a technique for life-force control and Self-realization

Kriya Yoga refers to actions designed to get rid
of obstructions involving body and mind. Kriya Yoga is a complete system covering a wide
range of techniques, including mantras and techniques of meditation for control of the
life-force, bringing calmness and control of both body and mind. The goal is to unite with
pure Awareness (God). Since pure Awareness is our original condition, it is also referred
to as Self-awareness.

Around 1920, Paramahansa Yogananda introduced
Kriya Yoga to the West and founded the Self-Realization Fellowship. Yogananda demonstrated
his extraordinary abilities even after his Maha-Samadhi which he had announced ahead of
time. The Mortuary Director of Forest Lawn Memorial-Park testified
in a notarized letter:

"The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead
body of Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience."

The letter continues that twenty days after Yogananda’s passing, his body looked
as fresh as on the day of his final exit on March 7, 1952.

Photo of Yogananda
Photo of Paramahansa Yogananda
courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship

For anyone interested in Kriya
Yoga,
one of the most important and inspiring literary works is Yogananda’s book:
Autobiography
of a Yogi

A brief introduction to the techniques of Kriya Yoga:

1. Preparing the body
To promote health and gain a certain control over body functions, some practice
Hatha Yoga. Others, who are not that flexible or are restricted in time, are

content with a 15 minute program of  easier exercises, consisting of
stretching and bending, designed by Yogananda for maximum result.

2. Preparing the mind
Kriya Yoga is said to be a combination of the more useful Yoga techniques.
Like Radja Yoga, Kriya teaches the laws of general conduct (yama and niyama), including
harmlessness, truthfulness, non-stealing, etc. Kriya promotes the study of metaphysical
principles, physical and mental health, cleanliness and purity.

3. Practice
For the purpose of practicing Meditation, Mantras are introduced. Lessons or
initiation teach the seeker how to use Mantras like So-ham, Ham-sa, Hong-so, and OM.

4. Life-force control (pranayama)
At this point the difference to other systems, like Radja Yoga, becomes quite
obvious. Kriya pranayama is not as much about increasing the time of retention of breath
but to magnetize the spine and direct life-force to the brain with the effect to refine
the brain and nervous system.

5. Initiation and Shaktipat (transfer of energy)
The seeker is initiated in the proper use of Kriya pranayama. When the seeker is
ready, a transfer of energy might occur either from the outside or from within. To
experience Kundalini (energy) on its way up the spine is an event powerful enough to
change the way we think and function.

6. Mudras
The mudras are added to gain even more control over the flow of energy.
7. Higher Kriyas
For advanced students there are still a few higher Kriya techniques. However, full
Self-realization may already be gained by practicing faithfully the Mantras given for
regular Meditation.

What is Life-force or Prana?
Life-force, or Prana as Yogis call it, is the energy of Awareness. Energy and
Awareness are the two sides of the same coin which is the basis of the whole universe.
When all matter is destroyed, energy is what remains. Energy is the original form of all
matter. Awareness is the other original since no dead matter nor life-less energy could
have produced Awareness, as the materialists and atheists have us believe, unless
Awareness was already inherent.
An important aspect of any Yoga system is to balance the negative and the positive
currents of this energy. One of the best methods to balance these currents is called ‘Alternate
Nostril Breathing
‘ (nadi shodhana).


The following organizations are known to be genuine sources for the original techniques:

Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF)
Center for Spiritual Awareness (CSA)
Ananda World Brotherhood Village

Related Page: The Kriya Yoga
Tree

Go Back to: The Six Yoga Systems


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