The Joyful Anthology

Kria Yoga by Alia Mai

By :Alia Mai

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The past few days in a row I did the most intense  sessions of yoga. These sessions went deep. Twisting from the navel, detoxifying the intestines. Headstands, forearm stands and  handstands, trying to kick up with grace, press my hands into the ground, attempting again until I was breathless.  And planks. Lots of planks, to downward dog, to plank again, feeling heat in my belly as I engaged my core.
I began to consider the practice of Kriya yoga .
Directly translated from Sanskrit, the word Kriya means ‘to do,’ or ‘to act’. Kriya yoga is often referred to in combination with Raja yoga: the yoga of action. Kriya yoga is our committed daily practice or discipline which takes take effort.



In the Yoga Sutras, Patangali refers to Kriya Yoga as falling under the second limb of the eight-limb path, Niyama or our internal observances. When we utilize breathe meditation or asana practice, we have the capacity to gain mastery over emotions and our mind by steadying our breathe and our bodies reactions. By practicing internal  discipline.
Yogananda refers to Kriya yoga as practices which essentially purify the human consciousness and the human blood. To Yogananda, Kriya yoga is a deep cleansing practice. The heaviness that matter reality has laid upon our skin and deep into our bones and soul is being cleansed. We are light beings in dense bodies. Yoga is stripping away that density. Rectifying us into our original form: light.
When anything leaves the body, it surfaces first. And I found myself nauseous and exhausted after these practices. What was yoga bringing up for me? What was it burning away for me? I am not really sure but I recognized it to be of greater value to me to merely continue my practice rather than trying to analyze what was happening (after checking in to make sure I was healthy, of course).

There is a sense of surrender that comes in the practice of Kriya yoga. Setting the intention to release anything which was no longer served me, I remained diligent in my daily commitment to my practice. Then I hit a breakthrough. I felt my body open in ways that I had not thought before possible. Herein  lies the beauty of Kriya yoga. With a steadfast effort to my daily practice, I found my hips opening up wider, my hands holding me in inversions longer, my breath more steady in more challenging poses, and the nausea from intestinal twists fading away.

To try Kriya yoga commitment to a challenge for a certain number of days.

A few suggestions are:
Five minutes of running for five days.
Ten minutes of writing for ten days.
Twenty minutes of meditation for twenty days.
Thirty minutes of yoga for thirty days.

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Whatever practice it is, choose and commit to that practice fully. Mark your start date and end date on a calendar. Notice where the body and mind are at the beginning of the challenge, how they evolve, shift, struggle and where they come to at the end of practice.
Also notice how your practice improves with daily commitment then acknowledge and congratulate yourself for your improvements, offering yourself admiration and love!


Alia Mai has been studying yoga and meditation for over 10 years.  She Developed K’in hosts retreats in stunning Tulum, Mexico, carving out space for teachers to creatively share their talents and students to dive deep into their practice.
“Our goal is to send you home feeling wiser, grounded, healthy, fit and a tad spoilt by the stunning luxuries Tulum has to offer.

If you are a teacher (of life, yoga, meditation, wellness or health) and dream of having a retreat by the beautiful Caribbean Ocean, let K’in host you. We will take care of the details so you can focus on teaching.
If you are a student looking for a vacation that supports your personal growth and your journey towards well-being, join us on one of our retreats.”
Check out for our complete retreat listing!

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