Ananda Karma Yoga Ashram Program

Ananda Karma Yoga

Ashram Program

At the Expanding Light Retreat, Ananda Village CA 

Transform Your Life with the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda

Are you seeking deeper meaning and greater happiness in your life? Are you feeling a strong pull to live more for others but don’t know where to start?

Based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, the Ananda Karma Yoga Ashram Program provides a balance of meditation and joyful service. We offer inspirational classes to help you establish new habits, attitudes, and ways of living a joyful, victorious life.

This program provides a supportive environment to help you widen your horizons, find unexpected answers to life’s challenges, and discover spiritual qualities within yourself that you didn’t know existed.

Dates: Year-round, apply anytime

Cost: $650/2 weeks, $800/month

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What is Karma Yoga?

Every action (karma) that we perform puts out a vibration of energyleading to happiness or suffering. The practice of Karma Yoga teaches us how to bring all our actions, thoughts, and feelings into harmony with our higher Self, helping us to feel that God is the doer.

As we learn  to use our energy in service to others we become happier and live in ever greater joy and freedom! 

“Environment is stronger than willpower.”

“Environment is stronger than willpower.”

— Paramhansa Yogananda

— Paramhansa Yogananda

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Why Join Ananda Karma Yoga Ashram Program?

Establish a Daily Meditation Practice

“I’ve tried to meditate before, but I find it so difficult to control my mind!” Does this sound familiar?

The meditation we teach is a universal scientific technique taught by Paramhansa Yogananda.

Practicing daily meditation helps you develop the resilience to rise above challenges in daily life and find happiness in every circumstance. Most of all, a strong meditation practice helps you establish a deep connection with the Divine.

Daily Meditation Karma Yoga

Find Joy Through Serving Others

What is the difference between work and service?

It’s a matter of consciousness. The consciousness of “work” can leave you exhausted, but if you act with the consciousness of “service” you may find you have more energy when you finish, than you had before you started.

Whether you are washing dishes, chopping vegetables, weeding a flower bed or vacuuming a carpet, you begin to see that the spirit in which you serve is more important than the service itself—and this acts as a vehicle for spiritual transformation.

Karma Yoga Ashram Program

Experience Spiritual Community

Everyone needs the right environment in order to support positive changes.

Ananda Villagehome to the Ananda Karma Yoga Ashram Program has been a living laboratory practicing Yogananda’s teachings for over 50 years. Here you’ll have the interaction and support of devotees who have been putting these teachings into practice for decades. 

Experience Spiritual Community

“I can’t begin to express in words how grateful I am for the past three months with you blessed souls. I am no longer alone, and I know what I am seeking. ”

“I can’t begin to express in words how grateful I am for the past three months with you blessed souls. I am no longer alone, and I know what I am seeking. ”

— Shana, past Karma Yogi

— Shana, past Karma Yogi

tingling-after-meditation

What Our Karma Yogis Do

“Service is ennobling. It is a way of offering our human littleness into the great Reality that is God. When we serve others in this spirit, we find our own spirits becoming freed from egotism.” – Swami Kriyananda

Service

As a Karma Yogi, you’ll serve one to two shifts each day either at the Expanding Light Retreat or at another department within Ananda Village. (10-11 shifts per week).

  • Each shift ranges from 1.5-2.5 hours, totaling 20-22 hours per week.
  • You will have 1.5 days off per week. 

Most of your service will be at the Expanding Light retreat, but you’ll also be serving in other areas of Ananda Village such as the Ananda Farm, the Temple of Light and the Crystal Hermitage Gardens. At the Expanding Light you will be doing dishwashing, general cleaning, assisting the chefs in the kitchen, and landscaping.

"By the practice of meditation, you will find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise." – Paramhansa Yogananda

Spiritual Practices

Sadhanas (spiritual practices) are offered twice daily. They include Energization Exercises, Chanting, and Meditation. Afternoon sadhanas also include Ananda Yoga postures.

  • The Energization Exercises are a series of 39 energy-control techniques that Yogananda developed in order to help the practitioner increase, focus, and control the life-force.
  • Yoga posture practice in Ananda Yoga® is gentle for beginning students, becoming more challenging with experience.
  • Ananda Meditation® is for deep relaxation, stress reduction, and higher awareness. It can be a guiding light on the path to wholeness, and a powerful way to connect with the Divine. The first level of practice – the Hong-Sau technique – is for anyone seeking to feel more inner peace and express outwardly more compassion and joy.
Our practice at Ananda is best described as Raja Yoga, or the ‘royal’ yoga. Raja Yoga is the harmonious combination of several yogas — including Hatha Yoga — with meditation as the supreme guide.

Yoga Philosophy

Our course curriculum of yoga philosophy is based upon the book The Art and Science of Raja Yoga written by Swami Kriyananda, based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.

You will also have classes and/or discussions on:

  • The practices and attitudes of Karma Yoga
  • Yogananda’s “How to Live” Principle
  • The core teachings of the path of Self-Realization
  • Sharing Nature exercises for experiencing the divine.
  •  
“Whether one becomes a saint or a sinner is to a great extent determined by the company he keeps.”
Swami Kriyananda

Spiritual Community

Karma Yogis have many opportunities to experience spiritual living at Ananda Village and connect with community members. 

During the year, Karma Yogis are invited to participate in: 

  • Kirtans (Devotional Chanting) 
  • Satsangs (spiritual friendship gatherings) with community members
  • Holiday Celebrations, such as yearly Fourth of July Parade
  • Dinner in Community Homes
  • Special Community Events 
  •  

Ananda Karma Yoga Ashram Program Daily Schedule

6:30 – 8:00 am

Sadhana (Energization Exercises, Chanting and Meditation)

8:00 – 9:00 am

Breakfast in silence

9:00am – 10:45 am or noon

Breakfast clean up and class/activity

12:00 – 12:30

Meditation

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Lunch

1:30 – 4:00 pm

Karma Yoga service shift (or free time)

4:45 – 6:30 pm

Sadhana (Energization, Yoga, Meditation)

6:30 – 7:30 pm

Dinner

7:30 – 9:30 pm  

Karma Yoga service shift (or free time)

6:30 – 8:00 am

Sadhana (Energization Exercises, Chanting and Meditation)

8:00 – 9:00 am

Breakfast in silence

9:00am – 10:45 am or noon

Breakfast clean up and class/activity

12:00 – 12:30

Meditation

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Lunch

1:30 – 4:00 pm

Karma Yoga service shift (or free time)

4:45 – 6:30 pm

Sadhana (Energization, Yoga, Meditation)

6:30 – 7:30 pm

Dinner

7:30 – 9:30 pm  

Karma Yoga service shift (or free time)

“Working with people who are here to serve God and the collective whole is truly inspirational.”

“Working with people who are here to serve God and the collective whole is truly inspirational.”

— Michelle, past Karma Yogi

— Michelle, past Karma Yogi

feeling-heat-during-meditation

Meet the Staff

Sundara Bio (2)

Sundara is the co-director of the Karma Yoga Ashram Program, an Ananda Minister, and a certified Meditation Teacher Trainer through the Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation.

Since coming to Ananda Village in 2008 he has served as the International Director of Sharing Nature Worldwide and has traveled the world helping people deepen their love for nature.

Sundara is a gifted and inspiring teacher and wins friends wherever he travels. His deep joy has been helping people understand spiritual concepts in clear and compelling ways.

Dhananjaya Bio

Dhananjaya first encountered the spiritual teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda in 2009. Since then his spiritual life has progressed steadily.

It was during Dhananjaya’s first stay in the karma yoga program in 2013 that he became a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and he also received initiation in Kriya yoga during that same visit. It was in 2016 while Dhananjaya was in the Experience Ananda program that he took Brahmachari vows of renunciation, becoming a monk.

He now resides at the Ananda Monastery and is very pleased with the opportunity to work with the Karma Yoga program.

KrishnaDas Bio Photo

Nayaswami Krishnadas teaches a weekly Raja Yoga class for the Karma Yogis. At the Expanding Light, he oversees visiting groups to the Expanding Light and also leads groups to spiritual hot spots on Pilgrimage.

A long-time resident, teacher, and minister of Ananda Village, Krishnadas has co-directed Ananda Centers and communities in Seattle, Portland, Dallas, and Los Angeles. He has a vibrant zest for life that comes out in a warm, personable nature and serviceful disposition. 

Mantradevi Bio

Nayaswami Mantradevi serves as the main spiritual counselor and is the disciple class teacher for Karma Yogis. 

Arya Bio Photo

Arya serves as support staff for the Karma Yoga Program and Ananda Yoga instructor at the Ananda School of Yoga & Meditation. It’s been a joy for her to share the powerful teachings of yoga and meditation, that have profoundly transformed her life. She has also immensely enjoyed leading our summer youth program, Ananda Village Internship Program and teaching sadhana at The Expanding Light Retreat.

FAQs

We ask that you Apply Here. After you’ve sent in your application and medical form, we’ll set up a time to do a Zoom Interview to get to know each other better, and talk with you more in depth about the program. It would also be helpful for you to read Autobiography of a Yogi and The New Path to get better acquainted with our spiritual tradition before you arrive.

Two weeks is a first time minimum, so you can settle into the program. While you can technically stay for up to 3 months, we go month by month (checking in every two weeks) to make sure that the program is a good fit. 

Upon acceptance in the program, we will ask you to pay a $200 deposit.

  • Your shared room in Seva House.
  • Three wholesome vegetarian meals per day.
  • Comprehensive course in yoga philosophy, which includes the books, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga and Lessons in Meditation.
  • Twice-daily sadhanas. Our sadhanas include Paramhansa Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, Ananda Yoga, and Ananda Meditation.
  • Opportunity for 1-on-1 spiritual guidance and support.
  • We’ve found that it hasn’t worked well for people to work remotely or do other side activities while in our program. Between sadhanas, service, and classes, your daily schedule will be fairly full, but not overly so. 
  • During your stay, you will find that you have free time to enjoy Ananda Village’s 700 acres of scenic beauty; including our quaint “downtown” Ananda, our local farms, goat dairy, and Crystal Hermitage Gardens. You may also enjoy taking time to experience local hikes around the scenic Yuba River and explore historic Nevada City.

Ananda’s Karma Yoga Ashram Program functions within an ashram environment. We ask that you help us to maintain our peaceful, uplifting atmosphere. To ensure an enjoyable experience for all we ask that you follow these guidelines during your stay:

  • No recreational drugs or alcohol of any kind while in our program.
  • Dress modestly. Please check out our “What to Bring List” for clarification on clothing.
  • Smoking is permitted only outdoors and only on the paved parking lots both out of consideration for our guests and to reduce fire hazard.
  • No pets on the grounds (with the exception of service animals).
  • Quiet hours are from 9:00 pm to 9:00 am. (If listening to music in your room, please use headphones.)

We have various resources and directions to help with getting to the Expanding Light Retreat. Please check them out here. If you have more questions about getting here, please contact the Karma Yoga Ashram Department and we will be happy to advise you.

During your stay, we require that you have medical insurance. Travel medical insurance can be an inexpensive insurance option during your stay with us. We recommend checking out this website for more information on travel medical insurance.

We ask that you attend at least 1 sadhana (yoga and meditation session) per day, all morning classes and your daily seva shift(s).

During your stay we encourage you to get into the ashram vibration and this includes the devotional chanting and music of Ananda. We’d be happy to teach you how to play our chants on harmonium or guitar.  Please refrain from playing other music at the Retreat. If you would like to play your instrument, we ask that you do so quietly away from the main retreat facility.  We can suggest areas where you can do this.

All of your meals will be provided for you during your stay. You will have access to a fridge to store some personal food.  

The chefs and cooks provide a variety of delicious and nutritious vegetarian fare that satisfies most dietary needs. Gluten free and vegan options are available at every meal. If you have special dietary needs, please talk to us personally. It is not possible for karma yogis to use the kitchen for personal cooking.

Please let us know at least a week in advance if you need to reschedule your visit. We appreciate as much advance notice as possible. If you cancel your stay less than a week within your start date, your deposit may be forfeit. If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Accommodations

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“I feel that the greatest blessing of being in the Karma Yoga program was the opportunity to attune more deeply to Ananda’s lineage of great masters, to have fellowship with devotees, and to be able to practice the presence of God through service.”

“I feel that the greatest blessing of being in the Karma Yoga program was the opportunity to attune more deeply to Ananda’s lineage of great masters, to have fellowship with devotees, and to be able to practice the presence of God through service.”

— Steven, past Karma Yogi

— Steven, past Karma Yogi

Testimonials

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Rachel
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Ananda’s Karma Yoga Ashram Program at Ananda's Expanding Light was one of the most positive, life-changing experiences of my life. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an inspiring spiritual community-and now family
Shana
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I can’t begin to express in words how grateful I am for the past three months with you blessed souls. I am no longer alone, and I know what I am seeking. This is certainly the greatest blessing, and I can’t thank you enough.
Steven
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Before I came to Ananda, I knew that I wanted to devote my life to God. Being in the Karma Yoga Program helped me to develop a daily practice of meditation, and to realize that all activities when done with an attitude of non-attachment and self-offering become a very important part of sadhana. I feel that the greatest blessing of being in the Karma Yoga program was the opportunity to attune more deeply to Ananda’s lineage of great masters, to have fellowship with devotees, and to be able to practice the presence of God through service.
Michelle
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Working with people who are here to serve God and the collective whole is truly inspirational. It has given me the opportunity to feel the flow of this amazing community. I'm indebted to this place
Ann
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I began meditating when I was 16 years old and never stopped. The Expanding Light’s Karma Yoga Program has been a way for me to deepen my meditation practice. Stillness, meditation and yoga are powerful tools to self-awareness and reflection to develop inner peace. I love being a Karma Yogi!
Adam
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I came to Ananda’s Karma Yoga Ashram Program to deepen my sadhana (spiritual practices) and to spend more time at Ananda Village. I would say the most important thing I learned was how to serve God and my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda in everything I do. No matter how menial the task, every action can be done with devotion and care, and Divine Mother is always with us.
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Ananda Karma Yoga Ashram Program

Year-round Immersion Program

Cost: $650 (first two weeks) $800 (one month)

  • Two weeks is a first time minimum, so you can settle into the program. While you can technically stay for up to 3 months, we go month by month (checking in every two weeks) to make sure that the program is a good fit. 
  • Upon acceptance in the program, we will ask you to pay a $200 deposit.

Cancelation Policy:

Please let us know at least a week in advance if you need to reschedule your visit. We appreciate as much advance notice as possible. If you cancel your stay less than a week within your start date, your deposit may be forfeit.

Do you have further questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us by filling out the form below!

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