Chi Energy vs. Kundalini

Tai chi practitioners learn to project chi.
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Chi and kundalini are both names for energy that some believe is present in the body. The concept of chi comes from the Chinese Taoist tradition, and kundalini is a concept from Hindu yogic practices. While practitioners learn to direct chi, those who work with kundalini energy sometimes have an unpredictable journey before ultimately reaping spiritual benefits.

Chi Energy

Chi, also spelled qi, comes from the same Chinese character symbolizing human vitality. It’s also conceptualized as breath or as the human bio-magnetic field. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners regard chi as crucial for maintaining physical health -- if you’ve ever had acupuncture or acupressure, the practitioner manipulated your chi. However, even people who have worked with chi for years, such as tai chi instructor Joseph Laronge, sometimes report a certain amount of mystery around how chi works.

Kundalini Energy

Kundalini energy is usually described as coiled like a snake at the base of the spine. It may stay dormant for an entire lifetime, or be awakened through a meditation or yoga practice, or spontaneously through trauma. Kundalini can feel intense or coarse, practitioners claim, and may inspire sudden and uncontrollable movements. While it seldom causes pain, it may frighten people who experience it. Intense bursts of kundalini energy can last for up to 20 minutes, according to transpersonal psychotherapist and yoga practitioner Bonnie Greenwell.

Projecting Chi

In Chi kung, or Qigong, an ancient Chinese practice of cultivating chi energy, practitioners use several steps to harness the power of chi. The Feel the Qi website reports that practitioners first learn the condensing principle, that is, condensing chi energy into something powerful that takes up less space, like cooks do when caramelizing onions. Once the chi is condensed, practitioners learn to circulate it through their body, using the same meridians, or energy channels, used in acupuncture. Feel the Qi claims that experienced practitioners are eventually able to project the chi outwards, while masters can direct their chi at another person -- for example, making the person fall backwards without touching him.

Kundalini Process

The Kundalini Guide website likens awakening your kundalini to amping your system’s wiring from 110 to 220 volts without an adapter. The sudden rush of energy may cause mood swings and emotional sensitivity. Ideally, according to kundalini teachers, the energy uncoils and makes its way up your spine, passing through each chakra, or energy center, and exiting through the crown chakra at the top of your head. The end result of this purification process, according to practitioners, is a sense of connectedness to the whole universe. If possible, spend time with a teacher who has already been through this awakening and is willing to guide you.

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