Yoga of the Central Channel

Sri Yantra

I will open here by giving away the truest and deepest secret of tantra: all tantra is worship; all tantra is sacrifice to the Supreme. By means of mantra, yantra, mudra and the breath we offer ourselves in every dimension of our being to the Divine via the chakras and the central channel. In this way, we build the subtle body so it can bear the current of awakening, opening our hearts to Holy Love and our minds to Uncreated Light.

Kundalini is the energy of consciousness. It can be experienced as opening upward from the intuitive root of being, or as radiance descending from the Divine Apex of Being. It can also be experienced as expanding outward from Heart of Existence, intuited through the core of our own being. Every chakra is holy. Each is a doorway to the unified and integrated experience of Emptiness. This is why the traditional tantric texts that deal with them show a deity seated within the center of each chakra with its energy or shakti. The secret to awakening the energy of the chakras is devotion: we worship the Lord, in different aspects, with the energy of our breath, from root to crown.

A number of pranayams are taught to calm and concentrate the mind while sensitizing and awakening the progressively subtler levels of the central channel. Chakra meditations reveal the dimensions of experience that make up our conscious reality. Consciousness can be traced back through the chakras and through the central channel to its source in Emptiness. Bija (seed) mantra meditations are taught to still the mind while attuning and saturating both body and mind with their particular shakti, or that divine energy that each embodies. The development of mental absorption is an integral to every part of this yoga. The gradual slowing of the breath achieved through central channel pranayam is of great assistance here, as the yogi experiences deeply the link between breath and mind. Mudras are taught as whole-body meditations that assist us in communicating with Devi, the divine feminine creative power. All of these exercises are ways of offering ourselves to the Eternal Transcendent Paramatman, in every dimension and at every level of our being.

No idea of intentionally awakening kundalini, much less forcing it, is found in these practices. Through these exercises the body and mind are purified, sensitized, calmed and attuned to grace. The subtle body is built up as an offering to God. What is called kundalini, unfolds naturally, organically and globally. Done in this way and in a spirit of devotion to the Supreme, we are protected from those dangers that so often attend the more commonly taught ego-centric approaches that seek to forcibly awaken the dormant energies of consciousness. Any system that purports to forcibly awaken this moola-shakti, or the root energy of our being, can be dangerous, and should be regarded with skepticism.