Kriya yoga is one of the slightly more advanced practices that we teach at The Tree. It is suitable for people who have been practising yoga, mindfulness and/or Qi Gong on a daily basis for at least one year.
Kriya yoga is a non-sectarian and non-religious approach to the path of awakening to our true basic nature (discovering lasting inner peace and knowledge and experience of true reality). It is open to all sincere practitioners of any belief, religion or faith, as well as those who do not align themselves with any particular belief system.
The Sanskrit word Kriya means “action”, whilst the word yoga means to “unify”. Although you could read books on the subject or attend courses, the best way to truly reap the benefits of Kriya yoga is through engaging in the practice and enquiry on a daily basis. Only then can we truly experience increased wellbeing, spiritual growth and awakening to our basic nature.
It is through the practice of Kriya yoga that we are able to align ourselves with our natural state of wholeness and live our life more naturally, skilfully and presently.
Specific meditation techniques and contemplations are taught and practised to facilitate the process of awakening to deeper states of awareness. Beginners learn gentle asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), Self enquiry and meditation. After a period of study and practice, training in the slightly more advanced Kriya meditation and pranayama processes can be requested.
Correct use of the practices and contemplations benefit the physical body, purifies the intellect and illuminates the mind. The Kriya yoga technique works directly with the energy in the spine, dissolving energy blockages and awakening us to our natural state of health and wellbeing.
A sincere practitioner, who follows the path of Kriya yoga with devotion and a desire for spiritual knowledge, can attain the lasting peace and fulfilment of awakening to our true basic nature within this lifetime. Although the Kriya technique and teaching is direct, and produces rapid transformation, it is also very safe as long as it is practised as it has been taught.
Kriya yoga can bring about the following changes:
1. It gradually dissolves fears, past pain, phobias, conflicts, depression, false ideas and conditioning hidden in the depths of the subconscious body-mind. Kriya yoga harmonises the whole mind from the surface layers to the depths.
2. It induces a continual feeling of calm and relaxation and increases our energy levels as well as our ability to focus.
3. It naturally induces Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (the experience of oneness and awakening to our basic nature).
If you do decide to request training in the more advanced Kriya yoga practices, you are simply receiving a technique which is an effective “tool” and receiving a direct teaching that is an effective “pointer” in the direction of inner truth. By using these tools and pointers you will awaken to your own direct experience and understanding of what is true. This inner recognition transcends all pointers and all tools (teachers and teachings) and illuminates your own unique and personal, spiritual expression in life.
The origins of Kriya yoga
The origins of the ancient tradition of Kriya yoga are shrouded in mystery as there are no written documents which record its beginnings. All we know is that for centuries the techniques were practised in secrecy by Himalayan Yogi's.
In 1861, a Himalayan yoga master, Mahavatar Babaji, decided that the time was right to disseminate the practice of Kriya yoga to the rest of the world. He entrusted this to one of his students, Lahiri Mahasaya, who went on to teach and initiate many students who in turn awakened to their basic nature. One of these, Swami Sri Yukteswar, attained very deep understanding. Among the students of Swami Sri Yukteswar was Paramahansa Yogananda*, who introduced Kriya yoga to the West. It was his student, Roy Eugene Davis, who initiated Edward Harpin, owner of The Tree, as a representative of the Kriya yoga lineage in October 2016. At this time, Edward also received the blessing and authorisation to begin teaching and initiating sincere students into the practice of the more advanced Kriya yoga practices.
*Paramahansa Yogananda's book "Autobiography of a Yogi" has recently become more popular partly due to it being publicized in the media as "the only book that Steve Jobs (the co-founder of Apple) had on his ipad" and was the book that was given as a gift to all who attended his funeral. So we could guess it was one of his favourites.
How to get started with Kriya yoga
Anyone can learn the basics on our yoga weekends, although there are some pre-requisites if you are interested in participating in the slightly more advanced training.
The requirements are:
Attendance on one of our relaxation/ yoga weekends or silent retreats.
A minimum of one year’s regular personal practice of yoga or Qi Gong and mindfulness meditation.
The ability to be able to commit to a consistent daily practice for 30 minutes once a day. Ideally it would be twice a day, although that might be something to build up to over time.
A sincere study, and contemplation, of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, especially the eight limbs of yoga. A summary of the eight limbs can be downloaded here.
If you are interested in pursuing the practice of Kriya yoga, and would like to learn more, please get in touch and request a copy of Guidelines for those considering training in the more advanced Kriya Yoga practices. To find out more, email us at:
“Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened.”
Training in The Old Chapel Yoga Studio
Edward meditating in his room at Dechen Choling
Kriya Yoga positively effects the life force
Inside the Yurt
Steve Jobs' favourite book?
Ready for a group practice session
Meditating with friends
Calming effects on the brain
Edward with his Kriya teacher, Roy Eugene Davis
Enjoy the garden view