Ananda — a place of awakening

What is Ananda? 5-min video

Ananda is Sanskrit for “joy.” We’re one of the largest and oldest centers for meditation training in northern California. Thousands have learned to meditate here over the past 50 years.

Ananda is also one of the largest centers in the world for the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. Every you see at Ananda exists because of Swami Kriyananda, a close, direct disciple of Yogananda. He devoted more than 60 years of his life to serving his guru. Ananda is Yogananda’s light, channeled through Swamiji — the music you hear, the many books he has written, the services, and the joyful energy that lies under it all.

Our spiritual roots are India’s ancient science of Raja Yoga, a comprehensive way of life that includes techniques and attitudes for spiritual awakening. Our approach is non-sectarian. These teachings bring deeper understanding and helpful techniques to the spiritual life, whatever your faith may be.

“Your religion is not the garb you wear outwardly, but the garment of light you weave around your heart. The thoughts and beliefs in which you enclose yourself are not you. Discover who you are behind those outer trappings, and you will discover who Jesus was, and Buddha, and Krishna. For the masters come to earth for the purpose of holding up to every man a reflection of his deeper, eternal Self.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda

The joys of the spiritual life


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Each of us has a calm joyful center, deep within. It may get lost in the hectic pace of life, but it is there, waiting patiently for us. Meditation, introspection, and other yogic practices help us rediscover that joy—and a rich, inner life. Writes Yogananda, “Even great outward hardship cannot touch you, once you have learned to dwell always in the Self within.”


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Connect with intelligent, remarkable people who are serious about the spiritual life: Silicon Valley professionals, teachers, creative artists, business people, families—people from every walk of life. The companionship of supportive, understanding friends is an immeasurable help along the way.


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Awakening the heart’s natural love is no easy task. Life’s accumulated hurts can easily close us off from true feeling, and from the world around us. But an open, loving heart is a vital part of spiritual awakening. Cultivate devotion with heart-opening practices like chanting, seva, and prayer for others.


Seva (service or karma yoga) is one of the clearest paths to God. In helping others, we forget ourselves. We become progressively more aware of a greater energy flowing through us. Writes Swami Kriyananda, “People who gladly share with others feel themselves bathed by a constant, inner stream of happiness.”



Creative flow states also help us experience a power greater than our own. Inspired art helps awaken us to greater realities. Swami Kriyananda himself received inspiration for 400 pieces of music and was a prolific author. Ananda celebrates creativity in every aspect of life, from work and cooking to all the traditional arts.