Kundalini Syndrome: Kriyas
Kriyas are involuntary movements that can occur during or outside meditation in the process of a spiritual awakening. In this article Tara will explain what kriyas are, why they occur and what you can do if you experience them as difficulties. The movements called kriyas can include the following:
- Small or massive jerks
- Graceful movements of hands or other body parts
- Dance-like movements
- Yoga postures (even very advanced ones)
- Violent movements like beating of the chest
Some of my clients were worried about their kriyas and wondered if there was something seriously wrong with them. After seeing hundreds of people with awakened kundalini, I can reassure you that kriyas in themselves are entirely harmless. They are simply an outward expression of the movement of our inner energy. We can compare them to the involuntary movements that even people without kundalini sometimes experience, for example, a shudder of fear or disgust, opening our mouth in shock and then covering it with our hand or hanging our head when we are very depressed. Just as these examples show, kriyas have something to do with our emotions.
During the kundalini process, our unconscious minds open up and allow emotions to come to the surface that were previously suppressed. This can sometimes happen in a rather violent and jerky way which accounts for the jerky kriyas. When the emotions are more on the blissful side, they can result in graceful movements.
For many people the connection between their emotions and their kriyas is not obvious and they may not be able to pinpoint the exact emotion that is connected to a particular movement of their body. This happens when the emotion has not completely emerged from the unconscious mind. So, the outer expression – the kriya – is visible but the person cannot really feel the emotional content yet. This does not need to be a problem as it will usually be only a matter of time until the emotion emerges more fully. When this happens, it will usually result in a decrease of the kriyas. We can help this process along by actively looking for the emotions that are connected with the kriyas.
The problem with kriyas
Kriyas can become a problem when we have allowed them to go on in a completely uncontrolled way and we have become unable to stop them at will. When that happens, we may experience social problems because our constant jerking or violent shaking may displease, frighten or even scandalise the people around us.
Generally speaking, we should always be able to control our kriyas. This control is necessary because we can get ourselves into serious trouble if we cannot stop our kriyas in environments where they are inappropriate. For instance, I had a client who wanted to become a yoga teacher but was not allowed to continue because her teacher thought she was too sick or disturbed to carry on. Other clients of mine could not leave their houses due to their violent jerks and yet another client was thrown out of her meditation centre of many years which was an extremely painful experience for her.
How to control kriyas
The tantric path (the path of kundalini) is called the secret path in Tibetan Buddhism – it is called secret because it is meant to be kept secret. The ideal is that the yogi or yogini has an amazing inner life of spiritual experiences but is outwardly completely normal and perfectly controlled. This approach is necessary to lead an intense spiritual life while simultaneously participating in normal society, holding down a job, chatting to other mums at the school gate and not embarrassing our children.
So, how do we control our kriyas? In a nutshell, we control them with our willpower. We simply will ourselves to move our body in a normal way and to keep perfectly still in a group meditation setting. For most people, this is easily accomplished but if you have let your kriyas be rampant for a long time, it may be necessary to tense up your muscles to preempt these movements. After only a little while, you will not need this tensing up anymore and can control yourself with your willpower alone.
But isn’t it better to let it all out?
Some of my clients did not like my advice to control their kriyas and believed that there is some benefit in letting them go on freely. Of course we can let out kriyas more freely when we are undisturbed – it may feel relaxing and liberating. However, we need to be aware that there is no real value in doing this and there is also the danger of getting attached to kriyas in the hope that they will dissolve our kundalini symptoms without us having to do any psychological work. Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true. Allowing the kriyas free rein will fan the kundalini and may produce even more symptoms. If we are already struggling with our symptoms, this is not an advisable path.
So, what is the solution?
The solution is to focus more on the mental and emotional aspects of our spiritual journey and learn to let the kriyas happen on an energetic level while keeping our physical body perfectly controlled. What that means is allowing our body to move the way it wants on an inner, energetic level by seeing it in our mind’s eye while keeping our actual physical body perfectly still. This is easier than it sounds – just give it a try. Working in this way will also make it easier to get in touch with the emotional and mental content of the kriyas so that we can purify this material and, in that way, accelerate our spiritual journey.
You can find more information about the kundalini here: