James Russell Yoga

Kriyā - purification

© James Dylan Russell 2018
क्रिय - kriyā (pronounced 'kri-yah') ~ purificatory action
Kriyā comes from the sanskrit root ‘kr’ meaning ‘to do.’ When the ‘ya’ is added to make 'Kriyā’, it means ‘action', 'deed', or 'effort.’ Kriyās are specific actions performed in order to create the right internal conditions for yoga to be experienced. Within the context of haṭha yoga, krīyās are physical inner cleansing techniques that clear excess mucus, rebalance doshas, stimulate internal organs and re-vitalise the energetic body. There are three broad categories of Krīyā: Vari Sara - cleansing with water; Vata Sara - cleansing with air; and Agni Sara - cleansing with fire

Within these categories, traditional haṭha yoga prescribes 6 types of purification techniques known as 'śatkarma'.
  • Dauti - cleansing stomach/digestive organs
  • Basti - enema/colonic irrigation
  • Nauli - abdominal massage/stimulation
  • Neti - cleansing of nasal passages
  • Kapalabhati - clearing of nasal passages
  • Trataka - eye cleansing
James teaches a specific method kriyā that comes from the lineage of Dr B. P. Pillai of Kerala. This system focuses upon the Vata Sara and Agni Sara categories of kriyā and primarily utilise breath, bandha and muscular contraction. Dr Pillai was an ayurvedic doctor and felt that the more extreme practices of Vari Sara such as cloth swallowing and salt water cleansing were unnecessary. He therefore codified and consolidated a method of breath based kriyās which are accessible to all and highly effective. They are best practised in the morning and are an energising and invigorating way to begin the day.
By these (kriyā) practices, the best possible health can be maintained and relaxation and meditation will come much more easily to the aspirant

Dr B.P. Pillai - Yoga, A Way of Life