“You can be in a room twenty years, trying to get out through the walls, the ceiling, the floor. It is when you finally discover the door that you find your way out. That’s how it is with the soul. The average devotee may struggle his whole life trying to escape the bodily limitations by unscientific means, and by the paths only of devotion or discrimination. By Kriya Yoga, however, if he is sincere, he can escape quickly. Kriya Yoga takes one to God by the universal highway: the spine.”
— Paramhansa Yogananda, from Conversations with Yogananda
It was first made widely known by Paramhansa Yogananda in his Autobiography of a Yogi.
According to Yogananda, Kriya is the most effective technique available to mankind today for reaching the goal of Yoga: union with the Divine.
Ananda has taught thousands of seekers the sacred technique of Kriya Yoga for more than 40 years. Its effectiveness has been proven in the lives of people from all walks of life, religion and nationality.
“Kriya, controlling the mind directly through the life force, is the easiest, most effective, and most scientific avenue of approach to the Infinite.
In contrast to the slow, uncertain “bullock cart” theological path to God, Kriya may justly be called the “airplane route.”
— Paramhansa Yogananda
The Technique of Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga is so effective because it works directly with the source of growth – the spiritual energy deep in our spines.
All yoga techniques work with this energy, usually indirectly. Yoga postures, for example, can help open up the spinal channels, and balance the energy in the spine. Yoga breathing exercises can help to awaken that energy.
The Kriya technique is much more direct. It helps the practitioner to control the life force by mentally drawing it up and down the spine, with awareness and will. According to Yogananda, one Kriya, which takes about a half-minute, is equivalent to one year of natural spiritual growth.
The technique itself is taught through initiation. As Yogananda said in his autobiography, “Because of certain ancient yogic injunctions, I cannot give a full explanation of Kriya Yoga in the pages of a book intended for the general public. The actual technique must be learned from a Kriyaban or Kriya Yogi.”
Kriya Yoga initiations are offered at Ananda Village in Nevada City, California, several times during the year. In preparation for taking the initiation, one must complete all four levels of classes. These classes are offered at the Ananda Chico Meditation Center.
Level One (Learn to Meditate) is a four week course, focused on learning the subtle art of meditation. It is open to both beginner and advanced students.
In the first part of this series, you will learn the Hong Sau technique of Meditation. Hong Sau is designed to increase powers of concentration and introspection while helping to still the mind and calm the heart. The course also offers many tips on how to meditate effectively, establish a daily meditation routine, and how to integrate the benefits of meditation into your daily life.
In the second part of this series, Meditation II, you will learn Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, which help you to become more aware of subtle energy so you can direct that energy with will power to deepen your meditation. Gentle hatha yoga postures, more advanced pranayama techniques, affirmations, and visualizations are also included in these classes to help prepare you for meditation and enable you to sit longer and go deeper.
Level Two (The Art and Science of Raja Yoga), is a six week course at Ananda Chico offered to beginner and advanced students. This course draws its inspiration from Swami Kriyananda’s excellent book, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga dives deep into many aspects of the spiritual path including: yoga philosophy, meditation, developing positive magnetism, the power of affirmation, the chakras (spinal centers), the Guru-disciple relationship, yoga postures, and diet and healing techniques.
In addition we will continue to practice Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, an important contribution to the art and science of Yoga. These exercises have been examined by doctors and health practitioners and have been given the highest endorsement.
Level Three (Kriya Prep I) is a four week course. The prerequisite for taking this course is to have completed the first two levels. We will explore the Guru-Disciple relationship and learn the Aum Technique of Meditation. This technique helps one to listen and be absorbed by the mystical sounds that emanate from the chakras, awakening divine qualities such as inner calmness, soul expansion, unconditional love and joy. A Discipleship Ceremony is offered the third week for those who feel inspired and would like to continue on to take Kriya initiation.
Level Four (Kriya Prep II) is also a four week course. This final level of the series is for those who want to take the Kriya initiation. We will review and practice Hong Sau, Aum and Energization and learn several preparatory techniques for the Kriya.
Once all of these levels have been completed, qualified students are welcome to take part in the Kriya initiations offered at Ananda Village in Nevada City, California.
The secret of inner peace is loving God, and striving to be worthy of His love for you.— Swami Kriyanana