Yoga Sutra Kriya Yoga Pada

Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: Pada Two – Kriya Yoga

Both practical and profound, Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, yoga's quintessential guide for the spiritual life shows us how to find peace and live with purpose.




Segment One: Master Your Mind

In our discussion from Part One, we focused Pada One, Samadhi Pada.

YS 1.1 “Now, instruction in yoga, in accord with an established tradition, begins.”*

YS 1.2  “Samadhi is experienced when fluctuations and changes in the meditator's awareness are restrained and pacified.”*

YS 1.3 “The seer then consciously abides in its own nature.”*

YS 1.4 “At other times, one is inclined to identify with the changes and transformations that occur in the mind and awareness.”*


Roy Eugene Davis translates sutra I.2 as “Samadhi” rather than “yoga” in Yoga citta vritti nirodha.

  • What are some of the other meanings of the word “yoga”?
  • How is it that “all the way to yoga is yoga”?


You often teach that the practice of Kriya Yoga involves our whole life, not just what we experience while meditating.

  • What are some ways that we can remind ourselves of our Self during the rest of our life, during the times that we are not meditating?


Patanjali gives some advice about the best ways to be successful on the path of Kriya Yoga in Sutra 1.12, which Mr. Davis translates as: “The troublesome influences of mental impressions should be restrained, weakened, and removed by meditation practice and dispassionate nonattachment.”* The Sanskrit words are abhyasa, steady meditation practice, and vairagyam, dispassionate non-attachment.

  • What is abhyasa, and why is it important?
  • What is vairagyam, dispassionate nonattachment, and why is it important?


Some people might be tempted to interpret nonattachment as being unfeeling, or needing to remove ourselves from normal life in order to practice this.

  • What would you say about that?


Segment Two: Master Your Life

In our review of Pada One of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, we explored a theoretical view of Yoga. Moving on to Pada Two, Patanjali relates essential components of Kriya Yoga that prepare the seeker for the depth work of revealing the true Self.

  • What is Kriya Yoga, and why is it practiced?
  • Are there qualities a truth seeker desiring to practice kriya yoga should have to begin the inward journey?


Patanjali begins Sutra 2.1 with the 3 pillars of Kriya Yoga. Mr. Davis translates this sutra as: ”Intensive self-discipline, studious Self-inquiry, and surrender to God are the practices of kriya yoga.”* The Sanskrit words are tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (Self-study), and Ishvara pranidhana (self-surrender).

Tapas are often misunderstood, bringing to mind austerity or deprivation. I appreciate hearing you often say “Do what brings joy to your Soul”.

  • How do you explain tapas?
  • Why is self-discipline important?
  • Why is it so hard to just “do what is yours to do”?


Living in this culture with its emphasis on individuality and materialism tends to nurture a lack of awareness of the true Self.

  • What is svadhyaya?
  • Is it important to study sacred scriptures?
  • Why is Self-study an essential step toward liberation?


Devotion or surrender to God (the Supreme Being, the source and substance of all that is, or the Universal Oneness) is the third pillar of Kriya Yoga. I see this as dedicating everything I do to God for the greater good.

  • How do you define Ishvara pranidhana?
  • Why is self-surrender significant?
  • In closing, what words of encouragement or inspiration would you like to leave with our listeners?


*from Roy Eugene Davis’ translations of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras from his book The Science of Self-Realization: A Guide to Spiritual Practice in the Kriya Yoga Tradition






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