• The Expanding Light, at Ananda Village The Expanding Light, at Ananda Village


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Mission Statement

  1. We believe in a single, blissful, eternal consciousness, Satchidanandam, which pervades the entire universe, unifying it and all creatures in a bond of mutual service. This blissful consciousness is the underlying reality of all existence; it precedes the very manifestation of the universe.

  2. We believe that man's highest duty is to realize himself as an expression of all-pervading Satchidanandam.

    a) We embrace the way to this Self-realization through the inner silence, above all, of daily communion with the infinite Self.

    b) We embrace, for ourselves, the need to embody this realization in our own lives by daily performing at least one specific, conscious, personally selected act of service to our fellow beings.

    c) We embrace?again, for ourselves, since we seek not to impose our understanding on others?the need to honor all, whether friends or self-named foes, as manifestations of the eternal Satchidanandam, and to see them as our brothers and sisters in that Supreme Consciousness which is variously called God, Ishwara, Allah, or Jehovah. We recognize all names for that Supreme Being as designating our one, common Progenitor.

    d) We embrace the need to give back to our Supreme Source by offering up every ego-attachment and self-limiting identity in daily acts of service to others.

    e) We seek as our primary goal in life the state of actual, conscious union with Satchidanandam.

    f) We aspire to make our own lives works of art, whether through music, through the visual arts, or through the simple deeds of our daily existence, with a view to expressing the bliss that is latent in our deeper selves.

    g) We seek to make our every thought and action a radiation outward from the center of our being, and not to allow ourselves to become superficial reflections of the thoughts and actions of others.

  3. We seek never to convert anyone to our specific cause except, in love, to inspire all with the desire to reclaim the bliss of their own being.

  4. We seek fellowship with others willing to join hands with us in this loving labor for universal upliftment. Thus, by our united efforts, our hope is to share inspiration with ever-increasing effectiveness.

  5. We recognize that, whether or not others join us consciously in this labor, all human beings, each one individually, serve the Eternal Purpose, doing so by the simple act of seeking, whether ignorantly or wisely, the bliss of their own being. We condemn no one, therefore, for ideas he may hold that are different from our own, but embrace all as fellow seekers of Ultimate Bliss.

  6. In token of our dedication to these principles, the assumption of which is our guiding rule in life, we undertake at formal functions of our Order to wear a color expressive of our hearts' ardor, of the purity of our aspiration, and of the humility of our intentions. We wear that color not to set ourselves apart from others, but simply to remind ourselves to remain focused on our true purpose. The color is a warm hue of yellow, reminiscent of the sun and symbolic of the joy of our own being. By donning this color, we demonstrate our willingness to cooperate with others equally dedicated to this lofty ideal. The color yellow may be worn in any shape: a tie, a scarf, a shawl, or even a handkerchief tucked into the breast pocket of a man's jacket.

  7. We recognize that the way of Ananda Sangha is primarily inward, not outward; that it leads one by the universal pathway of the spine to the high state of communion with God at that point in the forehead which lies between the eyebrows. We follow this path by the daily practice, after receiving it, of the non-sectarian science of Kriya Yoga, as it was named by its reviver in the nineteenth century, Yogavatar Lahiri Mahasaya of Varanasi. The aim of Kriya Yoga is to withdraw one's energy and consciousness from the senses to the spine, and to lift the awareness to conscious union with the Supreme Reality: Satchidanandam. Those who practice this sacred science are known as Kriyabans. The Kriyabans of Ananda Sangha offer special respect, honor, and reverence to those who inspired the promulgation of Kriya Yoga in modern times: Jesus Christ, Mahavatar Babaji (who was, as he has informed his close disciples, Bhagavan Krishna in a former incarnation), Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and Paramhansa Yogananda, ambassador of Kriya Yoga to the West and promoter of the underlying oneness of Hinduism, Christianity, and, consequently, of all the great religions of the world. Kriyabans revere the great saints of all religions, but give special reverence and obedience to the line of gurus on whose lives and teachings we pattern our own lives.


The Ananda Village community is situated on 840 acres of meadows and forests amidst the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California. Today, 250 people reside here, including adults and children of all ages.

The Expanding Light at Ananda

At The Expanding Light, Ananda's guest retreat, people from all walks of life can learn various aspects of yoga and meditation. Yoga, the basis for all our programs, is more than a system of physical postures-it is a way of life. Yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, and can be understood on many levels-from self-integration to union of the soul with God or Spirit. Yoga offers techniques for bringing peace and harmony into your attitudes, work, relationships, and family life.

People from around the world come here for personal retreats, training in yoga, meditation, healthy living techniques, or gaining certification from our popular Ananda Yoga Teacher Training or Meditation Teacher Training courses. Guests stay in cabins, guest houses, or our deluxe "Harmony House," with each room dedicated to a major spiritual tradition. Families or small groups can stay in a home across the meadow from the main retreat.

Yoga Postures at The Expanding Light

As well as guest quarters, the retreat includes numerous classrooms, a bookstore and gift boutique, group dining facilities, small meditation shrines, Lotus Lake, gardens, and walking trails.

Nearby is The Center for Radiant Health, where guests can enjoy massage or alternative healing treatments. For a more inward experience, The Seclusion Retreat is located in a remote, forested area six miles from Ananda Village. Guests stay in simple cabins and can have vegetarian meals delivered to their door, cook their own meals, or join others at the retreat dining room. As with The Expanding Light, guests may join optional twice-daily yoga and meditation sessions in the retreat's temple. In addition to offering guided seclusions, the retreat's annual Families Program offers ways to bring spirituality more deeply into family life.

A Tangible Feeling of Peace

You?ll find here an ideal environment for personal change, with genuine acceptance and respect for each person?s unique path. Guests often tell us how at home they feel, how easy it is to relax and ?be themselves.? You can meet others from around the world with goals similar to your own, in an atmosphere that brings out the best within you.

The Thrilling Beauty of Nature
Ananda?s 800 acres of meadows, lakes, rolling hills, and pine forests in the Sierra Nevada Foothills offer magnificent vistas of mountains and sunsets. You can enjoy short walks in nature or longer hikes on forest trails. Just a short drive away is the famous Yuba River, one of California's most beautiful and pristine rivers. Silently grazing deer and the music of colorful birds add a peaceful magic to the surroundings.

Facilities that Uplift and Welcome
Relax in a variety of gracious housing choices created for different tastes and budgets. Rooms have been carefully designed and decorated with the comfort and upliftment of our guests in mind. Enjoy our newly completed piazza with a large central fountain and beautiful landscaping?an ideal setting for outdoor dining and relaxation. Be sure to visit our new reception center and boutique for lovely gift items, inspirational books and tapes, and yoga aids.

Classical Roots

Paramhansa Yogananda (1893-1952) came to the West in 1920 from India. He is best known for his Autobiography of a Yogi, which brings alive the joy and power of the science of yoga. Since its publication in 1946 it has been a spiritual springboard for millions of readers.

Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters), the founder of Ananda and The Expanding Light, is one of the few remaining direct disciples of Yogananda in the world today. A well-known writer, composer, and lecturer, Swami Kriyananda shares the practicality of yoga, meditation, and living for God.

The Teachings
Yogananda brought to America teachings and techniques specifically designed for spiritual awakening. He called his path Kriya Yoga, and it includes four major techniques: Energization Exercises, the Hong-Sau technique of concentration, AUM meditation, and the Kriya technique. You can learn the first two of these on any visit to The Expanding Light, and you can continue your study here in order to receive Kriya Yoga initiation.

The Lifestyle
Kriyananda started Ananda Village in 1968 to fulfill Yogananda's dream of spiritual communities. Ananda Village is a constantly growing community of 250 members living on about 800 acres of land. It includes homes, businesses, and a school for children (livingwisdom.org).

In addition to Ananda Village, Ananda includes affiliated meditation groups in many countries as well as branch communities and teaching centers in:

"The Expanding Light offers a spiritual joie de vivre that is graceful, humble, and genuine, permitting me to reacquaint myself with a long dormant spiritual life that has inspired multiple practical life changes. Eternal gratitude!"
? Alan Peters, MD, Sonora, CA

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Average Review 1 reviews

Would you recommend The Expanding Light, at Ananda Village?

by Ben B. (2014-08-24 15:58:04.0)
Such a special place, 20 year old memories are still clear and dear. A place to get answers, experience God, meet interesting people and learn. Was led there while on the west coast, if I go back west will surely return!