Ananda: A center for meditation, yoga, and spiritual community
Are you seeking inner peace? Wanting to find purpose and meaning in life?
Perhaps you have had questions about God, or are seeking a deeper connection with the Divine. For forty years, Ananda has helped thousands of people in the Bay Area to achieve these goals. We offer support and friendship for your spiritual journey. What you’ll find at Ananda:
Learn how to meditate
Ananda is one of the largest and oldest meditation centers in northern California. Skilled instructors with personal life-long practices will help guide you, from sitting comfortably to learning how to calm the mind and the heart. Whether your interest is meditation as a spiritual practice, or for stress reduction and health, you will feel at home in an Ananda meditation class.
Yoga: ancient tools for self-mastery
Though most people think of yoga as physical postures, yoga is an ancient and powerful tool for spiritual development. The science of Raja Yoga is a comprehensive approach to life that develops personal character, inner strength, and a calm, compassionate heart. Unlike most religious philosophies, Raja Yoga does not ask you to believe a dogma; you are encouraged to test its teachings in the laboratory of your life.
You may also study yoga postures here with some of the finest instructors in the Bay Area. Ananda Yoga Center offers a full schedule of drop-in yoga postures classes for beginners and advanced students. Natural light pours in on two sides of this beautiful, newly remodeled studio. Ananda Yoga is a gentle, inward practice that brings not only health, strength, and flexibility, but also is an ideal preparation for deep meditation.
“Religionists should learn above all to test their beliefs, just as science does—to prove the teachings of their faith in their own lives, and not to remain satisfied with the claims of others.”
Truths shared by the great religions
Sunday services include comparative readings and talks from the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. The emphasis is on the underlying truths shared by the great religions, rather than differences. The teachings at Ananda were brought to the West by Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. His direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda, founded Ananda in 1968 as the fulfillment of Yogananda's dream of spiritual communities — a place where people could live, work and serve together in a spiritually supportive environment.
A joyful spiritual community of friends
One of the most frequent comments by visitors is, “I feel so much joy here!” “The smiles you’ll meet are genuine. Ananda is a place of music, laughter, deep spiritual fellowship, and a refreshing sense of humor.
All are welcome
The basis of this teaching is universal. People of all faiths are welcome; all faiths are honored. Ananda exists to support your search for greater meaning and understanding, whether it be called wisdom, truth, joy, or God.
At Ananda, you may discover what others have found…
“I had a beautiful home in the Bay Area, a high-paying job that I was passionate about, and loving friends. I was also a determined atheist. I had everything I’d ever wanted, but there was still a hollow feeling inside. Whenever I stopping rushing around, even for a moment, I found myself weeping.
I knew something was terribly wrong, but didn’t know what to do about it. A friend brought me to hear Asha speak one Sunday. I’d never heard anyone speak like her. She was brilliant, funny, humble, and profoundly inspired. I’ve hardly missed a single one of her talks since then. And I have discovered a rich inner life that I never knew was possible before.
—Marilyn H., scientist
“The music blew me away. The chanting is beautiful, and there is other music that they sing at every service. It’s as powerful as Asha’s talks. I found out there was a kirtan every Friday night, and I try to go whenever I can. I’d practiced Buddhism before, and I found the joy and devotion at Ananda have taken me to a new place, spiritually.”
—Barbara C., Family Therapist
“I’d meditated on and off for years. When I was meditating, I felt a deep connection with myself and the world around me. But I didn’t stay with it.
One day, I learned that Ananda was offering meditation classes, not only for beginners, but ongoing meditation classes that would take me much deeper. And I could meditate regularly with others. The personal training I received from long-time meditators was such a big help. I feel connected now with a part of myself I had lost for years.
—Elizabeth O., Administrator
“My husband was having surgery for a life-threatening medical condition, and I was a nervous wreck. While pacing the hospital grounds, I saw a guide to Ananda programs. The photo on the cover attracted me.
Later I learned it was an Indian yoga teacher, Yogananda. But at that moment, all I knew was that those eyes understood what I was going through. That week, I called and signed up for a meditation class. I wasn’t looking for anything like this. But when I found it, somehow my soul let me know, this was home.”
—Kristina S., retired
“I was always looking for truth that was nondenominational — the real Truth behind all the different religions all saying their way was the only way. I gave up looking for awhile, but then I went to an Ananda Sunday satsang. I liked the people right away. There was something happy and calm in their faces. When I heard Asha speak, I knew I’d found what I’d been looking for.”
—Andre R., professional ballet dancer
“I was under tremendous stress at work. I knew meditation and yoga would help me, but I was reluctant to get involved with any organized group. I did finally go to a class, and was surprised to find that the people I met were completely normal. The only difference was that they were pretty joyful and calm. They didn’t pressure me to do anything more, which I appreciated. I would have run out the door, otherwise. I’ve been coming for years now, and it’s still the same. Only I’m calmer and more joyful, too.
—Robert B., Artist
Ananda: a way of life, of work, of worship“Spiritual practice doesn’t end when one leaves the silence of the church, temple, or meditation room. At Ananda, no separation exists between spiritual priorities and the practical demands of everyday life. Rightly understood, every situation, no matter how ordinary or how difficult, is another opportunity for offering devotion and a spirit of service to God.”
Ananda is more than a place to come on Sunday. It’s a way of life that enriches home, work, and relationships. It’s a worldwide community of friends in every part of the globe. In fact, Yogananda spoke often of the need for spiritual communities—a supportive environment for the practice of meditation and yoga ideals, and living harmoniously with other like-minded people. Many years later, it was his disciple, Swami Kriyananda, who made that dream a reality, founding Ananda Village near Nevada City, CA in 1968. Ananda communities and teaching centers continue Yogananda’s work today, teaching meditation, yoga, and the Kriya Yoga technique described in his Autobiography of a Yogi.
A community of spiritual support around the world
Today, Ananda is composed of ten teaching centers and communities, three retreats, many meditation groups, and thousands of members living in every part of the world. Ananda spiritual communities and teaching centers.
Ananda in the San Francisco Bay Area
Swami Kriyananda taught meditation, yoga classes and Yogananda’s teachings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s. Soon, a nucleus of students gathered and became the founding members of Ananda. Ananda has been offering spiritual support and training in the teachings of Yogananda in the San Francisco Bay since then. Its main Temple and teaching center is in Palo Alto. Mountain View is home to a large residential community for Ananda members and friends, where some events and activities also take place.