12 Lessons from 12 Years of Kriya Yoga
March 5, 2015

This July marks my 12th year as a Kriya Yogi – a practitioner of Kriya Yoga. As the daughter of two Kriya Yogis who have been practicing far longer than I (nearly 40 years each), I realize that I’m still a novice. But, I have found some tips to live by that I thought worth…

Nayaswami Diksha,
guest author

Reaching the Mountaintop in Meditation
September 24, 2014

On a recent vacation, my husband and I were hiking near Calistoga, California. When we started our hike, we were in a valley: thick forest, many trees, but little sunlight. We kept putting out energy to climb, and as we neared the top of the mountain, we began to see more and more of the…

Did Yogananda Water Down Kriya Yoga?
June 3, 2014

It’s not uncommon to hear people make the claim that Paramhansa Yogananda diluted the Kriya technique, or that he changed it for Westerners. Sometimes it’s done through a conscious intent to deceive and promote one’s own Kriya teacher, sometimes out of ignorance. Either way it’s an unfortunate sign that the world of Kriya Yoga is…

“Which is greater, a swami or a yogi?"
September 12, 2013

Paramhansa Yogananda asks this rhetorical question in his Autobiography of a Yogi. I’ve also received various forms of that question over the years, usually from people who live in the world raising a family, or perhaps struggling with marriage or with the demands of a career. Yogananda’s answer, like other understated passages tucked away in…

Seclusion is the Price of Greatness
February 27, 2013

I felt inspired to write the following article during my recent seclusion at Ananda’s Meditation Retreat in Northern California. I also felt to share my thoughts on seclusion after reading a beautiful book during my experience entitled, : The Joyful Art of Sharing Quality Time with God, by a dear friend and long time Ananda…

Devotion as a Habit
January 7, 2013

“The most important quality on the spiritual path is deep, selfless, heartfelt devotion and love for God.” “The power of habit is specially important in the spiritual path.” —Paramhansa Yogananda People usually think of habits as things that we do, rather than as thoughts and attitudes. But even our habitual actions have their origin in…

The Meditation Experiment
November 23, 2012

How many of us are hesitant to commit to a practice because we don’t think it will make any difference in our lives? Perhaps a voice in our head holds us back, afraid of any change that could challenge our comfortable status-quo. Or perhaps we doubt our potential or feel unworthy of success, thereby dampening…

How to Perceive Spiritual Truths
March 23, 2012

Sometimes in the past, I’ve found it difficult to know why certain things are happening in my life — or even, if I’m totally honest, what is happening in itself at all, apart from my emotions, desires, hopes and wishes. Recently, I had an experience that really helped to put things in perspective. In January,…

Homeward Bound
October 2, 2011

The time finally arrived for Michael and me to leave the island home we had known for 8 years, and the UK itself where we have lived for all our lives. As we left the house we had sold I looked back, but not with any regret or emotion. A short while later we sailed…

When Your Spiritual Progress Seems Too Slow...
July 25, 2011

About 45 years ago, I spent two and a half years paralyzed from the chest down. The neurosurgeons tried unsuccessfully to remove a cyst that was compressing my spinal cord, and a year of physical therapy brought no improvement, but a second surgery succeeded, and I gradually recovered the use of my legs. I’ve had…

I Get to Meditate
July 7, 2011

It’s dark out and I realized I’ve been awake for awhile unable to sleep. I still my heart and mind as I always do with the words, “I love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and with all my strength.” And then, in complete awe, I say…

The Power!
November 26, 2010

In my role as teacher at the Portland Living Wisdom School, I watch the simple dramas of life enthusiastically played out by the children and, if I pay attention, I learn. Two second grade boys decided to try jumping UP the four steps that lead from one level of the play area to another. One…

Amazing Grace!
October 28, 2010

Why is it that when we know we need to be out of bed early that will be the day the alarm doesn’t go off? This happened to me this morning. I especially wanted to rise at 04 30 to allow for a long meditation and to get some chores out of the way before…

Chanting Is Half the Battle
June 22, 2010

I’ll be giving a live webinar on Thursday night on just this subject (which will include a first ever interactive kirtan with tabla, guitar, and harmonium) and wanted to give a little background of what chanting has meant to me. When I came to Ananda and experienced chanting for the first time, my heart was…

My First Three Months of Meditation
June 21, 2010

Seven years ago, unexpectedly, I woke up one morning with a strong desire to meditate. I’d thought meditation was a good idea for some time — but meditation was something that other people did. I’d tried it and it hadn’t worked out. But, here was this new feeling: “I must find God!” I struggled on…

Yogananda's “Higher Mathematics”
June 2, 2010

Often I tell Kriya Yogis, particularly those who are math-challenged, that there are only two ‘mathematical equations’ one needs to memorize in order to achieve success on the path of Kriya. The first I mentioned in my blog post “Kriya Yoga Plus Devotion Works Like Mathematics” The other equation is this: “Twenty-five percent of spiritual…

More Meditation Teachers Needed!
May 25, 2010

My blog this time is going to be a fairly shameless effort on my part to convince you that you need to take the Ananda Meditation Teacher Training Course. The next one starts June 18th.  It is 9 days long: a week plus two weekends on both ends. Wait, wait, don’t go away! I’m guessing…

I Will, But…
May 13, 2010

I don’t know how many times people have come to me commiserating over thwarted good intentions of meditation or some other aspect of their own spiritual practice, only to have fallen short in their discipline in some way. When I offer support I have been met on more than one occasion with, “Oh but it’s…

Patrick Mullin,
guest author

Ananda Kriya Retreat in Massachusetts
May 11, 2010

The city of Frederick reclines in the rolling hills of central Maryland as it has since before the days of the Civil War. It is from this charming, quiet city that I began my adventure to the woods of northern Massachusetts for my first Kriya initiation.This journey starts, as many Ananda journeys have started, with…

Paramhansa Yogananda and Khechari Mudra
February 19, 2010

This article covers a technique, Khechari Mudra, that is one of the most unusual in yoga and therefore a bit too strange for some people. I’m posting it here because there is quite a lot of confusion around this technique, and what Paramhansa Yogananda taught about it. Khechari Mudra (also spelled Khecari or Kechari) is…

Make My Heart a Hermitage
January 8, 2010

My inspiration in writing this was Swami Kriyananda’s new book on renunciation, A Renunciate Order for the New Age. Also my own desire to be a monk… but also to be married. The old cloistered form of monasticism says you need to renounce and “get away from the world” to find God. One might say…

Medardo Muñoz,
guest author

Building Ananda in Mexico
December 17, 2009

Dear ones, My name is Medardo Vargas Muñoz. I am an architect in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico. I am a Bramachari (1) at heart. “Truth simply is, it cannot be created. Everyone has to perceive it in the Self within.” These are the words by my Guruji Yogananda, which stir my mind, a mind that…

Discovered Treasure, Part 2
December 10, 2009

Greetings all. In my last posting, I revealed Ananda’s blessed treasure, as given to me…. Attunement! Ananda Isle of Man Meditation Group Altar Attunement to such a wonderful, sacred and healing vibration, that I must share it with all. Well this is one of the ways I have begun doing just that… For some time…

"Eyes Filled with Divine Love"
August 8, 2009

Being a classically trained musician, I’ve had a life filled with discipline, “shoulds”, guilt and consequences, which certainly has its plusses and minuses. It’s easy to make myself do things when I know it will be good for me, but sometimes I find myself approaching things without much inspiration, doing them simply because I’m supposed…

The Magic of Christmas Meditation
December 29, 2008

On Tuesday December 23rd, we had our annual all-day Christmas group meditation, where we inwardly celebrate the birth of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. Paramhansa Yogananda started this annual tradition at Mt. Washington, where he held an eight-hour group meditation on December 24th (Spiritual Christmas), and followed the next day by a banquet…

Kriya Yoga and Discipleship
December 19, 2008

One of the most fantastic and beautiful stories in Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi tells of Lahiri Mahasaya’s initiation into Kriya Yoga by his Guru, Mahavatar Babaji. To this day, the Kriya ceremony at Ananda is performed just the way Yogananda did it, and is patterned after the way  Lahiri Mahasaya received, and gave,…

A Wonderful Week at Ananda
August 18, 2008

Wow. What a week! Spiritual Renewal Week 2008 was probably the biggest event we have ever had. We had hundreds of guests at the village and The Expanding Light and we must have had hundreds of people helping put on the events. It was quite amazing how everything came together, it is true: Many Hands…

Energizing Calcutta!
June 16, 2008

Monks in Calcutta

Calcutta was Paramhansa Yogananda’s boyhood home. Surprisingly, however, Ananda had only moderate success there. This April, our four monks decided to change that.

Kriya Yoga as an Investment
March 20, 2008

Audience at 2008 International Kriya Yoga Retreat in India Ananda recently held its second International Kriya Yoga Retreat in Gurgaon, India. You can watch and listen to all the talks here. I would like to expand on something I mentioned in one of my classes there. There is a great deal of talk in modern…

Religion In the New Age: Introduction
March 10, 2008

In these pages I aim to show how a spiritual mission, regardless of its name and tenets, can be made to relate to the whole world. Paramhansa Yogananda prophesied that some day the purpose of all religions would be accepted as being one and the same: Self-realization. Included in that understanding would be a sense…

Savitri Simpson,
guest author

Sweet Seclusion
January 23, 2008

Paramhansa Yogananda says, in an article written in 1923: “The week should be allotted to work, amusement, and spiritual culture—five days for money making, one day for rest and amusement, and one day for introspection and inner realization.” There probably isn’t too much question about working: most of us don’t have much choice about it.…

Benefits of Kriya Yoga
January 19, 2008

One of the great joys of my work with Kriya Yogis is the frequent emails I receive from them, describing the positive effects of Kriya practice. These testimonials come from long-time Kriyabans, and from people who have been practicing Kriya less than a year.

Many times the practice of Kriya brings what I call ‘unintended consequences’ — all of them positive! A recent email from a new Kriyaban described how they had stopped eating meat, were eating half as much as they used to (good in their case, apparently!) – all of this even though they weren’t trying to make these particular changes in their life.

Yes Moms, Meditation is Service!
November 23, 2007

I’m a mom, an oldest daughter, a nurse, a teacher, a karma yogi, – any way you look at it, I have “the heart of a servant”, as one friend described me. I am happiest when serving others, I always have been. An attitude of service is helpful when I am in a new situation…

Peace Day 2007
September 25, 2007

September 21, 2001 was a day unanimously adopted by the UN as an international day of peace. Ananda Village joined in spirit with people the world over by dedicating our prayers and positive affirmation toward world peace. We supported Peace Day by filling our day with prayer, meditation, focused healing energy and joyful chanting. The…

"Pranayam be thy Religion!"
April 27, 2007

I have a favorite chant that was frequently sung by Sri Yukteswar, Paramhansa Yogananda’s guru. It’s titled Desire, My Great Enemy:

Desire, my great enemy,
With his soldiers surrounded me,
Is giving me lots of trouble, oh my Lord,
Is giving me lots of trouble, oh my Lord.

That enemy, I will deceive,
Remaining in the Castle of Peace,
Night and Day […]

April 12, 2007

Recently, Jyotish and Devi Novak, the Spiritual Directors for Ananda, were with Swami Kriyananda in India. They said in a recent gathering with many of us:

One morning, when we were with Swamiji in India, we asked him how we could grow towards God more quickly. He replied very simply, “The whole secret of spiritual progress […]

The Power of Kriya Yoga
April 7, 2007

Recently I’ve been struck yet again by how effective Kriya Yoga is for causing deep changes in people’s lives and consciousness. Not long ago, I was checking someone’s Kriya practice. This person received Kriya about a year ago. At the time they received the initiation, I wasn’t quite sure that they were ready to practice…

Traveling Within in India: Our Pilgrimage to Rishikesh, Part 1
March 25, 2007

An excerpt:

“As the story goes, Swami Purushottamananda walled off the vast majority of the cave to stop people from disturbing the siddhas (realized or perfected souls) who were, and perhaps still are, sitting back there in their astral (energy-based) bodies, meditating.

“Is this true? I certainly can’t say for sure. However: this cave is the one place I would make sure to go if I ever returned to Rishikesh. It was intense.”

How to Start Meditating Daily
March 14, 2007

In celebration of making a commitment to deepen my own meditations, I want to share something to help people get started with a solid daily sadhana (spiritual practice).

I started meditating daily nearly four years ago, and in that time I have grown more spiritually than I would have in forty years of not meditating. It’s that profound.

Paramhansa Yogananda Mahasamadhi Retreat
March 4, 2007

This weekend is the annual Ananda retreat in honor of Paramhansa Yogananda’s Mahasamadhi, here in Gurgaon, India. It’s such a joy to practice meditation and Kriya Yoga with people from all over the world: India, America, South Africa, and nearly every European country. Seeing the harmony and love between the people here shows how easy…

Meditating in India
March 3, 2007

We arrived in Delhi four days ago after fourteen hours of flying and four hours of driving – Zack, one of the monks at Ananda India, picked us up. Once we were on our way to the Ananda center in Gurgaon, he said, “Well, I don’t know if you guys are up for it, seeing as how you just got in, but in five minutes we’re starting a six hour meditation…”