Please Note: This aritcle was published in the December edition of Merlian News. Be sure to check out the site for more interesting articles.
An Ancient Technique for Advancing the Soul
Kriya Yoga is a powerful and life-changing spiritual practice. The method of Kriya combines the spiritual techniques of yoga and meditation into a system easily practiced on a daily basis. The result is a rapid acceleration of spiritual development – one minute of practice is said to equal one year of natural unfoldment. In the Autobiography of a Yogi, the life story of Paramahansa Yogananda, he describes Kriya Yoga 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.” To describe the technique of Kriya as just a mental technique of moving the life force up and down the spinal column – is an oversimplification. There are many facets to the technique and one that creates an immediate and long-lasting effect.
Kriya is now for me the key to spiritual advancement and healing on so many levels. I practice the technique daily, if not twice – once in the morning and then around four in the afternoon. Since my initiation, I can objectively say I am more lucid and better focused mentally. I feel like I release some portion of emotional baggage every day. I know that releasing stored memories and the attached emotions create the energy and opportunity for me to advance spiritually. My daily practice of Kriya brings faster and different results in comparison to the techniques I have been using for the last twenty-five to thirty years. My consciousness is changed each day and so is my life.
Without divulging too much information about the technique of Kriya Yoga, I can say why it is so appealing to me. The most visible part is the speed at which I am experiencing significant results in my practice. Then there is the additional appeal of Kriya as a technique combining the spiritual study I have done over the years with the science of the body. So, there are spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional elements to practicing Kriya. What I can say is the technique focuses on working with the energy of the spinal column. From a spiritual perspective, I have studied about the chakras which have their place at intervals along the spine. From a Western perspective, where the chakras are located, there is also an organ, gland, nerve or plexus. The centers are the reception points along the spine where we receive, interpret and utilize energy entering our body every moment of my life. The life-force which comes with each breath is absorbed into the spine and is used to animate my body during this lifetime.
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 me this invites me to think of God in any way or form that meets the needs of my mind and heart. It is this God that through my Kriya practice I feel to be active energy present in every waking moment of the day. There is a definite sense of a deeper connection merging with the universal energy and the divine. In addition to the knowledge of this presence, the spiritual questions I have are being answered more quickly and in a compelling way that brings advancement and relief from spiritual atrophy that can happen in life.
I first heard about Kriya Yoga thirty years ago. At the time I read Autobiography of a Yogiby Paramahansa Yogananda. In the book, Yogananda describes the reemergence of this ancient technique for spiritual advancement and the importance of Kriya in the modern age. It was through a sage named Shyama Charan Lahiri, also known as Lahiri Mahasaya, to whom the technique was imparted to by the great Mahavatar Babaji. Lahiri Mahasaya was Yogananda’s mother and father’s guru and in time became his teacher and initiator. As with many spiritual techniques, there is the role of teacher and student and initiation.
There is the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” To think I was exposed to the teachings and technique of Kriya so many years ago, yet it was only in the last ten years that I began to search out initiation. During these years I was actively involved in so many different spiritual and mystical events which provided a wide range of spiritual results. Once I did begin my effort in earnest, I was met with many roadblocks that could have easily been the basis for my giving up my search. This has always been the path to initiation for me. The tests and challenges appear once the course becomes clear.
My path to initiation led me to Sunburst, “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. They offer Kriya Initiation in two parts throughout the year. Over the last several years I have received both Kriya I and Kriya II initiations at Sunburst. I genuinely feel I was guided to find my way there. The community is welcoming and supportive in a loving way that adds another layer of richness to the experience of learning this age-old technique. There is also the support of community members, many of who have been Kriyabans (persons who have been initiated into Kriya) for many decades.
Another way of learning the technique of Kriya Yoga is through the teachings of Self-Realization Fellowship – a world-wide religion is based on the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. They are centered in Los Angeles. Yogananda’s life is documented in his autobiography entitled, Autobiography of a Yogi, available as a free download on the internet. By signing up for the home lessons, SRF provides several years of teachings based on the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda. I have also studied these lessons and the writings of Yogananda for close to forty years. In time the lessons lead to a point when the student is invited to experience initiation into Kriya Yoga. The lessons are very inexpensive and barely cover the cost of printing and mailing.
The last source of Kriya Yoga that I came into contact with is a book entitled Kriya Secrets Revealed by J.C. Stevens. This book is presented in the workbook format, combining yoga postures and other essential techniques along with the Kriya meditation technique. There are four sections in the book which connect a scholarly approach and spiritual understanding to Kriya. I found Stevens book to be extremely valuable in support of my own Kriya practice and continue to use it as a reference source.