Isha Kriya can be an easy way to introduce meditation to your self-care routine.

Meditation is one of the most widely practiced forms of mindfulness among adults in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of adults in the United States who practiced meditation increased from roughly 4% in 2012 to more than 14% in 2017.

There are many different types of meditation, from spiritual practices to movement-based meditation sessions. Isha Kriya meditation is a type of guided, mantra-based meditation that may help improve your mental health and well-being in as little as 12 minutes a day.

Let’s explore more about what Isha Kriya meditation is, including some of the benefits, how it’s done, and what you need to know about this type of meditation.

Isha Kriya is a type of guided meditation created by expert yogi and founder of the Isha Foundation, Sadhguru. According to Sadhguru, this meditation can help improve mental clarity, focus, stability, peace, and well-being.

During an Isha Kriya session, your primary focus shifts to your breathing and thoughts. As a shorter type of meditation, each session only takes around 12–15 minutes to complete, which makes it a great option for people who are just starting their meditation practice.

While research on the benefits of Isha Kriya is limited, a few smaller studies suggest that it may help improve overall mood and the symptoms of certain mental health conditions.

In one study from 2019, researchers explored the impact of a single Isha Kriya session on stress and mood in a small group of anesthesiologists, nurses, and surgeons. Study results found that a one-time, 15-minute session of Isha Kriya was able to significantly reduce mood disturbances such as tension, anger, depression, and more.

Another study from 2022 studied the effects of a 6-week online Isha Kriya meditation practice on depression and anxiety symptoms.

According to the study results, participants saw reductions in depression and anxiety in as little as 2 weeks of daily meditation practice. Participants who continued their daily practice past the initial 2-week period continued to see these benefits through the 6-week program.

Share on Pinterest
Illustration by Maya Chastain

A single Isha Kriya meditation session takes only 12 minutes. Here’s how to perform this guided meditation:

  • Preparation: Find somewhere comfortable to sit — either cross-legged on a cushion or mat or on a chair. Straighten your spine, close your eyes, tilt your face slightly upward, and place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up.
  • Stage 1: For the next 7 minutes, breathe in and out, slowly and deeply. As you inhale slowly, mentally repeat to yourself: “I am not the body.” As you exhale slowly, mentally repeat to yourself: “I am not even the mind.”
  • Stage 2: After 7 minutes have passed, let out a long exhale while saying “ahhh” — do this seven times total.
  • Stage 3: For the next 5 minutes, sit in silence with your eyes closed, face slightly upturned, with a slight focus on the small space between your eyebrows.

Isha Kriya meditation sessions are guided, so the instructor will help walk you through each stage, checking in with you on things like your posture, breathing, and timing.

If you’re interested in giving Isha Kriya meditation a try, here are a few more things to keep in mind before you jump into your first session.

Can Isha Kriya cure anxiety?

If you have an anxiety disorder, you may be exploring treatment options to help you better manage your condition. Research has shown that meditation, along with other mindful activities, can help improve mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

One large review of studies from 2022 explored the benefits of mantra-based meditation — like Isha Kriya — on mental health. The researchers found that this type of meditation appears to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and improve overall mental health–related quality of life.

Is Isha Kriya dangerous?

Mindfulness practices such as meditation are generally considered safe and have very few risks when done correctly. But, some research suggests that a small percentage of people who engage in meditation may experience some side effects.

In one systematic review on meditation and side effects, researchers found that 65% of the studies included in the review reported at least one side effect. Across all included studies, roughly 8.3% of study participants reported side effects — with the most common being anxiety, depression, and cognitive changes.

People with a history of trauma or dissociative episodes may find this type of meditation destabilizing without the aid of an in-person guide. Practicing a grounding technique at the end of an Isha Kriya mediation may help to counteract this.

How many days should you do Isha Kriya meditation?

While there’s no specific rule on how often you should do meditation, if you’re new to the practice, a good rule of thumb is to start small and work your way up. So, this might look like setting aside time for a single Isha Kriya session twice a week until you’ve made it a habit.

Over time, if you’ve found Isha Kriya to be beneficial for your mental health, you can aim to incorporate it into your daily schedule. According to Sadhguru, you can even do Isha Kriya up to 3–5 times a day, as long as you’re waiting at least 4 hours between each session.

Isha Kriya meditation is one of the best types of meditation to start with as a beginner. Not only is it guided, so you have the benefit of assistance from an instructor, but it’s one of the shortest forms of meditation — requiring only 12–15 minutes of your time each day.

You can learn more about Isha Kriya meditation, including step-by-step instructions from Sadhguru, in his introduction video here. And if you’re interested in trying out other types of meditation, here are some of our top picks for meditation apps you can try today.