The ancient yoga form known as kriya holds much importance and cannot be overlooked. One of the central focuses of kundalini yoga, the kriya is an ancient technique. It is believed that this is the form of yoga that Krishna originally taught Arjuna. However, over the many centuries, the technique became forgotten and lost. It wasn’t until in the 19th-century that the technique and its numerous spiritual benefits came to light once again.
Simply defined as “action” and “soul”, the Sanskrit word “kriya” is used for a combination of breathing, postures, and sounds we use to achieve a specific objective. When we begin with this practice, we are putting our action into motion and aware of the outcome that we desire. Much like planting a seed in the ground, we expect to bloom and reach our full potential through the work that we do here. Each kriya that we decide to undertake has a different predetermined result.
“What does yoga do for you? Yoga works to unite you; it gives you energy so that you can be transformed. To bring you from unawareness to awareness is the purpose of Kundalini Yoga. Yoga does nothing more and nothing less”
– Yogi Bhajan
Physical and Mental Changes
When we begin a kriya sequence, we are attempting to activate both physical and mental changes within our bodies. There are kriya sequences for a wide array of outcomes. With that in mind, you need to determine what your kriya is before you put it into action. For instance, you will find that there are specific kriyas to support liver function, balance the glandular system, increase flexibility of the spine, boost circulation, detoxify and cleanse the body, and support healthy digestion.
Why Are Kriya Sequences Important?
The main idea behind a kriya sequence is that you feel physically and mentally different by the end of the practice. The sequences combine pranayama breathing techniques, asana poses, mantras (sacred sounds), eye-focus, and bandhas (body locks), to improve all areas of your body. You can use the kriya sequences to help you to enter into a meditative state and start to feel a sense of connectedness to the inner self.
Each set of moves and exercises have been specifically tailored to improve various parts of your life and being. You can practice these sequences both within your guided sessions and alone in the solitude of your own home. The more you practice this spiritual art form, the more you will feel prepared to advance to more complex kriyas.
Kriya Sequences Should Be Exact
This ancient form of yoga has unimaginable powers when done correctly. One of the most important things that you must remember here is that the kriyas should be practiced just as they were taught by Yogi Bhajan. Each pranayama or asana included in a specific kriya is done so for a reason. Differing from that sequence may mean that the kriyas are less effective than they would otherwise be, which is why you need to follow them exactly.
Once you have begun your spiritual journey into the realms of kundalini yoga, you must work with a guide to understand the basic kriyas. Learning these move-by-move and breath-by-breath will mean that you can activate their innate force. The practice takes dedication and focus to perfect but the result is worth your time and energy.
Why is it that the kriya is so vital within the kundalini yoga practice? The reason is that kriyas are able to unlock various physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that are otherwise unavailable to us. Once you begin this particular practice and move forward, you will see that each of the sequences can have a varying effect on your mental and physical state. Despite this undeniable fact, there are some common benefits that you may experience.
1. Improves well-being 2. Decreases stress levels 3. Helps self-realization 4. Boosts Kundalini energy 5. Allows control of life force 6. Helps us shift awareness
1. Improves well-being
Enhancing your well-being and lifestyle is the pathway to leading a more enlightening and happier life. With modern-day stresses and a wide range of difficulties that we all must face, this can often be easier said than done. However, scientific research suggests that practicing kriya sequences can boost your levels of general well-being. That means that engaging in these particular sequences may have an immense power over how you feel.
2. Decreases stress levels
Do you desire to rid yourself of everyday life stresses? Would you prefer an existence based on love, harmony, and joy? If so, taking part in kriyas as an element of your kundalini yoga practice is the right step for you. The most recent research in this area suggests that one of the major benefits of kriya practice is lowered stress levels. Combining the breathing and movement techniques along with mindfulness skills ensure that you can leave your stresses behind you and relax.
3. Helps self-realization
Self-realization is one of the fundamentals when it comes to kundalini yoga and yet many newcomers to the practice find this difficult. Through the kriya sequences, you should gain a better sense of focus and connectedness to your own being. The mantras and pranayamas will allow you to connect with your internal world and begin to better understand it. You should know that true self-realization is not merely an aim, but an ongoing journey. Each time you undergo a kriya, you move one small step closer to understanding your soul.
4. Boosts Kundalini energy
Bringing together a multitude of the main elements of kundalini yoga, the kriyas are a source of much energy for us all. As you begin to undertake these sequences, it’s important to notice your progress and how much you move forward within the practice itself. Should you have a teacher, they will aid you in capturing the overall power of this sequence and using it within other aspects of your practice.
5. Allows control of life force
Your inner life force is available for you. You simply have to take control. The kriyas will allow you to do just that. Through the ancient methods and sequences, we are able to get in touch with our life forces and use them within our lives. When you begin to engage in these kriyas on a regular basis, you become more acutely aware of the life forces inside you as well as those around you. Each student must learn to at once accept and harness this power.
6. Helps us shift awareness
Students who are new to kundalini yoga and the powers it may unleash could find that they struggle when it comes to both focus and awareness. The kriya sequences conquer this problem by allowing us to easily and smoothly shift our awareness. If you’re performing the meditations and movements specifically, you may unite your Cosmic Consciousness. The focus moves from the external world to the internal in one swift moment. In that period, you become aware of the universal energies inside.
Different Types of Kriyas
Now that you understand the basics of kriyas and why they matter to the kundalini student, we must discover more about the various techniques. The ancient sequences can be used for all manner of ailments and to reach a whole different range of outcomes. There are thousands of different kriyas out there, each of which may allow you to reach a new desire.
Kriya Best Practices
Students who are new to kriya sequences should observe certain guidelines to perfect their practice. Around three hours before the sequences begin, you should eat a small and healthful snack. It is also important to hydrate before a session and wear clothing that you can move freely and easily in.
During the sequence, maintain your levels of focus and learn how to notice when your mind wanders to be able to bring it back to the breath. Follow any directions you get from your teacher exactly and don’t be afraid to ask for advice should you find certain elements difficult. As you progress, push yourself beyond your limits. You may do so by extending your sequence time each and every time.
When you have left a session, you may take the things that you have learned and include them in your lifestyle. For example, you may want to use the prana breathing exercises within your life as a form of relaxation.