Kriya yoga is a Kundalini oriented yoga. While still doing yoga poses, it is more on meditation. Yoga is known as an ancient meditation practice. It becomes more popular and one of the sought-after practices these days due to society’s pressure and stress.
Yoga is recognized as a healthy practice which generally aims to improve your overall well-being- both physical and mental health. This is because yoga is associated with the mind which enables inner awareness and allows people to relax and meditate.
It is considered as one of the best ways to wind down and reset both the mind and the body. Since it is an ancient practice, over the course of time, various types and numerous ways to perform yoga have been developed.
Kriya Yoga: What is kriya yoga?
Kriya Yoga mainly pertains to a psycho-physiological method and also referred to as “Yoga of Action Awareness”. It strengthens the body mind, soul and intellect synchronously. In other words, the ultimate purpose of this practice is to attain spiritual awakening. It is also considered as a yoga spiritual practice which helps you “get closer to God”.
It is widely known and practiced in India over the past centuries and was brought to the West by Paramahansa Yogananda when he decided to settle in America in the 1920’s. Paramahansa Yogananda is an Indian Hindu monk and guru, known to have founded the “Self-realization Fellowship” or the “Yogoda Satsanga Society of India”.
Through this organization, he introduced the meditation techniques and methods of Kriya Yoga. He also introduced a book namely ‘Autobiography of a Yogi” wherein he expounded Kriya Yoga and defined it as “union with the infinite through a certain action or rite”. Likewise, he pointed out that Kriya Yoga improves the access to subtle energy which adequately benefits personal development.
Just as important as our physical health, spiritual awareness help us explore our own self and bring together both our physical bodies and soul which result in spiritual fitness and wellness. Kriya Yoga practice is also paired with a particular breathing technique, a “mantra” or a prayer which aids your meditation and an asana or a yoga posture in order to retain or bring back our consciousness.
What is the Kriya Yoga technique?
Kriya Yoga practice has multiple benefits. Since it is composed of several types or techniques, it is known to produce physical and mental healing by means of allowing concentration, tranquil, emotional balance, and self- realization or awareness. Mental stability and tranquility are valuable and great asset because a deranged mind affects your overall performance, activities and daily routine.
Hence, this method or practice is suitable to those who are aspiring a balanced mind, spirit and body. This is also a physical, mental and spiritual discipline which allows you to concentrate, assess and understand your real and inner self. It also aims to alleviate the obstacles from the mind and body.
These obstacles in mind and body vary from one person to another. Thus, in this type of method or practice, people tend to exercise and retain the self-sovereignty over the mind and the body in order to assess these obstructions.
Therefore, it revitalizes the brain and allows vigorous thinking. As a result, it could create a huge impact and difference in one’s daily routine and performance. It could improve one’s physical health and posture which and consequently lead to a healthy lifestyle.
As to the mental aspect, the practice of Kriya Yoga allows concentration and focus which in turn allows a person to have faster and better comprehension of things, improves memory and enables you to learn the task or without difficulty simply because your brain tends to ignore irrelevant and distractive thoughts.
It could also energize and lessen mood swings because negative thoughts are gradually eliminated, turns and enables our awareness and allows you to have the full control of your thoughts.
To sum up, Kriya Yoga is a type of meditation technique which generally allows you to control and regulate or awaken the energy within you and also include a wide-ranging spiritual journey to right thinking, and behaving, and ethical living and consciousness.
Consequently, regardless of what is happening around, this extensive and thorough meditation technique allows focused concentration which in turn brings relaxation and peace and mindfulness. There are however several levels of Kriyas.
In the initiation stage, first set of Kriya Yoga techniques are given to the practitioner by the guru or authorized teacher whereas the second kriya and third kriya can only be given depending on the progress or the regular practice of the practitioner.
The higher Kriyas are only given to the practitioners who are exerting greater efforts on their spiritual journey or path. It simply connotes the inner or personal meditation experience. To reach the third kriya, one must first undergo a long-term and extensive practice of the first and second kriyas. Extensive practice of first and second Kriya is required because third kriya involves reverse thinking and involves an elusive level of silence.
Perforce, if thorough and long practice was not met, practitioner may end the practice as he will no longer benefit from the technique. After the third Kriya, the practitioner may now proceed to the fourth Kriya or otherwise known as the entrance to the real Kriya.
This type or level of Kriya entails years of meditation. Hence, long-term and constant practice of the first, second and third kriya is required. Only then you can finally have a deep understanding of the real meaning and purpose of Kriya.
The fifth, sixth and seventh Kriyas on the other hand are totally diverse from the other techniques. These allows the energy centers to come together and emerges with the physical reality.
What happens in Kriya Yoga initiation?
The first step to the path of Kriya Yoga is through a special Kriya Yoga Initiation. This meditation technique begins and consists of various phases. The first one is purification ceremony or the cleansing of senses and body. This allows the person to meditate on their own during the process of purification.
The next phase is the infusion of triple divine qualities wherein it can only be performed by an authorized teacher or the monk. It will be followed by an outwardly symbolic ceremony- the oblations with the breath to fire and blessings with flower wherein it allows the cleansing to occur at profounder levels.
Affirmation, offerings to God and sprinkling of the holy water of peace will then follow before teachings of the Kriya Yoga techniques start. Studies show that people who have undergone the Kriya Yoga Initiation have felt a perceptible presence of God.
They have experienced a calm, relaxed feeling and the feeling of overflowing blessings as if all the worries and problems have vanished. Likewise, consciousness and sense of spiritual awareness can be experienced because of the stillness and peace it brings.
Kriya Yoga and Kundalini Yoga
Kriya Yoga and Kundalini Yoga both pertain to the philosophical system of Yoga. Kriya Yoga focuses more on the spiritual aspect. Through its techniques to regulate focus and breathing, the people who practice Kriya Yoga allows and enables spiritual consciousness and growth.
Kundalini Yoga on the other hand focuses more on the mental and physical aspect which allows both the body and the mind to attain a feeling or state of spiritual immersion or engagement. Hence, these two types of philosophical Yoga system differ in purpose.
In Kriya yoga, it signifies the styles Yoga which was founded and advocated by Paramahamsa Yogananda. Spiritual growth in Kriya Yoga can only be achieved through different breathing systems or the regulation of breath which is also referred to as Pranayama which mainly involves breathing techniques and patterns.
However, in Kundalini Yoga, both mental and physical discipline is involved which aims to purify the mind and body that could lead to spiritual immersion. This type of philosophical yoga can only be practiced through techniques of meditation.
Kriya Yoga and Raja Yoga
This is also known as “Yoga of Awareness” since it improves the aspects of human mindfulness or consciousness and knowledge of inner self. While Kriya Yoga is enables spiritual consciousness through breathing, Raja Yoga also involves both mind and body and focuses mainly on both the mental and spiritual development. It is also known as “heroes of mind Training” or the attainment of state of bliss.
Six (6) Kriyas
There are six Kriyas or techniques. This include:
- Kapalabhati Kriya or also known as the skull shining breath. “Kapala” is for “skull” and “bhati” is fro shine. This type of breathing technique allows the purification of the frontal region of the brain and also cleanses the respiratory system.
- Trataka Kriya stimulates the tear glands which allows purification of the visual system. It involves technique wherein you are required to stare at the object steadily without blinking; therefore, it can improve your eye-sight and enables increased concentration.
- Neti Kriya allows the cleansing of nostrils. It uses different mediums such as water, milk, waxed thread and ghee in cleaning the nasal passage. Hence, this could improve regular breathing and prevents nasal ailments.
- Dhouti Kriya is for the cleansing of the intestine. This can help prevent the gastric issues, asthma and acidity.
- Nauli Kriya cleanses and keeps the internal organs healthy. It helps prevent constipation and allows the healthy function of the liver, spleen and other organs.
- Vasti Kriya clenases the rectum and cleanses the colon.
This only shows that Kriya techniques greatly contribute not just to a healthy mind but also allows you to enjoy a healthy body. However, this should be practiced under the supervision of the authorized teacher, monk or guru. Kriya Yoga is a powerful technique and allows you to directly work with energy; hence, it can be dangerous and it necessitates supervision of a yoga master or an experienced yoga teacher.
Some of these techniques can be dangerous and can only be done when there is proper knowledge and training. Many of these techniques involves hand gestures and body configurations which need knowledge of energy locks. Others are also founded on the advanced practices that requires proper techniques and instruction.
In total, Kriya Yoga technique can only be understood and its powerful effects can be felt through sincere and direct practice. Establishing and maintaining a meditation practice benefits our overall well-being and allows us to enjoy life.