can awaken during a dark or difficult time in our lives.

Conceptualizing kundalini energy as Kali can help you understand the energy you’re experiencing. You might feel your emotions on blast and negative emotions coming to the surface as you go through the cleansing and purification process.

Shadow traits, past trauma, suppressed emotions, or unhealthy coping strategies may also be revealed to you. These qualities, such as aggression and violence, are the shadow side of Kali.

woman shouting and looking angry

This cleansing might feel deeply uncomfortable as the Kali fire ravishes through our neatly constructed inner and outer walls, shedding light on what we’ve been avoiding.

A true dark night of the soul might ensue and, once on course, can be intense.

This is the phase that I don’t think gets talked about enough – this is because panic may occur when kundalini begins to rise. In Gopi Krishna’s book “Kundalini: the evolutionary energy in man” he describes his kundalini awakening as being in a state of delirium and doom.

It will magnetize what is no longer working in our life, what needs to be purified and cleared away in order for you to unlock your highest potential.

Negative Kundalini Awakening Symptoms during the purification stage:

  • Insomnia or lack of sleep
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • The sensation of a ball in your throat
  • Intense feelings of panic
  • Shaking of the pelvis, legs, and feet
  • Burning sensation up the spine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heightened sensitivity to people and places
  • Old memories of the past resurfacing, disease, and strong emotions

You might find yourself unable to look at life the same, as in a red pill state of mind. But, trusting that time heals all, over time the intensity of kundalini rising will lessen and life will find a way back to stability.

person journalling

Tips for staying grounded during kundalini awakening symptoms:

  1. Ensure you are in a safe place for the kundalini awakening process to unfold. Try to avoid being somewhere foreign and opt for your home or somewhere familiar.
  2. A strong support system will be key. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family you can trust as you work through the stages of kundalini.
  3. Take distance from spiritual texts and practices to reintegrate your newfound states of consciousness back into waking reality.
  4. Journal, document, and express your kundalini journey for personal reference later

Ultimately, this radical shift in your old way of being will lead you back to love and your highest purpose.

This is your cocoon phase.

Just as the darkest hour of the night precedes the dawn, so too, the challenges you face today will pave the way for your future triumphs.

Ancient Proverb
butterfly in a cocoon against an orange circle background

Stage 4 (Transformation)

Although the purification stage can feel like a stage that’s never-ending, eventually, once kundalini has cleared away the blockages that were impeding the flow of prana, transformation occurs.

This shows up as resonance in our life or joy. You made it out of the cave and are rewarded with revelations and rewards.

The butterfly emerges.

You will feel a shift in consciousness and abrupt changes might begin to happen. Tears of joy may be experienced on a daily basis as you see life through a different lens.

Transformation is not a stagnant place but rather can feel like a roller coaster as you teeter between your new chapter and the old one.

This is all part of the kundalini process still working through you, refining you, and testing your newfound abilities.

Your wings are wide open but you’re navigating how to fly.

butterflies flying in the flowers

Kundalini and Sexuality

Kundalini is associated with the sacral chakra. This is the chakra that’s associated with sexuality, creativity, emotions, and expression. Representing the divine feminine, she brings life into the world.

The connection between kundalini energy and sexual energy is sometimes discussed in spiritual teachings like tantra, an ancient path of self-discovery.

After all, sexuality is a fundamental aspect of human identity and holds the power to create.

When activated you may find the vital force that is sexual energy infusing your creative projects, relationships and passions, and daily activities radically transformed.

Sometimes it can show up through a drastic career or lifestyle change. You might take up and move somewhere you’ve always wanted to live or embark on a backpacking trip. You may also have a spiritual experience of transformation in the way you relate to sensuality and your embodied self.

Stage 5. (Harmony and Integration)

The final stage. Once tuned in, our thoughts and vibration begin to harmonize with similar frequencies. Like attracts like.

This is the breakthrough stage where all that you’ve learned on your spiritual journey culminates together to bring you new insights, strengths, and opportunities.

woman smiling by a blossom tree

This new way of resonance will begin to attract new experiences, expand creativity, and unlocking of new possibilities. This phase is when enlightenment would be obtained though, in our day and age, this is hard to achieve for many.

Harmonization feels more accessible and for the purpose of this article, we stay within the confines of remaining in the physical body and integrating kundalini back into our human experience.

This new state of being will require integration into daily life and with time a new way of being will naturally find its way.

This can be best explained as a flow state and an expansive energy that is in harmony with the direction your energy is wanting to flow.

Positive Kundalini Awakening Symptoms during the Harmony and Integration Stage:

  • Increased blood flow to the brain
  • Deep inner joy
  • Synchronicities with people and new projects
  • New problem-solving strategies when dealing with challenges.
  • Clear and sharp focus
  • Stepping into action and your creative fountain flowing unobstructed
  • A renewed relationship with pleasure and your ability to receive
  • A renewed sense of connection to our breath
  • Better coping strategies
  • Enhanced ability to see self-sabotaging behavior and make different choices
  • Expansive Inner and outer connectedness to nature and people

Ultimately we must sustain and integrate this new awareness into our daily life through continued practice of yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and pranayama.

Whatever path you choose, cultivating its presence in your life daily will be a big part of staying connected to your kundalini and the fruits it wants to bare in your life.

person practicing kundalini yoga

Unlocking your full potential

In conclusion, when Kundalini awakens expect your world to be rocked and renewed.

Awakening can be considered the death of the ego – but not entirely, just in the sense of it having power over us. Having a healthy relationship with our ego can lead to a balanced approach.

After all, being a human in this world means we must live and pay bills like everyone else!

Ultimately, the stages of kundalini awakening offer a glimpse into the vast potential of human consciousness and the transformative power that lies within each of us.

As a fire is created by a single spark and gathers force to light up brightly in the center, kundalini energy is ignited in the same way. Once on a devoted spiritual path, kundalini will spark, spreading throughout the chakras until reaching the crown, the thousand-petal lotus.

A new normal is not always a negative thing, especially when it comes to achieving new levels of consciousness.

To read more about Kundalini check out this kundalini awakening symptoms article or our article on kundalini breathing!

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Anna is a lifestyle writer and yoga teacher currently living in sunny San Diego, California. Her mission is to make the tools of yoga accessible to those in underrepresented communities.

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