History of Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga dates back to the thousands of years ago. It has its mention in the Bhagavad Gita. The earliest reference of Kriya Yoga can be traced back to Patanjali Yoga Sutra. Patanjali further states the need for cultivating the virtues that constitute Kriya yoga. These elements are purity (Shaucha) and contentment (Santosha).
According to the history of Kriya Yoga, it was Lahiri Mahasaya who revived the methods of Kriya Yoga and taught it to his disciples, among which Paramhansa Yogananda was the most famous one. Lahiri Mahasaya learnt it from his guru Sri Mahavatar Kriya Babaji, the founder of Kriya Yoga.
Concept of Kriya Yoga
Kriya simply means "to work". The basic tenet of Kriya Yoga lies in its technique of controlling the life force. By practicing it, the practitioner becomes able to overcome all the hindrances of life and to unite with the divine lord. Kriya yoga starts with Pranayama.
Features of Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga is the unique technique of highlighting the relationship between the mind and the breath as it is the mind which influences the breath and the breath in turn influences the mind. It is the science of controlling the mind, as breath control is ‘self-control’ and breath mastery is ‘self mastery’. Kriya Yoga is completely non-sectarian. Its easy techniques cause no hardships or austerities and were developed for aspiring householders as well as for the monks.
Science of Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga is the union of yoga with the infinite through a certain action or rite. It is the science of decarbonising the body whilst recharging it with oxygen through some simple breathing techniques. Ideally therefore Kriya Yoga is the psychophysical method by which human blood is decarbonised and recharged with oxygen. The extra oxygen is then transmuted into life current to rejuvenate the brain and the spinal centres. The decay of body tissue is prevented by stopping the accumulation of the venous blood. The advanced Yogis can draw pure energy by transmuting their cells.
Techniques of Kriya Yoga
The techniques of Kriya Yoga have been designed on the movement of the Sun with its planets and satellites. According to Hinduism, such a movement brings out the inherent virtues in an individual. The techniques of Kriya Yoga have the power to control the most perplexed of minds. Kriya Yoga method is more direct than other yoga practices. The practitioner of this yoga technique can control the life force by mentally drawing the energy up and down along the spine.
From times immemorial Kriya Yoga was practiced by sages or sadhus who had renounced the material world. But for the first time Lahiri Mahasaya brought this esoteric doctrine to the realm of the material world. Even after him, sages and yogis in India have contributed considerably in propagating Kriya Yoga.