Kriya Yoga 
All yoga techniques work with this energy, usually indirectly. Yoga postures, for example, can help open up the spinal channels, and balance the energy in the spine. Yoga breathing exercises or pranayama, can help to awaken that energy.
Kriya Yoga (Sanskrit: क्रय यग) is described by its practitioners as an ancient yoga system revived in modern times by Lahiri Mahasaya, who claimed to be initiated by a guru, Mahavatar Babaji, circa 1861 in the Himalayas. Kriya Yoga was brought to international awareness by Paramahansa Yogananda's book Autobiography of a Yogi and through Yogananda's introductions of the practice to the west from 1920.
The Kriya yoga system consists of a number of levels of pranayama, mantra, and mudra, intended to rapidly accelerate spiritual development and engender a profound state of tranquility and God-communion.
In Kriya Yoga pranayama, kriya refers to revolving the life energy "upward and downward, around the six spinal centers." According to Yogananda, "Kriya is an ancient science. Lahiri Mahasaya received it from his great guru, Babaji, who rediscovered and clarified the technique after it had been lost in the Dark Ages. Babaji renamed it, simply, Kriya Yoga." According to David Gordon White, "while [Yogananda] called his particular Kriya Yoga, the term used for "practical yoga" in Yoga Sutras 2.1-27, Patanjali's work is conspicuously absent from his writings."
The origins of the present day forms of Kriya Yoga can be traced back to Lahiri Mahasaya, who reported to have received initiation into the yoga techniques from an elusive, immortal Indian yogi saint, commonly referred to as Mahavatar Babaji, who supposedly lived in the second century CE. The story of Lahiri Mahasaya receiving initiation into Kriya Yoga by Mahavatar Babaji in 1861 is recounted in Autobiography of a Yogi. Yogananda wrote that at that meeting, Mahavatar Babaji told Lahiri Mahasaya, "The Kriya Yoga that I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century, is a revival of the same science that Krishna gave millenniums ago to Arjuna; and was later known to Patanjali, and Christ, and to St. John, St. Paul, and other disciples." Yogananda also wrote that Babaji and Christ were in continual communion and together, "have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age."
There are many higher kriyas in the kriya yoga tradition. According to the Autobiography of a Yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya divided Kriya Yoga into four parts. The second, third and the fourth Kriya are known as higher Kriyas, Thokar Kriya being one of them.
The Bhagavad Gita does not teach Kriya Yoga pranayama by name, though Yogananda claimed that the practice was described there. According to Paramahansa Yogananda in his book God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna describes kriya Yoga thus:
According to Miller, Kriya yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras is the "active performance of yoga." It is part of the niyamas, "observances", the second limb of Patanjali's eight limbs.[note 2]
The Bihar School of Yoga, which teaches similar techniques of Kriya Yoga pranayama, states that the descriptions of kriya yoga in the Yoga Sūtras and the Bhagavad Gīta are not related.
Patanjali speaks of God as the actual Cosmic Sound of Aum that is heard in meditation. Aum is the Creative Word, the whir of the Vibratory Motor, the witness of Divine Presence. Even the beginner in yoga may soon hear the wondrous sound of Aum. Through this blissful spiritual encouragement, he becomes convinced that he is in communion with supernal realms.
Sadhguru: Fundamentally, kriya means internal action. When you do inner action, it does not involve the body and the mind because both the body and the mind are still external to you. When you have a certain mastery to do action with your energy, then it is a kriya.
If you do external activity we call it karma. If you do internal activity we call it kriya. In a way, both are certain kind of karmas or both are certain kind of kriyas. But traditionally, or in the general sense of the term it is understood like this: karmas are those which bind you, kriyas are those which release you.
If you take someone into the path of kriya, if I tell you sleep with your legs up and head down, that is how you should sleep without asking questions because all of it can never be explained. You may understand as you go, but it can never be explained. And if it has to be explained, the essence of the kriya will be lost. If people start asking stupid logical questions for everything, kriyas cannot be imparted.
If we want to teach you kriyas just as a physical practice, I can write a book about it, and you can read and learn it. But if you want the kriya to be a live process, if we want the kriya to be imprinted into your system in a certain way, then it needs discipline and dedication. It needs trust to open up your energies to the other person so that you become absolutely vulnerable. He may do anything with you, and initially you will start wondering what the hell he is doing with you because the initial stages of kriyas can be such that you don't know whether you are getting enlightened or you are going mad. You must have enough trust to sustain through those periods. Otherwise kriya will be difficult.
Kriya yoga is important only if you want to do things beyond realization. If your interest is only to somehow escape this prison and get away, you just want enlightenment or mukti, then you don't really have to walk the kriya yoga path because kriyas are so elaborate and involve so much discipline and focus. If you just want to be liberated, then kriyas can be used in a small way, it need not be too intense. Kriya as a whole path is not necessary because it needs too much application.
People who have come up on kriya have a completely different kind of presence about them because of the mastery over their energies. They can dismantle life and put it back together. But if you are just pursuing other ways, like gnana for example, you are razor-sharp, you can do many things with your mind but still there is nothing much you can do with your energy. If you are on bhakti, there is nothing you can do and you don't care, you only want to dissolve. If you are on the path of karma yoga, you do many things in the world, but you can do nothing with yourself. But kriya yogis can do whatever they wish with themselves in terms of energy and they can do a lot with the world also.
Kriya is a dynamic form of pranayama. Still, the comprehensive enlightenment path of Kriya Yoga is so much more than a technique. The Sanskrit word kriya means action or practice. It can refer to those actions we take to purify the body and mind, as well as the spontaneous purificatory actions (kriyas) initiated by awakened kundalini (primordial cosmic energy). The word kriya combined with the word yoga (Kriya Yoga) refers to the comprehensive philosophy and practices for spiritual realization and actualization.
The Naths were yogis par excellence. The asanas, pranayama, kriya yoga, bandhas, and mudras were practiced and perfected by them.All the important works on yoga, like the Goraksha Shataka, the Gheranda Samhita, the Hathayoga Pradipika, and so on were written by Nath yogis.
Kriya Yoga practice comprises of a set of simple asanas, pranayama and meditation. You do not need to learn yoga to practice Kriya Yoga. However, if you do practice yoga, it is better to do it before your daily Kriya Yoga practice. Please visit Bharat Yoga Vidya Kendra to know about our upcoming courses and programs. Please watch the videos for a detailed explanation by Sri MPurpose of Kriya YogaTheory of Kriya YogaPre conditions for Kriya Yoga InitiationShould Kriya Yoga be taught personally by the Guru
The Ujjayi practice makes the practitioner feel calm. The proposed mechanism would be a shift to parasympathetic dominance via vagal stimulation. Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) refers to normal heart rate increases during inspiration and heart rate decreases during expiration. RSA is influenced by sympathetic and vagal (parasympathetic) input, and by respiratory rate and volume. Slow yoga breathing induces oscillations of blood pressure and exaggeration of the normal RSA. Low RSA is usually found in individuals with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and functional dyspepsia. Ujjayi breath increases RSA by increasing parasympathetic influences.
Yogic breathing can be taught to large groups in just a few days. SKY literature reported that SKY has been used to relieve stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and PTSD after mass disasters such as war (Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, and Sudan), earthquakes (Gujurat, India earthquake 2000), floods (Iran 2004), terrorism (New York World Trade Center 9/11), the Southeast Asia tsunami (2004), and Hurricane Katrina. The use of yogic techniques should be considered as an adjunctive treatment in emergency response planning. The Sudarshan Kriya may provide antidote to stress by physiologically counteracting the sympathetic effects. In a normal situation (in the absence of stress), the practice of rapid breathing interspersed with adequate pauses of slow breathing may provide tool for relaxation and vivid imagery. SKY rapidly improves psychological and physiological symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, depression, hyperarousal, overreactivity to triggers, re-experiencing, emotional numbing, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, and angry outbursts. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are associated with SNS overactivity or erratic activity and PNS underactivity. Evidence suggests yoga breathing normalizes SNS activity and increases PNS tone as indicated by heart rate variability.
A study was done in AIIMS to enumerate T-lymphocyte subsets (T-helper and suppressor T cells) and NK cells in the peripheral blood of Art of Living (AOL) teachers, normal controls, and cancer patients by flowcytometry in order to find out if there was any change in these groups. The authors observed total T cells and its T-helper subset were significantly higher in AOL teachers and normal controls as compared to cancer patients. A significant difference was seen in NK cells, which were significantly higher in AOL teachers as compared to normal and cancer patients. No significant difference was seen in NK cell population between normal subjects and cancer patients. Since the other factors were the same in normal subjects and AOL teachers, the higher NK cells in AOL teachers could be attributed to the practice of AOL (Sudarshan Kriya). This finding supports the literature on yoga which has found that it can prevent immune suppression following early stage breast cancer surgery.[49,50] 041b061a72