Kriya Yoga is a technique, taught directly by the master to the disciple through a purification process. The word Kriya is composed of two syllables, kri and yâ. Kri means the action of the elements, and yâ means the individual soul. The word Kriya thus points at action of the soul, with the first and most important action of the soul being breath.
There is no written record of when this ancient tradition of Kriya Yoga began. The rishis of the Upanishads, Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, Maharishi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras and many other masters of yoga, practiced and taught the scientific method of Kriya Yoga through the ages. In the modern times, toward the middle of the ninteenth century, Mahavatar Babaji brought the technique of Kriya Yoga to the general public through his discipline Shri Shyamacharan Lahiri, a pious householder (Lahiri Mahasaya).
Kriya Yoga is also called Chauturanga Yoga, which has four parts: Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Kriya Yoga is an integral Yoga, a union of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Kriya Yoga is a scientific technique of meditation, which brings all-round development to a person. Quite central in this technique is the practice of Pranayama and Kundalini Yoga. As this technique is strictly taught within a guru-disciple relationship, not many details are made available to the public. The teaching of Kriya Yoga is usually sectioned into six stages : First Kriya, Second Kriya etc... The ultimate goal is samadhi.
Kriya Yoga also became very well known through the book "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramhansa Yogananda.
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