Kriya Yoga

A spiritual practice combining meditation, breathwork, and physical postures to achieve self-realization.


Kriya Yoga is a spiritual practice that involves a combination of meditation techniques, controlled breathing exercises, and specific physical postures. It aims to accelerate the practitioner's spiritual development and lead to a profound state of self-realization. Kriya Yoga emphasizes the importance of directing one's life force or prana through the practice of pranayama, which is believed to purify the body and mind. The practice is often taught through initiation by a guru or spiritual teacher and requires dedication and regular practice to yield its full benefits.

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Kriya Yoga has its roots in ancient Indian spiritual traditions, particularly in the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. However, the modern form of Kriya Yoga was popularized by Mahavatar Babaji and his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya in the 19th century. It gained widespread recognition in the West through the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, who introduced Kriya Yoga to the United States in the 1920s through his book 'Autobiography of a Yogi.' Since then, Kriya Yoga has been taught by various lineages and has attracted spiritual seekers worldwide.


  1. Spiritual Growth Kriya Yoga accelerates the practitioner's spiritual development, leading to a deeper understanding of the self and a connection with the divine.
  2. Increased Self-awareness The practice of Kriya Yoga enhances self-awareness and introspection, allowing practitioners to gain insights into their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
  3. Stress Reduction Regular practice of Kriya Yoga techniques can help reduce stress, anxiety, and promote a sense of inner peace and tranquility.
  4. Improved Concentration The meditation and breathwork aspects of Kriya Yoga help improve focus, concentration, and mental clarity.
  5. Physical Well-being The physical postures and breathwork in Kriya Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, and overall physical health.
  6. Emotional Balance Kriya Yoga helps practitioners cultivate emotional stability, resilience, and a positive outlook on life.
  7. Increased Energy The practice of Kriya Yoga is believed to awaken and channel the body's vital energy, leading to increased vitality and enthusiasm for life.

How It Works

Kriya Yoga is a spiritual practice that combines breath control, meditation, and physical postures to promote self-realization and spiritual growth. The practice begins with a series of purification techniques, including neti (nasal cleansing) and dhauti (digestive cleansing). Pranayama, or breath control exercises, are then used to balance the flow of prana (life force energy) in the body. Meditation techniques, such as mantra repetition and visualization, help to focus the mind and promote inner stillness. Physical postures, or asanas, are practiced to strengthen the body and improve flexibility. The ultimate goal of Kriya Yoga is to achieve a state of deep meditation and union with the divine.


While Kriya Yoga can be a powerful tool for personal growth and spiritual development, it is important to approach the practice with caution and under the guidance of a qualified teacher. Some of the purification techniques, such as neti and dhauti, can be uncomfortable or even dangerous if performed incorrectly. Individuals with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or respiratory issues, may need to modify or avoid certain practices. It is also important to maintain a balanced approach to the practice, incorporating both physical and mental techniques, and not becoming overly focused on any one aspect. As with any spiritual practice, it is important to find a teacher or community that aligns with one's personal beliefs and values.

How Much It Costs

The cost of practicing Kriya Yoga can vary widely depending on the location, teacher, and format of the training. In-person classes and workshops can range from $50 to $500 or more, while online courses and resources may be available for free or at a lower cost. Private lessons with a qualified teacher can be more expensive, ranging from $75 to $200 or more per session. Retreats and immersive training programs can cost several thousand dollars, depending on the duration and location. It is important to research and compare options to find a program that fits one's budget and learning style.

Virtual & Online Options

Virtual and online options for practicing Kriya Yoga have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering greater accessibility and flexibility than traditional in-person classes. Online courses and resources can provide a structured curriculum and the ability to learn at one's own pace, while virtual classes and workshops offer the opportunity to connect with a teacher and community in real-time. However, in-person classes and retreats can provide a more immersive and personalized experience, with the opportunity for hands-on guidance and adjustment from a qualified teacher. Ultimately, the choice between virtual and in-person options may depend on one's learning style, location, and personal preferences.


There is no universally recognized certification for Kriya Yoga teachers, as the practice is often passed down through a lineage of teachers and initiated students. However, many Kriya Yoga organizations and schools offer their own teacher training programs and certifications. These programs typically require a significant commitment of time and study, often involving several months or years of training in the philosophy, techniques, and pedagogy of Kriya Yoga. Some common requirements for Kriya Yoga teacher certification include a minimum number of years of personal practice, completion of a recognized teacher training program, and demonstration of proficiency in the techniques and principles of the practice. It is important to research and verify the credentials and lineage of any potential teacher or organization before committing to a training program.

Complementary Practices

Kriya Yoga pairs well with other practices like meditation, pranayama (breathwork), mantra repetition, and the study of spiritual texts. Hatha Yoga, which focuses on physical postures, can help prepare the body for the deeper spiritual work of Kriya Yoga. Practicing self-reflection and cultivating virtues like non-violence, truthfulness, and contentment also support the path of Kriya Yoga.

Practitioner Types

Kriya Yoga is typically taught by experienced yoga teachers who have been initiated into the practice by a qualified guru. Some may be monks or nuns dedicated to a yogic lifestyle, while others are householders balancing spiritual practice with worldly responsibilities. Kriya Yoga retreats and intensives are often led by advanced practitioners with decades of experience. Some teachers may also be trained in complementary modalities like Ayurveda, psychology, or breathwork.

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  • Q: What are the benefits of practicing Kriya Yoga?

    • A: Kriya Yoga offers many potential benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, improved focus and concentration, increased self-awareness and inner peace, and spiritual growth and enlightenment. The practice can also lead to physical benefits like improved breathing, circulation, and overall health.
  • Q: How long does it take to learn Kriya Yoga?

    • A: The time it takes to learn Kriya Yoga varies depending on the individual and their dedication to the practice. Receiving initiation and learning the basic techniques may take a few days or weeks, but mastering the practice is a lifelong journey. Consistency and regularity in practice are key to progress.
  • Q: Do I need to be physically flexible to practice Kriya Yoga?

    • A: No, physical flexibility is not a prerequisite for practicing Kriya Yoga. The practice primarily involves meditation, breathwork, and subtle energy control rather than physical postures. However, some basic hatha yoga stretches can be beneficial in preparing the body for sitting in meditation.
  • Q: Is Kriya Yoga a religion?

    • A: Kriya Yoga is a spiritual practice, but it is not a religion in itself. It can be practiced by people of any faith or no faith at all. The techniques aim to accelerate spiritual evolution and self-realization, but they do not require adherence to any specific belief system.
  • Q: How often should I practice Kriya Yoga?

    • A: Ideally, Kriya Yoga should be practiced daily to maintain steady progress and deepen one's experience. However, the specific frequency and duration of practice may vary depending on individual circumstances and guidance from a qualified teacher. Even a short daily practice can yield significant benefits over time.


Kriya Yoga is a powerful spiritual practice that offers a path to self-realization and unity with the divine. By combining meditation, breathwork, and energy control, Kriya Yoga helps to calm the mind, purify the nervous system, and awaken inner wisdom. While the techniques can be learned relatively quickly, mastering Kriya Yoga is a lifelong journey that requires dedication, discipline, and guidance from a qualified teacher. With regular practice, Kriya Yoga can transform one's consciousness and lead to a profound sense of peace, joy, and enlightenment. Whether one is a beginner or an advanced practitioner, Kriya Yoga offers a timeless path to discover the ultimate truth within.