If we told you that spending just 18 minutes, twice a day could offer physical and mental wellbeing, would you be interested? What if we said it could bring a lasting sense of tranquility, peace and joy? Are you even more curious about this amazing secret? Read on to discover the magic of Isha Kriya and find out how it could benefit you.
What is Isha Kriya?
Designed by Sadhguru, a spiritual guru who is renowned around the world, this practice imparts the ancient knowledge of yoga by setting it in a modern context.
The word Isha means The source of all creation and Kriya means Internal action. Joined together, it means action that allows you to connect with the source of your existence. It is meant to empower you to understand and process the bigger picture so you can redesign your life as you see fit.
This is an extremely simple process but it is a powerful tool to help deal with the stressors and pace of modern living. It includes the following practices:
- Physical postures (Sadilaja and Yoga Namaskar)
- Nada Yoga
- Isha Kriya Meditation
- Breathing techniques (Kriya)
Daily practice is said to provide you with a plethora of benefits.
How is this different from other yoga and wellness programs out there?
You’ve probably heard of many types of spiritual and wellness programs, but this form stands out from them in a number of ways. Here are some of its features:
The primary focus of this practice is on the three pillars of breath, awareness and thought. It shows you how they can be used in the right combination to channel the mind and body effectively. This enhances your ability to live creatively and effortlessly.
This practice creates space between your body and you and between your mind and you. It allows you to toss aside all karmic baggage i.e. your past, future and the unconscious mind. When you let go of these things, they no longer have any influence over you. Free from being held back by the limiting aspects of yourself, you can unlock a life of immense potential.
The programs are focused on a mixture of yoga, Isha Kriya meditation and energy transformations. There are no physical requirements and no prior knowledge is required. All programs are uniquely tailored to every individual, no matter the social and cultural backgrounds they come from.
What is Isha Kriya meditation?
Isha Kriya meditation deviates from the standard definition of meditation that is adopted in the developed world. The meditation you’ve heard about requires unbroken focus and mindfulness. The goal of meditation is for you to empty your mind and be free from distractions.
This school of thought believes that with our regular lives, we cannot all do meditation as it should be done but we can certainly become meditative. It looks at meditation as a quality and not an act. The goal of Isha Kriya meditation is that meditativeness will come to you quite naturally once you possess the necessary maturity, skills and experience
What is Kriya yoga?
When you think of yoga, you’re probably thinking of people in poses and trying to achieve postures. But the physical aspect of yoga is merely one side of a multi-dimensional science.
Kriya yoga believes yoga to be a form of practice that can unlock the complete and true potential of mind and body. It is an extensive system that incorporates and translates the core of yoga in a modern context. All yoga programs allow you to take steps to fuel your inner growth. Everything there is to learn about yoga is taught in its complete depth and communicated to you on an experiential level.
How do I get started with Isha Kriya meditation?
Both meditation and yoga are taught through workshops in Isha Centres that are spread out all over the world. This is what you need to know about the workshops:
- Anyone over seven years of age can take part in the workshops
- There is absolutely no requirement or limitation in terms of fitness level or knowledge of meditation or yoga
- The duration of the workshops varies between 45 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minute sessions with the option of consecutive sessions any day
- Each practice within the workshop lasts from a minimum of five to a maximum of 21 minutes
- You continue to receive support digitally and otherwise on conclusion of the workshops
The origins of Kriya yoga and Isha Kriya meditation
This practice was developed by Sadhguru, a famous yogi and mystic who is also a poet and author. With a following of over 4 million on Instagram and over 3 million on Twitter, Sadhguru is a modern spiritual leader who uses multiple platforms to connect with his followers.
Part of his appeal lies in his ability to make spirituality and wellbeing accessible to all and easy for anyone to implement in their own lives. He offers Isha Kriya meditation and yoga to allow everyone to receive ‘one drop of spirituality’ in order to transform and their lives and take charge of their destiny.
Based on ancient yogic sciences, his method is touted at being simple yet potent. It is available freely and is easy to practice. You can find instructional videos and downloadable instructions for guided meditation, or you could participate in live sessions that last on an average of 12 minutes a day.
What is the Isha Foundation?
The Isha foundation is the body that teaches this form of kriya. It is a non-profit organization that runs completely on a volunteer system. The Isha Foundation was created by Sadhguru to offer harmony and progress on an individual and global level. It has a number of spiritual programs to enable you to transform yourself, including yoga. It allows you to explore the ancient science of yoga in its entirety and offers a number of programs for your overall sense of wellbeing.
What are the benefits of Kriya yoga and Isha Kriya meditation?
This form of spiritual practice is said to provide the followings benefits:
- Boosts a general sense of wellbeing
- Enhances vitality by boosting energy
- Stabilizes the spine mitigating back pain and muscular tension
- Provides relief from chronic illnesses and ailments
- Improves physical tone and conditioning of the body
As you continue this practice on a daily basis, you begin to notice certain benefits and effects that go beyond the physical such as:
- Enhanced levels of relaxation and dynamism
- A lingering sense of joy, tranquility and appreciation
- Ability to enjoy harmony and quietness
- Improved focus and a sense of clarity
- Ability to hold the mind and body quiet for longer stretches of time
- Ability to cope with distressing and unpleasant episodes
- Better understanding of teamwork and communication
- Improved emotional health by management of stress, anxiety and sadness
- Understanding the joy of conquering oneself as a personal quest
The simplicity of Isha Kriya meditation
While there are countless guided meditation techniques available both offline and online, this practice manages to differentiate itself from the rest. Its simplicity and effectiveness are the two attributes that make it most popular.
You don’t have to go through training or participate in a program to learn this form of meditation. With a short 12-18 minute duration, it is easy for anyone to add to their daily routine. It makes space for the pressures and responsibilities of modern life and lets you enjoy the benefits of meditation without making you feel as if you have to give up anything.
Can it be practised by anyone?
Both Isha Kriya meditation and yoga can be practised by anyone, from any social or cultural background. There are no restrictions when it comes to practicing Kriya, except age. You need to be a minimum of seven years of age to be eligible for meditation and yoga.
There are no risks involved with the practice and it is largely safe for most individuals suffering from various physical ailments and chronic condition. In fact, it is said to benefit your health and physical wellbeing. All that is required of you is to be able to sit comfortably for the entire duration of the Kriya, either in a cross-legged posture or on a chair.
How do I practice Isha Kriya meditation?
To practice Isha Kriya meditation, here are some simple steps:
- Choose a space that is as silent as possible, where you will not be disturbed or distracted. It is perfectly okay to do this in your bedroom or garden, but do make sure that nothing takes place to break the 12-18 minute session.
- Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position with a straight, relaxed spine. If you cannot adopt a cross-legged position, you may sit on a chair or a bench. You can use a backrest if needed, but definitely not a headrest.
- Try facing eastwards when meditating to derive maximum benefits.
- Place your hands on your thighs with the palms facing upwards.
- Turn your face ever so slightly upwards. Keep your eyes closed at all times and keep a mild focus between the eyebrows.
The meditation should occur in the following three stages:
Stage 1: Breathe easily and gently. During each inhalation remind yourself of two phrases – I am not the body. I am not even the mind – during each exhalation. Repeat for 7-11 minutes.
Stage 2: Make the sound Aaah seven times. Keep your mouth wide open and exhale into each sound. Take note of the vibrations that pass through your body as you utter the sound.
Stage 3: For the last phase, sit comfortably for 5-6 minutes with the face turned upward and maintain a soft focus between your eyebrows.
There are multiple guided meditation practices online for those who would like it. This can help beginners because it creates a structure and helps you achieve your goals. For those who are more advanced in the practice, a guided meditation can provide freshness and teach new techniques.
The minimum recommended time is 12 to 18 minutes. Do this twice a day, once in the morning and the evening for best results.
The 48 day rule in Isha Kriya meditation
Meditation takes time to develop into a practice and it takes even longer to make a difference. It also requires some perseverance and determination from you to inculcate it as a habit. For this reason, it is recommended that you practice it for 48 days at a stretch.
The prime reason is that the period of 48 days is a mandala. It takes this long for your system to undergo a certain cycle. If you want an action to have an effect, you have to practice it for 48 days.
This is also the reason why Ayurvedic medicine is prescribed for 48 days. This gives the herb time to root itself into your system and benefit you. The same applies to Isha Kriya meditation.
Before you begin
There are a few things you should bear in mind for an effective kriya practice:
- Don’t focus on all that arises within the mind and the body. All that happens within the two are mere distractions; ignore them and continue with your meditation
- You should not take breaks during a session. This interferes with the organization of your energies which is a direct result of the kriya practice.
- It is okay to take breaks between two sessions and is, in fact, highly recommended.
- While it is not mandatory, kriya is best done on an empty stomach as you might fall asleep after eating.
- There are no specific recommended times but avoid doing the practice around midnight.
- It is recommended to do the kriya for at least 12 minutes a day for each session.
- It is recommended to do it twice a day for a period of 48 days or once a day for a period of 90 days to allow the practice to have its desired effects
If you’d like to find out more about meditation centres near you, Avaana can help.