Kriya Yoga is a powerful and life-changing spiritual practice that combines the spiritual techniques of yoga and meditation into a system that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. The result of regular practice is the rapid acceleration of spiritual development. Indeed, one minute of practice is said to equate to one year of natural unfoldment. In Autobiography of a Yogi, the life story of Paramahansa Yogananda, Kriya Yoga is described as “a simple, psycho-physiological method by which human blood is decarbonized and recharged with oxygen. The atoms of this extra oxygen are transmuted into life current to rejuvenate the brain and spinal centers.” Accordingly, to portray the technique of Kriya as a mere mental technique that transports the life force up and down the spinal column is a woeful oversimplification. There are many facets to the technique and one that creates an immediate and long-lasting effect.
I first heard about Kriya Yoga more than thirty years ago when I first read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. (January 5, 1893-March 7, 1952) (Autobiography of a Yogi, is available as a free download on Amazon.) He was an Indian Yogi and Guru who introduced millions of Indians and Westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya through his organizations Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and Self-Realization Fellowship. In his book, Yogananda describes the re-emergence of this ancient technique for spiritual advancement, and the importance and relevance of Kriya in the modern age. It was a Sage named Shyama Charan Lahiri, also known as Lahiri Mahasaya, to whom the technique was imparted by the great Mahavatar Babaji. Lahiri Mahasaya served as Yogananda’s mother and father’s guru, and in time became his teacher and initiator.
From a personal perspective, I now believe Kriya to be the key to spiritual advancement and healing on a variety of levels. I routinely practice the technique daily (twice, if time permits): once in the morning and again at approximately four o’clock in the afternoon. Since my initiation, I can objectively and unequivocally state that I am more lucid and better-focused mentally than ever before. I feel as though I release a quantity of emotional baggage each day. Likewise, I appreciate that releasing stored memories and the emotions attached to them creates the energy and opportunity I need to progress spiritually. My daily practice of Kriya has brought about discernibly faster and more effective results in comparison to the techniques I have regularly employed over the last twenty-five to thirty years. My consciousness improves each day, as does my life.
Without divulging too much about the techniques on which Kriya Yoga is founded, I would like to outline the reasons why it is so appealing to me. The most obvious aspect is the speed at which I experience significant results through my practice. Further to this, is the fact that Kriya effectively combines the spiritual study with which I have engaged over the years with the science of the body. Hence, there are spiritual, mental, physical and emotional elements to practicing Kriya. What I can say is that the technique focuses on working with the energy contained within the spinal column. From a spiritual perspective, I have engaged in extensive study of the chakras, which sit at intervals along the spine. Taking into account Western beliefs, at each point at which chakras are located, there is a corresponding organ, gland, nerve or plexus. The centers are the reception points along the spine where we receive, interpret and utilize the energy that enters our body at every moment of our life. Thus, the life-force which comes with each breath is absorbed into the spine and used to animate our body throughout our life.
I have been a member of the Rosicrucian Order AMORC for almost forty years. Rosicrucians around the world pray to the “God of Their Hearts.” To my mind, this invites us to think of God in any way or form that meets the needs of our minds and hearts. Through my Kriya practice, I am able to feel and engage with this God’s active energy in every waking moment of the day. This engenders a definite sense of a deeper connection merging with the universal energy and the divine. In addition to the acknowledgement of this presence, the spiritual questions I have are consistently being answered in a way that is compelling and brings advancement and relief from the spiritual atrophy that happens in life.
An old spiritual adage states, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” This is especially relevant to my experience. I was initially exposed to the teachings and technique of Kriya a number of years ago, yet it has only been in the last ten years that I have sought initiation. During these preceding years of exploration, I was actively involved in numerous spiritual and mystical events; affording me a varied range of different spiritual results. After so many years of hearing about Kriya, once I began my efforts in earnest to facilitate my own initiation into Kriya, I was met with many roadblocks that could have easily been the basis for me abandoning my search. This has been my own path every time I sought out any type of initiation. The tests and challenges always appeared once the course became clear as to what I wanted to experience.
My path to initiation ultimately led me to Sunburst which is “a global community of lightworkers, as well as an intentional cooperative community, headquartered at Sunburst Sanctuary on California’s Central Coast.” Norm Paulson, the founder of Sunburst was one of Yogananda’s direct students. Sunburst offers Kriya Initiation in two parts throughout the year. Over the course of the last few years, I have received both Kriya I and Kriya II initiations at Sunburst. I genuinely feel as though my journey brought me there. The community is welcoming and supportive in a way that adds a further layer of richness to the experience of learning this age-old technique. Sunburst also offers the support of community members, many of whom have been Kriyabans (persons who have been initiated into Kriya) for decades.
Another channel through which the technique of Kriya Yoga can be learned is via the teachings of the Los Angeles-based Self-Realization Fellowship – a worldwide religion based on the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. When you sign up for home lessons, SRF provides several years of study based on the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. I have engaged studiously with these lessons and the writings of Yogananda for close to forty years. Over time, these lessons lead to a point at which the student is invited to experience initiation into Kriya Yoga. Whilst the community is not able to provide the lessons free of charge, they are very inexpensive, and set at a price that barely cover the cost of printing and mailing. This allows for maximum accessibility and engagement.
My final source of contact with Kriya Yoga was a book entitled Kriya Secrets Revealed, by J.C. Stevens. Presented in a workbook format, this combines yoga postures and other essential techniques along with the Kriya meditation method. The book comprises four sections, which connect a scholarly approach and spiritual understanding of Kriya. I personally find Stevens’ book to be extremely valuable in underpinning my Kriya practice. Consequently, I continue to use it as a reference source.
Stephen Thomson is a well-known psychic, writer and teacher. He specializes in, the Tarot, Kabbala, Meditation, and explorations of eastern mystical teachings and practices. Steve specializes in uncovering the source of mastery within, inner well-being and self-actualization that so many strive for, but few attain. His passion and focus are the subjective experiences of the spiritual path – especially the ones people experience that are seemingly beyond belief. He loves sharing his experiences and loves to hear from others. He currently lives in San Diego. You can reach him through his website, Stephenthomson.net