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The Basics of Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga is said to reach back to the beginning of life itself. It is an ancient science that was brought back into the present by Mahavatar Babajii, through his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya in 1861. Those of us in the west may be more familiar with Kriya Yoga through the famous book, Autobiography of a Yogi, written by Paramahansa Yogananda, in 1920. Originally Kriya was taught from guru to student individually. It is not a practice you want to take on alone; this is a path of intense discipline.

Kriya Yoga is a union between pranayama (breathing) and meditation. Many different pranayama techniques are included in the practices which seek to hasten spiritual growth. This spiritual growth represents a union with God that develops an intense harmony and serenity. It is said that the Kriya path brings you in touch with your original source of revelation, it clears and stimulates the brain; it opens the spiritual eye.

It is almost impossible to discuss Kriya Yoga without mentioning Paramahansa Yogananda. I have chosen this reading as an understanding of Kriya Yoga:

“Kriya Yoga, it is said, reaches back to the very beginnings of yogic life. Why? The reason is that Kriya, the highest technique of Raja Yoga, draws on universal, central facts of human nature. The law of Kriya Yoga is eternal. It is true like mathematics; like the simple rules of addition and subtraction, the law of Kriya can never be destroyed. Burn to ashes all the books on mathematics, the logically-minded will always rediscover such truths; destroy all the sacred books on yoga, its fundamental laws will come out whenever there appears a true yogi who comprises within himself pure devotion and consequently pure knowledge.” (Autobiography of a Yogi).

In conclusion Kriya Yoga is a form of spirituality and deep devotion to God and the practices that are required to reach self-realization. I want to end with this quote from the Bhagavad Gita IV:29, which is simple expression of Kriya Yoga:

“Offering inhaling breath into the outgoing breath, and offering the outgoing breath into the inhaling breath, the yogi neutralizes both these breaths; he thus releases the life force from the heart and brings it under his control.”

Live well, practice yoga!

Recommended Reading:

Anada Sangha Worldwide

“The Art and Science of Raja Yoga”, Swami Kriyananda
This book is based on the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. It is a part of the Ananda Course in Self-Realization.

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