Kriya yoga is a type of yoga meditation that helps in accelerating the spiritual growth of a person. The literal meaning of the word ‘Kriya’ is internal actions. When you perform kriya yoga, you involve only internal elements of your body and do not require external elements like the body. In other words, kriya yoga meditation is mastering the inner energy to do kriya without involving your body in any way.
Traditionally, the word ‘kriya’ has been also used to indicate an action that gives freedom to its doer. Paramhansa Yogananda mentioned kriya yoga poses in his Autobiography of a Yogi and made the term popular. Since then, it is considered one of the most effective ways available to humankind to unite with the divine.
For mastering kriya, one has to learn techniques to control his or her energy. Pranayama is one of the more popular ways to control inner energy through the use of prana. Apart from that, other meditation practices, a simple, and ethical living are some of the other ways to master kriya.
Kriya yoga benefits outnumber that of other types of meditation since kriya yoga works directly with the source responsible for your growth — spiritual energy residing deep in your spine. While other techniques work with other indirect channels of your energy, kriya yoga techniques directly draw energy from your spine. When you practice various types of kriya yoga, you draw the energy up and down your spine with a high consciousness. Paramhansa Yogananda said that thirty seconds of doing kriya yoga poses is equivalent to a year of organic spiritual practice without any interruption.
The history of kriya yoga meditation is unlike any other type of meditation. It has a distinct tradition of going down from a guru to his disciple. In 1861, Mahavatar Babaji practiced kriya openly for the first time. He taught it to his disciple named Lahiri Mahasaya. It does not mean that kriya meditation was invented in 1861. It was actually invented long before that and was practiced by yoga gurus, but the practice was done in secrecy. Mahavatar Babaji first brought kriya to the light.
After that, Lahiri Mahasaya passed down the knowledge of kriya yoga to his disciple Sri Yukteswar. The knowledge was further taught to Paramhansa Yogananda by Sri Yukteswar. After long years of practice, Yogananda decided to write down his knowledge in a book. He wrote Autobiography of a Yogi which contained knowledge of kriya yoga along with other ancient practices. This publication made kriya famous in every part of the world. A practice that was once hidden in secrecy was now revealed by Paramhansa Yogananda to the world for the greater good.
These days, you can learn this ancient art of uniting with the god in various yoga classes. In fact, to make its practice available for everyone, many classes teach kriya yoga for beginners. A practice that was once practiced only by well-experienced yoga gurus can now be performed by beginners with the right teaching and patience.
How to Perform Kriya Yoga?
Performing kriya yoga is easy but attaining the right technique is not a child’s play. You would require a certified instructor to teach you the best kriya yoga techniques. Here is how you can perform kriya yoga pranayama:
- Begin by sitting in a comfortable position. You can sit on the floor or on a low stool. Your knees should be below your pelvis.
- Place your arms wherever you are comfortable. Traditionally, you should place your arms in the lotus position with the fingers intertwined and your thumbs lightly touching each other.
- Straighten your spine and keep your back upright. Allow your body to relax and let calmness and relaxation take over your body and mind.
- As per your choice, either close your eyes or lower your gaze to the floor and focus on a particular spot.
- Once you feel comfortable in your position, spend the next five minutes allowing your body to feel even more relaxed and calm.
- You should relax all your muscle groups one-by-one. For this, you can focus on something that brings you ease and peace. You may feel multiple thoughts rushing into your mind. However, this is normal. Just allow these thoughts to drift through your mind and come back to your initial relaxing thought. Concentrate on that thought and relax again.
- Continue this kriya for about 20 minutes, and as you become more comfortable with this pose, you can gradually start to increase the time spent in this practice.
This is suitable kriya yoga for beginners. When you perform kriya, you go beyond the senses, body, emotions, and thoughts. Your focus brings balance between your chakras and you feel tremendous relaxation. With this formless meditation, you can contact the higher level of consciousness. Make sure you find the right instructor to learn kriya yoga. Otherwise, it will not reap the benefits it should. And in case you are not aware of the kriya yoga benefits, keep reading.
Kriya Yoga: Benefits and Advantages
- Transforming Negative Emotions Into Positive Ones: This is one of the most coveted kriya yoga benefits. This is done through various pranayama techniques under kriya yoga. You learn to concentrate on the patterns of negative emotions, understand them and finally accept them. You create an environment where thoughts can come and go freely without bothering you. This brings positivity.
- Improving Concentration: Since you need to focus on a particular spot or thought for a long time during kriya yoga. This tremendously improves your concentration power and you can become better at tasks.
- Attain Spiritual Peace: Many people practice kriya yoga for its spiritual benefits. The kriya process helps in evolving the spiritual mind by creating a tranquil and aware state. It also teaches you to be one with the soul. It also makes us more compassionate and kind towards not just others but our own self.
- Cleanse Chakras: You can also cleanse and unblock your chakras to enjoy both physical and mental health benefits. This takes away the tiredness and fatigue of your body that may be due to any energy block in the body. You can awaken the “Kundalini” energy at the base of your spine. Some other benefits of cleansing chakras include increased focus, improved energy levels, and better blood flow throughout the body.
You can transform your life by practicing kriya. It might not be so easy to perform but when done with compassion and patience, you can truly illuminate your mind with inner wisdom, discover the happiness that lasts, and increase inner peace that can not be taken away by outer circumstances.
So, the question is: what’s keeping you from practicing kriya yoga? What was once a secret is now available to you. What was once hidden behind the walls of time has now come to your doors for giving you hope. Get united with the infinite spirit and attain what is attainable by the mortal world.