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.

Sat Kriya Illustrated example

How To Do It:

  1. Sitting on the heels in rock pose, interlace the fingers with the Jupiter (Index) fingers pointing straight up.
  2. Cross the thumbs: Females cross left over right and Males cross right over left.
  3. Raise the arms straight up and rotate the upper arms inward so that the arms are hugging the ears.
  4. 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.

Finishing:

  1. 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.
  2. Inhale and repeat above step one more time.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.more illustration sat kriya posture
  • 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.

This Post Has 114 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I’ve been doing a 40 day discipline of Sat Kriya, which will end on April 1. I’ve been doing KY for a year and a half. I have been crying alot with this one (not the only exercise though!). Some days I’ll be fine and then I’ll experience a release. I’m also doing ganapati kriya so these are the 2 main exercises I will work with. I have a lot of tension in my head and the ganapati kriya has been helpful and I think Sat Kriya, is a nice compliment to it.

  2. Is it really necessary to say the mantra loud or can just shout it mentally and can pull the naval back. Because it is most of the times not really desirable to shout in home.

  3. Hi Zafar,

    You should chant the mantra audibly– however, this can be very quietly. I have done Sat Kriya in many situations where I can’t chant it very loudly and it is fine. It’s desirable to make the sound though– because sound is a form of energy and is an integral part of what makes the kriya so effective.

  4. Hi Jai Gopal, thanks for a very nice site with a lot of valuable information! I have some questions about Sat Kriya:

    I’ve started doing SK for 11 minutes and my goal is 31. I add one more minute for each day, and today I did it for 16 minutes. The last minutes are really hard. Maybe I am want to achieve it to fast? I really want result but maybe I should add the time more slowly? (I have been doing KY for some years now, so 11 is hard but OK.)

    I’ve heard that holding the hands in front of the chest (like in prayer pose but with thumbs crossed) is just as good as the standard SK position. Have you anything to say about that?

    I have learned to focus on the third eye, but I want to get rid of fears and phobia so what is then the best point to focus on?

    Very grateful for answer.

  5. Are there specific guidelines about increasing the number of minutes of sat kriya? I’ve been attending weekly kundalini yoga classes for 2 years. Have just moved.- no teacher now 🙁 I’m on the 5th of a 40 day sat kriya.

  6. Hi Wen,

    There are no specific guidelines that I know of for increasing the number of minutes on Sat Kriya. Gradually is always best. That said, I have jumped into doing 31 minutes and also 62 minutes. Find what’s right for you and then it’s good to challenge yourself a little. it’s also good to set achievable goals– 40 days of 11 minutes and then move it up. Something about crossing the finish line on 40 days of a meditation gives you the feeling of wanting to do more.

  7. You’re welcome Karin,

    It’s good to challenge yourself and add time, but it’s also good to perfect the practice. That said, it’s harder toward the end of Sat Kriya no matter what the time. You know that phenomenon when you have to go to the bathroom, you’re holding it fine then you get a block away from your home and you feel like you can’t hold it any longer? That’s kind of what it’s like. The mind is infinite and it doesn’t want to change so as the energy builds, the mind is affected more the longer you practice. The real benefits come from trying to hold steady toward the end of any kundalini kriya.

    As for modifications: If you can do the kriya as instructed then you should do it as closely to the write up as possible. Modifications are for people who have trouble getting into the actual position or mudra. That’s said, prayer pose ISN’T “as good as” the actual hands above the head because the way it was prescribed is the absolute best. Other modifications for sat kriya I have heard are lying down, in full lotus pose (actually lotus pose is harder and more advanced).

    As for the third eye issue– Sat Kriya directly stimulates and circulates the energy through the chakras, quickly and effectively, which is why it’s such a powerful practice. Just focus the eyes as prescribed and the kriya will do it’s work. A common misconception is that “we” have to do something extra. That’s the limited ego and the subconscious mind blocking the effort. The only thing the student has to do is follow the kriya exactly and keep going. The changes will happen and they’ll be different for each person. I haven’t met a person yet who did sat kriya regularly and didn’t rave about it’s helpful effects.

  8. About Half way thru SK-40 Today was day 21, Been waking up around 4 ish to do 3-5 minutes, along with some other kundalini poses and chants, something is happening.

    My senses for the most part are getting more in tune, for starters. The other effects, I can not describe as yet. But what is happening is enough to have me eagerly arise in the morning to continue my journey….much like reading a scheduled reading or appointment television…

  9. I just started doing Sat Kriya. I do it before going to sleep, and I do sleep very deeply. Is it recommended to do it any other time?

  10. I have been doing sat kriya for the last 70 days for 5 minutes.It has started showing effects during my daily meditation. The whole body is energised through out the day. The apetite has improved. The symptoms of kundalini awakening are also being felt in the body.I see something great in the near future during my meditations.It is a very good Kriya and I plan to do it regularly.

  11. Any time is good to do the kriya. Ideally the best time to meditate is in the period before sunrise– anywhere from 3:30 AM to 8 AM. At this time the sun is about 60 degrees below the horizon which causes a calmer state of energy on the planet and during that time your meditation is much more powerful and penetrates up to 40 times more deeply than at other times. SO, basically a more powerful time is before sunrise, but we stress that the most important thing is to do the kriya at whatever time works for you and make it complement your life.

  12. Completed Sat Kryia 40 Days on Saturday, I have had quite an appetite since then. The experience is an invigorating addition to my meditation practice. Truly feel I have introduced a pro-active practice to my daily life.

    I will stop for a week, then start another 40 days next week….

  13. wen, how did you 40 day sat kryia finish.

  14. Started on Monday 29 Nov. another SK 40 days, Each day getting longer with time sitting….My body and spirit seem to be asking for it, muc like breakfast or a shower.

  15. Sat Nam!
    I am so excited about your website. I found it after doing a search for Sat Kriya on google. I am exploring other parts of your site as well. I recently decided to start doing Sat Kriya as my daily meditation. I am doing 11 minutes. I decided to do this because as a teacher of kundalini yoga, I taught the Sat Kriya workout and became lightheaded while teaching. I had this feeling there would be some jewels in it for me. I am doing it, and I have had some intense emotional releases. It is challenging and I am loving it. Is this a good kriya for panic attacks and depression as well?

  16. I started for 11 minutes with the plan of doing it for 40 days, but had to humbly stop as it was pretty intense. I was then encouraged by some friends to do 3 minutes, and I am glad I tried that. Sat Kriya has pulled up some stuff that has been scary, but also cleared me. Today I am feeling so blissful, and I also feel so expanded! Just wanted to share!

  17. can i do this yoga or any other kundalini yogas during my periods??

  18. Hello, I also have a fear of driving. I am wondering if Sat Kriya can help me have more confidence to overcome this phobia. I absolutely do not drive because I am afraid. I imagine in addition to fears like this, Sat Kriya is also good for keeping the 2nd and 3rd Chakras operating in a healthy manner?

  19. Hi Gurdeep,
    Sat Kriya definitely keeps all the chakras balanced and flowing. Also, many kundalini kriyas are known to balance and in some cases remove neuroses. I personally have seen Sat Kriya and other kriyas I have done improve my mind and remove addictions and irrational fears. While i can’t speak to what the results will be for every practitioner, my experience and the experience of many yogi’s I know has been very positive, and in my opinion miraculous. Any deep meditation will help to calm the mind and balance the psyche so I recommend trying it and seeing how you feel but as always in medical and psychological matters you should consult and work with a medical professional that you trust before changing any regimen or venturing into uncharted territory with phobias or other conditions.

  20. Hi Tanya,

    Sat Kriya is not to be done on the first three days of the menstrual cycle. Certain other kriyas and breaths are also not to be done during this time. Breath of Fire is another one– the master has said that you can do a very light breath of fire during the period but we always just tell women to do long deep breathing. Other things to stay away from during those first three days are navel exercises and anything that could strain the abdomen. The idea is that this is an eliminative time when the apana in the body is working to eliminate and you don’t want to work against the flow of that energy. Yogi Bhajan has also said that it’s important not do do heavy lifting or strenuous work during that time because the pelvic area of a woman is very delicate during the period and can become damaged and imbalanced by to much stress or strain. The rule in Kundalini is always “when in doubt, sit it out.”

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