The Krya Yoga of Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda gained renown through its Autobiography of a Yogi, book which, in popular terms, swept in the espiritual-literario world and is regarded as one of the most influential books in the field of the 20th century, a modern 'classic' spiritual. Writes Peter van Benten.

YoganandaSince its publication in 1946, and its subsequent revision by the author in 1952, it has been in continuous publication and has been translated into 28 languages. Basically, this captivating book can be read in different ways. Inherent to the genre, the Autobiography It is, as the title suggests, the story of the life of the author himself. It tells of his parents and his childhood until the return to the USA after the India tour in 1935. It can also be considered as an instrument for the dissemination of the wisdom and the ancient science of the India. However, another aspect of the book is the serve as a vehicle to give to know the science of Kriya Yoga, the topic of this article, and spread it in the Western world.

The lineage of the masters of Kriya Yoga, yesterday and today

Kriya Yoga is an ancient science which was received by Lahiri Mahasaya, known as the father of Kriya Yoga, of his great guru, Babaji Maharaj, who rediscovered and clarified the technique after that are lost in ancient times, in the 19th century. Thus was established the lineage of gurus. Lahiri Mahasaya revealed Kriya Yoga to Swami Sri Yukteswar and this his disciple of Yogananda. According to the ancient yogic instructions, "techniques must be learned from a Kriyavan or Kriya Yogi." Kriya Yoga has always been transmitted from master to disciple. Or as Lahiri Mahasaya, "this technique does not can be used, stored, and forgotten as the theoretical inspirations. It continues without stopping your way to liberation through Kriya, because his power resides in practice."

This explains the scarcity of sources written about this form of Yoga. Even the own Yogananda in his Autobiography He offered only a general description of the technique.

The fact that have not detailed the techniques in writing does not imply any secrecy, but it is the preservation of the authenticity thereof, such and which have been passing them from Babaji. Today, there are many centers of Kriya Yoga Yogananda line in the USA and several in Europe, which continue to be the "mother Centre" to the main headquarters of the Self Realization Fellowship, established by Yogananda in Los Angeles, United States. Until his Mahasamadhi in 1952, Yogananda personally initiated thousands of people in the technical and established or authorized the establishment of many agencies for the dissemination of the same through qualified acharyas.

The line of gurus from Babaji to Yogananda has another important exponent: Swami Paramahansa Hariharananda Giri. Hariharanandaji was the last direct disciple of Sri Yukteswar and received the 2nd level of the Kriya Yoga of Yogananda during his tour in the India in 1935. After the Mahasamadhi of Sri Yukteswar, Hariharananda took the helm of the Karar Ashram founded by Sri Yukteswar in the city of Puri, India. Such as Yogananda, Hariharananda undertook the Mission of bringing the techniques of Kriya Yoga to the West and also established centres in the US and in Europe under the name of Kriya Yoga International Organization (KYIO). Until his Mahasamadhi in 2002, Hariharanandaji kept the direction of this organization. Currently, the KYIO is presided over by the successor of Swami Hariharananda, Swami Paramahansa Prajnanananda.

What is Kriya Yoga?

The lack of written information on the technical and the small number of authorised kriyavans to teach it, means that many people have a very limited phenomenon idea and leaves many others wanting to know more. Has recently published a book in the hands of Manuel Morata that it devotes a chapter to Kriya Yoga with very detailed explanations about 20 exercises kriyas.

The author describes the Kriya Yoga as, "a technique designed" to produce results without the slightest speculation philosophical or religious I.e., Kriya Yoga is not sectarian, or dogmatic, but the essence of all religions. "It is a very sophisticated method to harmonize and synchronize the forces and natural energies of the individual. "The physical forces, psychic and mental are aligned with one another flowing together in a steady and powerful stream that allows us to sensitize us to the deeper aspects of our essential nature."

Yogananda explains it more physiologically as "a simple method Psychophysiological whereby human blood is decarboniza and recharging of oxygen. The extra oxygen atoms will transmute into a lifestream to rejuvenate the brain and spine centers. To avoid the accumulation of venous blood, the Yogi is able to reduce or prevent the deterioration of the tissues, and the advanced Yogi transmutes his cells into pure energy."

The common thread, of course, is the breathing. Breathing is the vehicle driven by the mental strength and concentration to perform these processes. Yogananda quotes to Krishna in a stanza of the Bhagavad Gita in the regard in which says: "offering inspiration in exhalation, and offering inhalation into exhalation, the Yogi neutralizes both breaths, thus releases the life force of the heart and brings it under their control." Its interpretation is: "Yogi delays the deterioration of the body providing vital energy, and stops the changes of the growth of the body by the apana (current Eliminator). Decay and growth are thus neutralized, and calming heart, the Yogi learns life control".

Here is the essence, i.e. through the the physiological and psychological processes control as a result of the continuing practice applied by the kriyavan, Yogi becomes increasingly close to the self realization.

But what is the Kriya Yoga of Yogananada specifically and what is? The KRI Kriya is the word root in Sanskrit 'Karma', and means 'Action'. The Already Kriya means "Soul" or being single. I mean, Kriya Yoga is action, being conscious in all actions in the life of Yogi than who actually performs the action is the real being through the actor. Kriya Yoga is a method of meditation a scientist who at the same time develops and purifies the body, mind and spirit, the essence of each. The practice of Kriya Yoga of Yogananda is based mainly in the right inspiration and exhalation that leads to the supramental development of Yogi.

This form of Yoga comprises a series of respiratory, physical exercises and concentration that transform the vital energy in cosmic consciousness. The Kriya Yoga of Yogananda is composed of the essences of the master of Yoga forms, such as Karma Yoga, or the Yoga through which the Yogi practiced the detachment of the illusory world in all its actions; Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of devotion or surrender of the individual self to the cosmic being; Jnana Yoga, or the Yoga in which the Yogi aspires to make the truth through knowledge of itself in relation to the absolute; and Raja Yoga, or the Royal Road to control, purify and neutralise every thought and mental activity in preparation for the concentration and meditation. The Kriya Yoga of Yogananda also integrates aspects of Japa Yoga, the yoga of the sound or mantras, and components of Hatha Yoga, such as Mahamudra, Yoga Mudra or Paschimottanasana ("clip").

In short, the Kriya Yoga of Yogananda meets the essential characteristics of the major forms of Yoga known in a very effective method for the rapid development of physical, mental and spiritual. The method stays away from many of the arduous and even sometimes painful practices related to many traditional forms of Yoga. The Kriya Yoga of Yogananda does not impose any regime, whether food, disciplinary, abstention, etc., and does not intervene in the practice of the other forms of Yoga. The techniques are simple, very accessible, also for people with reduced mobility, very suitable for people with family.


As we have already mentioned, the Kriya Yoga of Yogananda is transmitted from acharya to disciple. Each applicant has to be initiated in Kriya technique by an acharya who have authorization to carry out the initiation. This initiation is a simple act that authorized Professor purifies the chakras of students to prepare them for the techniques that are taught here.

The Kriya Yoga of Yogananda has six levels and corresponding initiations of which the first two levels tend to be more than sufficient to make students deepen it and a rapid development of both physical and mental and spiritual level. The first level consists of a few simple techniques but powerful, leading to the practitioner only 30 to 45 minutes to make them. Purification of the chakras, the student is able to distinguish three important qualities in its interior, is a dim light, vibration and sound, which can be similar to the swell of the sea, or the sound of a violin or similar. These qualities are a powerful medium for meditation.

In 1st Kriya, the student is in Yoga Mudra forward bends. In this way activates and magnetizes the spine and the front of the brain so it begins to distinguish the three aforementioned qualities of light, vibration and sound, which are spread over the entire column and head this way. In addition, this exercise opens the main energy channel, Sushumna, to increase the flow of energy through the spine. Then, Mahamudra as physical posture cultivated body regulating gastrointestinal and vital organs as well as important endocrine functions, such as the thyroid gland. It also serves to activate and awaken the energy of kundalini shakti, which is screwed on the last chakra in the tailbone.

2nd Kriya adds some more kriyas to "refine" and deepen already learned in 1st Kriya. So the student learns to perceive the three qualities in each of the seven energy centers cerebrospinal through pranayama exercises, concentration and japa mantra. Gradually, the student comes to control the five lower centres that relate to money, sex, food, emotions and creativity and to neutralize the negative influences of these centres.

Where to go?

After initiation and teaching techniques, the student will be trained to carry out the sessions individually. Learned techniques do not require a large space or time, so it can be easily integrated in everyday life.

The only problem may be to find an authorized acharya to teach the initiation and techniques. As already mentioned, that just like Paramahansa Yogananda through his Self Realization Fellowship, the Paramahansa Hariharananda Kriya Yoga International Organization (KYIO) has established many centers of Kriya Yoga in the United States and some in Europe. The KYIO maintains two main centers in Europe: one in the Netherlands and one in Austria.

In Spain, increasingly has representatives, as in the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, but also in the Peninsula, as in Valencia, Granada, Girona and soon also in Madrid, where initiations, besides monthly guided group meditations are organized. This year, the KYIO will organize again several seminars of Kriya Yoga of Paramahansa Yogananda and Paramahansa Hariharananda online at these locations, by Swamini Mangalananda Giri. In these meetings, it gives the possibility to each person seeking to broaden their interior experience and accelerate their growth and physical, mental and spiritual development to approach and engage in this simple, but effective method. (For more information:) and

Peter van Benten

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By • 8 sea, 2013 • section: Great masters