THE BORDER LIFE

AN OUTLINE OF THE TWENTY KRIYAS YOGA PRACTICE OF SWAMI SATAYANANDA SARASWATI 

A Personal Adaptation by Riverdave Owen, Eno River Valley NC USA, Summer Solstice 2019

Source: A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya; Yoga Publications Trust; 

     Munger, Bihar, India; First Edition, January 1, 2006



INTRODUCTION

     After practicing Hatha Yoga intermittently for thirty years, I recently felt drawn to this particular format of kriya practice with legendary Himalayan Babaji as progenitor. I confess that I have no illusions that many of the practices in Swami Satyananda's one thousand page guide to Yoga and Kriya are beyond the reach of my aging sixty-seven year old body. But with some modifications, props and a supportive teacher fully discipled in Satyananda's tradition, I decided to take on the challenge of this path as a genuine attempt at acquiring a focused meditation practice, a goal that has eluded me for much of my life. I created this outline as my personal learning tool and quick reference guide. If family members and friends wish to get a glimpse of what I'm up to early in the morning, I invite you to peruse this outline.

     

Left photo: rooftop view of the Genesh Himal from my summer 2017 Sanskrit classroom building in Kathmandu, Nepal


 


TWENTY-EIGHT COMPONENTS OF THIS PRACTICE

     Below is a list of twenty-eight meditation components utilized in this twenty kriya yoga practice.  None of them are difficult to individually learn, but it will require a disciplined and sustained effort to integrate these components into a smooth and progressive flow in the successive execution of the kriyas. Consultation with a proficient practitioner is advised. Note that the last four components are not performed, but spontaneously occur. 

     I apologize that I have left many of the Sanskrit names for these twenty-eight components undefined.  If the reader is interested in an English definition, simply do an internet search with the particular Sanskrit term.  

 

COMFORTABLE SEATED ASANA

1 - siddhasana is the preferred posture for most of these kriyas, but because of a left knee injury, I now use sukhasana  


BREATH WORK

2 - focusing awareness on various parts of the body by means of breath

3 - ujjayi - ocean breath

4 - observing the rhythmical flow of breath and prana 


BODY LOCKS

5 - root lock - mula bandha

6 - abdominal lock - uddiyana bandha

7 - throat lock - jalandhara bandha

8 - great lock - maha bandha


VISUALIZATION OF THE ENERGY BODY

9 - nine chakra vocalization and visualization

10 - six kshetram vocalization and visualization

11 - amrit nectar flow visualization

12 - arohan & awarohan pathways vocalization and visualization


VISUALIZATION OF ENERGY SYMBOLS

13 - snake visualization

14 - lotus flower visualization

15 - Shiva lingam visualization

16 - trident visualization  

17 - divine hand visualization


MANTRA 

18 - “sohum” mantra


MUDRA

19 - no mind mudra - unmani 

20 - tongue to palate mudra - ketchari

21 - eye brow center mudra - shambhavi 

22 - nose tip gaze mudra (or drishti) - nasikagra 

23 - closing of the six gates mudra - shanmukhi 

24 - sexual energy sublimation mudra - vajroli


ACTUALIZATION OF THE PRACTICE (spontaneous)

25 - smelling the energy body

26 - feeling the physical body become rigid as stone 

27 - alternate expansion and contraction of the energy body until it becomes a single point of light, or bindu

28 - seeing the energy body as a luminous golden egg and it's expansion as the bliss body


THE TWENTY KRIYAS PRACTICE

     The romanized transliteration of the Sanskrit kriya names follow the Harvard-Kyoto convention to allow for precise       pronunciation without diacritical marks.  The number of rounds recommended by Swami Satyananda at the end of each kriya's description is the final goal.  My present learner's goal is to start with nine rounds each.  


Kriya #1 - page 708 - विपरीतकरणी (viparItakaraNI) mudra of inverted form

Technique: Invert body supported by hands at hips with closed eyes (or with my modification by lying on the back, hips above folded blanket with elevated knees). Begin with focus on manipura in the spine.  While inhaling with ujjayi breath, feel the flow of prana as a hot smooth stream of amrit nectar along the spine from manipura through anahata and then collecting at vishuddhi. Hold breath for a few seconds at vishuddhi and let it cool.  Then exhale and feel the prana flow as forced injections of exhaled breaths into ajna, then bindu and finally to sahasrara.  From sahasrara, immediately transfer awareness back to manipura and begin the next round.  21 rounds 


Kriya #2 - page 710 - चक्र अनुसन्धान (cakra anusandhAna) chakra search 

Technique: With normal breath, mentally recite the name of each chakra, visualizing a silver snake of energy passing up the arohan to vishuddhi, then to bindu, then down the awarohan.  9 rounds 


Kriya #3 - page 730 - नाद सञ्चलन (nAda saJcalana) sound rotation 

Technique: Tilt head forward, hold breath and direct awareness at and say “muladhara”  three times. Inhale with ujjayi breath, piercing and naming each chakra upward through the arohan pathway to vishuddhi, then slowly raising and head and on to bindu.  Hold breath and face forward for a short while, saying “bindu” three times. Exhale with an explosive “OM” to ajna chakra, exhale humming “mmm” down through awarohan, mentally reciting each name and practicing unmani mudra. Upon reaching muladhara lean head forward. 13 rounds 


Kriya #4 - page 750 - पवन सञ्चलन (pawan saJcalana) breath rotation

Technique: With ketchari mudra, tilt head forward and hold breath, directing awareness at the muladhara and saying it three times with slight contractions. Mentally say “arohan” once and inhale with ujjayi breath, piercing and naming each kshetram upward through the arohan to vishuddhi.  Continue, slowly raising head to bindu and tilt head slightly backwards.  Hold breath and face forward for a short while saying “bindu” three times. Then mentally recite “awarohan” once and proceed down through the chakras, mentally saying each name and practicing unmani mudra. Upon reaching muladhara lean head forward.  49 rounds 


Kriya #5 - page 776 - शब्द सञ्चलन (zabda saJcalana) word rotation

Technique: Hold khechari mudra throughout. No mental repetition of chakra names, only awareness. Inhale and bend head forward, breathing in and up the arohan. Feel the sound of SO mantra syllable piercing each kshetram, slowly raising the head from vishuddhi to bindu. End SO syllale and inhalation at bindu, being aware of bindu for a few seconds.  With unmani mudra, breathe down the awarohan, hearing the HUM mantra syllable and feeling it pierce each chakra. Bend head forward, open eyes and maintain awareness of muladhara for a few seconds.  59 rounds


Kriya #6 - page 795 - महामुद्रा (mahA mudrA) great mudra

Technique: With pressure on the perineum (instead of my heal, I use a small egg shaped river stone I brought home from the Himalayas) and tongue in khechari mudra, exhale with ujjai breath deeply, hold breath and bend head forward. Repeat muladhara three times, then inhale through arohan passage with awareness passing through kshetrams.  As awareness passes from vishuddhi to bindu, raise head to slightly backward position and recite bindu three times. Holding breath, begin moola bandha and shambhavi mudra. Recite “shambhavi, khechari, mul” while moving awareness in a loop through these centers 3-12 times.  Release them in order of top to bottom. Become aware of bindu again, then release down the awarohan passage with unmani mudra and bend head forward in muladhara and stop exhalation.  12 rounds


Kriya #7 - page 815 - महाभेद (mahAbheda) great piercing mudra

Technique: With pressure on the perineum and tongue in khechari mudra, exhale with ujjai breath deeply, hold breath and bend head forward. Repeat muladhara three times, then inhale through arohan passage with awareness passing through kshetrams.  As awareness passes from vishuddhi to bindu, raise head to slightly backward position and recite bindu three times. Exhale down the awaroham passage with awareness.  Recite muladhara three times continuing to hold breath. With lowered head do three bandhas jalandhara, mula, uddiyana and nasikagra drishti, reciting “nasikagra, udhiyanna, mool” while holding breath and moving awareness through the nose, navel and perinum in a loop through these centers 3-12 times. Release nasikagra, mula, udhiyanna and jalandhara bandhas and place awareness on muladhara. 12 rounds.


Kriya #8 - page 840 - मण्डूकी क्रिया (maNDUkI kriyA) frog kriya

Technique: Sit in badrassana with bolster or folded blanket between legs. With head upright, do nasikagra drishti nose gaze.  Inhale upwards with flow through nostrils to eyebrow center, then back down, aware of the breath converging and diverging.  With eyes half open, fix the attention on the nose so that it appears as a lingam. Be aware of all smells, especially sniffing for the scent of the energy body that smells like sandlewood. Continue for 5 - 10 minutes  or until you feel bliss. 


Kriya #9 - page 842 - ताडन क्रिया (tADana kriyA) beating kriya

Technique: Sit with legs stretched out in front of the body.  Arms are straight with palms or fists flat on the floor by the buttocks. Bend the head back slightly.  Practice shambhavi mundra throughout.  With slightly opened mouth, inhale slowly and deeply with ujjayi breath, directing air down into muladhara.  Fix awareness at muladhara with a mild bandha, straighten arms and lift body off the floor and then gently beat the buttocks on the floor. Repeat by straightening and bending the arms 3 - 11 times.  To finish round, relax muladhara bandha and exhale with ujjayi breath, sending prana throughout entire body.  Awareness should be at brow center in shambhavi, accumulation and diffusion of prana at muladhara and the physical movement. Do 7 rounds that lasts for about 7 minutes.


Kriya #10 - page 854 - नौ मुखी मुद्रा (nau mukhI mudrA) nine gates mudra

Technique: Seated, close eyes during entire practice. Place hands on knees and let arms relax. Do khechari mudra. Exhale deeply and tilt head forward slightly. Fix attention on muladhara repeating the name three times. Inhale with ujjayi and move awareness up the arohan without repeating names, raising head from vishuddhi to bindu. Hold breath. Do shanmukhi mudra with fingers covering ears, eyes, nostrils and lips. Do vajroli mudra, drawing upward the sexual organs and lower abdomen.  Visualize a shiny copper trident (त्रिशूल triSUla) in the spine based in muladhara with prongs extending upwards from vishuddhi. Continue breath retention. The trident will move upwards slightly of its own accord with central prong piercing bindu, as it does recite “bindu bheden” (piercing) once.  Feel an explosion of the mantra in all directions in the head from bindu. Then the trident will drop down and rise and fall again as many times as breath can be held comfortably.  Then release vajroli mudra, mula bandha, shanmukhi mudra and lower hands to the knees. Exhale with ujjayi and ketchari mudra down through the awarohan without name repetition.  At muladhara hold breath and tilt head forward.  5 rounds with breath break in middle or end of each round permissible.


Kriya #11 - page 857 - शक्ति चालनी (zaktI cAlani) conduction of shakti

Technique: Close eyes for duration of the practice. Do khechari mudra, exhale deeply and bend head forward. Say mentally muladhara 3 times and with ujjayi breath let the awareness ascend the arohan with no mental pronunciation of the chakras. Raise head from vishuddhi to bindu and begin shanmukhi mudra. Hold breath and visualize a thin green snake biting its tail descending the awarohan and ascending the arohan in a continuous loop. If the snake moves off course let it, only watch.  Continue this as long as breath can be comfortably held.  Release shanmukhi mudra and place hands on knees. Focus awareness in bindu, exhale with ujjayi and let attention descend through the awarohan and lower head at muladhara.  Do 5 complete rounds or respirations lasting about 5 minutes total.


KRIYA #12 - page 875 - शाम्भवी (zAmbhavI) Shambhavi Kriya

Technique: Do kechari mudra.  Visualize lotus plant (or any blooming plant) spreading roots in muladhara, stem rising up spine and a closed flower in sahasrara.  Exhale deeply.  Let awareness begin at muladhara and then inhale with ujjai breath slowly as awareness rises up stem of plant. Hold breath just below flower and fix awareness on sahasrara.  Watch flower open slowly as petals spread, see yellow tipped stamen in the middle.  Watch the flower close and open repeatedly until it ceases to open, remaining in bud form until there is need for exhalation.  Exhale with ujjai to muladhara for end of round one.  Do 11 rounds.


KRIYA #13 - page 876 - अमृत पान (amRta pAna) Amrit Pan or Quaffing the Nectar

Technique: With eyes closed do kechari mudra. Fix awareness on manipura chakra at base of  the spine.  Exhale deeply. Inhale with ujjai breath, drawing amrit up the spine from manipura through anahata to vishuddhi along spine.  Hold breath for short time with awareness fixed on vishuddhi and feel the nectar become ice cold.  Exhale with ujjai and feel cooled nectar flowing up along the nectar passage to the upper palate at lalana chakra.  At lalana chakra feel the nectar disperse and evaporate.  Immediately return awareness to manipura.  After fixing awareness on manipura for a short period with breath retention, begin round two.  Do 9 rounds.


KRIYA #14 - page 893 - चक्र भेदन (cakra bhedana) Chakra Bhedan or Piercing the Chakras

Do khechari mudra and ujjayi pranayama throughout.  Exhale and fix awareness on swadisthana in awarohan.  Inhaling, move awareness downwards from swadisthana to muladhara, then up through the frontal kshetrams piercing each one ending inhalation at vishuddi. Start exhalation moving breath up the arohan to bindu and then descend chakras in awarohan ending at swadisthana.  59 rounds


KRIYA #15 - page 894 - सुषुम्णा दर्शन (suSumNA darzana) Sushumna Darshana or Chakra Visualization

     Preparation: First create diagrams of the eight chakra symbols as lotuses, elements or colors.  Cut symbols out and adhere to yellow paper in vertical line with black paper border.  Entire line of symbols should be as high as body is seated with manipura chakra about one meter high, then adhere it to a wall.

     Technique part one: Sit at arm’s length from the chart and gaze with normal breathing practicing trataka without blinking for several minutes.  Then close eyes and visualize the chart internally. Start at muladhara and proceed each day with the next chakra moving upwards.  Do normal breathing.

     Technique part two: With normal breathing, bring awareness to Muladhara trigger point. Then visualize the snake coiled around a lingam, and the symbol present at that point.  Move up through the back of the spine through the rest of the chakras (not keshetrams), visualizing each symbol. At the culmination of this practice, try to visualize the entire column with its ascending eight chakras. Thirty minutes for technique practice.   


Kriya #16 - page 913 - प्राण आहुति (pANa Ahuti) Invoking Prana

Technique: With normal breathing and eyes closed, visualize a divine hand stretched out on the head.  Feel the soft touch as it infuses subtle prana into the body and mind which then cascades down the spine. It may be experienced as a wave of heat or cold, as an electric current, a stream of liquid or a tickling sensation and the body may shudder or shake. Eventually the prana reaches muladhara.


Kriya #17 - page 914 - उत्थान (utthAna) Utthan, Raising or Raising the Kundalini

Technique: With normal breathing and eyes closed, fix awareness on muladhara and visualize a shivalingam in that area. It is black and made of a smoky gaseous substance.  The lingam is encircled three and a half times by a red baby snake with its head curved over the top of the lingam.  The snake is trying to uncoil, release itself and ascend.  Eventually it begins to ascend through the spinal passage making an angry hissing sound. The tail remains fixed at the base of the lingam while the head and body move upwards but may slip down again. Let the snake move up and down, do not interfere.

     The lingam and snake may move their positions in the body and move to other chakras and even to sahasrara, but continue to visualize the lingam and snake at any place it moves. The snake has a large head, the same width as a human head.  It is not a cobra or venamous.  After some time the body may feel as if it is contracting.  Practice until you feel intense bliss. If not, practice for about 5 minutes …


Kriya #18 - page 936 - स्वरूप दर्शन (svarUpa darzana) - Vision of the Self

Technique: With eyes closed, and the body completely still, focus awareness on the physical body and nothing else. Observe the rhythmical flow of breath and the steadiness of the body.  Feel the body becoming rigid as if all muscles are frozen.  With no effort, feel the body become like a stone statue.  Go immediately into the next kriya.


Kriya #19 - page 936 - लिङ्ग सञ्चलन (liGga saJcalana) - Astral Conduction

Technique: With awareness fixed on breathing, feel your whole body breathing. Note the contraction of the body with inhalation and its expansion with exhalation.  The physical body is still like a stone, but the energy or astral body is expanding.  Eventually the expansion will remain the same but the contraction will increase until the astral body is reduced to a single point of light.  Soon the entire body contracts into one tiny concentrated dot, a bindu.  Proceed immediately to the last kriya.


Kriya #20 - page 937 - ध्यान (dhyAna) Dhyana, Meditation

Technique:  Focus on the bindu perceived in the last kriya and see that it has the form of a golden egg.  It will begin to expand.  It is luminous and glowing yet it does not emit rays of light.  It grows larger and larger and takes on a form and gives off light. It is the dazzling form of the karana sharira कारण शरीर the bliss body.  But expect nothing, and then dhyana ...