News with Nic
My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998. I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.From what I have learned not vaccinating is not the answer. We all know full well why we have vaccinated thus far. The issue comes now at the increase in amount of vaccines and combining too many vaccines at one time. Hmmm who could be behind such dangerous increases? Who could and would put millions at risk just to increase their profits? You and I know the answer. Their power is one of the ways these two dedicated, caring, ethical doctors lost their right to practice medicine. Get to know Dr. Wakefield and why things must change Is America in their grips so far that nothing can be done? God help us I hope not. Can we as a society rise up and demand answers to such insanity? Can we gather together to increase our power in demanding the truth? Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Thompson believe so, they bet their careers on it. Vaccines are needed, with a population of over 7 billion and growing by the second yes we need vaccines. However why so many? Why, when the program was in place and working, did so much need to change? Hmmm let's wonder why for a minute. Could it be greed? Larger profits? Oh Big Pharma yes we know you are responsible. Eight different drugs in one vaccine??= more $$$$ never mind this is the recommended dose by drs. today. Some doctors who, it seems, are influenced by Big Pharma and their ludicrous claims that this is a must. Doctors who, even after too many babies become sick after such high doses, still believe. As Dr. Wakefield says parents need to be heard, listened to, no one know more about a baby and symptoms than the parents. So why not go back to the days when vaccines were safer? When the MMR was not given until 3 years of age or older a much safer age. When vaccines were in individual doses given over a period of time the safe smart way. Do you know that today every baby born in the US immediately gets a Hep B vaccine? Most parents are charged for this but are totally unaware that is was given. Unaware of the dangers for their newborn baby. Why if the mother is clearly not at risk for Hep B are these vaccines given? A Big Pharma executive was recorded as stating "because we can" Because we can?? Can you imagine the profits being made everyday by this practice? Could profits have anything to do with it? Watch the documentary, read the reports decide for yourself what your options are if you are a young parent today. You still have the right to decide when your child receives what vaccine today. Space them out demand single doses over a longer period of time and refuse the MMR until 3yrs of age or older. This may change in the future, as we as a society lose more and more rights to the giants that sadly control the USA. The laws are in place that you must vaccinate and in proper doses well regulated the risk can be lowered. There are many documentaries on the subject and many who dare to care. Dell Bigtree is another believer in the truth.You can find his research at www.vaxxedthemovie.com.
- Getting mad is not enough. You must channel that anger into a plan of attack. Hit the GMO and toxic food giants where it hurts the most:their profits. Since Monsanto and at least 300 Big Ag and large food corporations believe themselves to be untouchable we must boycott ALL of their many thousands of brands. We must take what matters the most from them as they are taking our most prized possession:our health. Check out a new app, Buycott. This cool app helps consumers know which products to boycott as well as naming ethical brands that you want to purchase. This app is free and with it you can scan barcodes and immediately learn if a brand is a member of the GMA ( bad guys ) so you can boycott or if it is from a brand you wish to support. Green technology in action gotta love it!
The number of children under the age of 5 who are obese or overweight worldwide is an "exploding nightmare," according to a new report by the World Health Organization's (WHO) Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO).1,2 At least 41 million children now fall into this category, which is 10 million more than in 1990. And while rising obesity rates have long been a health issue plaguing developed countries, globalization and urbanization have driven up obesity rates in the developing world as well. In 1990, there were 7.5 million overweight children in developing countries, which had doubled to 15.5 million by 2014. In fact, due to widespread marketing of junk foods and sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, low- and middle-income countries now have more overweight and obese children than high-income countries, according to the WHO report.
Is Rising Obesity the Result of Natural Evolution?
In the U.S., about 75 percent of men and 67 percent of women are now either overweight or obese. This has risen significantly from figures gathered between 1988 and 1994, when "just" 63 percent of U.S. men and 55 percent of U.S. women were overweight or obese.3,4 Complicating matters, research published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice found that the same caloric intake and exercise program would result in a body mass index (BMI) that is about 5 pounds higher in 2006 than it would have been in 1988.5 In other words, in order to maintain the same weight as in 1988, today you'd need to exercise more and eat fewer calories. The results suggest "factors other than diet and physical activity may be contributing to the increase in BMI over time," but what factors, exactly?6 There are more than 100 possible causes of obesity published in peer-reviewed journals, according to Morgan Downey, past executive vice-president of the Obesity Society. This includes a laundry list of plausible explanations, like environmental pollution, stress and light at night. Too much homework, hormone therapy, heat-producing fat cells and even living with grandparents have also been implicated.7 The truth is, there are probably numerous explanations for why humankind appears to be getting fatter. One theory even posits that perhaps we're in the midst of an evolutionary blip, and obesity isn't a crisis at all but rather just the latest stage of evolution. As reported by the National Post:8" … [A]s the race to find a 'cure' for obesity intensifies, emerging research is challenging the panic over our growing girth. It suggests excess fat may not be putting most of us in mortal danger and proposes a provocative theory for our struggle to lose weight and keep it off: some kind of evolutionary shift in body shape is underway, a change perhaps like average height or the size of our brains, that will leave softer, doughier generations looking back at our hand-wringing and wondering what all the fuss was about. … The medical mystery around weight loss also suggests another possibility: that we aren't, in fact, meant to return to a thinner ideal — that the changes to our average body size are just another example that human evolution didn't stop at the end of the Paleolithic era. Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D. chairman of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, says, 'We have evidence that there is still selection going on.' The famous Framingham Heart Study, which has followed thousands of ordinary people since the 1950s, shows in the last generation or two, 'there has been a slight, positive selection for women who are actually plumper' for genetic reasons. Meaning: heavier women are more likely to get pregnant and have babies than those who are not."
The Case for Fat
A case could be made that humans are meant to be getting fatter, as there are many peculiarities in obesity research. Some research has shown that being overweight may have a protective effect and is associated with lower all-cause mortality, although body mass index (BMI) is often used as a measure of obesity.9 BMI is a seriously flawed measurement tool, in part because it uses weight as a measure of risk, when it is actually a high percentage of body fat that increases your disease risk.. Certain genes have also been discovered that appear to be associated with obesity. For instance, people with two copies of the FTO gene mutation may have a 70 percent increased risk of obesity (but, interestingly, only in people born after 1942).10 But even David Meyre, Ph.D., a research chair in Genetic Epidemiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada who helped discover the FTO gene, doesn't believe this means humans are destined to be fat. Exercise, he says, can overcome obesity-prone genetics by up to 75 percent. He told the National Post:11"I don't think the next stage of evolution is to be fat.' If anything, he believes the next step in evolution may be to select for 'lean genes,' the way obesity genes were selected in the past."
Obesity Is a Leading Cause of Death
In 2014, a systematic review and meta-analysis that included data from more than 61,000 people found that obese individuals were more likely to die sooner or have heart-related problems than people of normal weight — even if they were otherwise healthy. Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 U.S. deaths is associated with obesity.12 In the U.S., eight obesity-related diseases account for a staggering 75 percent of healthcare costs. These diseases include:
The four diseases in the left column are associated with metabolic syndrome, which is a common factor in obesity. However, several other diseases fall within this category as well, which are listed on the right. And many more could be added to that list. According to the Surgeon General, in addition to the diseases mentioned above, obesity increases your risk for asthma, sleep disorders (including sleep apnea), depression, pregnancy complications and poor surgical outcomes.14 A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers even found that women who are obese during pregnancy have nearly double the risk of having a child with autism as those who are not obese. And for women who are both obese and have diabetes, the risk is quadrupled.15 An animal study published in The Journal of Neuroscience even found that mice put on an obesity-promoting diet had declines in memory function and suggested epigenetic dysregulation among obese mice may be to blame.16
Type 2 diabetes Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Hypertension Polycystic ovarian syndrome Lipid problems Cancer (especially breast, endometrial, colon, gallbladder, prostate and kidney13) Heart disease Dementia
Why Are People Getting Fatter?
Environmental and lifestyle factors appear to play a significant role in this trend. Part of the problem is that many people don't realize they're affected by these stealthy factors and therefore fail to address them. This includes:
Highly processed genetically engineered (GE) foods are a primary culprit, as they're chockfull of ingredients that both individually and in combination contribute to metabolic dysfunction and hard-to-control weight gain. GE corn syrup, trans fats, and GE sugar — along with heavily processed refined grains — these ingredients are now foundational in the U.S. diet and are increasingly found worldwide. There is virtually no doubt that they are primary contributors to Americans' failing health and rising rates of obesity. Non-starchy, carb-rich, highly-processed (and typically genetically-engineered) foods, along with being in continuous feast mode, are primary drivers of these statistics. Wherever a highly processed food diet becomes the norm, obesity inevitably follows.
- Overuse of antibiotics in food production and medicine
- Growth-enhancing drugs used in food animals
- Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including pesticides and plastics chemicals
- Inactivity and lack of sleep
- Aggressive marketing of harmful junk food
How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy
Most overweight Americans have some degree of insulin and leptin resistance. Generally, in order for you to significantly gain weight, you must first become leptin resistant. Leptin is a hormone that helps you regulate your appetite. When your leptin levels rise, it signals your body that you're full, so you'll stop eating. However, as you become increasingly resistant to the effects of leptin, you end up eating more. Many people who are overweight also have an impairment in their body's ability to oxidize fat, which leads to a low-energy state. Dr. Richard Johnson's research clearly shows that refined sugar (in particular fructose) is exceptionally effective at causing leptin resistance in animals, and it's very effective at blocking the burning of fat. If you are insulin- or leptin-resistant, as long as you keep eating fructose and grains, you're programming your body to create and store fat. This is one of the key reasons why, if you are overweight (which means you are also likely insulin or leptin resistant), it would be prudent for you to restrict your fructose consumption to about 15 to 25 grams of fructose per day from all sources. Not only will this help you to avoid additional weight gain, it will also help you to avoid further metabolic dysfunction. You may find this fructose chart helpful in estimating how many grams of fructose you are consuming each day. Dietary sugar, especially fructose, is a significant "tripper of your fat switch," however, if you are serious about losing weight, you'll need a comprehensive plan that includes the following. This plan will help most people lose weight but, also, it will help you to gain metabolic health. So even if your weight is normal, you can follow this plan to ensure that you're metabolically healthy as well.
- Eliminate or strictly limit fructose in your diet, and follow the healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan. Replace processed foods with real food.
Exercising in a fasted state (such as first thing in the morning) will bring it up yet another notch. A simple way to get started with intermittent fasting is to simply omit breakfast, making lunch the first meal of your day.
- You can also use intermittent fasting strategically with this program to greatly boost your body's fat-burning potential. Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to use fat as its primary fuel, and mounting evidence confirms that when your body becomes adapted to burning FAT instead of sugar as its primary fuel, you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease.
- Engage in high-intensity Peak Fitness exercise to burn fat and increase muscle mass (a natural fat burner). Also, strive to sit less (much less, such as only three hours a day) and walk 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day in addition to your regular exercise program.
- Address the emotional component of eating. For this I highly recommend the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which helps eliminate your food cravings naturally.
It's estimated that 1 in 10 U.S. adults struggle with depression1 and another 40 million have anxiety. It's quite common, too, for someone with depression to also have anxiety. In fact, close to half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.2 There's no doubt that both of these mental health conditions are at epidemic proportions, but the unanswered question remains why? Oftentimes you hear about depression or anxiety running in families, which leads to an assumption that your genetics may be to blame. Another popular theory is that depression is due to some sort of 'chemical imbalance' in your brain (more on this later). But the truth is, in most cases no one really knows why some people are depressed or anxious while others are not, and most likely there are multiple factors at play. Among them, and perhaps most important, could in fact be your life experiences, and particularly your experience of traumatic events.
Traumatic Life Events at the Root of Many Cases of Anxiety and Depression
A new study set out to determine what role familial risk, social circumstances and life events have on mental health, using surveys completed by nearly 33,000 people as their key form of data.3 They revealed that the single biggest determinant of anxiety and depression was traumatic life events, followed by to a lesser extent, family history of mental illness, income and education levels, relationship status and other social factors. According to the study's lead author:4"Whilst we know that a person's genetics and life circumstances contribute to mental health problems, the results showed that traumatic life events are the main reason people suffer from anxiety and depression.However, the way a person thinks about, and deals with, stressful events is as much an indicator of the level of stress and anxiety they feel.Whilst we can't change a person's family history or their life experiences, it is possible to help a person to change the way they think and to teach them positive coping strategies that can mitigate and reduce stress levels."This is key, as it means that you are not powerless against depression and anxiety. Rather, it's possible to modify the way you think about traumatic life events in order to minimize their impact on your mental health. Antidepressant drugs, of course, will do nothing to help in this regard.
20 Percent of Population May Have a Gene Variant Linked to Depression
Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), is a key growth hormone that promotes healthy brain neurons and plays a vital role in memory. BDNF levels are critically low in people with depression, which animal models suggest may actually be a primary contributing cause. Now researchers have determined that an alteration known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the BDNF gene may further contribute to the risk of anxiety, depression and memory loss. All it takes is for one 'letter' of BDNF's genetic code to be 'misspelled' for the alteration to occur. The SNP alteration not only decreases BDNF in neurons but also generates a protein (called Met66) that is different from the one produced by people without the alteration. About 20 percent of the US population is thought to have the BDNF SNP that produces the Met66 protein, which, in turn, has been found to induce shrinking of neurons in the hippocampus, in areas of the brain important for memory and emotions. The shrinkage would reduce the connectivity between brain cells. One of the study's researchers noted:5"There can be a heritable component to these diseases and it makes sense that a common variant in a gene could be involved … Just like hypertension contributes to the risk for heart disease, the BDNF alteration increases the risk of depression, anxiety and memory disorders -- but is not the sole reason why they occur."The researchers are currently looking to develop drugs that would target Met66 or block the proteins it binds to in people with the BDNF SNP alteration. However, it would be interesting to see how natural methods that promote optimal genetic expression would work instead. Growing evidence indicates that both fasting and exercise trigger the expression of genes and growth factors that recycle and rejuvenate your brain tissues. These growth factors include BDNF, which is known to be released in response to the stress of exercise. BDNF activates brain stem cells to differentiate into new neurons, while also triggering numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. Perhaps it is no coincidence, then, that exercise is also one of the best-known treatments for depression …
What About Chemical Imbalances?
As a physician, I have treated many thousands of depressed patients. Depression was actually one of my primary concerns in the mid-80s when I first started practicing. However, at that time my typical treatment tool was using antidepressants alone. I put thousands of people on these drugs and acquired a fair level of experience in this area. Thankfully, I learned more methods of treatment and was able to pretty much stop drugs. It was my experience that the chemical imbalance theory was merely a massive marketing gimmick to support the use of expensive and toxic antidepressants. Most of you have probably heard that depression is primarily due to a "chemical imbalance in your brain," which these drugs are designed to correct. Unfortunately this is not a scientific statement. So where did it come from? The low serotonin theory arose because they understood how the drugs acted on the brain; it was a hypothesis that tried to explain how the drug might be fixing something. However, that hypothesis didn't hold up to further investigation. Investigations were done to see whether or not depressed people actually had lower serotonin levels, and in 1983 the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) concluded:"There is no evidence that there is anything wrong in the serotonergic system of depressed patients."The serotonin theory is simply not a scientific statement. It's a botched theory—a hypothesis that was proven incorrect. The fact that this fallacy continues to thrive is likely harming the health of millions more than it's helping, because if you take an SSRI antidepressant drug that blocks the normal reuptake of serotonin, you end up with the very physiological problem the drug is designed to treat–low serotonin levels. Which, ironically, is the state hypothesized to bring on depression in the first place. In 1996, neuroscientist Steven Hyman, who was head of the NIMH at the time, and is today president of the society for Neuroscience, published the paper Initiation and Adaptation: A Paradigm for Understanding Psychotropic Drugs,6 in which he explains this chain of events. According to Dr. Hyman, once your brain has undergone a series of compensatory adaptations to the drug, your brain operates in a manner that is "both qualitatively and quantitatively different than normal." So, it's important to understand that these drugs are NOT normalizing agents. They're abnormalizing agents, and once you understand that, you can understand how they might provoke a manic episode, or why they might be associated with sexual dysfunction or violence and suicide, for example.
Getting back to the original study that found traumatic life events are the major determining factor in depression and anxiety – but that the way you think about them is an equally strong determining factor, let's discuss how you can overcome such an emotional hurdle. The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to transfer kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem -- whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, anxiety, etc. -- and voice positive affirmations. This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the "short-circuit"—the emotional block—from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical and mental disease. Some people are initially wary of these principles that EFT is based on -- the electromagnetic energy that flows through the body and regulates our health is only recently becoming recognized by western medicine. Others are initially taken aback by (and sometimes amused by) the EFT tapping and affirmation methodology. But believe me when I say that, more than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, energy psychology (EFT being one type) has the most potential to literally work magic in this area. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, the body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing. In the video above, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman shows how you can use EFT to even get rid of panic attacks.
The Gut Connection to Anxiety and Depression
Another factor worth mentioning is that unhealthy gut flora can impact your mental health, leading to issues such as anxiety, depression, autism and more. Research has found, for instance, that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA [an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes] levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.7 Interestingly, just as you have neurons in your brain, you also have neurons in your gut, including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is also found in your brain. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, is found in your intestines, not your brain! (Perhaps this is another reason why antidepressants, which raise serotonin levels in your brain, are often ineffective in treating depression, whereas proper dietary changes often help.) This is where dietary changes such as reducing sugar intake and increasing your intake of probiotic-rich fermented foods can be invaluable for mood support.
Six Additional Factors for Improving Your Mental Health
There's no doubt in my mind that addressing traumatic life events is a crucial step to prevent and/or address depression and anxiety. That said, here are six additional strategies that can help you even further:
If you have been personally affected by depression or anxiety my heart goes out to you. A broken body can be easier to fix than a broken mind. Depression and anxiety are real. It is my hope that you will be encouraged and inspired by the information in this article to help those who are struggling.
- Exercise – If you have depression, or even if you just feel down from time to time, exercise is a MUST. The research is overwhelmingly positive in this area, with studies confirming that physical exercise is at least as good as antidepressants for helping people who are depressed. One of the primary ways it does this is by increasing the level of endorphins, the "feel good" hormones, in your brain. It also helps to normalize your insulin and leptin signaling.
- Eat a healthy diet – A factor that cannot be overlooked is your diet. Foods have an immense impact on your mood and ability to cope and be happy, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan will best support your mental health. Avoiding sugar and grains will help normalize your insulin and leptin levels, and eliminating artificial sweeteners will eliminate your chances of suffering its toxic effects.
- Optimize your gut health – Fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables are also important for optimal mental health, as they are key for optimizing your gut health. Many fail to realize that your gut is literally your second brain, and can significantly influence your mind, mood, and behavior. Your gut actually produces more mood-boosting serotonin than your brain does.
- Support optimal brain functioning with essential fats – I also strongly recommend supplementing your diet with a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat, like krill oil. This may be the single most important nutrient to battle depression.
- Get plenty of sunshine – Making sure you're getting enough sunlight exposure to have healthy vitamin D levels is also a crucial factor in treating depression or keeping it at bay. One previous study found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels. Vitamin D deficiency is actually more the norm than the exception, and has previously been implicated in both psychiatric and neurological disorders.
- Address your stress – Depression is a very serious condition, however it is not a "disease." Rather, it's a sign that your body and your life are out of balance. This is so important to remember, because as soon as you start to view depression as an "illness," you think you need to take a drug to fix it. In reality, all you need to do is return balance to your life, and one of the key ways to doing this is addressing stress. Meditation or yoga can sometimes help. If weather permits, get outside for a walk. But in addition to that you can also use EFT, as mentioned.
" … [A]cute exercise represents a physiological stressor able to increase peripheral levels of anandamide and that BDNF might be a mechanism by which anandamide influences the neuroplastic and antidepressant effects of exercise."So with regular exercise not only can we lose weight and keep the "fat face"at bay, grow and protect our brain, we can also toss the toxic pharmaceuticals in the trash. Using our own natural "bliss" we can overcome depression, feel less stressed and live a happier life. Sounds like a green victory to me, I am in. What about you?
If Consciousness is a Door, Kundalini Yoga is the Key
Imagine you could harness, at will, the mind-body connection responsible for the heightened mental states giving rise to creative genius, inspiration, bliss, mystical experiences, and possibly even enlightenment?You may have noticed how sciences such as biology, physics, medicine, and even theology increasingly overlap, with energy and consciousness at the center. Energy medicine is revolutionizing our approach to health, as science gives us ever-increasing evidence for the inseparability of mind and body. But what is this thing called "energy"? You may accept that it exists—even welcome assistance by various energy healers from disciplines such as acupuncture, Qigong, EFT, Jin Shin Jyutsu and others. But do you understand exactly what they're doing or how it works? If someone asked you to describe this energy, you might struggle to come up with a definition. It's not easy to wrap our heads around things we cannot see, hear or touch, and it's even more challenging for scientists to quantify it. An ancient concept called "Kundalini" provides us with a framework for understanding this nebulous idea, and Kundalini Yoga gives us a way to work with it. This article is Part 1 in a two-part series about Kundalini as an intelligent life force, and Kundalini Yoga as the practice that can help it awaken.
"One of the first results of research on Kundalini, in my view, would be to show that the human brain is already evolving towards a higher predetermined state of consciousness, a state that has been the crowning vision of the mystics and prophets." - Gopi Krishna
The Yoga of AwarenessKundalini Yoga is the most comprehensive of yoga traditions. The primary objective is to awaken the full potential in each of us. Kundalini Yoga helps us to cultivate inner stillness so we can truly listen, expand our awareness and achieve excellence in all that we do. "Kundalini" literally means "the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved," alluding to the flow of energy and consciousness that exists within each of us, enabling us to "merge with the Universal Self." Kundalini Yoga blends meditation and ancient mantras with physical exercises (asanas), hand positions (mudras), breathing techniques (pranayama), and sound (naad). All of these are merged into carefully choreographed exercises called kriyas that open up energy flow in the body, channeling it in a way that begins stripping away the veils of consciousness. This type of yoga balances and purifies all of the systems of the body, while at the same time calming and sharpening the mind. Kundalini Yoga should not be taken lightly. One teacher describes it as "an express train that shakes us up and wakes us up." The significance of this cannot be appreciated without some understanding of the nature of Kundalini.
Kundalini: Ancient, Intelligent, and Powerful
"Energy is like the wind, invisible but with visible effects such as waves on a pond stirred by a breeze." – Chinese ProverbPrana is the Sanskrit word for "life force," the intelligent energy that permeates all living things—and in fact everything in the cosmos. Just like we cannot see protons and electrons, we cannot see prana, although some can feel it shifting and moving through their bodies. The human body has a mechanism by which an enhanced flow of prana reaches the brain via the nerves in and around the spinal column, and this mechanism is called "Kundalini." Kundalini can be thought of as an intelligent live force channeling prana around the body's intricate network of energy highways. The chakras are part of this energy system and are described as energy centers, or transducers, that exchange prana between the physical body and the environment. Each of the seven major chakras is said to mediate a different level of consciousness with the outer world. Kundalini is described in the Upanishads, dating back to the fifth century B.C., although the oral tradition dates back even further. Kundalini is known in many cultures, including Tibetan, Indian, Sumerian, Chinese, Irish, Aztec, and Greek. Kundalini can open the doors of perception to vast realms of consciousness and is at the heart of all spiritual experiences. It also explains the wisdom of the sages. It can be enhanced to improve health, awaken creativity, and achieve inspiration. The primary goal of Kundalini Yoga is to "awaken" (or activate) Kundalini, meaning increase the amount of prana flowing to your brain. Under the right conditions, this enhanced prana can lead to higher states of consciousness such as genius, psychic abilities and mystical experiences—and at it's highest level, enlightenment (Shaktipat). Many believe Kundalini is key in preparing the human species for evolution. The father of Kundalini research Gopi Krishna is quoted to have said: "Kundalini is a manifestation of a cosmic evolutionary energy that is biologically based in the human body and capable of transforming the nervous system and brain so they can support expanded levels of consciousness."
When Kundalini Awakens Too QuicklyThe goal of Kundalini Yoga is to awaken Kundalini and help you learn how to modulate it, i.e., turn it up or down at will. If Kundalini awakens too quickly, such as through very intensive meditation or yoga practice, an individual may experience spontaneous Kundalini "episodes," which can be emotionally challenging and even manifest as what might be mistakenly diagnosed as "mental illness." This results from heightened brain and nervous system sensitivity. If you begin a Kundalini Yoga practice, it's important to proceed slowly, being mindful of any uncomfortable feelings or mental states that may arise. Many physical symptoms and illnesses are manifestations of disrupted energy flow in the body. When done correctly, Kundalini Yoga is powerful medicine capable of producing widespread healing of both physical and emotional issues. In Part 2 of this series, we will explore the evidence for Kundalini Yoga's health benefits, looking first at how disorders—PTSD, addictions, dementia and many others—can be viewed as disruptions in Kundalini. We will also examine what the latest neuroscience and brain imaging technology reveal about how meditation, mysticism, and spirituality fundamentally change the brain. These discoveries are so profound that they have given birth to an entirely new branch of science called "neurotheology."
"Kundalini is a manifestation of a cosmic evolutionary energy that is biologically based in the human body and capable of transforming the nervous system and brain so they can support expanded levels of consciousness."