Simon Atkinson

Jun 29, 2022

Krishnamacharya on Kundalini

The Origins and Coherence of His Position

Equinox Publishing 2022

Krishnamacharya on Kundalini: The Origins and Coherence of His Position (Equinox Publishing, 2022) explores a distinctive teaching of 'the father of modern yoga', T. Krishnamacharya. Whereas most yoga traditions teach that kuṇḍalinī is a serpentine energy that rises, Krishnamacharya defined it differently. To him, kuṇḍalinī is a serpentine blockage which prevents prāṇa (breath or life-force) from rising and which represents avidyā (spiritual ignorance). Simon Atkinson draws from over 20 years of study and practice under teachers following Krishnamacharya. He combines analysis of quotations from yoga workshops with a detailed study of traditional Sanskrit texts. Atkinson challenges claims that Krishnamacharya's position can be found in his religious tradition of Śrīvaiṣṇavism. He questions the tradition's reliance on textual sources, showing how the coherence of Krishnamacharya's position can only be maintained by employing elaborate arguments and rejecting texts that teach otherwise. Atkinson also explores how Krishnamacharya's teaching on kuṇḍalinī influences how yoga is practiced. He argues that Krishnamacharya's position is best viewed as a model for experience that guides practice.

Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see

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Raj Balkaran

Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see

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