Many people believe that yoga is all about the physical aspects meaning the body becoming stronger, suppler, and the student being able to deal with stress more efficiently. Of course Hatha yoga which is the more well-known of the yoga styles is to a greater extent about improving the body and these are some of the advantages of making yoga part of your life. However, Kriya yoga is an advanced form, which focuses on spiritual growth as opposed to the physical context of yoga.
Typically, the practitioner of any yoga style should have studied any style of yoga for a year or more before embarking on the Kriya yoga route. This is because Kriya yoga is much more complex and needs even greater dedication and understanding of its principles.
Essentially all yoga disciplines teach the student about the inner life force and all yoga postures work at increasing the life force, opening up channels, clearing blockages, balancing inner energies.
The Kriya yoga student focuses on the energy in a different manner and works this energy up and down the spine. Kriya practice is to do with mastery of the breath and the concept is that the student directs this energy to rotate around the spinal centers (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal plexuses) these spinal centers relate to the twelve signs of the zodiac.
The practice of kriya yoga is very deep and involved and the student must be dedicated to the practice to be able to progress and this is why it is recommended that students will have practiced other yoga methods and styles previously.
The techniques are very powerful and bring inspiration and clarity to the student; it opens up the spiritual eye and magnetizes the body. It takes students a long time to be able to grasp in fully the theory behind the practice and this is one of the reasons why it is important that the student does not self-teach this discipline. There are qualified teachers who should be contacted to instill correct techniques into the student; this will then help them to understand all that is Kriya yoga.
Essentially, the student will be able to decarbonize the blood and recharge it with oxygen, and this then rejuvenates all the spinal centers and the brain. The idea is that the student will have control over the decay of body tissues by using the energy, this internal life-force and the power of their mind.
The student can still carry on with the other elements of yoga such as Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga etc, keeping the body strong is important and will help with the studies towards spiritual growth.