A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya -- Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Introduction

You will be conscious of a never-ending stream of thoughts, some that seem related to each other and others that seem totally unconnected. This occurrence of unconnected thoughts is known as distraction (vikshepa).
Concentration is something that occurs spontaneously in a very relaxed mind and body.
A system is required which progressively leads a person to deeper states of relaxation, until concentration becomes the spontaneous activity of consciousness. This system is the system of kriya yoga.

Most people have heard of meditation, yet very few people have actually experienced it. It arises only under conditions of almost abnormal relaxation.
Normally, because of our mental distractions, we are totally unable to contact or express our inner power. During deep periods of concentration we start to understand the deeper aspects of our being
it is not the method that is wrong; its failure to bring results in most cases is due to the fact that people are not ready for the system. Most people have too many disturbances in their minds to be able to concentrate.
Leave your consciousness freedom of movement, but let it tiy to follow prescribed internal movements.

Kriya yoga is more interested in awareness than concentration. What do we mean by awareness? By awareness we mean conscious attention of thoughts or of objects, either external or internal, without necessarily being one-pointed. Simultaneously, and this is most important, the word awareness implies that the individual knows that his attention is at a particular place or on a train of thought.
The word implies a relationship between the activity of perception and the perceiver. If a person does not know he is perceiving something, then he is not aware.
Awareness implies that the individual does not try to suppress an ever-arising stream of thoughts, even if they have nothing to do with his direction of perception; he merely lets the thoughts arise and disappear, remaining as a witness to them
When a person is sufficiently relaxed, especially in the deeper layers of the subconscious mind, then awareness will lead to one-pointedness or concentration.
Kriya yoga doesn't ask you to withdraw your mind to one point; it asks you to do just the opposite to actually move your awareness, to rotate your consciousness from one point to another.

The fault generally lies in the sequence of the practices. If the sequence is wrong, then the system of kriya yoga loses its full power, for the different kriyas bear a close relationship to each other
The sequence is of the utmost importance. It is the same with the kriya yoga practices.

So by being aware of your breath you continually know that you are aware of your conscious being; you no longer lose yourselfin mental and physical activity. This is a very important point to remember.
A human being also eats food, sleeps, etc. but has one distinctive feature: the capacity to know that he is acting, whereas an animal performs various actions without knowing it.
All humans think, yet some who are more aware are able to watch themselves thinking. They are able to stand outside themselves and watch the thinking process occurring within their mind. This is the aim of breath awareness: to continually remind you of your ability to be aware of your consciousness and to be a witness or a spectator of your mental and physical activities.

In kriya yoga, by asking it to wander if it wishes, it seems to want
to become one-pointed. From this state, meditation can spontaneously arise and your awareness can start to explore the vast layers of the subconscious and unconscious mind

When you begin to understand and to know what lies in the deeper recesses ofyour mind, the vast mental reservoir about which you are.
not normally aware, it is then that you can start to eradicate the phobias and fears, complexes and tensions which make your life unhappy.
It is these subconscious, negative mental samskaras (impressions) which continually act below the surface of your normal consciousness and cause mental disturbances.
by delving into the mind you automatically start to neutralize their negative influence on your life.
relax your mind, know your mind and throw out the rubbish that exists there.

If you can attain a sufficient degree of mental relaxation, then automatically your awareness will start to introvert, to explore the mind.
If you relax the mind and then sleep, you will gain nothing because you will not be conscious ofyour mind and its contents. Your awareness is not there.

There are no restrictions or barriers to those who want to practise kriya yoga. Your age, diet, social position, religion or whatever, will not bar you from practising. All you need is the interest and effort to change your life.

Topic 1 - Hatha Yoga: Jala Neti

Yogic science gives as much importance to certain cleansing processes as it does to asanas or pranayama. Without regular cleansing of the system you will not gain maximum benefits from your practices.
When the body is free the mind also functions properly.
There are six main groups of shatkarmas or yogic cleansers as follows:

  1. Neti: nasal cleansing, includingjala neti and sutra neti.
  2. Dhauti: cleansing of the digestive tract, including danta dhauti, vatsara dhauti and so forth.
  3. Nauli: abdominal massage.
  4. Basti: colon cleaning.
  5. Kapalbhati: purification and vitalization of the frontal lobes.
  6. Trataka: blinkless gazing.

They are all excellent practices which are designed to purify the whole body and bring about first class health. They also bring clarity and harmony to the mind.

Jala Neti

Jala neti is a process of cleaning the nasal passage with salt water, and is essential in allowing free breathing.

When air is inhaled through the mouth instead of the nose, it escapes all the mechanisms of the nose which prepare the air for admittance to the lungs. All the dust, germs, cold and dry air directly enter the lungs. The mouth and throat do have mechanisms for removing these impurities and air conditions, but they are nowhere nearly as efficient as the nose.

The water should then be mixed with clean salt in the proportion ofone teaspoonful per half litre of water. Make sure the salt is fully dissolved in the water.

In conclusion, salt water is ideal for jala neti, because while it thoroughly cleans the nostrils of impurities it is not absorbed into the delicate nasal membranes.

There should be no force involved, but the nozzle should press firmly against the side of the one nostril so that no water leakage occurs. Progressively tilt your head to the right side while simultaneously raising the neti pot in such a way that water runs into the left nostril.
the water should flow in through one nostril and out through the other nostril.
Allow the water to flow through the nostrils for 10 to 20 seconds.

Then remove the neti pot and remove the water and impurities from your nose by closing the left nostril and breathing quickly and forcibly through the other nostril. Don't blow so hard, however, that you damage your nose and cause bleeding.

pour water into each of the nostrils in turn, repeating the same technique just described.

Drying the nostrils: after completing this practice the nostrils must be dried and any further impurities removed.
Close one nostril by pressing the side of the nose with the thumb. Breathe in and out vigorously up to 10 times in quick succession. The exhalation should be especially emphasized to expel the moisture from the nostrils. Repeat the same procedure with the other nostril closed. Then repeat the same procedure with both nostrils open.
This simple practice should remove most of the moisture from the nose. If moisture remains the vigorous breathing should be repeated until the nose is perfectly dry.

Neti is ideally practised early in the morning before breakfast.

Neti is the best method of preventing and eliminating colds.
The cold virus flourishes in nerve tissue, particularly the olfactory nerves in the nose.

Regular practice of neti when you don't have a cold keeps the nasal passages working at optimum efficiency and thereby helps to maintain a healthy body.

Respiration becomes much easier, which leads to an improved intake of oxygen, improved removal of carbon dioxide and consequently better health.


The science ofyoga maintains that the flow of air in each nostril alternately changes. If you test this for yourself, you will find this to be true. At present one of your nostrils is admitting more air than the other. After some time the other nostril will admit the greater amount of air.

This alternate flow of breath through the two nostrils in turn has a profound influence on the energy cycle of man. It controls our thinking and physical activity, our introversion and extroversion. This cycle has a great bearing on our mental and physical health.