Kriya Yoga is a synthesis of many different yogic traditions. It is known as “the lightening path” as it is considered the fastest path to Self-Realization in one life-time. Kriya Yoga teaches techniques which allow the practitioner to discover the Divine within.
Like any other yogic tradition, Kriya Yoga is a metaphysical science and not a religion. It is the science of uniting breath and mind control to achieve bliss. Kriya Yoga is an ancient pathway for spiritual evolution and was practiced many thousands of years ago by the ancient rishis and sages of India. In modern times yogic techniques which were adapted to the needs and challenges of modern day life were taught to Lahiri Mahasaya by the immortal Babaji. While other yogic techniques are useful for those who favour the monastic life, the techniques of Kriya Yoga empower those who choose to live in the world, who engage in society and establish families. The path to self realisation is followed while fully participating in every day life.
The word Kriya is made up of two Sanskrit words – Kri, meaning action, and Ya, meaning awareness. Kriya Yoga can then be understood as “action with awareness”.
There is a dynamic, active aspect to Kriya Yoga. “Asana” or postures are practiced. While these postures work to strengthen and rejeuvenate the body, they should not be considered as gymnastics or keep fit techniques. Their main function is to strengthen the body so that it can sit longer in meditation. They also help in prolonging life so that the practitioner can dedicate more time to the search for the Divine.
The ancient rishis discovered a direct connection between the breath and the state of the mind – the slower the breath, the slower the mind. Breathing techniques or “Pranayama” are practiced by the Kriya Yoga practitioner which gradually still the mind and refine the nervous system leading to higher and higher states of awareness.
Meditation techniques or Dhyana are also taught. These techniques focus the mind and strengthen concentration. They also cleanse the subconscious mind from karmic patterns so as to recognise the true Self. All Kriya Yoga techniques work on multiple levels.
Much Kriya Yoga learning is experiential. It is a sacred tradition which is passed down orally from Master to student. A true Master gives an “experience” and does not need to rely solely on words and intellectual ideas to impart knowledge. This experiential teaching is given in workshops or initiations. Students in Singapore and Malaysia have had the great blessing of benefiting from yearly workshops given by Rudra Shivananda since the year 2006.
Read ‘What is Kriya Yoga’ and ‘The Power of Initiation’ by Rudra Shivnanda (Sanatana Mitra July 2012)