Ananda Sangha Chennai
Menu
Home > Meditation & Kriya Yoga > What is Kriya Yoga?

What is Kriya Yoga?

Kriya Yoga is a meditation technique that quickly accelerates one’s spiritual growth. It became widely known through Paramhansa Yogananda’s 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. Ultimately, it’s more than a technique; it’s a spiritual path that includes other practices, right living, and discipleship to the Kriya line of spiritual teachers, or gurus.

Kriya works by giving the practitioner pranayama, or control of the life force. Through life force control, the yogi is able to overcome all the obstacles preventing union with the Divine.

“Kriya Yoga teaches how to awaken life force and transmute it into radiant, all-encompassing spiritual power by diverting it away from the senses and concentrating it on the soul.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda

Origin of Kriya Yoga

Part of the ancient science of Raja Yoga, Kriya Yoga is mentioned by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras and by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita—but the technique itself was kept secret for many centuries. It was revived and made public again only 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. And, in kind, Swami Kriyananda authorized a few disciples at Ananda Sangha to give initiations as well.

Training for Kriya Initiation

On average, it takes ten to twelve months to prepare for Kriya Initiation. The typical steps required include:

Spiritual Practices: A daily practice of meditation, starting with the Hong-Sau technique is essential. We recommend learning to meditate in-person through an Ananda acharya (see our Learn to Meditate brochure). After you are initiated into discipleship, you will also learn the AUM Technique and Maha Mudra, which you will then incorporate into your daily practice (more below).

Courses & Study: Four levels of classes are also required. First is Learn to Meditate and Energise where you learn the Hong-Sau meditation technique and the Energisation Exercises. Next is Raja Yoga, an extensive class series which gives a complete overview of the yoga system, including philosophy, meditation, breathing, diet, healing, affirmations and more (see separate brochure for more). After completing Raja Yoga, we offer a course in The Path of Discipleship and the AUM Technique followed by a Kriya Preparation course.

This sequence of classes covers how to incorporate Raja Yoga principles into your daily life, the history of Kriya and our line of gurus, principles of discipleship, the Energisation Exercises, advanced learning of Yogananda’s teachings, special chakra exercises, and in-depth study of key writings of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda.

Discipleship: Prior to Kriya initiation, you are invited to consider a life of discipleship to Paramhansa Yogananda and the Self-realisation line of Masters–Jesus Christ, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar and Paramhansa Yogananda. The Masters remind us that spiritual growth results from the combination of our effort, God’s grace, and the blessings of a God-realized Master who has been sent to guide us. There is a simple ceremony, which includes a Discipleship Vow—a statement of one’s openness to the guidance of the guru.

Your relationship with Yogananda is developed through inner attunement, and in turn is expressed and reinforced through service and support of the guru’s work in cooperation with your spiritual family.

After initiation, you will be eligible to learn the AUM Technique of meditation, an essential element, along with Hong-Sau and Energization Exercises, on the path of Kriya Yoga.

Kriya Interview: The final step is to be interviewed by an acharya after completing a Kriya Application. The application documents your eligibility, including a summary of the courses and techniques you’ve taken and practiced. We recommend reviewing the application well in advance so that you can understand the requirements for Initiation.

Initiation Ceremony: The Kriya Yoga Initiation Ceremony is usually held twice per year in Chennai.

Ongoing Support: Once you have taken Kriya, Ananda acharyas are available to support your practice in several ways:
1) we offer regular meditations specifically for kriyabans;
2) we are available to individually check your practice;
3) we have for your review, written lessons, audios, and videos;
4) we offer kriya initiation and renewal ceremonies twice per year. You will also have access to a Kriya website. We encourage you to re-take Kriya Initiation as often as possible.

“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

What Others Are Saying…

The single most important event of my life was taking my first Kriya Yoga Initiation at Ananda…I have regularly and faithfully practiced Kriya since that time and I can say, without reservation, that all the promises that our Gurus make regarding Kriya Yoga and what it can do for your spiritual progress are very, very true!
—S. S.

As my Kriya practice deepens, I know in my heart I am on my way to becoming who I want to become and achieving the ultimate goal of Self-realization.
—P. K.

I have been experiencing such wonderful results.… There has not been a day that I have not felt God’s and Yogananda’s presence with me since I took my Kriya Initiation. WHAT A JOY!
— J. H.