These days most everyone has heard of yoga, but we tend to think of it as a kind of exercise class. We may be generally aware that there are many different forms of yoga, but the majority of us do not know very much about them. Today I’d like to talk a little about one of the oldest forms of yoga: Kriya Yoga. There are no records to tell us when the ancient tradition of Kriya Yoga began, because it is a technique that has been practiced by saints, seers, sages, and masters since long before recorded history.
“The Kriya technique will bring you to the source of inspiration and will give you answers, clear the brain and stimulate it, strengthen the medulla, and open the spiritual eye, as well as greatly magnetize the body.”
– Paramhansa Yogananda –
This ancient form of Yoga is a powerful tool that can be used by seekers of all religions in order to quicken spiritual development. The non-sectarian nature of Kriya Yoga and its simple technique is not difficult or demanding, and suits people from all walks of life just as well as monks.
From the principles of Karma Yoga, Kriya Yoga teaches that all action, (kri), is done by the indwelling soul, (ya). Thus, the word Kriya basically means internal action. This kind of inner action is neither a physical nor a mental action, because both the body and the mind are actually exteriors to your true self. So, Kriya yoga is the pursuit of an energetic mastery and a higher state of being.
While the pursuit of higher states of being through external action can be loosely grouped under the banner of Karma Yoga, the pursuit of higher states through inner action can be called Kriya Yoga. There is a certain yin-yang to these two ideas because you will find them within each other in certain ways, but generally Karma is that which binds you while Kriya is that which releases you.
Kriya Yoga encompasses all eight limbs of the classical yoga system, as presented by Patanjali in The Yoga Sutras – a text that codified what was already an oral tradition for thousands of years before it was committed to writing over 2500 years ago.
Kriya is a system which deals directly with the mind, its structure and dynamics. Embodied within it is a mystical psychology which offers a profound recognition of how we create, sustain and dissolve the circumstances of our life.
It’s unique approach is rooted in its focus on karma, the laws of causation, and how karma is generated, activated and can be softened and modified. Kriya is a way of self-study and meditative attunement which induces a direct perception or insight into the nature of consciousness, the pattern of your mind and of life itself.
This is just a short primer that barely scratches the surface of What Kriya Yoga is all about. Learn more in our Gentle and Peaceful Yoga classes – see our calendar of events for dates and times.
Wishing you the deepest joy and love,