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 for reaching the goal of Yoga: union with the Divine.

Ananda has initiated thousands of seekers into Kriya Yoga for the last forty years. Its effectiveness has been proven in the lives of people from all walks of life, religions, and nationalities.

What is Kriya Yoga?

Kriya Yoga is an advanced technique for spiritual evolution that has been taught by enlightened sages for thousands of years. Part of the ancient science of Raja Yoga, it is mentioned by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras and by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

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.

Paramhansa Yogananda taught Kriya Yoga as part of a spiritual path that includes other yoga practices and discipleship to the Kriya line of spiritual teachers, or gurus.

The Kriya technique itself is given after about one year of study and practice of the other techniques that are part of the path of Kriya Yoga. The Kriya technique is generally given through direct initiation from a qualified Kriya Yoga teacher, or acharya.

Origin of Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga is an ancient technique that 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.

How to Learn Kriya Yoga

Self-Realization, as taught by Paramhansa Yogananda and practiced at Ananda, includes meditation techniques; study of the writings of Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda; joyful service; spiritual friendship; and the development of right attitudes in all areas of your life.

Those wanting to learn the advanced Ananda Kriya meditation techniques need first to develop a regular daily practice of meditation and the Energization Exercises. Further steps include more advanced meditation practices and the exploration of one’s inner relationship with God and Paramhansa Yogananda. An important step prior to receiving Kriya Initiation (instruction in the advanced Kriya techniques) is that of discipleship to Yogananda. Lessons and courses in discipleship are available. It typically requires a minimum of one year of daily practice of the energization exercises and the Hong Sau technique before one receives Kriya Initiation.

Preparation for Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga was first introduced to the West in 1920 by the renowned Yoga Master Paramhansa Yogananda. Kriya is an ancient yogic technique (described in Yogananda’s spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi) as the airplane route to God. It is a simple yet highly effective meditation practice designed to release negative emotions, habits and a wide variety of inner obstacles paving the way for higher states of consciousness and soul freedom.

Ananda offers Kriya Yoga initiation in Michigan once a year in the fall. In preparation for taking the initiation, one must complete all four levels of classes. These are offered on a regular basis throughout the year at Ananda Village in California, and at various times at Ananda Michigan.

Level One (Lessons in Meditation) is usually a two session course, focusing on learning the subtle art of meditation. It is open to both beginner and advanced students.

In this series the Hong Sau technique of Meditation is taught. 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 daily life.

Level Two (The Essence of Self-Realization), is offered to beginner and advanced students. This course introduces students to many aspects of the spiritual path including: yoga paths of devotion, action, wisdom, and meditation; Patanjali’s eight-fold path to Self-Realization; the do’s and don’ts on the yoga path; affirmations and the power of thought and mantra; tapping into the infinite source of energy and magnetism; the guru-disciple relationship; and controlling the life force.

Level Three (Discipleship) The prerequisite for taking this course is to have completed the first two levels. In this course the Guru-Disciple relationship is explored in greater depth. A Discipleship Ceremony is offered for those who feel inspired by our line of Gurus and wish to become a disciple of this path. 

Level Four (Kriya Preparation) When one has completed Levels 1, 2,and 3, become a disciple, and wants to receive Kriya initiation, they are invited to take the Kriya Preparation course, which is the fourth and final course on the Path of Kriya Yoga. Techniques already learned are reviewed and practiced, and additional preparatory techniques for Kriya are taught and practiced.

To receive Kriya Initiation, students must have completed these courses, and also have established a daily meditation practice using the techniques learned. Once all of these levels have been completed and students have a solid meditation practice, they are welcome to submit an application to take part in the Kriya Initiation Ceremony scheduled in the fall.

For more information about Kriya Preparation through Ananda Michigan, please contact us.

Questions on The Path to Kriya


“Self-Realization is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it come to you; that God’s omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all you need to do is improve your knowing.”
— Paramhansa Yogananda

Yogananda. anandamichigan.org