The word 'kriyā' comes from the sanskrit root ‘kr’ which denotes action. A kriyā is a specific type of action that has a purificatory effect on the yoga practitioner. That effect could be upon the mind, body or emotional dimension and is often all three. Most kriyās begin with the body as this is the most tangible aspect of our nature and the easiest to work upon.
Kriyās are found throughout myriad traditions of yoga and a variety of kriyā references can be found in texts such as Patañjali's yoga sutra and the Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā of Svātmārāma. All begin with the fundamental premise that life is inherently full of difficulty & suffering - dukḥam, and that liberation from that suffering is directly accessible through a process self-enquiry. Patañjali presents kriyā as lifestyle guidelines intended to remove the afflictions - kleśa, which obstruct the pathway towards tranquility of mind. Whereas Patanjali's yoga eschews the body, the later tradition of haṭha yoga embraces the body which is utilised as a tool & vehicle towards self realisation. Within haṭha yoga, kriyās are practical exercises that work directly upon the physical body and which have far reaching effects upon health, well being and peace of mind.
"The system of kriyās that I teach and practice and that you can find out more about on this website are a holistic hybrid of practices developed by the late Dr P. B. Pillai of Tiruvanamalai in the south of India. Dr Pillai was an Ayurvedic doctor, scholar and yogi. Recognising the innate intelligence of the human body, Dr Pillai developed a system that fosters healing and transformation without recourse to some of the more extreme practices found in traditional haṭha yoga. This system can be practised by anyone in fairly good health and are very accessible.
I hope that you enjoy these practices as much as I have and that they help you to experience greater health, happiness and well-being." - J D Russell