What is Kriya Yoga?

Updated: May 25

What is Kriya?

Kriya is a body of ancient techniques that are part of the comprehensive Science of Yoga. Kriya integrates breath (pranayama), mantra and mudra which energize the brain and body on a cellular level. In the West, most people largely associate yoga with with asana (the physical postures). Kriya, however, goes far beyond the physical body and activates the energetic body. Most of our students say their experience of kriya yoga is far more powerful than asana, and it stands to reason given that the physical body is very dense and and the energetic body is quite dynamic and responsive to breath. Many of our students say....


"Three minutes of kriya is more powerful and rejuvenating than an hour of asana!"

Should this response surprise you? Not really. Watch the news for a few minutes or be in the presence of someone who is angry and you'll likely feel it on a mental, emotional and/or physical level. We are energy beings, responsive (and sometimes reactive) to external and internal stimuli. All indigenous healing modalities assert that disease in the body is rooted in dis-ease in the mind, body and spirit.


Kriya is an extraordinary tool to shift our energy into a more healthy, calm, clear and connected state. These ancient techniques empower us with the ability to master our energy and, with consistent practice, to dramatically impact our own health and well-being. In his book Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda states, "Kriya yoga is a simple, psychophysiological method by which human blood is decarbonated and recharged with oxygen. Atoms of this extra oxygen are transmuted into life current to rejuvenate the brain and spinal centers. By stopping the accumulation of venous blood, the yogi is able to lessen or prevent the decay of tissues. "


Kriya yoga helps us clear toxins on the cellular level and activate our energy in a way that supports the optimal function of our brain as well as our entire body.

Traditionally, kriya was not taught in a group setting. It was always taught by a guru (kumu/teacher) to a student. Unlike asana, kriya practices are not historically or commonly found in written form. These practices have been perpetuated largely via an oral tradition, safe-guarded for thousands of years and eventually shared by master yogis. You can find kriya lineages in the Kundalini, classical Hatha and Ashtanga traditions. We share teachings from a distinct Himalayan lineage stemming from Anand Mehrotra.


Is Kriya a religious practice?

No. The practice of kriya is far older than any organized religion. These practices are for everyone of any background or faith. Most people find these practices support the deepening of their their own spiritual or religious practice. The word yoga essentially means union or to unite. The word kriya may be defined as an action that leads us to evolution, expansion and liberation. Kriya liberates us from the ceaseless chatter of the mind and burdens of the body. It is a scientific approach to accessing a deep inner state of being, going beyond our "ego prison" and ultimately creating a more profound connection the Infinite/Creator/God.


Why should I practice Kriya?

If you are looking to explore yoga beyond asana, elevate your meditation practice and/or ready to move from “doing yoga” to truly living yoga, then kriya is for you. If you've found that asana is not your thing or meditation feels difficult, then give kriya a try! This practice is for everybody at any age. If you can breathe, you can do this practice!


What should I do or have to prepare for class?

Kriya, specifically our "Beyond Asana" class may include seated, standing and reclining postures.  A significant portion of our classes will be conducted from a seated meditation position.  Gather your meditation cushion, blankets, a chair or whatever props support you in sitting comfortably. You may also want to have some water and or tissues nearby as you might experience dryness in your mouth/throat or the clearing of your sinuses.


How do I attend a group or private class?

We invite you to join us for weekly classes, a workshop or retreat. Visit the "Events" section of our website for details!

For those interested in learning kriya outside of a group setting, we also offer private sessions in person (Oahu) and remotely via Zoom. These classes are designed around your specific intentions/goals and are taught in a way that supports you in cultivating a daily personal practice. Contact us for more details at mindbodyaloha@gmail.com.