Do you have 12 minutes to spare?
If so, Sadhguru, founder of Isha Kriya meditation, believes you have the time to dramatically improve your wellbeing.
This article explains what this 12-minute practice is, where it came from, and how to start reaping the benefits today!
Who is Sadhguru?…
I feel before you can understand what Isha Kriya is, it is important for you to know more about the guru behind it.
Sadhguru is an internationally renowned yogi, speaker, poet, and bestselling author, born in Mysore, India.
He has affected millions of lives with his transformational ideas and programs, by bridging the gap between ancient yogic sciences and contemporary life.
In 1982, Jaggi Vasudev had a spiritual experience while sitting on a rock in the Chamundi Hills of India.
Shortly after that, he left his business life behind to travel and gain more insight into his “mystical experience.”
Through this searching, Sadhguru developed the practice of Isha Kriya meditation, as a way for anyone to connect through, and to, yoga.
He wanted a practice that people could physically perform, apart from yoga, to truly feel and understand the relevance it has in our lives.
His life work has always served as a reminder that yoga is a contemporary science, so it makes sense that it has become such a popular practice for yogis and non-yogis alike, everywhere.
But when it comes to transformation, yoga is not Sadhguru’s only focus.
He has been an influential voice for issues such as socioeconomic development as well as spirituality.
He grew up with an agnostic view on life, and while he does not ascribe to or preach any one belief system, Sadhguru has developed such a strong following and methodology that he could easily be mistaken for some sort of religious leader.
The fact that he so strongly believes in what he preaches, though, is how he transcends his ideas to his followers worldwide.
The main outlet through which he has been able to do this is through the Isha Foundation, a non-profit spiritual organization, which he established in 1992.
Simply put, the mission of Sadhguru and the Isha Foundation is to raise human consciousness, and nurture both harmony and individual growth through transformation.
What is Isha Kriya Philiosphy?…
Though Isha Kriya is a simple and easy practice, it is extremely powerful and beneficial for those willing to dedicate a few minutes each day to practice it.
“Isha” refers to the source of creation, while the word “Kriya” translates as “an inward action toward that”, or internal action.
That said, the purpose of Isha Kriya is to get you in touch with the true source of your existence, allowing you to begin living out your purpose and creating a life according to your own authentic desires and intentions.
So…what does that mean?
Well, you hear it all of the time, we all want to live life to the fullest, right?
If we can’t identify with our individual self, how do we even know what that should look like for us?
Our first step is to use a tool such as Isha Kriya meditation to distance ourselves from our own minds.
We define ourselves every day by our thoughts and our physical bodies, so meditation is the small space between who we are and who we believe ourselves to be.
Meditation allows us to have the clarity of seeing life exactly the way it is, and not through our distorted perceptions.
The act of moving forward internally teaches us, on both a conscious and subconscious level, to stop identifying with the limited versions of ourselves.
Sadhguru focused on ending this suffering we create within our minds by means of creating separation, and he believes that one of the most powerful ways to achieve this is through Isha Kriya meditation because the “kriya” is what creates this space.
Listen to Sadhguru explain this himself below:
What is Isha Kriya meditation?…
Isha Kriya is a quick, free guided meditation combining three key ingredients: your breath, your thought, and your awareness.
It is recommended for anyone, as long as they are over the age of 12.
It is also recommended to be done once or twice daily for 48 days, which is the same period of time known as a mandala.
This is similar to ayurvedic medicine, where it takes 48 days for the medicine to take root in your body, it also takes 48 days for our systems to go through the cycle of a mandala.
This window of time also allows for you to experience the value in the Isha Kriya meditation and build it into a habit.
It’s a lot like making your bed every day (hopefully I will be more successful at meditating!).
There is value in doing something regularly, and when you do that thing long enough, it just becomes a part of your day where you are less conscious of it, and it begins to almost feel effortless.
Consistent practice is important.
Where can I find Isha Kriya instructions?…
Because Sadhguru’s passion is to make his life-altering practices available for the masses, his foundation has done an excellent job of doing just that and you can find instructions for Isha Kriya online in myriad forms and channels!
Here are a few places to find instructions:
There is an Isha Foundation channel where you can find Sadhguru on YouTube offering guided meditations and offering his tidbits of wisdom on all kinds of topics.
The free Isha Kriya app features daily Sadhguru videos and philosophy and Isha Kriya guided meditations.
You can even learn from Sadhguru how to meditate in a free class on Udemy!
Sure, there are tons of different resources where you can learn from Sadhguru how to meditate, but the information and instructions are pretty consistent across all sources, so just choose one that is most convenient for you and get started!
How do you do Isha Kriya Meditation?…
Choose a resource above and follow the simple directions below:
- To begin Isha Kriya meditation, you sit cross-legged with your spine tall and palms on your thighs, open and facing upward. There are not many physical conditions that should prevent you from doing Isha Kriya. As long as you are able to sit comfortably for 12 minutes, you can perform it. If you cannot sit cross-legged, you can sit on a bench or a chair, just be sure to keep your ankles crossed.
- With your eyes closed, turn your face upward slightly, allowing you to keep a mild focus in between your eyebrows. It is about becoming an open door and a willingness to invite in grace.
This meditation is broken down into three stages.
- In stage one, you will focus on inhaling and exhaling. As you inhale, you mentally say to yourself, “I am not the body.” As you exhale, you will say to yourself, “I am not even the mind.” There is no breath count here, you only need to inhale and exhale for the length of time that it takes you to internally say each thought.
This is part of what makes it so simple. It also allows you the freedom to be your own guide, however, if you’re not ready for that yet any of the Sadhguru videos on Isha Kriya guided meditation will speak these thoughts audibly for you.
You will repeat this for 7 to 11 minutes, with the purpose of focusing on your breath. We refer to this breath as ‘Koorma Nadi’, which Sadhguru compares to an unbroken string that ties you to your body. He reminds us that as humans, if we fall short of just one breath, and the string breaks, our life will have reached its end, therefore helping us to see just how fragile we are.
Understanding this fragility of the body is the first step in awareness of self. It is the first step in seeing separateness and creating the distance that Isha Kriya is intended to create between body and mind.
- In stage two of this meditation, you will chant the sound “Aaa” 7 times with your mouth wide open. When you do this, it’s important to exhale fully each time. You don’t have to be that loud to feel the vibration of this sound, and the vibration is key in this stage. Go ahead and try it once, you’ll see what I mean. If you need some help, think about the sound coming from just below your navel.
The reason Sadhguru chants the sound “Aaa” is that it is the only vibration that activates the maintenance center of our body. This vibration spreads right across the body at this center or solar plexis (manipura) chakra, located behind the navel. According to yogic tradition, there are nadis throughout our bodies through which our energy (or prana) flows. It is thought that the solar plexis chakra is the only place where all of them meet.
So the philosophy is that because “Aaa” activates and energizes this important center of our body, it is the only vibration that can spread across the entire body, bringing us dynamism, health, and prosperity.
- In stage three, for the remaining 5 to 6 minutes, you will again focus on the breath and the space between your eyebrows, as you listen to Sadhguru sing three stanzas from a 2,000-year-old composition called, ‘Bhaja Govinda’, written by Indian philosopher, Adi Sankara.
A long time ago, Adi Sankara dedicated this song to those who were more focused on the materialism of life, than on seeking truth and divinity.
Overall, while doing Sadhguru meditations, it is important to not pay attention to what is happening in the body or the mind.
Sadhguru advises one to simply ignore anything else that comes up, and also to not take breaks in the middle of this meditation so as to alter the energy flow.
He believes that this flow that comes from Isha Kriya meditation can reorganize and awake the energies lying dormant in our systems.
What are the benefits of Isha Kriya?…
Millions of people worldwide practice Isha Kriya for its multitude of benefits.
People have chosen to learn from Sadhguru how to meditate for a multitude of reasons, with the shortlist being:
- Peace and greater clarity
- Better understanding and management of the connection between mind and body
- Ability to relax as well as expend higher levels of energy
- Stress management and ability to handle difficult situations
- More happiness and an overall sense of wellbeing
The benefits of meditation have been researched repeatedly in recent years by the scientific community and I have reported on several published articles on the topic, such as on this post about guided meditation.
Our health is positively impacted by meditation.
And although there are many similarities in benefits between Isha Kriya and other forms of meditation, one may have a reason one might practice this one over another.
The philosophy of this more strategic Isha Kriya style is that you can move from untruth toward truth.
According to Sadhguru, we employ the breath because breath is vital, we employ thought because thought plays an important role in our lives, and we employ awareness because without awareness we would not even know we are in here at this moment.
Isha Kriya guided meditation offers a simple yet intricate balance and approach to this combination of elements.
If we can employ all three of these principles, we may be able to slowly create and notice the distance between ourselves and our bodies and minds.
So, even though there are other more complex and effective processes to achieve meditation, they can require a lot more training, teaching, and preparation.
An efficient way to achieve this space between the mind and the self is through this Isha Kriya meditation practice that, in a way, mirrors who we are.
As Sadhguru puts it, we as humans are fragile, yet sturdy. We are the beauty of creation, and are tenderly, intricately, and perfectly proportioned. So, if we are made in balance, we must work with balance.
To quote Sadhguru, if we can work with this balance every day:
“a day will come when you open your eyes, and you can still experience that the mind is there and you are here…your whole karmic bag – your past or unconscious mind – has been kept aside. It cannot have any influence over you…..Every breath becomes such a tremendous possibility in your life, because the past is not playing any role in your existence here now. If you sit here, you are absolute life. Life becomes effortless.”Sadhguru
Thank you for reading, and take care!
GET MORE ON MEDITATION