Kriya Yoga: Specific Rules Of Practice | Part 1

The following rules and recommendations apply directly to the actual practice of kriya yoga.

Cold wash

It is very easy to lapse into a state of drowsiness during your practice; in fact, if your mind is not accustomed to early rising, then you may easily fall asleep during the practice. You may have pleasant dreams but it will not lead you anywhere on the yogic path. One good method of reducing the likelihood of falling asleep is to take a cold shower before beginning your practice. If it is too cold, then you should at least wash your face with cold water. If you feel sleepy during your practice, we strongly suggest that you again wash your face with cold water, or take another shower.

Place of practice

Try to practise in the same place every day. In this way you will gradually build up an atmosphere of positivity. Your place of practice should be clean and peaceful. It should be well ventilated but not swept by gale force winds. It should be dry and not too hot or cold. Do not practise on the bare floor; place a blanket beneath you. All the kriyas after the first one are done in a sitting pose; therefore, if the atmosphere is cold you can wrap a warm blanket around you. If it is excessively warm we do not advise you to practise under a fan as this is the quickest way to catch a cold. In hot climates such as India, you should ensure that you practise early in the morning when the atmosphere is reasonably cool.

If you live in a country where there are many insects, such as mosquitoes, you should make sure that you are protected by a sheet or blanket. Again it is only the first kriya that precludes the use of a blanket. If you have a sufficiently large mosquito net, we see no reason why you should not practise all the kriyas after the first one under the net, but there should not be the slightest contact between the body and net. This is important.

Clothing

Let your clothing be as light and as loose as the prevailing climate will allow. Do not wear tight clothes for this will interfere with free breathing.

Light

The kriyas should not be done in darkness. There should be some form of light, otherwise it is not possible to do the kriyas properly. Remember: many of the initial kriyas are done partly with the eyes open. If it is pitch black, what is the advantage and purpose of opening the eyes? Some of the kriyas require you to gaze at the nose tip or gaze upwards at the eyebrow centre; it is not possible to do this properly in darkness.

Nasal cleansing

It is very difficult to practise kriyas if the nose is blocked. If you have time available, and if it is necessary, we suggest you clean your nose by doing jala neti before the kriyas.

Loosening up and preparation

If you have the time, practise surya namaskara and a few asanas immediately before starting the kriya yoga practices5. This will flush the whole body with a good blood flow, loosen up stiff joints and induce optimum relaxation.

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