In this Introduction to Kriya Yoga Lifestyle we discuss Kriya Yoga as a path of internal purification. As we’ve discussed previously at least 70% of your success on the Kriya Yoga path depends on lifestyle and observance of the yamas and niyamas. The Kriya Yoga techniques are highly effective methods for purifying the gross and subtle bodies so that soul awareness may shine through. However, to enjoy its greatest benefits one must reduce to a minimum the amount of new karma and pollution or impressions accrued in the gross and subtle bodies.
With daily Kriya Yoga practice and a supportive lifestyle one can shift the balance, so that each day we purify our gross and subtle bodies more than we pollute them. This enables us to become a progressively purer channel through which our soul awareness may shine through.
At the core of every being is Atman, that aspect of ourselves which is forever and always one with God. This aspect of ourselves is the pure awareness of god and is perfect in every way. Unmodified by exterior circumstances this aspect of our being is the stage upon which all of our incarnational dramas unfold.
While all of us have the same god at the core of each of our beings, the light of that soul awareness has veils of varying degrees of opaqueness through which that light must filter through. The most commonly known of these veils are the five senses which limit our perspective, and our various bodies or sheaths, which include the gross physical body and the more subtle mental, emotional, and astral bodies.
The practice of Kriya Yoga progressively purifies the gross and subtle bodies so that the veils grow less opaque and more soul awareness can shine through. In this sense it is simply a path of interior purification, which naturally leads to god and self-realization.
In essence the Kriya Yoga lifestyle simply means living a wholesome life with integrity, taking care of the body, and being discerning about what you consume. The most common and deleterious “pollutants” imbibed by most westerners have to do with what we eat, drink, watch, and read.
An organic plant based diet is recommended for all Kriya Yogis. If you cannot go without meat for health reasons consuming fish occasionally seems least deleterious to the practice. Intoxicants should also generally be avoided. Alcohol is particularly harsh on the physical and subtle bodies.
Additionally, discernment should be used around what you watch and read. This is as much a part of your diet as anything else. Strong fear based, violent and/or sexual images and content tends to create strong impressions in the mental and emotional bodies, which are difficult to discharge.
That being said these recommendations should be viewed as guidelines. The best teacher is your own experience of contrast and choosing what you prefer. Once you’ve shifted the scales enough so that you are purifying yourself more each day than polluting, you will start to notice when you engage in something that has a polluting effect.
When you notice the polluting effect, you will be forced to ask yourself “Is it worth it?.” Over time you come realize any temporary satisfaction you may gain from these polluting activities does not compare to the peace and bliss of a clear mind and body. Once that happens that which has a polluting effect easily falls away.