What is Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga is an ancient meditation technique of energy and breath control, or pranayama. It is also a comprehensive spiritual path, which includes additional meditation practices and right living.
The Kriya technique was hidden in secrecy for many centuries. It was revived in 1861, when the great yogi Mahavatar Babaji taught the technique to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. Lahiri then taught the technique to his disciple Sri Yukteswar, who taught it to his disciples, including Paramhansa Yogananda.
Yogananda then popularized Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, and through his public teaching in the West. Kriya has been taught in an unbroken link of spiritual succession to this day.
How Does It Work?
According to Yogananda, Kriya is the most effective technique available to mankind today for reaching the goal of Yoga: union with the Divine. Kriya Yoga is so effective because it works directly with the source of growth — the spiritual energy deep in our spines.
All yoga techniques work with this energy, usually indirectly. Yoga postures, for example, can help open up the spinal channels, and balance the energy in the spine. Yoga breathing exercises can help to awaken that energy.
The Kriya technique is more direct. It helps the practitioner to control the life force by mentally drawing it up and down the spine, with awareness and will. According to Yogananda, one Kriya, which takes about 30 seconds, is equivalent to one year of natural spiritual growth.
Where and How Do I Learn It?
Receiving Kriya Initiation Through Ananda
The Kriya technique is taught through initiation by one of our Kriyacharyas or Kriya Yoga teachers who are authorized by Swami Kriyananda, who himself was authorized by Paramhansa Yogananda, to pass on the Kriya technique. Many of our teachers have been initiating people into Kriya Yoga for more than 20 years, and teaching meditation for over 40 years.
We give Kriya initiations most often in the United States, India, and Italy, however our teachers often travel to other countries including Mexico, Russia, Singapore, New Zealand, other countries to give initiations.
Preparation for Kriya Initiation
Before you can be initiated into Kriya Yoga, there is a process of preparation which includes study of Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings and practice of other meditation techniques. This process takes about a year, and can be done in a few different ways depending on your location. If you are near one of our centers, we ask that you learn the techniques through them. If not, they can be learned through online classes or a through a snail-mail course.
During this process, and after you learn Kriya Yoga, you will receive personal spiritual support, resources, and ample opportunity to ask questions of our experienced meditation teachers.