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.

Meme temps que l’automn 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.


Explore Our Free Introduction to Kriya Yoga

This free online course will give you an introduction to The Path of Kriya Yoga and the four steps which prepare a student for eventual initiation into the technique of Kriya Yoga. It includes several excerpts from each step, helping give you an experience of the comprehensive Path of Kriya Yoga.

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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 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.

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“One thousand Kriyas 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 30 years, and teaching meditation for over 50 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 others 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 truth seekers 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 Learn Kriya?

This process takes about a year, but this also depends on each individual. It is natural to think of any training we receive in terms of outer goals, yet with the Path of Kriya, much more is involved. The Path of Kriya Yoga involves learning and practicing spiritual techniques that promote inner transformation. Each of these techniques needs to be integrated into one’s life before moving forward. How quickly one can move forward with the material depends on personal karma and inner realities. The instructors work with each individual, according to their needs and realities.

How Do You Learn Kriya?

The Path of Kriya can be studied in a few different ways— 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.

At a Center

If you live near an Ananda Center, you can contact them for details on the Kriya Yoga preparation courses they offer. Preparing for Kriya Yoga at an Ananda Center is ideal if possible. Having an in person connection is invaluable.

Find Ananda Near You

Online Courses

This includes a series of four online classes designed to guide you through the process of preparing to learn Kriya Yoga. This is the ideal way to learn for those not near an Ananda Center. You will have lots of support from your teachers and fellow Kriya Yoga students.

More About Online Courses

Ordering the Books

This option is suitable for those who do not have easy access to a computer. The books are also a great secondary resource to both the online and in-person courses.

Explore the Books

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. Learn more about Kriya Yoga.

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. Read more about Babaji and Kriya Yoga.

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.” See more testimonials on the benefits of 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. See more questions on Kriya Yoga.

Kriyaban Support

Ananda offers ongoing support for Ananda Sangha Kriyabans, including online courses, Kriya retreats (both online and in-person), guided Kriya meditations, a special website with articles to help deepen one’s Kriya practice, as well as email support and personal counseling. To find out more about Kriya, email KriyaYoga@ananda.org.

More About Kriya Support

Contact Us

Would you like to find out how to get started on the Path of Kriya Yoga? Contact us by filling out the form below and we can help guide you through the process.

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As director of Ananda’s Kriya Sangha, I’ve had the great good fortune of hearing from countless Kriya Yogis from around the world. These wonderful souls have shared with me their stories about the extraordinary growth that comes from following the Path of Kriya.

In the coming months I’ll share some of those conversations with you. It is my hope that you’ll see how these teachings transform the lives of everyone who practices them faithfully and with devotion.

If you would like to share your own experience of following the Path of Kriya, feel free to email me.

Soon I’ll be traveling to two international gatherings at our center in Gurgaon, India: a retreat honoring the anniversary of Paramhansa Yogananda’s Mahasamadhi (March 2-4), and the First International Kriyaban Retreat (March 9-11). I’ll share news and photos from both events.

I’ll also post photos of the natural beauty of Ananda Village, including scenes from my garden. To me, Ananda is the highest example of people cooperating with each other and with Divine Mother in Nature. This cooperation helps to create a beautiful and harmonious environment in which to practice the spiritual principles taught by our Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda.

Recently we had a visit from Swami Shankarananda, a Kriya Yoga teacher from the Sri Yukteswar lineage who lives in India. He remarked that Ananda Village expresses the highest ideal of Ancient Vedic living, and that it will serve as an example and sanctuary to many people in the coming years. Even though Kriya Yoga is an internal practice, the changes it creates manifest outwardly in the lives of those who practice it. Ananda is a living example of the power of the Path of Kriya Yoga.

Mahavatar BabajiThe photo on the right was taken last winter in my garden. I share it here to honor Mahavatar Babaji, the source of our Kriya teachings and of the grace that has helped create Ananda.

This blog is dedicated to Paramhansa Yogananda, who brought Kriya Yoga to the West, and with deepest gratitude to Swami Kriyananda, for selflessly sharing these teachings.