Pratyahara does not mean concentration or meditation. It means reversing the flow of awareness from connecting with the outside world and beginning to connect to one’s internal experiences.
The engagement in kriya yoga allows one to focus on many activities that happen simultaneously, which in a normal situation one is not aware of. The awareness is in constant movement. In kriya yoga it is said that to make the mind sublime one has to keep the mind engaged.
To assist this process, there are the yama and niyama of kriya yoga. The first yama is indriya nigraha, which is not just withdrawing the senses, but also cleaning, clearing and recognizing the associations of the senses. After clearing the positive and the negative they become neutral.
The first niyama is mental restraint, danti, where one has to deal with six conditions of the mind which are detrimental and distractive. They are the tamasic traits of passion, anger, greed, arrogance, infatuation and envy. When one feels the rise of anger and is able to nullify the anger with peace, then that is danti. The first yama and niyama will help one perfect the first aspect of the pratyahara kriyas.
The best way I can share my impression of the kriya yoga training would be with a prolonged silence, but as that might be misinterpreted I will make an attempt to use some words.
Considering the fact that I am an absolute beginner to kriya yoga I was pleasantly surprised to see the impact of the fundamental kriya yoga practices. I experienced a spontaneous pause of my chronic mental chattering and at the same time an increased awareness to multiple subtle phenomena happening within and around me.
As they say a good teacher is one who makes a complex subject look simple. Swami Yogakanti served us kriya yoga which is considered an advanced branch of yoga like baby food and every care was taken so that we assimilated the learning without any distortion or confusion.
Every aspect that Swamiji covered in his satsang are potent tools for self-exploration, self-understanding and self-actualization.
Inspiration and information was shared in abundance to be able to integrate kriya yoga in our sadhana.
So I go home now with a heart full of gratitude and the commitment to continue my sadhana with seriousness and regularity.
—Sannyasi Mangaldharma, Romania
The structure of the course was very accurate and the kriyas were introduced in a smooth way. We reviewed them may times, then practised them and then reviewed them again.
Through seva we were able to express and use the extra energy in a positive way. We have been taken on a new and unknown path under the guidance and protection of Swami Niranjanananda.
—Sannyasi Vidyakiran, Colombia
The kriya yoga experience has been amazing. The short practices were highly energizing and at the same time they took us to very deep and unique experiences. We felt so relaxed and light. I look forward to coming again next year.
The satsang with Swamiji were great as they gave a deeper insight into the fundamental of why we are practising kriya yoga. My personal experience was discovering the internal dimension of which I had no awareness and observing the effect of each kriya on body and mind.
—Sadhana Jaipuria, Bengaluru