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Study on fMRI of Kundalini

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Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/23/17 9:54 PM
Someone posted this link as a comment to an old blog post about piti/kundalini in my blog: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26775225.

The areas that showed activation were in the prefrontal cortex left side, and are mainly associated with language, emotion, reasoning, and motivation, and are not part of the body map on the cortex. From the abstract it looks as if the research participant was not experiencing prana through different parts of their body. Perhaps the article goes into more detail but it is unfortunately paywalled.

Anybody know of any other fMRI studies on kundalini?

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/24/17 6:52 AM as a reply to svmonk.
I hope that I am not breaking some rules now. If so I humbly request the moderators to delete the link.

If you believe that scientific journals should be open to everyone, you can download the article here:


https://sci-hub.cc/10.1016/j.explore.2015.12.004

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/25/17 11:59 AM as a reply to svmonk.
Nice that an fMRI was done.

I just read your blog post, and I if I recall correctly, you mention some of this in your memoir.

My initial Kundalini experience wasn't over an extended period of time, just the electric energy feeling the one time rushing up my spine and having the sense of exploding inside my head.

I recently watched the Shinzen video. The part that got my attention was at around the 9:25 mark, he mentioned experiencing Kundalini rising and the "exploding head syndrome". In this case, in relation to sleep paralysis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hKtH6ih1yA

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/25/17 9:46 PM as a reply to Alesh Vyhnal.
Hi Alesh,

Thanx for posting the article. I took a quick look before it disappeared.

As I suspected, the study was done on a kundalini yoga practitioner. I don't know much about the practices they do, but from the description it sounded as if their reported experience was somewhat different from what most vipassana meditators I've talked with experience. In particular, there didn't seem to be the sense of prana (aka "energy", but I dislike that all purpose word) running through particular parts of their body. Maybe that's because vipassana involves mindfulness of the body.

Suppose we will need to wait until someone puts a vipassana practitioner under the fMRI to find out what's going on in the brain.

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/25/17 9:55 PM as a reply to C P M.
Hi C P M,

That video with Shinzen was great. emoticon

Actually, the really acute part ended around 2000, but I still get it. Not nearly as intense. It feels more like the Visuddhimagga description of piti, and it occurs during what Culadasa calls the whole body jhanas, maybe sometimes the pleasure jhanas. I'm no good with the luminous jhanas though, really haven't been able to reach them.

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/26/17 3:45 AM as a reply to svmonk.
I wonder sometimes if Vipassana, or noting atleast can be reframed as a bio-energetic / prana practice. I think it plausible to say that noting works  by disturbing normal bio-energetic patterns using attention modulation.

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/26/17 10:58 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Hi Dhru,

That's an interesting take on it.

I kind of think that what vipassana, and specifically noting, does is to surface to the cognitive level what typically remains at the somato-sensory level. My theory is that this process rewires part of the brain that connects the body map on the cortex to the pleasure and pain centers, which leads to the feelings of prana or energy flowing through the body. So what is then really happening is that the brain is tuning into sensations, i.e. making them conscious, that normally are inhibited. Check out this blog post for more.

The study in the paper actually doesn't provide evidence for this theory however. The part of the brain where enhanced activity was measured is the prefrontal cortext, not below the cortical body map. But I don't know if this difference is due to the practices used by the study participant or not, and I'm not a neurophysiologist or cognitive scientist so maybe my understanding of brain wiring is faulty.

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/28/17 7:08 AM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Dhru,

I kind of think that what vipassana, and specifically noting, does is to surface to the cognitive level what typically remains at the somato-sensory level. My theory is that this process rewires part of the brain that connects the body map on the cortex to the pleasure and pain centers, which leads to the feelings of prana or energy flowing through the body. So what is then really happening is that the brain is tuning into sensations, i.e. making them conscious, that normally are inhibited.

Never really thought about it like that, thanks for the link.

RE: Study on fMRI of Kundalini
Answer
9/28/17 2:21 PM as a reply to svmonk.
My take on this:

Kundalini is the "prana" flowing freely through the body. "Prana" is nothing more than nerves firing freely all over the body without any blockages. So I think instead of an fMRI, a nerve conduction study would be a better measure for kundalini. Kundalini can arise with either physical practice like yoga or a mind based practice like Vipassana etc. To have a stable kundalini, its better to have both. To really understand what's going on, its better to have a tantric approach to it so that the psychosomatic issues can be understood.