Does it matter whether one is a man or a woman on the path of Kriya Yoga? In this first post of the series, “Women and Spirituality”, Sadhguru looks at the role that gender plays, and how one can use it to their advantage on the spiritual path.

Questioner: You have talked about kriya yoga being a path for the tough people. Are there any women kriya yogis on the path?

Sadhguru: There have been but very few, because kriya yoga demands a certain extreme sense of discipline and perseverance at certain stages of its sadhana. Generally, it is not that it’s not possible, but generally women didn’t choose kriya because they don’t like that kind of hardship. It is not necessary that kriya yoga should mean hardship, no. But biologically a woman is slightly disadvantaged when it comes to kriya yoga, not essentially so but to a certain extent she is disadvantaged. But what I have seen and known is the general kriya that was taught was mostly designed for a male because most of the practitioners were male.

So, generally only men walked the path of kriya yoga because it involved a certain discipline and it involved a certain “taking away” from the normal situations of life, which was not possible at all in this culture for a woman. Because by the time she was eight or nine she was married, by the time she was fifteen she had a child. So the question of she going into such atmospheres which kriya yoga demands was not available. So traditionally it got established like kriya yoga means it’s for men only, not because yoga is of that nature, because social conditions were of that nature.

So, all the practices that were designed and structured by various masters were all male oriented because their disciples were male. Accordingly they structured the processes. This does not mean no woman has walked kriya yoga path, I know many have, but they were a very small minority, so not too many practices were designed for them. But the systems that we have structured here are suitable for women also. They are doing well with their practices. So can a woman walk kriya yoga? Yes she can, but if she wants to walk kriya as a hundred percent path, she’s slightly disadvantaged, she’s come with a handicap, so she needs little extra effort if she’s willing to do that. But it’s always best if one wants to progress to mix all aspects of life to create a proper combination of these four dimensions of gnana, kriya, karma and bhakti. And in a woman generally the emotional dimension in her is more dominant than other dimensions, it’s good to make use of that. Why give up an advantage and take up a handicapped position? It’s better to make use of the advantages that she has.