Sidrome kundalini

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Physio-kundalini syndrome is a term used by Bruce Greyson to describe a disparate pattern of sensory, motor, mental and affective symptoms which, according to certain writers on the subject and some researchers in the fields of psychiatry[1], transpersonal psychology[2][3], and near-death studies[3][4] are associated with the awakening of the kundalini.

While Yvonne Kason objects to the labeling these experiences as pathological syndromes, preferring instead to call them Spiritually Transformative Experiences,[5] she uses the term “kundalini” in her writing to describe this range of phenomena for two reasons:

First, it comes from the yogic tradition, and today almost everyone—regardless of their religious background or spiritual orientation—has some familiarity with and respect for yoga. Second, the descriptions of spiritually transformative energy and its workings are more detailed and accessible in yoga than they are in some other traditions. Yoga was, at its roots, a systematic and carefully outlined practice designed to stimulate kundalini in a healthy way.[6]

According to Kason and her associates, this psycho-spiritual and transformative process may occur in connection with a near-death experience[4][7], or with prolonged and intensive spiritual/contemplative practice, as practiced within a few sub-disciplines of meditation or yoga[3][8][9]. Other factors that may trigger this symptomatology includes a variety of intense personal crises or experiences[10]. Psychiatric literature notes that “Since the influx of eastern spiritual practices and the rising popularity of meditation starting in the 1960’s, many people have experienced a variety of psychological difficulties, either while engaged in intensive spiritual practice or spontaneously.” [8][9] With relation to intense spiritual practice, these problems could, in some instances, be the result of wrong or unfortunate practice. Kason [11] emphasizes the risk associated with certain intensive spiritual practices, especially in circumstances where the practitioner is not mentally and/or physically prepared.

Contents [hide]
1 Mistaken psychiatricization of spiritual experiences
2 Mistaken “spiritualization” of psychiatric episodes
3 “Symptomatology”
4 Reference in academic literature
5 Cross-cultural observations
6 Kason’s Recommended Treatment for Spiritual Emergencies
7 Signs of Healthy Spiritual Transformation
8 Notes
9 References
10 Further reading

Mistaken psychiatricization of spiritual experiencesIn their paper, Turner et al. list “kundalini awakening” under the heading “Spiritual Emergence/Emergency”, along with “mystical and near-death experiences”, “shamanistic initiatory crisis”, and “psychic opening”. The describe kundalini awakening as “a complex physio-psycho-spiritual transformation process described in the Yogic tradition”.[12]

According to Turner and his associates, religious and spiritual experiences, when deemed as problems “need to be subjected to more research to better understand their prevalence, clinical presentation, predisposing intrapsychic and interpersonal factors, outcome, relationship to the life cycle, and ethnic factors. Although there is a wealth of clinical literature on these problems, the clinical research on religious and spiritual problems is minimal, with the exception of the many well-designed studies on NDE (Near-Death Experiences)[13] They indicate in the article their hope that increasing research and an openness to alternative cultural narratives among the authors of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) “will help reverse the predicaments surrounding psychiatry’s treatment of religious and spiritual issues, i.e. “occasional, devastating misdiagnosis; not infrequent mistreatment; an increasingly poor reputation; inadequate research and theory; and a limitation of psychiatrists’ own personal development” (Peck S, 1993, Further along the road less traveled, Simon and Schuster).[14]

Mistaken “spiritualization” of psychiatric episodesTurner and his associates point out that religious or spiritual practice can co-exist with a psychiatric disorder[12], and the prominence of religious and spiritual concerns in manic-depressive illness.[15] This raises the problem of mistakenly characterizing psychotic behaviors, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, with signs of actual spiritual growth and evolution.

In comparison, in the ages-long Kundalini Yoga tradition, a student is only initiated into the practices that awaken the kundalini after a master accepts them as worthy of instruction. The aspirant then takes up their practice, following a strict regimen under the watchful eyes of the master, who for all intents and purposes serves as their psychiatrist, shaman and priest.[16]

“Symptomatology”Researchers affiliated with the fields of transpersonal psychology and near-death studies (see references below) have suggested some common criteria that describe kundalini problems, of which the most prominent feature is a feeling of energy or heat rushing up the spine.[17][18]

Other sensory, motor and physiological symptoms may include: the feeling of cranial pressures[19], the perception of inner sounds[17], experiences of inner lights[17][20], vibrating or tickling sensations in the lower back[17], vibrations and itching under the skin[20], cool or flushed skin[21], tachycardia (rapid heart rate)[22], persistent bradycardia[21], changes in breathing[23], spontaneous bodily movements[23], spontaneous assumption of yogic postures[21], sensations of heat or cold moving through the body[20], localized bodily pain that starts and stops abruptly[20], and unusual, or intense, sexual sensations[24].
Mental and affective symptoms include: fear[25], anxiety[25], depersonalization[20], intense positive or negative emotions[20], psychotic symptoms or psychotic ideation[21], spontaneous slowing or speeding of thoughts[20], spontaneous trance states[25], experiencing oneself as larger than the physical body[20], and experiences of paranormal consciousness[24].
Summary of known problems: Death, pseudo death, pseudo psychosis, confusion, panic attacks, depression, sadness, suicidal thoughts, urges to self-mutilate, homicidal urges, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), exacerbation of prior or current mental illness, insomnia, inability to hold a job, inability to talk, inability to drive, sexual pains, temporary blindness, urticaria or rash, and headaches[26][27][28][29][30].

A few theorists within the transpersonal field, such as Greyson[23], refers to this symptomatology as the “Physio-Kundalini syndrome”, while other Western academics use the description Kundalini-experience/awakening[31][32]. The process is not always sudden and dramatic, it can also start slowly and increase gradually in activity over time[33]. If the accompanying symptoms unfold in an intense manner that destabilizes the person, then the situation is usually interpreted as a “spiritual emergency”[34].

Transpersonal literature indicates that the overview of symptoms is not meant to be used as a tool for amateur-diagnostics. According to writers in the field, the interpretation of symptoms is not straightforward[35][36]. Symptoms associated with Kundalini-activity may not always represent such activity, but instead be an indication of other medical conditions, in need of attention. Kason[36] emphasizes that any unusual or marked physical symptom needs to be investigated by a qualified medical professional. For more on this, see note [37].

According to Kason and others, the awakening of kundalini energies may have side effects[38][39] and such an awakening, in some instances, may be conceptualized as a spiritual problem[31]. According to Transpersonal theory the awakening of such energies are “accompanied by alterations in physiology and consciousness understood in terms of the Hindu chakra system”[40]. Knowledge of the chakra map may therefore be helpful regarding the interpretation of symptoms[41]. Consultation with a meditation teacher who is not trained in Kundalini techniques, or with a psychiatrist, medical doctor or therapist who is not knowledgeable about this process, often leads to confusion and misunderstanding.[citation needed] Teachers of Yoga familiar enough to guide students through the completion of Kundalini karmic release are so rare that the likeliness of having side effects solved smoothly is slim.[citation needed]

Even though the symptoms, at times, may be dramatic and disturbing, theorists such as Sovatsky[42] and Greyson[43] tend to interpret the unfolding symptomatology as largely non-pathological, maturational, and of evolutionary significance for humanity. According to Scotton[44] Kundalini-symptoms may, or may not, be associated with psychopathology, but are not reducible to any psychopathology. He also thinks that it is important to differentiate between the signs of Kundalini and the symptoms of pathology, and not subsume the signs of Kundalini under a pathological diagnosis. Other writers, such as Kason[45], tend to view the broad scope of the process, with the accompanying symptoms, as resulting in a “psycho-spiritual house-cleaning”.

However, Sovatsky believes that it is important to differentiate between the symptoms of a possible Kundalini awakening, and the symptoms of different preliminary yogic processes or pranic imbalances.[46] According to this view, many reported Kundalini problems may rather be signs of the precursor energetic state of pranotthana (see note [47] for definition). The difference between pranotthana and Kundalini itself, is also mentioned by other commentators, such as Bynum[48]. Sovatsky also notes that: kundalini has become a catch word at this early time in its entry in American culture… and attracts those with unspecified, chronic neurological/psychiatric complaints in search of an explanation for their symptoms; the use in the West of Gopi Krishna’s problematic kundalini experiences as a standard giving the awakening a reputation as more dangerous than it is[35].

Some clinicians, such as Scotton[49], notes that classical western psychiatric treatment may not be the most appropriate approach towards kundalini symptomatology. He does mention a few circumstances (mainly involving psychotic ideation) where he finds drug treatment to be appropriate, but he prefers to handle Kundalini episodes with as little physiological intervention, and drug intervention, as possible[50].

Reference in academic literatureA few writers, within the fields of psychiatry and psychology, have suggested a clinical approach to Kundalini-symptomatology. Possible improvements in the diagnostic system, that are meant to differentiate Kundalini syndrome from other disorders, have been suggested[1][2][51]. In an article from the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, theorists Turner, Lukoff, Barnhouse & Lu[52] discuss Kundalini-symptomatology in relation to the DSM-IV diagnostic category “Religious or Spiritual Problem”[53].

Discussion of Kundalini-symptomatology has also appeared in a few mainstream academic journals, including Psychological Reports, where M. Thalbourne operates with a 35 item “Kundalini Scale”[54]. The concept also appears, very briefly, in an article from the Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine where Le Fanu[55] discusses a small detail regarding Kundalini symptomatology in connection with the interpretation of so-called medical “mystery syndromes”.

Cross-cultural observationsQigong, the Chinese-born practice of improving the qi flow in the body to achieve health benefits, has recorded that occasionally qigong practice may lead to mental disorders and call it 走火入魔 (walk into fire and devil). This is according to some commentators essentially describing Kundalini syndrome or qigong psychosis[56].

The Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) includes the diagnostic category “qi-gong psychotic reaction” in its “Glossary of culture-bound syndromes”[57].

Kason’s Recommended Treatment for Spiritual EmergenciesIn Dr. Kason’s book, she covers a number of factors, including who has spiritual emergencies and why.[58] She then offers up a number of strategies for living with spiritual transformation. Central to these is a balanced lifestyle. The following is her 10-point Basics of a Balanced Lifestyle:

Develop and stick to a regular routine—have regular rising, bed, and meal times and set aside regular periods each week for exercise.
Get plenty of sleep and rest and set aside regular times for daily relaxation and weekly recreation.
Do not skip meals. Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. You don’t need to deprive yourself of occasional treats, but avoid junk foods in general.
Keep the amount of stress and hectic activity to a minimum.
Communicate and share your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person daily, or as often as possible.
Keep your sex life moderate, and pay attention to your body if it seems to be telling you to cut down.
Spend time in nature; get plenty of natural daylight.
Avoid toxins and self-destructive habits such as smoking and drugs; keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
Get regular physical exercise, at least two or three times a week.
Spend a moderate amount of time each day in meditation, prayer, and/or a spiritual practice.[59]
Dr. Kason also offers up a long list (26 items) of grounding strategies, including, “1. Stop meditating. 2. Decrease all forms of concentration… 22. Visualize your energies withdrawing from your head region, moving down the base of your spine, and staying there…” [60]

Signs of Healthy Spiritual TransformationDr. Kason provides seven indicators of healthy spiritual transformation:

1.You will find yourself developing more noble traits of character, such as compassion, universal love, gratitude, charity, truth, honesty, and humility.
2.Your desire to be of service to humanity will grow and may become a primary focus as your feelings of unity with all humankind and all creation grow.
3.You will have an intense inner yearning for the divine.
4.You may experience a spontaneous flow of tears and overwhelming emotion at the mention or thought of the divine.
5.You will find yourself developing a more clear, discerning intellect and deeper psychological insights, along with a deeper moral fibre.
6.You may find yourself developing new gifts of inspired creativity.


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