I have several questions. First does the Ananda homestudy course on self realization teach how to practice the yamas and niyamas as part of the kriya path? I noticed that SRF doesn't include the yamas and niyamas. I wonder why. My other question is about the meditation. Why is it important to sit perfectly still?
—james tucker, USA
Thank you for your adept question regarding our offered studies.
The Path of Kriya Yoga is Yogananda’s essential teachings leading to Kriya Yoga, encompassing in a progressive manner the importance of meditative posture, the pranayam Hong-Sau, his Energization Exercises and, to your question, the fundamental teachings of Raja Yoga, which includes a thorough explanation and description of all 8 limbs known as Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga. 3 of 14 chapters emphasize the implications of practicing the 5 Yamas (non-violence, non-lying, non-stealing, non-sensuality, non-greed) and the 5 Niyamas (cleanliness, contentment, austerity, Self-study, devotion) and the role they play in forming the foundation that the spiritual adept/yogi will need for their sadhana and life.
As to the admonition of sitting still for meditation, that too is essential in understanding Patanjali’s sutras, the teachings on Raja Yoga. In fact this is the 3rd limb known as Asana (how to sit)! This follows the aforementioned 1st limb, Yamas and 2nd limb, Niyamas. Sitting still provides you the opportunity to recognize and interiorize your energy/prana, to control it while reigning in the outward draw of the senses. Only then can we begin to concentrate, to direct the flow of energy in the spine, and enter into a state of absorption into those aspects and presence of Spirit we seek to merge with.
So you find in the formal studies of the Path of Kriya Yoga there is a natural flow of developing one’s strength for one’s sadhana (spiritual practices) and also personal guidance here and elsewhere throughout our websites and communities for developing depth in your studies. These are teachings traditionally best suited for having a “live” teacher.
So, James, I am glad for your inquiry because it gives me a chance to welcome you and others to participate in “Sangha”, the gathering of like-minded souls in Truth we practice at Ananda.
I am available for further questions and information provided at through these sites.
Blessings in your devotional practices and much joy to you!