“WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT TRIYOGA?”
AND OTHER BACKGROUND QUESTIONS ABOUT TRIYOGA
BY CHRISTINE (CITRINĪ) WARE, Ph.D., E-RYT
What is TriYoga?
TriYoga is a complete method that includes the full range of traditional yoga
practices, including hatha yoga, nada yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, and jnana yoga
practices. “TriYoga is in the tradition of the ancient yoga in that it is guided by the
direct experience and intuitive knowledge that arise from the inner flow of kundalini,
or universal life-energy” (Kaliji).
How does TriYoga differ from other styles of yoga?
The TriYoga Flows are similar to other hatha yoga methods in that they include
physical yoga practices, breathing practices, and practices to encourage
concentration and meditation. They include the use of props and modifications.
TriYoga is unique due to the Flows’ distinctive and systematic sequencing, the
wavelike spinal movements, the union of posture, breath and focus, the emphasis on
economy of motion, natural alignment, and pacing, and the systematized Prana Vidya
practices (the breathing practices, concentration techniques and meditation that
balance and increase prana, life energy). TriYoga is also unique because it was not
created, but rather inspired and guided by Kali Ray’s direct experience of kriyavati
siddhi (the spontaneous flow of asana, pranayama and mudra). Kriyavati (the
manifestation of prana, the universal life energy, through hatha yoga) continues to
guide the evolution of TriYoga.
Why is it important that TriYoga is systematized (and for students to progress
There are a number of ways to approach this question. In terms of learning, thesystematization allows students to learn foundational practices first, progressing as
knowledge, understanding, and comfort with the practices increase. With respect to
the physical body, the systematization allows one to build strength, flexibility,
endurance, and balance over time, beginning with simpler postures and sequences, and
progressing over time. The systematization also allows students in earlier levels to
experience more restful, sustained postures that allow for integration of what one is
learning, while students in more advanced classes experience fewer rest postures and
more “meditation in motion.” In terms of energy flow, the systematization allows one
to feel how energy flows through the body and how the practices increase and direct
energy. This is experienced first in more straightforward postures, progressing to
more difficult sequences in advanced levels. In order to maintain dynamic
concentration and release tension to deeply experience meditation, the body and mind
may benefit from more and more challenging sequences as previously learned postures
and flows become effortless. Lastly, TriYoga is systematized because this is the way
that the practices flowed through Kaliji, guiding the development of the system.
Who is Kali Ray?Kali Ray is also known as Kaliji, Sri Kali Lakshmi Deviji, and Swamini Kaliji. She is the founder of TriYoga, a systematized yoga method with Basics to Level 7 TriYoga Flows and Prana Vidya (the trinity of breathing practices, concentration techniques and meditation that balance and increase prana or life energy), as well as hundreds of hand mudras. Kaliji has devoted her life to sharing the ancient, universal teachings of TriYoga. Kaliji is a swamini from the Jayalakshmi Datta Avadhoota lineage, initiated by Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji. He recently conferred to her the honorary title of Vishwa Bandhu (Friend of the Universe). Many students throughout the world have been inspired and transformed by her presence, her mastery of the flow and the ageless wisdom inherent in the TriYoga teachings.
How did TriYoga evolve?
As a child, Kaliji was naturally drawn to self-inquiry and meditation. She would
frequently wonder, “Where was I before coming to this planet? Where do I come
from?” After asking these questions, she would feel blissful for a few seconds. She
had other childhood mystical experiences of inner connection. Then during a break
from college, after meeting a man who spoke to her about yoga and eastern
philosophy, Kaliji fell out of a boat during a storm. She thought that she was going to
drown. As she surrendered to this destiny if it was meant to be, she felt immersed in
bliss. After her rescue, she prayed for the Divine to reveal the source of this bliss.
At that moment, in July of 1975, kundalini (the universal life energy) awakened and
for twelve hours she was immersed in bliss. Five years later, on January 5, 1980, Kaliji
was leading a group in meditation. She shared a concentration technique of energy
rising up the spine. As soon as the meditation began, kriyavati siddhi spontaneously
awakened within her, creating the spontaneous flow of asana, pranayama and mudra.
Moved by the powerful energy and beauty of these flows, her students asked her to
teach what they had witnessed. This later became known as the birth of TriYoga.
Since then, the continuing flow of kriyavati (the spontaneous manifestation of
kundalini through hatha yoga) has flowed through Kaliji’s body while in meditation,
revealing TriYoga sadhana (practices).
What is the significance of the name TriYoga?
TriYoga represents the Universal Trinity that manifests the Divine. “Tri” means
trinity. The Trinity can be found throughout creation. In philosophy, TriYoga refers
to body, mind and spirit. In hatha yoga, TriYoga refers to asana (posture), pranayama
(breathing practices) and mudra (‘seal’ or practices to develop focus). TriYoga has its
source in the triple principle of sat (existence), chit (knowledge) and ananda (bliss).
The trinity also manifests as the three energies of the mind: sattva (balance, calm),
rajas (activity), and tamas (lethargy, stability). This Trinity is ultimately the formless
manifestation of the one Supreme Spirit.
What are TriYoga Flows?
TriYoga Flows is another name for TriYoga’s complete and systematic hatha yoga
method. The Flows integrate flowing and sustained postures (asana), breath
(pranayama) and focus (mudra) in systematized sequences. This trinity practice is
deeply meditative and transformative because it arose out of Kaliji’s direct
experience of kriyavati (the manifestation of the flow of prana, life energy, through
hatha yoga). There are seven levels of TriYoga Flows in addition to Basics. The Flows
are comprised of poses that are categorized into seven main posture groups:
Standing, Forward Bends, Spinal Twists, Backward Bends, Balancing, Inversions, and
Sitting. Since the method is systematic, students can progress from Basics to Level 1
and then to subsequent levels as they increase their flexibility, strength, endurance
and knowledge of the method. Through sustained awareness on all aspects of the
practice, the inner flow naturally emerges.