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Tips & Resources

The Kriyas in Iyengar Yoga

Here at Yoga on Tay, in this most recent class block we have been revisiting the

basics of Iyengar Yoga.

During this exploration into Iyengar Yoga, we have shone a spotlight onto the Kriyas and how they effect our yoga practice.

The four kriyas are

  1. shodhana kriya (searching practice)

  2. shoshana kriya (cleansing practice)

  3. shobhana kriya (beautifying practice)

  4. shamana kriya (pacifying practice)

Our Senior Teacher Julie Anderson shared an extract from a speech delivered by Dr. B.K.S. Iyengar "Guruji" at Patanjala Yoga Kendra, Iyengar Yoga Centre, Rishikesh, Uttarkhand, India and shared on

Here is the extract from the speech:

So when we practice, we have to think with a totally free mind, with an open mind; where is my attention, where it is not? Where is my mind aware, where my mind is not aware. It should be aware in its own frontier of the body. The mind has no other frontiers. Similarly, the Self's frontier is the body. Shariri (master of the body) is this soul and sharira (the body) is its temple. The soul has to penetrate each and every cell of your body, and allow this Self to rest on that cell. This is known as shodhana kriya (searching practice).

If this doesn't happen, then the next step is that you have to make your intention successful by shoshana kriya (cleansing practice). What is missing for the Self, for the intelligence to return there? What am I to do? In which way, if I present the shoshana kriya, the cleansing process takes place, so that the impurities in the body are removed, so that the Self can move without interruption according to the way you present it? The Self has to follow your presentation.

Then comes shobhana kriya (beautifying practice). When shoshana kriya (cleansing practice) and shodhana kriya (searching practice) get together, the mind becomes auspicious. The auspicious state is felt, but not just with the mind. Please don’t think that I am peaceful. I want each and every part to be peaceful. I want even the tip of the skin to become peaceful. That is known as shobhana kriya (beautifying practice). There the entire frontier of this Self feels the auspicious state.

Then after that state comes shamana kriya (pacifying practice). This shamana kriya is nothing else but what we call shavasana or samadhi. Shavasana and Samadhi are identical, provided we understand the depth of the subject.

Please note we have shared this text from the beautiful website

which has in turn been edited from a speech delivered by Dr. B.K.S. Iyengar "Guruji"

at Patanjala Yoga Kendra, Iyengar Yoga Centre, Rishikesh, Uttarkhand, India.

If you have any questions regarding kriyas and your yoga practice, please do get in touch or come along and join us for a class.


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