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What is Kriya Yoga?

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.


Rudra-Avatar Yogiraj Siddhanath

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.  

Kriya Yoga is a system for Self-Realization that has been taught since time

immemorial and so there is a lineage and a procession of realized Masters

who have achieved their liberation through its practice. It is said to be the

practical system that underlies the Yoga of Patanjali and from which he derived his descriptive sutras. There is a great deathless being called Mahavatar Babaji who has initiated many Masters such as Shankaracharya and even some Avatars (manifestations of divinity to help humanity) into Kriya Yoga.


In modern times, Babaji has once again graced us with this practice

through his great disciple Yogiraj Shri Shri Shyamcharan Lahiri Mahasaya

who received it on our behalf in 1861 in the Himalayan ranges. The present

lineage of Masters included Swami Shri Yuteswara and Paramhansa Yogananda.


The living Himalayan Master, Yogiraj Siddhanath is from this lineage.

The lives and teachings of these Masters attest to the efficiency and effectiveness of Kriya Yoga. One of the distinctive marks of Kriya Yoga is its power and simplicity to achieve Self-Realization. It utilizes both meditation on the primal sound of  Om and spinal breathing techniques. According to Lahiri Mahasaya, “Aum and Kriya constitute the secret of meditation. By meditation on Aum and the practice of Kriya pranayama, the fulfillment of the highest spiritual aspiration is attained.” The spinal breathing meditation works on the spinal energy centers which evolve human consciousness to superhuman consciousness, speeding up our spiritual evolution.


As Yogananda explains in his Autobiography of a Yogi, "The Kriya Yogi mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centers (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal plexuses) which correspond to the twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic Cosmic Man. One half-minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals one year of natural spiritual unfoldment." Kriya Yoga is a scientific process to enable our evolving soul to gradually realize its fundamental unity with the immortal Spirit.


Swami Satyananda, another disciple of Shri Yukteshwar is quoted as saying, “Kriya sadhana (spiritual practice) may be thought of as the sadhana of the practice of being in Atman (Spirit)” The process of Kriya Yoga requires the raising of our dormant potentiality called Kundalini.


A modern Master, Yogiraj Siddhanath has said, “By the ceaseless movement of the Kriya lifeforce breath, one’s prana, breath, vital fluid and mind become one to form the evolutionary life-force energy called kundalini.” Kriya Yoga is a means of overcoming all our karmic obstacles to happiness and contentment.


It is the path towards liberation from suffering, a goal that can be achieved within a single life-time if performed with dedication and perseverance. Unlike some other paths, it does not require its practitioners to leave their family, friends and vocation to stay in the hidden caves of the Himalayas. Kriya Yoga is meant for contemporary householders and to help them to be in the world but not of the world while pursuing life’s greatest goal.




The Power Of Initiation

by Rudra Shivananda

One of the hallmarks of almost all spiritual traditions is that of the rite of initiation. It is also something that is hardly explained or couched in so much mystery that either one is in awe or one becomes extremely skeptical. In the yogic tradition, initiation is a necessary preliminary to entry on the chosen path of spiritual realization because of the power and protection that it confers on the initiate. At the most primal level, physical birth is our initiation into the present life – it confers on us all the benefits of being a human being and with it, the... read more