Tantra and Kriya Yoga has always been a secret technique. Teachers like Yogananda or Harihananda have developed a simpler but nevertheless effective Kriya Yoga sytem which was brought to the west in the beginning of the 20th century.
Swami Satyananda (Yoga School of Bihar) unveiled the complete technique of kriya - which includes 76 kriyas - only in the 1960´ies - and only to a handful of students.
In my lessons I teach a "fairy tale free" kriya yoga as well as many pranic exercises to interested students. Kriya Yoga and Tantra are techniques which work for everybody. Kriya Yoga is not a believe system or religion, In fact even if you have a materialistic attitude, kriya yoga will work for you. I am convinced that is the best, safest and most advanced technique available today to develope self realistation, far away from sects, groups, fake gurus or any kind of believe systems.
What is the purpose of Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga is a very strong Sadhana to develope Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana. It takes about 2 - 2 1/2 hours to complete the basic 20 kriyas. (it is possible to practise a shorter version - about 1 hour) Kriya Yoga is a practise which needs proper guidance through a teacher, as well as an advanced student who exercises on a daily basis and is already experienced in asanas, pranayama, the shat kriyas and meditation. Kriya Yoga should NOT been practised if the student doesnt have enough time or not enough knowledge in the basics of yoga. Every single kriya has a seperate effect and it is very important to practise the kriyas correct.
You will always stay independent, and you will be able to practise alone. A good teacher will always teach you that - after a certain point - he / she is not neccessary and more. It is highly recommended NOT to join believe systems or groups - as they tend to have their own interests and make you a "brick" in their "wall" - instead of a self realised and independent being.
Kriya Yoga and Tantra teaches equality of the male and female aspect. Women have a natural ability to understand and develop altruism, intuition and strength - as well as kundalini. Students who dont free themself of prejudices, or the believe that they themself are superior / inferior because of their gender - cant proceed on the path.
What is the aim of Tantra and Kriya Yoga?
The practise of the 76 Kriyas might be the best and most advanced system available today to practise pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation). Kriya Yoga will automatically lead into sakshi bav (witness state) and first stages of samadhi. It systematically develops and activates: first the nadis, then chakras and finally kundalini. It is important NOT to activate kundalini as long as nadis and chakras are not purified.
Technique of Kriya Yoga
Yama and Niyama. "Conditio sine qua non" is proper diet. I am not teaching kundalini kriyas to smokers and people who use drugs - or drink alcohol on a regular basis. Yoga has little to do with stunning and advanced asanas. In fact, many yoginis are on the wrong path, practising extremly difficult and advanced physical asanas without any knowledge about nadis, chakras and mastery of basic dharana techniques. As an example, it is much more important to master total relaxation, simple full yoga breath, ujjayi, trataka and drishti - then any complicated physical asana.
MODERN ASHTANGA YOGA: For those students who are on the path of modern Ashtanga Yoga / Iyengar Yoga - it is recommended that they continue their asana practise and dont switch between the more gentle form of hatha yoga and ashtanga all the time, please make sure you have a certified/authorised ashtanga teacher. Ashtanga Yoga as well as Iyengar Yoga is a good preparation on the path - but keep in mind that asanas are only preparation for the path, not the path itself. You might join and learn to hold the basic asanas - but in general it will be better for you - just to continue with your daily practise and visit our kriya yoga classes, you wont have to go through Yoga I + II but are more than welcome if you feel you want to visit some classes. The Ashtanga Yoga practise creates a slightly different energetic effect than traditional Hatha Yoga, in some cases I might recommend not to start with the full kriya practise until - at least - the first series and parts of the second series have been mastered. Students of traditional Hatha Yoga in general, can start Kriya Yoga when they have mastered yoga nidra, pranayama and have developed a stable daily asana practise. However - ALL students have to master Kaya Sthairyam (see below) first.
Preparation: asanas, pranayama, proper diet, shat kriyas and basic mantra meditation. Mastery of Kaya Sthairyam (practise of the steadiness of the body); no progress can be made in kriya yoga until "stillness of the body" is mastered. During the practise of pratyahara, (withdrawal of the senses) the body may move. However when we practise dharana (concentration) the body must not move. The student must be able to sit without moving the body for at least half an hour. Concentration has to shift from body awareness to breath. If dharana is attempted with an unsteady body and fluctuating mind, no benefits will be the result but instead frustration and tension.
The term Kaya Sthairyam is completly unknown to all - so called - kriya yoga organisations, many yoga teachers and even advanced ashtangis who can demonstrate a 5 minute handstand, however can not demonstrate stillness of the body. I have seen kriya yogis in so called "kriya yoga organisations" - not being able to demonstrate stillness of the body, fluctuating mind, bent spine and completly wrong asanas - brainwashed by fairytales and left alone by their leaders when it comes to proper asanas, proper pranayama and practise of kaya sthairyam. Kriya yoga and kundalini vidya is a fairy tale free - exact science, a technique which develops pratyahara and dharana as well as - on higher levels - sakshi bav, dhyana and samyama. It will lead the student to a full rise of kundlini, experience of deep meditation (dhyana) and samadhi.
Basic Training: Initiation into kriya yoga; 9 basic kriyas; front nadi, spinal nadi, ida and pingala nadi, unblocking the 3 granthis
Kriya Yoga: 20 Kriyas to develope pratyahara, dharana and dhyana; each kriya specifically trains either pratyahara, dharana or dhyana and opens up grantis, chakras and activates certain nadis;
Tantra, Advaita and Vedanta: Higher Kriyas, tantric techniques and advaita vedanta philosophy
Is there other ways to develop Kundalini?
Yes. Through tantric techniques and advanced pranayama - kundalini will be activated rapidly - sometimes within weeks or even days. However this path is only recommended for very few advanced students - under the guidance of a qualified teacher and protected surroundings. Tantric masters always knew methods to transfer "vibration" and instantly activate kundalini in the student. However only very few students are ready for this path.
Will all yoga students have to master kriya yoga?
NO. In the same way as hatha yoga makes your body beautiful, strong and flexible, connects you to your breath and gives you the ability to master yoga nidra and learn to deeply relax, kriya yoga is another technique to master pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) and dharana (concentration). Like ashtanga yoga is a series of physical techniques to strenghten and detox the physical body (first series) as well as the nervous system and the nadis (second series) - kundalini kriyas are raja yoga techniques which systematically teach you to control your prana and breath, unlock the grantis, work with your nadis and activate your chakras.
All these systems are techniques and as such a preparation for dhyana (deep meditation). Kundalini rising and samadhi is not the end of the path but the beginning. You may use some of these techniques to achieve physical, emotional and mental health and regain control over your life. Also it may not be necessary for you to activate/invite kundalini - as your kundalini might already be active. Why would you learn to open the garage if your car is already on the highway? Quite a few of my students came to me with already active kundalini, they still might find it beneficial to learn to control prana but in general it will be essential to connect to your inner self, fully rise kundalini, learn to hold and maintain this stage of conciousness, develop the psychic senses (intuition, psychic seeing, hearing, feeling) and master the art of mental creation, assumption, psychic projection and most important of all, find your place in real life and understand how to continue after the experience of a full kundalini rise.
As a yoga acharya - and having studied rosicrucian and kabbalistic teachings for more than 2 decades - I can assist you in mastering the path of a mystic - there wont be technique any more - but effortless understanding and control. You have to learn to connect to your inner self, understand visions, intuition and use of your psychic senses. You will be able to master the art of mental creation, assumption and psychic projection, and you will learn the art of cosmic attunement. This path is fundamentally different from all exercises and preparation techniques, it is the path of self mastery, the path of a mystic. It is very important to understand that at the end- there is no eastern or western path - but all these techniques lead to the one path of self reaisation and mastery of self.
Kundalini literally means "coiled". In Indian yoga, a "corporeal energy"- an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force or Shakti, envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent coiled at the base of the spine, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as 'serpent power'.
Body and spirit must be prepared by yogic austerities such as pranayama, or breath control, physical exercises, visualization, and chanting. Kundalini rises from muladhara chakra up a subtle channel at the base of the spine (called Sushumna), and from there to top of the head merging with the sahasrara, or crown chakra. In reality often kundalini takes another pathways such as lakshmi nadi or saraswati nadi which sometimes causes problems with health or current life situation.
The awakening is not a physical occurrence. It consists exclusively of development in consciousness. With awakening of the Kundalini our consciousness expands and we become more aware of the truth. When Kundalini Shakti is conceived as a goddess, then, when it rises to the head, it unites itself with the Supreme Being (Lord Shiva). Then aspirant becomes engrossed in deep meditation and infinite bliss. The arousing of kundalini is said to be the one and only way of attaining Divine Wisdom. Self-Realization is said to be equivalent to Divine Wisdom or Gnosis or what amounts to the same thing: Self-Knowledge. The awakening of the Kundalini shows itself as "awakening of inner knowledge" and brings with itself pure joy, pure knowledge and pure love.
However, like every form of energy one must also learn to understand spiritual energy. In order to be able to integrate this spiritual energy, careful purification and strengthening of the body and nervous system are required beforehand. By trying to force results, considerable psychic disturbances and at times even permanent mental damage can occur. A spiritual master who walked this path before is required to guide the aspirant. Often will be found that negative experiences occurred only when acting without appropriate guidance or ignoring advice.
The most famous of the Yoga Upanishads, the Yogatattva Upanishad, mentions four kinds of yoga, one of which, laya-yoga, involves Kundalini.
Sri Ramana Maharshi maintained that the Kundalini energy is nothing but the natural energy of the Self, where Self is the universal consciousness (Paramatma) present in every being, and that the individual mind of thoughts cloaks this natural energy from unadulterated expression. Advaita teaches that Self-realization, enlightenment, God-consciousness, nirvana and Kundalini awakening are all the same thing, and self-inquiry meditation is considered a very natural and simple means of reaching this goal.