How Important is Your Spine?

By Vidyadevi Stillman & Swami Nirmalananda

In embryonic development, the spine forms first.  The whole rest of your body, including your brain, formed after your spine.  Swami Nirmalananda explains yoga’s perspective on this, “Consciousness manifests everything in this universe.  Consciousness used your spine to direct your embryonic development as well as to empower everything afterward.”

Your brain blossoms forth on one end of your spinal cord.  Most people think their spinal cord is a tail on their brain, but it’s actually the other way around.  Your brain is the mushroom cap on the top end of your spinal cord.  Your brain does not control your whole body, your spine does!

While Svaroopa® Yoga’s core opening poses give you more prana (energy) to fuel you through your day and through your life, there is more.  Once you get enough lengthening of your tailbone, Grace ignites an inner fire — the enlivening and enlightening power called Kundalini.  This is your own personal power of upliftment, working within you to show you your own Divine Essence.  In yoga, Grace is defined as the blessing of the ancient sages, carried into our modern day by those who dedicate their life to discovering, and then sharing, these ancient mysteries.

What this means is that Svaroopa® yoga is “Kundalini yoga.” Swami Nirmalananda has been doing this work quietly for years, not publicizing this information for several reasons.  One is that few know what Kundalini is, so hearing that Svaroopa® yoga awakens Kundalini wouldn’t mean anything to them.  In addition, others unfortunately suffer from widespread misinformation that makes Kundalini sound terribly scary.  The greatest blessing a human being can receive in their life is the awakening of this inner force of radiance, but the media makes it sound terrifying.  It’s not.

Another reason that we don’t publicize Svaroopa® yoga as Kundalini yoga is because another style of yoga practice that uses that name.  We choose to be respectful and not to create confusion.  You may have done some Kundalini Yoga classes, which usually feature pumping your breath in rhythm with repetitive movements.  Swami Nirmalananda says, “While, from my perspective, it’s spinal tightening, it is also ecstatic.  They pump enough prana that the bliss pushes past the knots in their spine.  In Svaroopa® yoga, we don’t pump the prana because we dissolve the knots in your spine and let the prana flow of its own accord, 24/7.”  We allow Grace to awaken Kundalini so the whole interior process takes place naturally, organically, smoothly and grace-fully.  We call this “Alignment with Grace.”

Once your own Kundalini is awakened, most yogis get a feeling of physical warmth or inner spaciousness.  Within a short time it may become a periodic surge of energy, while you are doing poses or meditating, which further dissolves the blocks you carefully installed, probably even lifetimes ago.  As you open more, this inner current becomes a reliable flow that expands your knowing of your own Being and makes you able to see the world in a whole new way.

Each stage along the way offers profound transformations, which help to uncover your deeper identity as Consciousness-Itself.  This is Self, svaroopa.  This is the inner blossoming of your own Divine Essence.  Vidyadevi describes, “At first, waves of bliss would move up my spine in meditation. As my spine became more open, I had a stronger experience of that bliss.  In meditation, it was like a geyser was flowing through, not made of water, but of pure bliss.  It was so powerful, so wonderful.  I know now what Sage Shankaracharya describes in the Vivekachudamani — ‘ever expanding ecstasy.’  It is always flowing through your spine.  It is there to be experienced and so much more… your own Self.”  Do more yoga.  Do more Svaroopa® Yoga.

Originally published in May 2013