Kriya Yoga: Simple Kundalini Awakening Pathway
It's not easy to awaken Kundalini because few of us have the discipline or perseverance to stick to the practices and the required sadhana. You can try the varied yogic and non-secular practices that have evolved throughout the ages, but they require tons of self-discipline.
Kriya Yoga Pathway
There are numerous rules for Kundalini awakening and there are so many Kundalini chakras, that oftentimes you wonder whom you should believe. However, a series of practices evolved that can be easily adopted by every sort of aspirant no matter his lifestyle, habits, or beliefs. Many practices belong to Tantra, but of all of them, Kriya Yoga is considered to be the most powerful and suitable for the modern man. These practices of the Kriya Yoga tradition were mentioned within many a tantric yoga sutra, but they were never clearly deﬁned. As a rule, the practices were handed down from guru to disciple (both householder and monastic disciples), who soon discovered that through these techniques, Kundalini became a true entity and a real experience in their lives.
One primary purpose of Kriya Yoga is to awaken the chakras, purify the nadis, and eventually awaken Kundalini Shakti. In the absence of any Kriya initiation by a guru, Kriya Yoga literature gained prime importance.
Each kriya technique is intended to awaken the Kundalini piecemeal and not abruptly. When Kundalini awakens abruptly, the experiences are very difﬁcult to handle and you can't understand what's happening to you. The techniques of Kriya practice offer a smooth and comparatively risk-free means of expanding your awareness and awakening the dormant areas of the brain. Also, this technique of Kriya Yoga provides a way whereby you are doing not need to tackle the mind directly. Its practices are supported by Kriya Hatha Yoga, which aims at controlling the prana. Mind and prana interact with one another and thereby, by controlling the prana, we gain control of the mind.
This ancient technique means 'the yoga of practice, movement, or action.' Unlike the varied religious, mystical, or yogic practices which demand mental control, the special instruction within the system of Kriya Yoga is to not worry too much about the mind. Let the mind do whatever it desires - you've got to simply focus on your practices, without commanding or controlling your thoughts.
This is an innovative technique compared to any spiritual practice. Normally you would have a guru or a god/deity whose orders you would be following. However, the Kriya Yoga Master is just the opposite: He is focused on how you maintain your meditation in motion i.e. how you "move" in our daily life. Firstly, are you in motion (as opposed to being lazy); secondly, how smooth is your motion (do you work in a slow but steady manner as opposed to working in fits and starts); and thirdly, how beneficial is your action to all the creatures in your immediate environment.
Only the stupid or the corrupt will preach the need to control the mind. In effect, they are the ones who want to control it. In this context, religious people are the most to blame.
Either they use their position in the socio-religious order to control people or they invoke the authority of God. So don't expect any awakening coming from contemporary religious communities or authorities. If you desire any spiritual awakening then ensure that your Kriya practice is not done in any religious environment - amongst religious fanatics or in religious places.
From Body to Mind
You need to realize that no cosmic consciousness is possible through thought alone, you need to first prepare your body. What are the thoughts of someone who can run 100 meters in say 15 seconds? Can you feel the exhilaration of that accomplishment? What would your thoughts be after completing those 100 meters? Obviously, you don't know, cannot assume, and cannot guess! You have to actually accomplish that feat to know; and that's possible if your body is capable of accomplishing that feat. For that, you have to prepare your body!
From this example, it ought to be clear that if the mind is distracted and wanders off into fantasy then don't worry: continue with your actions with love and dedication. Don't scold yourself into focusing on something or thinking about something. Don't nag yourself! And don't belittle yourself because you can't concentrate your mind. This will create unnecessary discomfort. Continue with your asana even if your mind is thinking of something else - in asanas like Vajrasana your body will bring your mind on track!
Suppressing the mind and or coercing it will only lead you to depression, not to the divine qualities you aspire! It's necessary to be aware of the fact that the genuine aspects of our religions, philosophies, and ways of thinking haven't been coercive and regimented but loving and tender in their approach to the mind. We've been informed that the mind is extremely mischievous - like a child - so it should be treated as one would treat a child. Therefore, please attempt to redeﬁne the mind and approach it scientifically.
The mind isn't only psychological neither is it purely spiritual. The mind is energy: anger, passion, greed, ambition, etc. are waves of that energy. Through Kriya Yoga, you're trying to harness the energies of the mind, and you should not attempt to suppress it. It emphasizes that you simply don't attempt to do anything with the mind. Focus on the body, and if your body protests about maintaining a ﬁxed posture, change it. If your body objects about closing the eyes, keep them open. But you ought to continue with the daily practice of Kriya because they have an immediate effect on the deeper processes of the body which in turn are responsible for the state of your mind.
Remember that the body affects the mind and therefore the mind affects the body.
In other words: brain to mind and then mind to body. Inner awareness will eventually then awaken,
and in time, your mind will automatically become singularly focused.
Sattva, Rajas, Tamas
In Samkhya philosophy, a guna is one of three tendencies or qualities: sattva, rajas, and tamas. This category of qualities has been widely adopted by various schools of Hinduism for categorizing behavior and natural phenomena. The three qualities are:
Sattva is the quality of balance, harmony, goodness, purity...
Rajas is the quality of passion, activity, neither good nor bad, and sometimes egoism, individualization, dynamism...
Tamas is the quality of imbalance, disorder, chaos, anxiety, impurity, destruction, delusion, negativity...
In Indian philosophy, these qualities are not considered as present in either-or fashion. Rather, everyone and everything has all three, only in different proportions and in different contexts. The living being or substance is viewed as the net result of the joint effect of these three qualities: no one and nothing is either purely Sattvic or purely Rajasic or purely Tamasic. One's nature and behavior constitute a complex interplay of all three gunas in varying degrees.
In Indian mythology, Vishnu is envisioned with more Sattva, Brahma with more Rajas,
and Shiva is seen with all three gunas.
Whether you're sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic, the practices of yoga should be practiced ﬁrst. A tamasic person needs yoga to awaken his mind, body, and personality. An individual who is rajasic needs Yoga to balance the solar and lunar energies in his body and mind. And an individual who is sattvic by temperament needs yoga to assist him to awaken Kundalini. And if you've got been practicing asanas, pranayama, mudras, and bandhas consistently for some time, then you're ready for Kriya Yoga.
There are many Kriya Yoga practices: in Tantra 2020, I have created a system that suggests the most effective asana plan for you. Depending on where you are with your chakra awakening, specific Hatha Yoga and Kriya Yoga asanas (yoga posture) will be recommended. By constant practice, the Kriya Yogi should attempt to reverse the flow of natural entropy. We can't fight this forever, but we can for a long time. When your body has been puriﬁed by yoga, pranayama, and a pure diet, the life force is assimilated by the body, and as a result of this, you experience a high physiological and psychological state.
Asanas, Mudras, and other Techniques
Kriya Yoga suggests that even when your mind is completely undisciplined and you can't handle it for a second if you're ready to create the right proportion of life force within the different areas of the body/mind, then higher consciousness can be. Consider the following example: If you feel you can't control the mind through the body, then have a couple of Vodka shots and you will see how your mind changes! Coke or heroin will have a greater effect, faster! Obviously, no one will advocate this method (at least, not these substances)! But some specific asanas combined with a special diet will work wonders on your mind. This is the pathway of Kriya Yoga.
The varied exercises: such as vipareeta karani mudra, amrit pan, khechari mudra, moola bandha, etc. regulate the nervous system. They harmonize the pranic forces within the body and equalize the number and effects of the positive and negative subtle energies. Khechari mudra may be a simple but vital technique that is employed in most of the practices. It involves folding the tongue back and placing it against the upper palate; within the course of time, the tongue gets elongated and may be inserted into the nasal oriﬁce. Here certain glands connected with the cranial passage and bindu chakra are stimulated. This may produce a "high" not different from a drug/alcohol-induced high.
If you're practicing mantra you will start feeling as if somebody else is practicing and you are only witnessing it. This is often considered a really important experience because it puts you in tune with external and internal experiences. You attain a state where you're simultaneously conscious of your mind, senses, and objects, and thus the world of inner peace, tranquility, and relaxation. When there's perfect harmony within the nervous system then the mind will also vibrate with peaceful harmony. This is the philosophy of Kriya Yoga.
Through yoga practices, you may have reached a state of achievement and attained some inner peace but still, you feel some emptiness. Peace of mind, relaxation, and meaningful understanding... these are not an end in themselves. Tantra's goal for Kundalini awakening is ever-expanding and ever-lasting.
One of the greatest Kriya Yogis was Paramhansa Yogananda (born Mukunda Lal Ghosh; 1893 - 1952). He was an Indian monk, Yogi, and Guru who introduced millions to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga and the last 32 years of his life in the US. A chief disciple of the Bengali Yoga guru Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, he was sent by his lineage to spread the teachings of Yoga to the West, to prove the unity between Eastern and Western religions and to preach a balance between Western material growth and Indian spirituality.