The purpose of both Ashtanga and Kriya Yoga is to manage the unmanageability of being human, the obstructions, afflictions and the struggle of desire and karmic action we all go through. Either practice subdues the body and mind to attain the state beyond it, which is said to be serene, peaceful, joyous and always free!
Ashtanga is the earliest attempt to formulate a step-by-step approach to self-realisation and liberation from re-birth. This entails a devoted practice of the;
- Yamas: Ahimsa- Non Violence, Satya- Truthfulness, Asteya – Non Stealing, Brahmacharya – Boundaries, Aparigraha – Non Possessiveness
- Niyamas: Sauca – Cleanliness, Santosa – Contentment, Tapas – Heat for positive change, Svadhyaya – Self Study, Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrendering to the God head of your. Understanding
- Asana – Posture
- Pranayama – Breathing Techniques
- Pratyahara – Withdrawing senses
- Dharana – One pointed concentration
- Dhyana – Meditation
- Samadhi – Absorption
This is said to be for those Yogis who are serious about renunciation and liberation by being as austere as possible!
Or if you are a ‘home dweller’ and just want to have a fulfilling life reducing any unnecessary suffering…do Kriya Yoga
- Tapas – heat for positive change
- Svadhyaya – self study
- Ishvara Pranidhana – surrounding to the god head of your understanding
Which aims to neutralise the causes of sorrow that are rooted in self-ignorance and lead you to self-realisation and a more skilful life!
This is very similar to the formal 3 Paths or Margas of Yoga – traditional paths from Bhagavad Gita;
- Karma yoga Path of Action
- Jnana yoga Path of Knowledge
- Bhakti yoga Path of Devotion
Patanjali suggests practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness that prepares us for the state of Yoga.
- Viveka – Keen discernment, wise judgements, clear perception
- Abhyasa – focused diligent practice, devoted and disciplined in the pursuit of practice
- Vairagya – detachment with love from what arises in the field of sensory perception, indifference to sensory awareness
Keeping it simple is key. So this practice we will focus on an intention to create more meaning and purpose to practice. Then cultivate A LOT of HEAT for positive change, which builds this flame of light for self-study and space to learn how to trust and let go of that which doesn’t serve us. Kriya yoga…
So before we do this strong CORE practice…What is your intention for this practice? What do you need to restore you to a state of serenity, sanity and peace? What would it be like to see clearly and not be so affected by the mental noise? Reduce this intention to a word like strength, courage, hope, patience, tolerance, acceptance, energy, creativity, joy, tenderness, love, compassion….inhale your intention and exhale say to yourself ‘be with me’