Yoga is a word with Sanskrit origin and the literal meaning of the word is ‘union’. An ancient practice, it is known to have been practiced for more than 3,000 years. It is difficult to give the exact definition of yoga, for it provides different benefits to the body, mind and soul with different forms of practice. One of the ways to practice yoga is Kriya yoga.
Kriya yoga has lot of health benefits. This form of yoga meditation practice aims at quick tranquillity along with the communion with god.
Associated initially with religious activities, Kriya yoga is practiced in this day and age for the related health benefits and not any religious beliefs. It is difficult to exactly define Kriya yoga, but compared to all other forms of yoga practices for meditation, this yoga is definitely simpler. To put in simpler terms, Kriya yoga implies practicing to increase consciousness about oneself as well as about the cosmos.
Kriya – The technique
Akin to the techniques of other yoga forms, Kriya yoga is very simple to practice. Earlier, it was taught by practitioners known as gurus. Many of these gurus also included yogic exercises as invigoration for Kriya yoga meditation. However, the practice specifics might vary with different gurus.
The process of kriya yoga
The steps involved in practicing Kriya yoga, in the chronological order, are listed below:
Make yourself comfortable on a flat surface (the floor). Sit with your knees crossed below the pelvis.
Position your arms comfortably. Sit in the lotus position with fingers entwined and the thumbs touching each other slightly.
Keep your body relaxed and spine straight.
Keep your eyes closed or downcast and focused a few feet away from you.
Relax your body for about five minutes. Focus on your conscious to relax the major groups.
Make efforts to calm your mind by concentrating on a single thought. Let go of unwanted and intruding thoughts, if any. Channel your mind to the focussed thought.
Follow the practice for about 20 minutes.
Health benefits of kriya yoga
This form of yoga practice has numerous health benefits associated with it. It has been proved by medical practitioners that Kriya yoga proves magical for health ailments that cannot be treated with medicines.
The most important health benefits of Kriya yoga have been listed below:
1. Eases hypertension
It has been proved by research that Kriya yoga works wonders in bringing down hypertension.
Remarkable fall in the serum urea, diastolic blood pressure, plus plasma MDA, known for oxidative stress, was observed in individuals practicing Kriya yoga. (Read: How to control your blood pressure with yoga)
Surprisingly, it has been seen the normal ranges do not change and only the higher values come down to the normal range with Kriya yoga meditation practice. This proves that Kriya yoga works better for body than medications.
2. Reduces depression
Kriya yoga has been proved to show amazing results for treatment of depression.
The breathing exercises involved in the practice provide a calming as well as stimulating influence on patient’s mind.
Research has shown that patients have benefitted even from a single session of Kriya yoga.
One of the studies conducted on depression patients revealed that first practice of Kriya yoga meditation reduced depression and anxiety by almost 67%.
Adding further, Kriya yoga also influences the mood in a positive way. Research shows that women who practice Kriya yoga for a period of three months noticed an improvement in their depression by 50%; by 30% for anxiety and by 65% for overall health.
3. Relieves stress
Kriya yoga is believed to reduce stress by improving pain tolerance. Those who practice Kriya yoga tend to have better stress threshold compared to people who are taking medication for their stress. The practice is recommended for normal, healthy individuals who are constantly subjected to physical and mental pressures of daily life.
To conclude with, Kriya yoga is a completely safe practice that can be done by anyone. If you are concerned about your physical and mental health, Kriya yoga is the best option. The only thing that requires consideration is the selection of the right Guru to teach this practice. Make sure the practitioner teaching Kriya yoga is well qualified and has experience in the field.