What is Kriya?
The practice of Kriya is a very important key in traditional Tantra, and is interestingly different from many aspects of Tantra practice.
A number of Kriyas can be seen as similar to Asana in Yoga, yet Kriyas are far superior in terms of the energy activation.
It is known that Asana is widely used as initial practice to help purify the body and nadis to prepare a sadhak for Kriya. Kriya then helps to prepare one for the higher practices in Tantra.
Through the action of a Kriya physical tension is created in the body which activates certain points of energy, different Kriyas create different body tensions, and their effects are specific to the Chakras or other aspects of the subtle body.
The Kriyas are often used with Mantra, animal or specific sounds, and for a profound energy connection they are performed after applying herbs externally on the body.
The Kriyas are usually quite difficult yet if somebody can do them, then they become a true Yogi.
Where did Kriyas come from?
Many Kriyas were originally derived from a wide range of regular actions occurring in daily life by both humans and animals. These actions have been observed by masters who could see the spiritual value of the action, and the potential effect it could have on the subtle body.
To give an example of this. let us use one of the Kriya’s we have in the system of Kriyas from Sharabh Yog, from Shivoham Tantra.
The coughing Kriya known as Khakan Kriya is an action that most human beings have experienced in their life. If you have ever coughed for long periods of time, you will know that the action has a significant effect on the body.
When combined with a command or a Mantra and practiced under the guidance of a teacher, such common actions from daily life can create sacred keys for our spiritual evolution.
The difference between Kriya and Mudra
The concentration required in a Kriya is very different from concentration required in the practice of Mudra (gestures of the body).
Kriyas do not require you to concentrate so intensely in order for them to work, as energy will accumulate where it needs to, if the action is done properly. Then from it’s effect, it can have a significant benefit on the mental level.
In Kriya you initially prompt the mind with a command, like “I am doing this for the Vam petal in Muladhar Kriya” and then you can let go of the mind.
The Kriya then generally creates a tension to a specific part of the body, and it is through the action of the Kriya that the energy is generated, this makes a Kriya a combination of a physical and energetic technique.
Mudra is more of a concentration and energetic technique, because it is first through the mind that you connect the energy, Mudra comes under the category of Dhyan practices, meaning you have to focus all your concentration on that point as much as you can, and therefore it can be a more difficult practice if the mind is not tamed.
Therefore Kriya serves as a great tool on the path of awakening.