According to the tantras, kundalini can be awakened by various methods which can be practiced individually or in combination.
1. By a favorable birth
If your parents were highly evolved, you can have an awakened kundalini. If a child comes with partial awakening, he is called a saint, and if he comes with full illumination, he is known as an incarnation, avatara or son of God.
Through steady regular practice of mantra. This is a very powerful, smooth and risk-free method, but of course it is a sadhana which requires time and a lot of patience.
It means the performance of austerities. Tapasya is a means of purification, a burning or setting on fire so that a process of elimination is created, not in the physical body, but in the mental and emotional bodies.
Through this process the mind, the emotions and the whole personality are cleansed of all the dirt, complexes and patterns of behavior that cause pain and suffering.
4. Awakening through herbs
Through the use of specific herbs. In Sanskrit this is called aushadhi, and it should not be interpreted as meaning drugs like marijuana, LSD, ayahuasca etc. Aushadhi is the most powerful and rapid method of awakening but it is not for all and very few people know about it.
There are herbs which can transform the nature of the body and its elements and bring about either partial or full awakening, but they should never be used without a guru or qualified guide.
This is because certain herbs selectively awaken ida or pingala and others can suppress both these nadis and quickly lead one to the mental asylum. For this reason, aushadhi is a very risky and unreliable method.
5. Raja yoga
Through raja yoga and the development of an equipoised mind. This is the total merging of individual consciousness with superconsciousness. It occurs by a sequential process of concentration, meditation and communion; experience of union with the absolute or supreme.
When a sufficiently prepared aspirant practises pranayama in a calm, cool and quiet environment, preferably at a high altitude, with a diet only sufficient to maintain life, the awakening of kundalini takes place like an explosion.
In fact, the awakening is so rapid that kundalini ascends to sahasrara immediately.
7. Kriya yoga
It is the most simple and practical way for modern day man as it does not require confrontation with the mind. Sattvic people may be able to awaken kundalini through raja yoga, but those who have a tumultuous, noisy, rajasic mind will not succeed this way.
They will only develop more tensions, guilt and complexes, and may even become schizophrenic. For such people kriya yoga is by far the best and most effective system. When you practice kriya yoga, kundalini doesn’t wake up with force, nor does it awaken like a satellite or as a vision or experience. It wakes up like a noble queen.
Before getting up she will open her eyes, then close them again for a while. Then she’ll open her eyes again, look here and there, turn to the right and left, then pull the sheet up over her head and doze.
After some time she will again stretch her body and open her eyes, then doze for a while. Each time she stretches and looks around she says, ‘Hmmm’. This is what happens in kriya yoga awakening.
8. Tantric initiation
Only those people who have transcended passions, and who understand the two principles of nature, Shiva and Shakti, are entitled to this initiation. It is not meant for those who have urges lurking within them or for those who have a need for physical contact.
With the guidance of a guru, this is the quickest possible way to awaken kundalini. There are no extraordinary experiences or feelings and there’s no neurosis; everything seems quite normal, but at the same time, without your knowledge, awakening is taking place.
Transformation takes place and your awareness expands, but you don’t know it. In this particular system, awakening and arriving at sahasrara are the same event. It takes just three seconds.
However, who is qualified for this path? Few people in this world have completely transcended the sexual urge and overcome their passions.
The ninth method of awakening is performed by the guru. It is called shaktipat. The awakening is instant, but it is only a glimpse, not a permanent event. When the guru creates this awakening you experience samadhi.
This shaktipat is conducted in the physical presence or from a distance. It can be transmitted by touch, by a handkerchief, a mala, a flower, a fruit or anything edible, depending on the system the guru has mastered. It can even be transmitted by letter, telegram or telephone.
Let it happen if it happens: “I am not responsible for the awakening, nature is accomplishing everything. I accept what comes to me.” This is known as the path of self-surrender, and in this path, if you have a strong enough belief that your kundalini will indeed awaken, twenty thousand years can pass in the twinkling of an eye and kundalini will awaken instantly.
-Swami Satyananda Saraswati