A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga & Kriya (Swami Satyananda Saraswati)


Kriya Yoga: An Intrduction:- All of us have potential which is beyond even our wildest dreams, but most of this potential remains untapped. Each person has the capacity to experience different planes of consciousness, yet most of us live in the lower planes, without experiencing higher levels of existence, or even believing that they exist. Many people are unhappy in the world, dissatisfied & yet not sure what is lacking in their lives. The basic reason for this unhappiness is our attachment to the material plane of existence. Once we gain a glimpse of higher spheres of consciousness, then our unhappiness & discontent automatically fade away. There are various systems of yoga, such as raja yoga, kundalini yoga, etc which are widely propagated throughout the world. All are aiming at transcendental states where one starts to commune with one’s inner being. Most of the systems emphasize the importance of concentration as a means of withdrawing consciousness from the outside surroundings & directing it into the innermost realms of the mind. Without becoming too involved in the field of semantics, let us first of all define what is commonly understood by concentration. Concentration implies the focusing of one’s consciousness towards one point, either external or internal, to the exclusion of all other subjects or thoughts. Now this is not such an easy process, for our consciousness in connection with our minds is habituated to movement from one point to the next, from one object to another. Any attempt on our part to subjugate the consciousness & make it dwell on one point imposes strain on the mind resulting in tension & frustration at our failure to curb its wandering tendency. Hatha Yoga: Jala Neti:- yogic science gives as much importance to certain cleansing processes as it does to asanas or pranayama. Without regular cleansing of the system you will not gain maximum benefits from your practices. Without purification of the body one will not be ready the higher practices of yoga. When the body is free the mind also functions properly. Body cleansing is gained through the practice of shatkarmas or the six purificatory techniques. They are very important from the point of view of physical & mental health, & these simple techniques are also highly valuable in healing internal disorders. There are six main groups of shatkarmas or yogic cleansers as follows: 1. Neti: nasal cleansing, including jala neti & sutra neti. 2. Dhauti: cleansing of the digestive tract, including danta, vatsara dhauti & so forth. 3. Nauli: abdominal massage. 4. Basti: colon cleaning. 5. Kapalbhati:purification & vitalization of the frontal lobes. 6. Trataka: blinkless gazing. Each of these groups contains more than one practice such as jala neti, vaman dhauti (or kunjal kriya), moola shodhana etc., which will be described at various throughout this book. They are all excellent practices which are designed to purify the whole body & being about first class health. They also bring clarity & harmony to the mind. We suggest you try some of them. Asanas: Pre-Meditative Exercises:- Most people today physically very stiff. You can test this for yourself: from a standing position, keep your legs straight & bending forwards try to touch your toes with your hands. If you can’t (please do not force or strain), then this shows that your body is stiff. Because of this stiffness most people cannot sit in one position for a very long time, as is necessary in higher yogic practices, without feeling the urge to move their limbs in response to discomfort. The following simple exercises are designed to generally loosen up your body & prepare mastery of meditational asanas. There are many possible loosening up exercises, far too many daily practice.