Woman Smiling While Holding a Yoga Mat

Serpentine Flush

Could hot flushes be our dormant energy ‘Kundalini’ rising? By Diane Ashfield

Reading time: 4 minutes

If you are currently going through the menopause, there’s a possibility that you have experienced a “hot flush” - also known as a “hot flash” in the USA. Hot flushes are one of the many side effects caused by the depletion of oestrogen production in the ovaries - 8 out of 10 women will experience one during menopause - however medical science is still unsure why they occur. Most women agree that a hot flush feels like an intense heat spreading outwards and upwards in the torso, some can feel this heat travelling up the spine. This sensation has been described as a hot and clammy adrenaline rush, and experiencing several of these energy bursts every day can leave women feeling sweaty, dirty, emotionally drained and totally exhausted.

Kundalini is described as a sleeping or dormant divine cosmic energy that sits at the base of the spine below the root chakra Muladhara. It is said to resemble a snake, coiled 3½ times at the bottom of the main energy channel Shushumna, and so it is sometimes referred to as “The Serpent Power” or depicted as a goddess. This energy has to be aroused to travel up the Shushumna, piercing the chakras towards the crown chakra – Sahasrara to help us reach our full potential, liberation or a spiritual awakening. And apparently, when Kundalini is awakened, anything is possible as it unites the physical body with a divine consciousness or “Supreme Soul.”

The “Kundalini Rising” experience is said to feel like an electric current running up along the spine. We have less ego and aggression, we become more compassionate and we also become more in tune with our own bodies, others’ emotions, our surroundings and nature.

Could these two surges in energy be linked somehow? Could the menopausal hot flush be our Kundalini trying to rise but is somehow blocked, resulting in rapid spasms of escaping energy? And if so, what can we use from our yoga toolbox to alleviate these symptoms or gain a better understanding?

Kundalini is extremely sluggish and lethargic – which is why it is known as a sleeping energy, but there are also three bridges representing our physical, emotional and mental attitudes which Kundalini has to cross to reach the Sahasrara chakra. These bridges, known as Granthis (pronounced Grant-hi) are like knots in the subtle body which block the upward flow of Prana (energy) to prevent us from receiving an enormous rush or overload of pure energy or “Shakti.”

The Brahma Granthi, representing our physical barrier, is situated around Muladhara – the root chakra – and is responsible for our attachment to physical pleasures and material objects. It also involves our selfishness and anxieties towards our survival and lack of grounding. Wide Child pose (Prasarita Balasana) and Garland pose (Malasana) are two grounding postures which can help to unblock this Granthi if practiced regularly.

The Vishnu Granthi represents our emotional blockage and is situated near Anahata – the heart chakra. This knot is caused by emotional attachment, our need to belong, our ambition and personal power. Try practicing any pose which opens up the chest such as Fish Pose (Matsyasana) or Cobra (Bhujangasana) to break down this Granthi.

Finally, the Rudra Granthi - representing our mental barrier - is situated at the third eye or brow chakra ‘Ajna’ and is responsible for our attachment to being rewarded for our actions or deeds. Poses to consider to help untie this knot would be anything where the forehead touches down such as Child Pose (Balasana) or Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose).

For those of you who would like to take your practice further, there is a branch of yoga called “Kundalini Yoga” founded in the 1960’s by Yogi Bhajan. This branch of yoga involves chanting, singing, mudra, mantra, challenging asana, pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation techniques which aim to release dormant Kundalini energy and increase the participants’ chances of reaching enlightenment in their lifetime.

Sadly, I’m not a scientist, doctor nor guru, and I don’t think that there has been any research carried out into a link between hot flushes and Kundalini rising, but I do know that regularly practicing yoga benefits our physical and mental wellbeing and guides us towards our full potential. Yoga also has the ability to help alleviate the symptoms of menopause, encourage our sleeping Kundalini out of its hibernation and pierce the chakras to make its way up towards a greater awareness.

Who said that yoga is all about tying the body into knots? Sometimes there are knots within us which require careful unravelling.


Diane Ashfield

Diane Ashfield (aka Yoga With Dash) is a British Wheel of Yoga instructor, teaching in the London Borough of Bromley.