It was a secret that was well-kept through the annals of Indian history. This meditative technique was revealed by Mahavatar Babaji in 1861 who taught it to Lahiri Mahasaya, one of his disciples, who in turn, took it to the world. Then, another disciple, Paramhansa Yogananda decided to pen his version in the book Autobiography of a Yogi and suddenly, the whole world was abuzz with talk about Kriya Yoga which promised a union with the divine.
Kriya Yoga is actually a practice that encapsulates the main tenet of yoga which is to be one with the divine through the practice of meditation. The practice is built around one central technique – the attainment of oneness of breath and mind. Kriya Yoga is built on the promise that the mind influences breathing and breathing in turn has a strong influence on the mind. All the meditative practices in this kind of yoga are to try and attain perfect control over your breathing. When you reach a certain level of self control in this area, you can be said to have achieved mastery over your breath and mastery over your breath is mastery over self. The crux of this form of yoga is the breath.
Kriya Yoga seeks to infuse human bodies with energy and ways and means to promote this energy. This involves certain exercises which are said to open up the channels of energy in the spine and make for better breathing. What is an interesting point to note here is that when someone who practices Kriya Yoga teaches it to someone else, it is a process of initiation and this means that the one who is doing the teaching is purified further and will be blessed with meditation that goes even deeper.
What is the path to becoming a Kriya Yogi or one who practices Kriya Yoga? The technique and the paths have been laid out already and a reading of Paramhansa Yoganada’s book will give you a fairly good idea. The first step is to go through this technique. Then, both the mind and the heart must be opened up so that there is an opening up of many more possibilities. This is followed by a process called Ananda or pure joy, which is actually a form of energizing. This involves a few yoga poses. Then comes the sound or the Aum step where the meditation is enhanced with a certain vibrating sound. Then follows concentration with the Hong-Sau technique and the Kriya technique.
Does that sound easy? Well, the effects of Kriya Yoga will not be felt immediately by most people. It would, of course, depend on how interested and how committed the person doing the learning is. Just getting the practice right could take maybe a year. The Kriya Yogi will have to be physically, mentally and spiritually prepared to give of himself as he learns and imbibes. It’s not an easy path but it is a fulfilling one. And it gets you to the point when, with every breath you take, you are master of your self.