Simon Aktkinson – Krishnamacharya on Kuṇḍalinī

Key information

3:00 pm to 3:00 pm

About this event

Simon Atkinson will explore some themes from his book Krishnamacharya on Kuṇḍalinī – The Origins and Coherence of his Position (Equinox, 2022), which 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 critical analysis of quotations from yoga workshops with a detailed study of traditional Sanskrit texts.

The talk will include the following topics:

  • The Yogayājñavalkya – Krishnamacharya’s source text on kuṇḍalinī
  • The origin of the teaching in the Pādmasaṁhitā, a Pāñcarātra text
  • How Krishnamacharya used kuṇḍalinī to link haṭhayoga to the Yogasūtra
  • The symbolism of serpents (which represent something to be overcome)
  • Kuṇḍalinī in Śrīvaiṣṇavism

He argues that Krishnamacharya’s position is best viewed as a model for experience that guides practice.

Simon Atkinson has been practising and studying yoga in the broad tradition following Krishnamacharya since the early 1990s and has been learning Sanskrit since 2001. He teaches academic English and academic skills at the University of Cambridge.