SAT KRIYA: How To, Tips, Tricks and Finer Points
I’ve been doing Sat Kriya daily for several years now and it’s amazing how you intuitively learn little things from the meditation and the changes that you go through.
When I first started, my right arm would fall asleep and I’d sweat like hell. When I got up to 31 minutes my legs would fall asleep pretty bad, even with a big pillow between my legs, but eventually the legs got stronger and even if they fell asleep a little it wasn’t so bad. They always got back to normal and it actually greatly improved the circulation in my legs. After some time in the practice though I began to notice great things. My navel was getting much stronger and my hips were opening up. My lung capacity has increased. Now that the energy was getting into the upper centers my meditiations, particularly while chanting in the morning began to go much, much deeper.
Here are some tips and pointers from my experience…
**Always Tune In with the Adi Mantra 3 times before beginning any Kundalini Yoga Kriya or Meditation. Click Here for instructions on the mantra.
How To Do It:
- Sitting on the heels in rock pose, interlace the fingers with the Jupiter (Index) fingers pointing straight up.
- Cross the thumbs: Females cross left over right and Males cross right over left.
- Raise the arms straight up and rotate the upper arms inward so that the arms are hugging the ears.
- In this position you will chant the mantra “Sat Naam” in the following way:
- Pull the navel point in* as you chant “Sat!” (Sounds like ‘Sutt.’)
- Release the lock as you chant “Naam.” (Almost like a sigh with the sound “Naam”)
- *Author’s note: When you pull the navel point in, the root lock, known as Mulbandh, contracting the navel, sex organ and anus, will naturally happen. However, the focus is on pulling the navel point in. Earlier I had written that you pull mulbandh from the start. It’s a subtle difference and there is some discussion about it because both ways are technically correct, but the teaching from the book is: pull the navel point on Sat, release on Naam.
- At the end, inhale completely and hold, squeezing the root lock and the muscles of the back and shoulders for as long as you can. Imagine that you are sending the energy up through the top of the head. Exhale.
- Inhale and repeat above step one more time.
- Then inhale completely and exhale completely then hold the breath out long as you can, while pulling the root lock and squeezing the muscles of the back all the way up again.
- Inhale, and relax.
Time: 3 minutes up to 62 minutes.
*One option is to practice for 3 minutes, rest for two minutes and repeat two more times for a 15 minute exercise, which will build stamina and a foundation for longer practice.
Rest & Relaxation:
Try to relax for about the same amount of time as the exercise. This isn’t always possible but just remember, deep relaxation after this kriya is a must and nearly as important as the initial effort. The body’s systems need time to regenerate and reconstitute themselves. So use your judgement but always rest sufficiently after.
This is a pretty tough exercise when beginning kundalini yoga. Practiced over 40 days this kriya can provide countless health benefits. Don’t be overconfident. This is a powerful kundalini exercise and should be approached with reverence and respect. Start slowly and build up.
**A special note: Yogi Bhajan has said that you can do Sat Kriya with the palms flat against one another, but only if you’ve never done drugs (damaged the nervous system.) My teacher explained it further in this way: Since the fingers represent certain planetary aspects (Jupiter, Saturn, Sun, Mercury) having them extended both releases and draws more of that energy in. If you’re not ready for it, then it’s like trying to drink out of a firehose. It’s a waste of time and inefficient. So unless you’ve practiced Sat Kriya for some time and you’ve also not done drugs in a while, then best to stick to the basics. There’s a lot to be learned in the way of mastery by starting from the basics and building up.
Some Finer Points of The Sat Kriya:
- Sat Kriya can be done quietly. This is probably the greatest boon to all dedicated Sat Kriya practitioners. Many people who consider doing Sat Kriya for an extended period of time, shy away because they inevitably see themselves in a situation where it would be inappropriate to chant too loud. The important part of the exercise is pulling the root lock and moving the navel. As long as you can hear yourself vibrate the Sat Naam mantra you’re still in line with the intent of the kriya. I’ve done it nearly silently in some situations. Now there’s no excuse. When you’re visiting your mother-in-law just take your sheepskin, go into the walk-in closet and get to it.
- When pulling the Mulbandh, I have noticed that pulling in on the navel first will cause the other two– sex organ and anus to contract in kind.
- You can go slow and easy at first– just by pulling in on the navel and watching the natural flow of it. I see my students, because they expect the kriya to be hard, they jerk the body and bounce up and down. This is totally unnecessary. These kriyas have subtle power in them. doing them is like driving a finely tuned automobile– if you do it right, it can be very smooth. So begin by just pulling in slowly on the navel and let the root lock follow. Once you’re warmed up and have some momentum you’ll really start to squeeze the root lock in rhythm.
- Relax the entire body except for the muscles you’re using. You’ll be surprised at the power that’s saved and recycled back into the kriya when you relax your shoulders and thighs and the other parts you’re tensing because your mind is having a fit. .. “How much longer are we going to do this? Are we going to die soon? What is this kundalini yoga anyway– is it really good for you? What kind of name is Sat Kriya anyway? Isn’t this a lot like a cult? What would your friends think of this stuff?” (please note your mind’s garbage chatter may be different!)
- Speaking of the mind… Sat Kriya is a great meditation for taming the mind. As the mind wanders, as in any meditation, just bring it back.
- Just let the breath follow naturally from the movement. I’ve heard many people say different things about the breath, but if you just chant and pull the locks as prescribed, a breath will follow.
- Listen to your own sound. This goes for any chanting. The vibration of your own sound will take you deeper within yourself and the kriya will begin to teach you things.
- Really stretch the arms up and hug the ears and try continually to keep that posture perfect. Just as when the mind wanders you bring it back, when the posture slips, correct it. As you stretch up on the spine, you will get a different pull on the navel. It will be higher and more energy will go up especially around the heart. The hips will open more. Because Sat Kriya is difficult, people tend to shrink under the weight of it. This is another layer of meaning in Yogiji’s brilliant mantra: “Keep up and you will be kept up.” You’ll go deeper and you’ll be happy about it.
- Sat Kriya works both ways. I was sitting in a group workshop with my teacher and we were doing a sort of roundtable assessing each other and prescribing kriyas for individual sadahanas. My teacher had assessed this one young woman and said that coming from her eyes was a very powerful soul and that in order for her to bring that power more fully into her body and use it’s full potential, she should do Sat Kriya. Then he asked the group, “Why?” I have no idea where it came from, but before I knew it, I had said, “Because Sat Kriya works both ways.” And that was it. We normally think because of the posture, pointing up, that we’re taking the energy of the lower triangle through the heart and up through the subtle centers of the upper triangle. However, Sat Kriya actually works both ways. We’re also pulling the cosmic energy in through the crown and down and circulating it back up. That’s another one of the brilliant wonders of the technology that is Sat Kriya and moreover, Kundalini Yoga.
- Always use the mantra Sat Naam, as it is integral to this kriya. Sat Naam means, basically: “Truth is my whole identity.” Sat=”Inner truth,” and Naam =”the whole identity.” Another way of looking at it is, “I agree to the truth within.” Mantra is a projection of the mind using sound, so basically this mantra vibrates the higher self in the sub-conscious so that later, when you’re re-engaged in the world, the mind is reverberating on the truth of the self, on auto-pilot, working for you.
- Mama said there’d be days like this… If doing the kriya for an extended period of time, just know you’re gonna have good days and bad days, just like life. Keep up and you will be kept up. The only way to have any real experience is to do something and master it over time. It’s the only way to truly know something. So dive in, the water is fine. Sat Kriya is one of the premiere kundalini yoga exercises because it covers everything and moves the energy very quickly. Use it on your way to self-mastery.
A Few of The Benefits of The Sat Kriya:
- Rock pose (sitting on the heels) is the basis of Sat Kriya and it aids digestion… it is said that sitting on the heels one can digest rocks, hence the name. This pose combined with the tension of the Mulbandh (root lock) further stimulates the stomach, intestines and the overall digestive tract.
- Sat Kriya directly stimulates the sexual-creative energy and redirects that energy upward, through the upper chakras causing a balancing of the energy system. This redirected sexual energy is very healing to the entire body.
- Balances the shadow aspects of overactive sex drive and sexual phobias through this redirecting of the sexual creative energy through the heart and upper chakras, which relate to the transcendant god-aspect of the human being. This physical movement of the sexual energy upward becomes a meditation which causes you to look upon the others with the perspective of the heart and the grace of the higher self, as opposed to an object of sexual desire only.
- Stimulates the glandular (endocrine) system, particularly the lymph glands which remove toxins from the body.
- Strengthens the heart through the rhythmic increase in blood pressure which results from the pumping movement of the navel point.
- Increases and strengthens the nervous system for overall well-being and radiance.
- Makes you look good… especially if you follow the tips to good posture outlined above.
The Yoga Boot Camp Sat Kriya Challenge:
Do Sat Kriya for a minimum of three minutes daily for a period of forty days and record your experiences. Come back and share them here as comments on this page.
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