Once you have established a consistent meditation practice, learned the basic meditation techniques that lead up to Kriya practice, and become a disciple of Yogananda, you may take initiation. Preliminary meditation practices include the Energization Exercises, Hong-Sau, and the AUM technique, which are taught in Ananda’s beginning and advanced meditation courses.
Paramhansa Yogananda described the body of the average person as similar to a fifty-watt bulb. It cannot accommodate the powerful transforming energy that comes with regular Kriya practice. The course of study and preparation normally takes about one year. By the time you take Kriya Yoga initiation, you should have a daily meditation practice of an hour and a half per day.
Seven Steps to Kriya
Step 1 – The Art of Meditation: Basic Practices
In just a few weeks, you can experience the benefits of meditation in your life—inner peace, health, and spiritual awakening. Ananda is one of the oldest and largest centers for meditation training in the Sacramento Area. Thousands of people from every walk of life have learned to meditate in Ananda classes over the past forty years. A 3-week class series is offered each month. If time doesn’t permit you to attend the full series, single Saturday sessions are also offered each month. See Meditation 1 class dates.
Step 2 – Energy and Focusing the Mind
The secret of success in life, and in meditation practice, is to be able generate energy at will and direct it where you wish. Yogananda developed the Energization Exercises, which you will learn as an integral part of this series, as well as deepening your practice of the techniques in “Learn to Meditate.”
Step 3 – Devotion: Opening the Heart
As meditation deepens, we begin to experience something greater than ourselves. Whether it is called the higher self, the soul, or God, it is another dimension of awareness. How do we relate to it? What is its role in our lives? Explore meditation as a means of inner communion, the awakening of the heart, and the beginning of what Yogananda calls the “divine romance.”
Step 4 – Disciple to Guru Relationship
If a student wishes, he may become a disciple of Yogananda. In a simple ceremony, a vow is taken asking the help of the guru in finding our way to inner freedom. Says Yogananda, “The purpose of a guru is not to weaken your will. It is to teach you secrets of developing your inner power, until you can stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds.”
Step 5 – Expanding Your Awareness – The Aum Technique
Meditation has often been called “the listening part of prayer.” After we have done our share of talking, meditation leaves an opening for the Divine to respond. Learn how to expand your awareness to embrace much more than you thought possible, with techniques especially designed to cultivate devotion and heart qualities.
Step 6 – Kriya Yoga Preparation
Kriya should be given to “all who humbly ask for help.” However, some preparation is necessary, to make the body and mind ready to receive the power created by the practice of this technique. It was Babaji who requested that Yogananda bring the Kriya meditation technique to the West as “an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened.” Yogananda wrote that Kriya is “the most effective device of salvation through self-effort ever to be evolved in man’s search for the Infinite.” Yogananda writes more about this technique in “The Science of Kriya Yoga,” in Autobiography of a Yogi.
Step 7 – Kriya Initiation
Kriya initiation is offered regularly at Ananda Sacramento. For more information about initiation or ongoing support for your Kriya practice call (916) 361-0891, or email the Ananda Sangha at: center@anandasacramento.
Raja Yoga Series
In addition to the meditation series above, the 12 week Raja Yoga Series is also required which greatly strengthens the depth and understanding of Kriya yoga.