By Faye Martins
An aspiring Yoga practitioner may wonder if you can benefit from the practice of Yoga without receiving Shaktipat initiation. Shaktipat initiation is the awakening of the divine Kundalini energy that is coiled like a snake three and a half times at the base of the spine. When awakened by an enlightened meditation master, the Kundalini Shakti rises up from her resting place and ascends along the spine piercing each chakra. The culmination of her journey is the penetration of the crown chakra. At this point, a state of bliss is reached. This is followed by realization of the mind’s luminous essence. It is said, this state of clarity is experienced only by a devout Yoga practitioner.
In India, the traditional path required long apprenticeships. Traditionally, Yoga asanas, pranayama (Yogic breathing exercises), and meditation techniques, were practiced for years before receiving Shaktipat initiation. A Yoga student or devotee was guided through a series of preparation exercises and years of service to a particular teacher before he or she was deemed to be prepared to hold the transmission of divine energy. The Yogi or Yogini’s body and mind must be clean, strong and stable in order to hold the Kundalini Shakti and nourish her once she is awakened.
Of course, a modern day Yoga practitioner can benefit greatly from a regular practice of Yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation or centering techniques. Physical Yoga postures help to keep the body limber and strong. These postures also release tension, stress and anxiety that build up on a daily basis. Yogic breathing exercises such as Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing help to balance the nervous system and generate a feeling of calm alertness. Other breathing techniques like Bhastrika pranayama or the breath of fire cleanse and purify the nervous system and its 72,000 pathways known as “nadis” in Sanskrit. Bhastrika pranayama also invigorates and energizes the whole body.
These are still many benefits that a Yoga student will experience from a regular practice of Yoga even if he or she has not received Shaktipat initiation. A dedicated Yoga practitioner will experience life-long benefits from this ancient and well-rounded series of physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation techniques and ethical guidelines. However, a student who is lucky enough to receive spiritual initiation from a realized Yoga master will find that if the Kundalini Shakti is awakened prior to an ardent practice of Yoga, she will gently or sometimes not so gently nudge a devotee to live a physically and emotionally healthy and dharmic life based on many of the principles of Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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