Yoga is well-known as a form of stretching, meditation and breath control, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that there are numerous different kinds of yoga as well as many different yoga programs, that each type has its own benefits and its own unique focus.
Hatha yoga, for example, is considered to be quite gentle, relaxing, and good for beginners. Vinyasa flow yoga is faster paced and more suitable for people who are looking for quite a workout. The more modern Bikram Hot Yoga is a form of yoga that focuses on having people stretch in a warm, humid environment, to really help to boost flexibility
Kriya yoga is a less well-known form of yoga with a slightly more spiritual focus. It is based on some ancient techniques which fell out of favor but were revived in 1861 when the yogi Mahavatar Babaji shared them with his disciples. Where many modern forms of yoga these days are just ‘stretching with some wisdom thrown in’, there are many breathing techniques and spiritual principles shared in this form of yoga, making it a true pathway towards a new way of thinking.
Kriya yoga is yoga that focuses on specific actions, known as ‘kriya’, which, when practised thoughtfully and mindfully can help people to attain true enlightenment. Practising kriya with intent can help with personal and spiritual development. The techniques include movements, stretching, breathing and mantras that can help to calm the mind, slow the breath and calm the heart.
There are fewer practitioners of Kriya yoga in the west than there are of other types, and fewer teachers too. It is a less well-known style but it is one that is hugely effective for helping people to develop enlightenment and find their inner peace.
You can find short introductory lessons online, as well as specific programs and there are a number of retreats that focus on teaching it. This can help people to learn the techniques so that they can engage in daily practice once they go back home. Taking a few minutes each day to work through some Kriya can help people to find their center and to achieve true enlightenment. Once you have learned the principles, you can apply them in day to day life and cast off more mundane worries.
There is a saying that practising one thousand Kriya over eight hours can produce the level of enlightenment and awareness of thousands of years of human evolution, and this is true.
If you truly open up your mind and appreciate what the Kriya is showing you, there is a lot of wisdom to be found in them. It is not easy to achieve true knowledge and enlightenment, and your mind will be fighting you along the way, but the concerns of modern life are not really of any consequence when we truly stop to learn what is important to us.
So, take this chance to breathe deeply, be mindful of the world around you and nourish your body and soul with the practices of Kriya yoga.
Enjoy the many benefits that yoga can bring to your life, for you and all your family!