Artwork by Android Jones
This Yoga is wrapped in mysticism with its secret ceremonies and initiations. Learn about these secrets of Kriya Yoga.
The Kriya yoga system consists of a number of levels of pranayama (breathing), mantra (reciting), and mudra (gestures) based on techniques intended to rapidly accelerate spiritual development and generate a profound state of tranquility and God-communion.
Kriya Yoga, is traditionally only learned via the Guru-disciple relationship and the initiation consists of a secret ceremony.
As Yogananda describes Kriya Yoga, “The Kriya Yogi mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centers 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 was lost for centuries in the dark ages, and reintroduced in modern times by Mahavatar Babaji, whose disciple Lahiri Mahasaya (1828–1895) was the first to teach it openly in our era. Paramahansa Yogananda was send to the West to give this soul-revealing technique to the world through his book Autobiography of a Yogi and through Yogananda’s introductions of the practice to the west from 1920.
Taken together as a comprehensive system, these meditation techniques enable the practitioner to achieve the highest benefits and divine goal of the ancient yoga science.
- Energization Exercises: A series of psychophysical exercises developed by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1916 to prepare the body for meditation. Regular practice promotes mental and physical relaxation and develops dynamic will power. Making use of the breath, life force, and concentrated attention, the technique enables one to draw abundant energy consciously into the body, purifying and strengthening all the body parts systematically in turn. The Energization Exercises, which take about fifteen minutes to perform, are one of the most effective means of eliminating stress and nervous tension. Practicing them prior to meditation is a great help in entering a calm, interiorized state of awareness.
- Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration helps to develop one’s latent powers of concentration. Through practice of this technique one learns to withdraw thought and energy from outward distractions so that they may be focused on any goal to be achieved or problem to be solved. Or one may direct that concentrated attention toward realizing the Divine Consciousness within.
- Aum Technique of Meditation shows one how to use the power of concentration in the highest way to discover and develop the divine qualities of one’s own true Self. This ancient method teaches how to experience the all-pervading Divine Presence as Aum, the Word or Holy Ghost that underlies and sustains all creation. The technique expands the awareness beyond limitations of body and mind to the joyous realization of one’s infinite potential.
- Kriya Yoga Technique Kriya is an advanced Raja Yoga technique of pranayama (life-energy control). Kriya reinforces and revitalizes subtle currents of life energy (prana) in the spine and brain. The ancient seers of India (rishis) perceived the brain and spine as the tree of life. Out of the subtle cerebrospinal centers of life and consciousness (chakras) flow the energies that enliven all the nerves and every organ and tissue of the body. The yogis discovered that by revolving the life current continuously up and down the spine by the special technique of Kriya Yoga, it is possible to greatly accelerate one’s spiritual evolution and awareness.
Correct practice of Kriya Yoga enables the normal activities of the heart and lungs and nervous system to slow down naturally, producing deep inner stillness of body and mind and freeing the attention from the usual turbulence of thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions. In the clarity of that inner stillness, one comes to experience a deepening interior peace and attunement with one’s soul and with God.
Jesus Christ and Kriya Yoga
One of the essential goals of Paramahansa Yogananda’s mission was “to reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.”
To the public at large, Jesus propounded a simple philosophy of faith, love, and forgiveness. He spoke often in parables, pregnant with timeless morals. But to his close disciples he taught deeper truths, truths that have their correspondence in the deepest metaphysical concepts of the more ancient yoga philosophy.
The full understanding of Jesus’ original teachings — including the fact that he bestowed on his disciples the esoteric techniques of yoga meditation — is revealed in Paramahansa Yogananda’s in-depth commentary on the Gospels: The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You.