The Technique of Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga is an ancient meditation technique that is also part of a comprehensive spiritual path. It is an effective technique that 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 much 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 a half-minute, is equivalent to one year of natural spiritual growth.
The technique itself is taught through initiation. As Yogananda said in his Autobiography of a Yogi, “Because of certain ancient yogic injunctions, I cannot give a full explanation of Kriya Yoga in the pages of a book intended for the general public. The actual technique must be learned from a Kriyaban or Kriya Yogi; here a broad reference must suffice.”
Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened. The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. This is India’s unique and deathless contribution to the world’s treasury of knowledge.
Swami Sri Yukteswar, quoted in Autobiography of a Yogi
The Origin of Kriya Yoga
The ancient technique of Kriya Yoga 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 during their meeting in the Himalayas.
Kriya has been taught in an unbroken link of spiritual succession to this day. Paramhansa Yogananda personally authorized his disciple, Swami Kriyananda (founder of Ananda) to initiate qualified people into Kriya Yoga.
Discipleship and Kriya Yoga
Discipleship is an important part of the Path of Kriya. Discipleship means accepting the lineage of Kriya masters as your Gurus, or spiritual guides. Even though they are no longer living in a body, their inner guidance and support are felt by all who accept their help.
Ananda Kriya Yogis recognize Babaji, Christ, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar, and Paramhansa Yogananda as their Gurus. You can learn more about all of them, and about the principles of discipleship, by reading Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi.
Learn more about Discipleship from Why a Guru?
What a true teacher can do for you is help you to develop your own magnetism. He will not impose on you his own.
There is a deeper aspect, however, to this magnetic exchange with a true guru. Yogananda often quoted the scriptural statement, “All of Krishna’s soldiers were like Krishna.” There is something too subtle to be defined, and much deeper than any personality trait, that the disciple does indeed take on by attuning himself to a guru.
I have likened this special gift of the guru to a ray of the divine light. The clearer this ray, and the less mingled with other rays, the stronger the magnetism conveyed, and received. It is like a strong river that draws into itself every sluggish eddy, making the entire flow of consciousness pure and powerful.Swami Kriyananda