Sunday, January 31, 2010

Introduction to Jungs view on Kundalini Yoga

Carl Jung's interest in Kundalini was awakened around the first World War. During this time he was frequently "wrought up" and experienced that yoga helped him deal with his emotions. Since he was studying his own processes, he often forced himself to get centered without yoga to learn. Jung favored Kundalini yoga. To him it presented a model for the developmental phases of higher consciousness. This was entirely unavailable in western psychology.

Jung was attracted by the rich symbolism and cakra "energy" system that Kundalini offers. The seven cacras are: muladhara (root, at the base of the spine), svathistana, manipura, anahatha, visuddha, ajna and sahasrara (top of the head). These major energy centers are connected through thousands of nadis (channels).

Kundalini represents coiled energy that sits at the base of the spine. Through guided practice this energy can be raised which manifests shakti. Shakti is the primordial cosmic energy that is associated with powerful female creative energy that leads to manifestation. The object is to ascent this energy all through the cakra system which would lead to the blissful union of Siva and Sakti. Eventually leading to transformation of personality.

Jung pointed out that symptoms of the psychologic disease process have meaning when seen through the symbolic cakra processes of Kundalini. He warned against the bio-chemical approach for mental disorders and the pursuit of "wonder" drugs. Jung was ahead of his time as his remarks are even more applicable today.

Jungs interest in yoga was not as a "philosophy and religion", but as a psychology. He saw yoga as the natural process of introversion recognized pathways into the collective unconscious. Working on the internal processes can eventually lead to transformation and changes in personality.

Eventually Jung developed a archetypal regional typography of the psyche through which individual transformation can occur.

Jung recognized the enormous difference between the western world that pursuit a three dimensional model and the eastern world that essentially seeks nirvana. Jung was criticized for his remark that he didn't think that the age old lineage of Kundalini yoga could be adopted by westerners (Christian) and he argued that eventually the West would come up with it's own form of yoga. In addition, the essense of Kundalini yoga is the experimentation and embodiment and not the intellectual pursuit.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post, Raymond! I remember reading in "Memories, Dreams and Reflections" that Jung could only ease his mind with a certain form of yoga...Kundalini I assume. Thanks for going deep with this topic. I can't wait to read more!