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Kriya Yoga - FAQs

What is Kriya Yoga?

Kriya Yoga is an ancient technique of Self-Realization. Kriya Yoga consists of several physical and mental techniques that awaken the sleeping Kundalini and Chakras (or lotuses).

What is Kundalini?

Kundalini is the sleeping dormant energy in human beings situated at the base of the spinal column. In most of us Kundalini resides as a static or potential energy. However, using various yogic techniques, it can be made dynamic or kinetic. The word Kundalini literally means “the one who is coiled”. Another meaning of the word Kundalini refers to “the one who sleeps in a pit or cavity”.

In most of us the Kundalini is sleeping at the base of spine in a region called Mooladhara Chakra. Through Kriya Yoga techniques the Kundalini is made to ascend through Sushumna nadi piercing all the six chakras. When the Kundalini reaches Sahasrara, Samadhi is attained. Thus for practitioner of Kriya yoga taking the Kundalini in the Sahasrara is the key goal.  

What are Chakras?

The Sushumna nadi runs through the spinal column. Along the way it has six energy centers often called as Chakras or lotuses. The six chakras are named as Mooladhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi and Ajna. There is one more important area that lies in the brain. It is called as Sahasrara. Sahasrara is not actually a Chakra by itself but rather the final destination.

The following table gives details about each chakra:

Sr. Chakra Location Color Bija Mantra
1 Mooladhara Perineum Red Lam
2 Swadhishthana Tail bone Orange Vam
3 Manipura Navel Yellow Ram
4 Anahata Chest Blue Yam
5 Vishuddhi Throat Violet Ham
6 Ajna Eyebrow center White Om
7 Sahasrara Head Colorless Om

Who invented Kriya Yoga?

Though the exact origin of Kriya Yoga is lost in the pre-history it remains a fact that ancient Indian Yogis invented this science of God realization. There are several ancient Yogic texts that speak of the Kriya Yoga techniques in detail. In his Yoga Sutras the sage Patanjali terms Kriya Yoga as a threefold path of Self-study, Austerities and surrendering everything to God. A more direct and clear reference to Kriya Yoga is found in Shiva Samhita in which Lord Shiva says - "By the practice of Kriya success is attained. Without Kriya how could one attain success? Hence, Yogis should practice Kriya as per guidelines."

What is the difference between Hatha Yoga and Kriya Yoga?

Hatha Yoga and Kriya Yoga both work towards the same goal. However, Hatha Yoga gives more emphasis on Shatkarmas, Asanas and various Pranayamas. On the other hand Kriya Yoga stresses more on Kundalini, Chakras and meditative practices. It can be seen from ancient texts that Hatha Yoga actually adopts Kriya Yoga at many places. Many practices are common to both of these paths.

What is the difference between Kundalini Yoga and Kriya Yoga?

Kundalini Yoga is an umbrella term given to any path that awakens the sleeping Kundalini. Ancient texts talk about four kinds of Yoga paths namely Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga and Raja Yoga. All of these paths work towards awakening of the Kundalini and when you say Kundalini Yoga it can refer to any of them. Kriya Yoga uses best of all the worlds. Often the words Kundalini Yoga and Kriya Yoga are used interchangeably. 

What is the difference between Raja Yoga and Kriya Yoga?

Raja Yoga is the highest form of Yoga that deals with mind and meditation. For most of the people directly attaining meditative state is too difficult. After practicing Kriya Yoga, the prana and mind is tuned for higher spiritual awakening. Kriya Yoga includes techniques that lead you to the final destination in step by step manner.

Who can teach me Kriya Yoga or Kundalini Yoga?

A person can teach you something if he himself has thorough understanding and experience of the subject. Ideally speaking a Self-realized person is the best guide. However, not everyone can find such a person. So at least a Yogi who himself has awakened Kundalini through this path can be chosen as a guide. In the absence of these conditions it might be a venture where one blind is guiding another blind.

I heard that Kriya Yoga can be taught only by authorized lineages of spiritual masters. Is it true?

This is not true. Nobody can authorize any specific person, organization or lineage to teach Kriya Yoga. An able Guru irrespective of his lineage can impart this teachings to his disciples.

I heard that Kriya Yoga belongs to Babaji and Lahiri Mahashaya. Can you tell me more on that?

Neither Babaji nor Lahiri Mahashaya is known to have claimed that Kriya Yoga is their invention. However, credit goes to them for re-introducing the techniques in recent times. Kriya Yoga is a very old system whose roots can be found in ancient Tantrik and Yogic traditions.

Is a Guru must for learning Kriya Yoga?

Yes. However, your Guru can come in any form - human, book or even internet. Learning under the guidance of a Guru in human form is of course the best and recommended way. It is observed that in modern age getting a right Guru has become very difficult. If your desire for spiritual progress is real and honest, then the God will send you a Guru in appropriate form. Rather than debating and worrying too much on this issue it is best to check what works for you. 

Can Kriya Yoga be learnt online?

Traditionally the sacred knowledge of Kriya Yoga is transmitted from a Guru to his disciples. Even today this remains the best way of learning Kriya Yoga. However, it is observed that there are many aspirants in present world who cannot learn this ancient science directly under a Guru because of variety of reasons. Some of the reasons include:

  • Lack of competent Guru
  • Inability to spare time in a specific, rigid time slot
  • Geographical distance between aspirant and Guru making it difficult to get direct guidance
  • Other personal reasons

Considering this we feel that such an online course will benefit many interested individuals. The techniques on this web site are written in simple and lucid language so that even a beginner can understand them easily. If you follow the instructions and listen to your mind-body equipment at each stage then you can certainly practice these techniques. Rather than debating about whether such a mode of learning is good or bad we suggest that you see what works for you.

Is Kriya Yoga for any specific religion or caste?

Not at all. The Kundalini is present in every human being and since Kriya Yoga deals with this universal energy, it is equally applicable to all religions and castes.

How many techniques are involved in Kriya Yoga?

Ancient Yogic texts speak of dozens of techniques for Kundalini awakening. However, one can see a clear overlap of techniques among these texts. Especially, many Mudras, Pranayamas and meditative techniques are common to many ancient texts.

On what basis you have selected your set of techniques?

There are many levels of practitioners with varying degrees of suitability in terms of body and mind. Not all kriyas can be practiced by all. For example, most of the people will find Khechari Mudra too difficult to attain. Also, considering time factor not all the kriyas can be practiced by individuals. The kriyas presented on this site are highly effective in nature. They can be practiced even by an average Yoga aspirant who is sincere and regular. These kriyas are time honored and one can easily see their effectiveness after starting the practice.

I heard that Khechari Mudra is a mandatory part of Kriya Yoga. If so, why don't you recommend it?

No doubt Khechari Mudra is said to be one of the best Mudras in ancient texts. However, not all can practice it. The practice of Khechari Mudra involves cutting and lengthening of tongue. This can be dangerous if not done properly. Some kriya teachers ask their students to fold the tongue and place it such that its lower part touches the palate. They call this practice as Khechari Mudra. This is not true. This practice is a preliminary practice called Nabho Mudra. Hatha Yoga Pradipika mentions that though different in terms of technique, Khechari Mudra and Shambhavi Mudra give the same results.

Can Kriya Yoga be practiced along with other paths?

Absolutely. If you have time, energy and desire to do so you can certainly combine Kriya Yoga with other paths. However, you may realize that this path alone can lead you to the goal.

 


Bipin Joshi is a software consultant, an author and a yoga mentor with more than 22 years of experience in classical yoga system of India. He is an internationally published author and has authored or co-authored more than ten technology books for Apress and WROX press. He has been awarded as a Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft. He has also written a few Marathi books including Devachya Davya Hati and Natha Sankentincha Danshu. Having embraced yoga way of life he also teaches Kriya and Meditation to selected individuals.

बिपीन जोशी लिखित देवाच्या डाव्या हाती आणि नाथ संकेतींचा दंशु या पुस्तकांची आपली प्रत आजच विकत घ्या. त्यांच्या अजपा योग मार्गदर्शनाविषयी अधिक माहिती येथे उपलब्ध आहे.


Posted On : 28 Jul 2007


Tags : Shiva Kriya Yoga Courses