Tantra and Yoga are a spiritual science of 'purification', of de-conditioning and regaining our innocence.
Using the ancient sanskrit language, we could say that they are a way of cleansing our 'karma', becoming free of our past, so that we can truly experience this Divine gift - the Present.
'Karma' refers to 'Action', and to the consequences of past actions. Kriya can mean 'Action with Awareness', as the suffix 'ya' is added to the root syllable that refers to action. 'Ya' can be understood as meaning 'of the soul'.
The word 'Kriya' is used in several different contexts, and can refer to different things in each of these contexts.
One of the meanings is a 'purificatory practice' as taught and emphasised in the original Hatha Yoga. These Kriyas are also referred to as Shatkarmas (or '6 Purificatory Practices/Actions').
'Kriyas' also refers to to the spontaneous movements (or 'actions') that have a purificatory effect, and that arise as a result of allowing the Kundalini shakti to flow and open up the energy system.
'Kriya Yoga' refers to a spiritual science of exercises usually combining body postures (asana) with breathwork (pranayama), visualization, and other forms of focussing the attention and prana in specific ways so as to reestablish inner balance, release 'karmic knots', or conditioning, to open up to a more expanded state of awareness, and to experience the Union (or non-separation) with the Divine that is our Nature.
The ultimate goal, whether of a disciplined system, or of surrendering and letting the Kundalini Shakti guide the process, is Liberation, or 'Moksha'.
- Peter Littlejohn Cook