What is a Kriya?
The word kriya means action. It is an action that leads to a complete manifestation like a seed leads to a bloom, a thought into actuality, a desire to commitment.
In Kundalini Yoga a kriya is a series of postures, breath, and sound that work toward a specific outcome. Practicing a kriya initiates a sequence of physical and mental changes that affect the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously. There are kriyas that support the liver, balance the glandular system, make you radiant, stimulate the pituitary, increase the flexibility of the spine, and many more. Each kriya has a different effect, but all work on all levels of your being.
Practicing Kundalini Yoga kriyas is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a healthy, happy, and holy life. Using the angles and triangles of the asanas, fueled by the prana of the breath, re-tuned by the repetition of mantra, and concentrated by eye-focus and body locks, you are physically different by the end of kriya. These changes assist the physical and mental preparation of a meditative internal space. This framework for meditation occurs in numerous ways: opening the joints to facilitate sitting, altering the chemical constituents of the blood via glandular stimulation, and redirecting the mind through concentration and focus.
Everyone can practice these kriyas on their own. An important aspect of the power of Kundalini Yoga is that each kriya is whole unto itself, a perfect jewel that acts to create a flow. They are perfectly designed sets of exercises meant to produce predictable and subtle impacts on the total Self. Yogi Bhajan emphasized the importance of keeping the teachings as given, with the exception of reducing the timing of postures when necessary.