What is Meditation?
Meditation is a technique for personal growth that has been practiced for thousands of years around the world with repeatable results.
There is no aspect of your life that cannot be improved by meditation, whether it be in business, relationships, health, or developing any personal quality, such as willpower.
The highest purpose of meditation, however, is to discover your Highest Self.
What is Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga is an ancient meditation technique of energy and breath control, or pranayama. It is part of a comprehensive spiritual path, which includes additional meditation practices along with right living.
The Kriya technique was hidden in secrecy for many centuries. It was revived in 1861, when the great yogi Mahavatar Babaji taught the technique to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. Lahiri then taught the technique to his disciple Sri Yukteswar, who taught it to his disciples, including Paramhansa Yogananda.
Yogananda then popularized Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, and through his public teaching in the West. Kriya has been taught in an unbroken link of spiritual succession to this day.
How does Kriya work?
According to Yogananda, Kriya Yoga is the most effective technique available to mankind today for reaching the goal of Yoga: union with the Divine. 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 or pranayama, can help to awaken that energy.
However, Kriya Yoga is more direct. It helps the practitioner to control the life force by mentally drawing that life force up and down the spine, with awareness and will. According to Yogananda, one Kriya, which takes about a half a minute, is equivalent to one year of natural spiritual growth.
Kriya is also very practical in its effectiveness. Kriya Yogis find that it enhances their ability to concentrate, to become more effective in business and in family life, and to become better people in every way.
How Kriya Yoga Affects the Brain
with Dr. Peter Van Houten, M.D.
The Science of Kriya Yoga
from Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened. The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. The life force, which is ordinarily absorbed in maintaining the heart-pump, must be freed for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath.
“One thousand Kriya practiced in eight hours gives the yogi, in one day, the equivalent of one thousand years of natural evolution: 365,000 years of evolution in one year.”Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
Where and How Do I Learn It?
RECEIVING KRIYA INITIATION THROUGH ANANDA
The Kriya technique is taught through initiation by one of our Kriyacharyas or Kriya Yoga teachers who are authorized by Swami Kriyananda, who himself was authorized by Paramhansa Yogananda, to pass on the Kriya technique. Many of our teachers have been initiating people into Kriya Yoga for more than 20 years, and teaching meditation for over 40 years.
We give Kriya initiations most often in the United States, India, and Italy, however our teachers often travel to other countries including Mexico, Russia, Singapore, New Zealand, and other countries to give initiations.
Preparation for Kriya Initiation
Before you can be initiated into Kriya Yoga, there is a process of preparation which includes study of Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings and practice of other meditation techniques.
Over the years, Ananda has helped thousands of truthseekers all over the world to prepare for initiation into Kriya Yoga. We’ve seen that the practice of Kriya is infinitely more effective after the proper preparation and study of the Kriya teachings.
How Long Does it Take to Prepare for Kriya?
This process takes about a year, and can be done in a few different ways— either in-person, online, or through home book-study. If you are near one of our Ananda centers, we encourage you to learn the techniques in-person. If you are not near an Ananda center, they can be learned very effectively through Ananda’s online classes. We also offer a home book-study program for those who prefer that method of learning.
Regardless of whether you choose to learn in-person, online, or through home book study, you will receive personal spiritual support, resources, and ample opportunity to ask questions of our experienced meditation teachers. After learning Kriya Yoga, Ananda continues to offer ongoing support and guidance in your spiritual practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the technique of Kriya Yoga?
Kriya Yoga is an ancient meditation technique that is also part of a comprehensive spiritual path. It is an effective technique that works directly with the source of growth — the spiritual energy deep in our spines.
What are the benefits of Kriya Yoga?
Those who practice Kriya Yoga share many different experiences on how their life has been changed. “Instead of nervousness and stress, I feel centered, calm, and peaceful. I am able to feel Divine Mother’s love even through recent shocking family tragedy, and it’s helped me to cope and stay sane and even joyful. . .”
What are the origins of Kriya Yoga?
The ancient technique of Kriya Yoga was hidden in secrecy for many centuries. It was revived in 1861, when the great yogi Mahavatar Babaji taught the technique to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya during their meeting in the Himalayas.
Kriya has been taught in an unbroken link of spiritual succession to this day. Paramhansa Yogananda personally authorized his disciple, Swami Kriyananda (founder of Ananda) to initiate qualified people into Kriya Yoga.
There are other groups that teach different “kriya” yogas — what’s the difference?
“Kriya” is a commonly used word in yoga. It literally means “action,” and is used to describe many different techniques. The Kriya that we teach at Ananda is specifically the Kriya Yoga of Lahiri Mahasaya.