What is Kriya Yoga?
Kriya has been practiced for thousands of years as a form of meditation aiming to control the energy force in the body called kundalini. The root word, kri, meaning to do, bonds with the divine union of yoga practice. The kriya yoga technique uses pranayama (the life force of breath) to maintain control over the physical body’s senses. When the mechanism that guides our outward body can be switched on and off at will, then the soul can emerge and transcend to a higher state of consciousness. This is the goal of kriya yoga meditation: to shred the illusion of maya (the material world) so that the soul can reunite with god.
Kriya Yoga Revived
There are many references to kriya yoga mediation throughout history and even is spoken by the Indian god Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. It has been used by other prophets and across all religions as a form of communing with the divine spirit which lies in all of us. The practice was used by the father of yoga Patanjali, and even Jesus Christ as well as other saints during the last millennium.
Its name and teachings were buried and kept to a limited few until modern times. The reemerging and mass adaption of the kriya yoga technique occurred by the sage Mahavatar Babaji. Babaji is a saint of many faces who rediscovered kriya yoga and began to train yogis as a master guru living in the Himalayan Mountains of India. He used the kriya yoga technique himself to control his physical form as he is able to manifest his physical form and his surroundings.
In the masterpiece, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, the great yogi speaks of the chain of gurus and events that brought kriya yoga to the western world. It began with Babaji in 1861 when Lahiri Mahasaya was divinely summoned to the peaks of the Himalayas. Here he came across the ageless sage, Babaji. He was initiated into kriya yoga and was told to pass the practice on to his student Sri Yukteswar. Sri Yukteswar was told that he would find a disciple that would spread kriya yoga to the west. He found his protégé, Paramahansa Yogananda, who would later create the Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920, which led to the creation of dozens of kriya yoga schools around the globe.
The Science of Kriya Yoga
There is a physical aspect to the kriya yoga technique by which the process of controlling one’s breath (pranayama) and posture(asana), one can manipulate the compounds of the body. Inside the body is a tiny universe full of energy that runs along the spinal column; otherwise known as chakras. By regulating the heat beat through the breath and accessing certain energy points through yoga poses, one can recharge the cells and organs simply by meditating. This relinquishes one from necessities like food, water, and other earthly desires, while creating the ability to halt or reverse the aging process or disease. These capabilities develop from complete devotion and practice to kriya yoga meditation, which leads to the realization that our bodies are part of an illusion created by our minds.
Through this process comes an accelerated evolutionary progression where one can limit their reincarnation rate. It takes at least 1 million years to heighten a soul to a divine state, thus eliminating the need to return to earth. Eight hours of Kriya yoga practice is equivalent to 1,000 years of naturally occurring evolution.
Kriya Yoga Initiation
To become fully engaged in Kriya yoga, one must seek a guru to gradually initiate them into the practice. There are many Kriya Centers offering 1-year training sessions, however; the time it takes to be fully emancipated may take years. If a yogi does not complete the transformation within one lifetime, their karma will carry over into the next life and continue its process.
Before engaging in a guru-led kriya meditation program, it is essential to study the process of meditation and its purpose. Meditation is not a quick fix for stress; it is a lifelong practice with an ultimate goal achieved over time. You can begin basic meditation breathing exercises at home and read books like the Autobiography of a Yogi to gain more experience and knowledge.