Are you on a spiritual path to self-realization? If so, what meditation techniques do you practice? In this guide, we will introduce you to Kriya Yoga, a sacred technique that requires both leading an ethical life and practicing yoga and meditation. That way, you can improve your focus and concentration and live a calm and joyous life. So, what does Kriya Yoga entail? Let’s start with the definition.
What is Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga is a yogic practice that focuses on the spiritual benefits rather than the physical benefits of yoga. Hence, it is a spiritual practice that aims at developing your spirit into leading a more conscious and fulfilling life. That is, you aim at enhancing your current life in such a way that your physical, emotional, and psychological survival is no more a concern to you.
Moreover, unlike hatha yoga that requires hard work and physical exercise, Kriya Yoga relies on growth and expression.
The Origin and History of Kriya Yoga
“Kri” refers to action, and “ya” means indwelling soul. Hence, the term Kriya stands for becoming aware of the power of the inhaled soul. It is about gaining self-realization while also appreciating the mechanics of human life.
The practice of Kriya Yoga dates back to ancient times when advanced Himalayan yogis practiced it in meditation caves. Still, its first mention in modern times is in 1861 when Mahavatar Babaji, the yoga master, passed the practice to Lahiri Mahasaya. More so, it is the spiritual master Paramahansa Yogananda who later brings Kriya Yoga practice to the west, sparking a spiritual revolution. Kriya Yoga continues to impact the lives of millions of people seeking spiritual enlightenment.
The Philosophy and Principles of Kriya Yoga
The practice of Kriya Yoga is split into three key components as follows: –
Kriya Yoga advocates for a life of discipline. It requires setting sometime every day to allow your consciousness to clear. Indeed, society bombards our minds with lots of distractive thoughts. It could be from social media, local politics, or family demands. Whatever the source of the cloudiness, Kriya yoga requires us to practice breathing awareness meditation every day to refine our nervous system.
It also requires that we change the functioning and structure of our brains for clarity of thought. In turn, meditation gradually changes the energy system within our body (Kundalini) and makes us attune to higher consciousness and vibrations. Only then can we become aware of our true selves.
The second stage in Kriya Yoga is Vichara or self-inquiry. Here, we examine our current lifestyles against the true self that we strive to become. It is a journey of introspection and discernment, letting go of false perceptions of self and people’s biased opinions. In turn, we ask ourselves questions such as: –
- Who am I?
- What is my true purpose in life?
- What are my values?
- How do I define my energy level? What affects it?
- Can I express the boundary between self and the world?
- What comes to mind when I inhale and exhale during meditation?
- Which yoga pause feels most expansive?
- What inspires me, brings me joy, or matters to me the most right now?
- How do I feel when I nourish my body with healthy food?
- What grounds me?
- What is my definition of success beyond money?
- From what do I want to detach?
- How do I express my creativity?
- Where is my favorite spot for practicing yoga? Why is this spot special to me?
- What does surrender mean to me?
- How do I feel when I clean out or de-clutter my workspace?
Self-study makes us contemplate on ourselves. We inquire about our perception of reality versus the true reality. That way, we seek to understand our sole purpose in the world.
#3: Surrendered Devotion, Isvarapranidhana
Finally, Kriya Yoga is about ethical living, a life of devotion to seeking spiritual enlightenment. The practice helps us make sense of that unease we have when things don’t turn out the way we want. You know that feeling of groundlessness that goes against our societal norms.
Our communities require us to hold on to a career, family, or leadership to feel in control. Yet, in Kriya Yoga, we let go of our desire for dominion and surrender all effort.
Benefits of Practicing Kriya Yoga as Part of Your Spiritual Journey
#1: Attaining a Spiritual Awakening
The ultimate goal of Kriya Yoga is experiencing a spiritual awakening. This awakening takes place by doing four fundamental actions: –
- Daily Spiritual Meditation – Kriya Yoga relies on the techniques in Raja Yoga to activate higher consciousness. It is a highly individual experience where the participant can hear voices, see visions, lose or absorb a sense of separateness and have a sense of awe or transcendence.
- Spiritual Contemplation – Here, we observe our thoughts without being judgmental. The practice helps us discover that our feelings reflect how our minds interpret those beliefs. Likewise, we notice that negative emotions arise from our interpretation or judging of thoughts with negativity.
- Spiritual Reflection – Spiritual reflection refers to studying and reflecting on the Vedic scriptures. Here, we aim to unlock the secrets of leading a peaceful and prosperous lifestyle. Hence, we want to live our lives with sincerity, knowledge, and compassion.
- Spiritual Exploration – Finally, Kriya Yoga allows us to explore different spiritual practices to discover what works for each one of us.
#2: Physical Benefits
Apart from a spiritual awakening, anyone practicing Kriya Yoga shall experience the following benefits: –
- Improves our moods and overall well being
- Assists in dealing with depression
- Improves our tolerance to pain
- Helps in managing stress and anxiety
- Lowers high blood pressure and hypertension levels
- Soothes, stimulates, and clarifies the mind and soul
- It helps us regain our self-confidence
- Improves our concentration and memory power
Kriya Yoga believes that when we enhance our roots, we will see the fruits in the form of a spiritual awakening. In turn, this spiritual practice emphasizes coming to an ideal state that determines the quality of our lives. It is about growing beyond our needs and concerns and becoming a karma yogi.