Kriya yoga styles

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Yoga

Kriya yoga is a mix of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti yoga styles combined in a very complex form. The word kriya describes effort or transformation. Kriya yoga was introduced to the modern world by master Lahiri Mahasaya during the 19th century. Nevertheless, Kriya yoga is, according to some scriptures, much older than that. It was actually identified in the Bhagavad-Gita which is considered to be more than 3000 years old. Devotion to God, self-discipline of the body and mind as well as a strict daily program represent the main principles for Kryia yoga practice. In order for a student to learn the specificity of this yoga technique, the presence of a guru is a must-meet condition.

Kriya yoga has changed the lives of people in search of a deeper, more spiritual relationship with their essence. Focusing more on the Kundalini awakening, it is a meditation technique which teaches a series of esoteric principles. Nevertheless, it also preaches the fact that one's power lies outside of oneself, that one needs a guru, or master, to access this innate spiritual life. There are several aims in Kriya yoga, among which the elimination of the separation line between mind and body.
An analysis of the three styles that meet in Kriya yoga is necessary for an understanding of the history and underlying principles of the practice. Thus, Karma yoga focuses on the movement of the soul the inner and the outer mind dimension; Jnana yoga stresses the wisdom, allowing the mind to be free, while Bhakti yoga centers on love, and how it allows one to come to terms with everything around oneself. The combination of these three principles aims at purifying the mind and the soul. Consequently, Kriya yoga practitioners believe they can achieve self-fulfillment this way rather than follow other disciplines.

There are some stages to go through before practicing Kriya yoga. First of all, the body needs to be ready, and Hatha yoga exercises are integrated in the practice for this very purpose. Then, the mind needs preparation too. Mantras are uttered in Kriya yoga techniques so as to enhance the meditative experience. It is said in Bhagavad-Gita that the aim of one who practices Kriya yoga is to look for and, hopefully, reach the Supreme Goal (Samahdi), by withdrawing from the external phenomena, by controlling one's sensory mind and intellect, and by banishing desire, fear and anger.

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