What is Kriya Yoga?

Kriya Yoga is the path of effective living and intentional meditation practice. Steeped in the wisdom of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Kriya Yoga utilizes lifestyle guidelines common to all authentic spiritual traditions intent on realizing enlightenment. It includes specific meditation techniques that quickly and effectively cleanse awareness of debilitating thoughts, memories and energetic patterns that prevent the realization of our essence as pure consciousness.  

Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda, Roy Eugene Davis
Kriya Yoga Teachers: Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda, & Roy Eugene Davis.

The term “Kriya” is generally translated as a cleansing action. “Yoga” in this context refers to unification with our essence. Any action that carries us closer to the realization of our essence as pure consciousness is considered to be Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga embraces all enlightening traditions. In this regard, the devotional methods of any religious practice that functions to support the unification of our present state with our spiritual origins can easily be practiced along with the methods of Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga is a method that effectively quickens our spiritual realizations regardless of our religious preference. Also note that these methods do not need to be labeled “spiritual”. An atheist can realize the true essence of being. Reality remains ever what it is. Labels such as spiritual do not change it. The scope of Kriya Yoga is broad.  

As mentioned earlier, the term “Yoga” by itself generally refers to any practice that serves to unite the ordinarily fragmented awareness. There are many paths of Yoga. Each path provides a route of reunification suitable to a particular temperament. For the intellectually discriminating yogi there is the way of knowledge, or Jnana Yoga. The person of a devotional temperament may choose Bhakti Yoga. Service oriented individuals can offer up their work for the world as a method of Karma Yoga. The physically inclined who are able to purify and strengthen their bodies through psycho-physiological efforts can practice Hatha Yoga. The culmination and synthesis of all these paths to oneness constitute the body of Kriya Yoga. 

Learning Kriya Yoga

Swami Sri Yukteswar

While Kriya Yoga is more popularly associated with a certain set of meditation/pranayama techniques, it is actually a full system which includes the study of spiritual philosophy, living in harmony with one’s environment, and the embodiment of moral and ethical principles. Through the culmination and integration of all these facets, one’s life naturally begins to realize and express clearer spiritual awareness.

Due to the depth and scope required to properly practice Kriya Yoga, Kriya Yoga Online has endeavored to put together a comprehensive, although not exhaustive, body of material for study. The meditative, philosophical and lifestyle requirements for a thorough understanding of Kriya Yoga can be studied through our available courses:

11-Hour Downloadable Introduction to Kriya Yoga Course

An introduction to the primary practices and philosophy of Kriya Yoga.

Kriya Yoga Sutras 26-Hour Downloadable Training Course

An exploration of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. An intermediate course of study.

The Kriya Yoga Discipleship Course

A 52 week course for those who sincerely know their spiritual path to be Kriya Yoga.

The Kriya Yoga Apprenticeship Program

An advanced 2-Year course of study for those interested in Kriya Initiation or deepening their personal commitment to spiritual growth through Kriya Yoga.

There are many free videos and classes available on our YouTube Channel Kriya Yoga Online with Ryan Kurczak. Many of the free classes are organized in the playlist section of that channel, as well as the Videos Section of this site.

Kriya Yoga Gurus

Kriya Yoga became more well known through the ceaseless work and service of Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of Autobiography of a Yogi. Yogananda was one of the first Yoga teachers to introduce the philosophy of Yoga and practices of meditation to the Western world. Yogananda is part of a lineage of teachers which include Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and their successors.

Ideally, Kriya Yoga is learned directly from a teacher within an authentic tradition. The finer points of Kriya Yoga are to be studied with a living Kriya teacher. However, the fundamentals of Kriya are principles supported by all authentic enlightenment traditions, and are natural to healthy, happy human beings.

It can also be helpful to do preliminary study before embarking on the quest for a spiritual teacher in the Kriya Yoga tradition. That is the purpose of the material on this site, to provide a foundation in spiritual study, so you can make the most of your Kriya Yoga path.

To learn more about the Kriya Yoga Teachers of this tradition, the following books can be helpful:

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda: As I Knew Him by Roy Eugene Davis

The Power of Kriya Yoga

Yogananda once indicated that the reason we are here (living in this world) is very different from the reasons most people think. While the pull to wealth, fame, appreciation, and sensual enjoyment is celebrated by the majority of people, the real reason we are here, in this world, is to wake up spiritually.

Paramahansa Yogananda Standard Pose
Paramahansa Yogananda

Too often we are trapped in the attachments and cravings of life, and because of that we suffer. We are drawn into temporary enjoyments only to lose them. In those rare moments of clarity, sometimes we see a greater spirit that runs through creation, something beyond the transient temporary form of “things”. In those moments we see what is eternal, and if we are lucky, we can appreciate the vast peace within that eternal reality.

The meditation/pranayama techniques of Kriya Yoga serve to train our nervous system to be able to appreciate that one eternal reality (some refer to this as God or the Divine). The lifestyle guidelines create a pattern of living conducive to greater peace of mind and deeper understanding. This foundation creates the safe space to entertain the possibility of freeing our minds from the constant anxiety producing hum of living a life only for the senses. The study of spiritual philosophy prepares our consciousness for expansiveness and wisdom.

These practices and guidelines synergestically reveal to us the nature of Spirit. They reveal to us our own timeless spirit, and that is the only experience that will ever bring pure satisfaction in life. That is why cultivating greater spiritual awareness IS the one real purpose of life.

This is the power of Kriya Yoga.

The First Step

If you have come to Kriya Yoga out of curiosity, it is worth exploring. Who knows? Maybe you will find a time tested route to the answer to all your spiritual questions. If you have come to Kriya Yoga because you had no choice. It pulled at you like a magnet. Then it is my wish that you find the knowledge and experience you need to progress on your spiritual path.

Please avail yourself of all the information that is available to you. The books by Sri Yuktewsar, Paramahansa Yogananda, Roy Eugene Davis are excellent source material. You may also find inspiration through the available video lectures from Roy Eugene Davis (see video sources mentioned above), and also The Kriya Yoga Podcast. Ryan Kurczak, has also authored several books on Kriya. Please visit the Books section of this site for more information on Ryan’s texts.

You can begine meditating daily. Follow along with the appropriate guided meditations for you in the playlist below:

Most of all, keep it simple. Kriya Yoga teacher, Roy Eugene Davis, often said spiritual growth and the practices of Kriya are really very simple. He indicated that you really only need to do 5 things.

-Meditate well every day.

-Eat your fruits and vegetables (healthy wholesome nutrition rich foods).

-Be kind to yourself and others.


-Get enough rest.

Once this becomes your foundation, then go as deep as you like into the philosophy, practices and tradition of this Kriya Yoga path.

…And welcome to the living tradition of Kriya Yoga.

Isha Das, Ryan Kurczak & Swami Nirvananda (representatives of the this Kriya Yoga lineage) during a Kriya Yoga Retreat in July of 2022 in Rochester, NY.

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