Kriya meditation, in simple words, is “intentional awareness.” Now when you put it that way – it still eludes the rational mind. What does “intentional awareness” even mean? Does it mean that we are generally unaware of things around us? No, of course not!
But we are hyper-aware. That’s the problem.
Imagine the trail of thoughts we have in a minute. 60 seconds. We move from thinking about daily chores to work to global issues to dogs to “what do I do this weekend.” In between the 60 thoughts that run through our heads, where can we make time to hit pause?
For that very reason – Kriya Yoga.
Founded by Maha-Avtar Babaji, a yogic guru in 1861, this type of Yoga or meditation focusses on giving your life, thought, and energy some direction. This technique is a method where “human blood is decarbonized and recharged with oxygen,” says Yogananda. In this technique, we focus on the breath, being, or the centers on our body, i.e. chakras. Being aware of the flow of the breath or how the body pumps blood for you to live in this moment, rejuvenates you in ways that you’d deem implausible.
A lot of it did not make sense to me. Not until I did it for myself. So, I challenged myself to try this technique for 10 minutes for ten days during the time of my self-isolation. The pandemic is a stressful time, and we all need ten minutes of our day to relax and restore. I logged my experiences in the last ten days to see the progress I made and to record how I felt after each day of practising this Yoga.
Day One of Practice:
“I do have some spare time on hands. Let me try this Kriya technique.”
My dad has been practising Kriya Yoga for ten years now, and he has been trying to get me to sit down and focus for ten minutes. But he never succeeded. I was always “too busy” to sit down with him and meditate. Little did I know that a few years later, I would go looking on the web for meditation music to start Kriya meditating.
I cleared a corner in my room, lit up a scented candle, and sat down on a mat with my legs crossed. I set some meditation music to hold me from floating into thoughts and distractions. The Kriya technique asks us to be one with the body and the mind and be aware of what’s happening inside the body. You focus in between your two eyebrows and let the breath flow in and out deeply and in a calm manner.
Five minutes into the meditation, I slowly started drifting into thoughts. I started questioning why I was doing this. If this was even worth my time, and maybe, there’s a reason why young people avoid meditating and say you must do it later in life. I spent the next five minutes thinking and losing track of my “inner awareness.”
“Nothing is happening! Does this even work? Do I even continue?”
Day two and I still started to drift off into thought after a few minutes. This time, I put some guided meditation that would talk to me while I focused on my breath and awareness. Until a point, the guided mediation let me focus and not drift off into unnecessary thoughts, and I lasted six minutes. On the seventh minute, I started to think if I should increase the volume of the guided meditation, or if the video length is enough for me to complete my Kriya mediation. I was frustrated with the thoughts tumbling in my field of tranquillity and opened my eyes.
Does this meditation even work? Why can’t I seem to spend ten minutes with a concentration on my conscience? Argh.
Nevertheless, to keep my challenge going, I continued…
“A flicker. Just for a second, I stopped being aware and started to lose myself into the void.”
The next two days after were a similar disappointment. But, on day five, I noticed something. A second, when I did not think about anything – anything at all. And it felt good! Why was this time different? Maybe it was because I decided to chant “aum” to keep my mind centred on the breath. I let the chant control the pattern of my breath and observed as it swirled from the pit of my stomach to the crown of my head. And for a second somewhere (or maybe it was more – I couldn’t track time), all I had was black and blank.
That one second or few seconds of peace was so refreshing that I wanted more. I enjoyed being disconnected and being one with my soul. Maybe this is what Kriya meant.
“Wow, I feel much more positive.”
The few seconds slowly turned into more. I could slowly control my thoughts from seeping in. Not a lot, but for a few minutes. But, that, to me, is a win. I am a hyper-aware 24-year-old who is continuously working and thinking. If I could turn my brain off for even a couple of minutes and focus on my breath and body, that is a win I’d take any day.
This routine of ten minutes helped me stay positive. I smile often. I have a simpler outlook on my days. I want to work, eat, sleep peacefully, take nice walks, and spend a few minutes, “disconnecting.”
By day ten, I loved this new routine I made for myself. Self-isolation was not too bad, after all. It shaped my lifestyle for the better.
What positive outcomes did you have during your self-isolation? Do share 🙂