What is Ananda?
Ananda is a global movement based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of “Autobiography of a Yogi.”
Ananda was founded in 1968 in northern California by Swami Kriyananda, one of Yogananda’s direct disciples trained and commissioned by him.
Yogananda’s teachings embrace the truths that underlie all great religions. People from all faiths and backgrounds are welcomed at Ananda.
Expand the sense of harmony in your life through ancient and effective techniques including meditation, Kriya Yoga, spiritually oriented Hatha Yoga, community, and divine friendship. We invite you to join us at our temple, yoga classes, meditation groups, and community to experience the joy of your own being.
All Are Welcome
– Ananda’s Primary Goal is to Help People Achieve Self-realization [read more…]
– Ananda is More Than a Teaching Center for Meditation and Yoga [read more…]
– Ananda Serves Many Needs [read more…]
– Residential Communities [read more…]
– Ananda is Worldwide [read more…]
– Organization and Governance [read more…]
– Our Spiritual Roots [read more…]
Ananda’s primary goal is to help people achieve Self-realization
Ananda’s primary goal is to help people achieve Self-realization, a state of consciousness that comes through shedding all outward self-definitions. Ananda has, therefore, created communities and centers that welcome all sincere seekers, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
We are committed to providing an inclusive, welcoming environment for everyone to pursue the search for God. You are invited to visit our temples, yoga retreats, meditation groups, and communities to experience the joy of your own being. [back]
Ananda is More Than a Teaching Center for Meditation and Yoga
Ananda members and students tend to be compassionate, and ardent supporters of conscious, healthy, sustainable, spiritual living. Differing points of view, backgrounds, and nationalities can be found here and are typically expressed articulately, respectfully, thoughtfully, and, perhaps most importantly, with a desire to both share and learn. [back]
Ananda Serves Many Needs
Here, You’ll Find Students from all walks of life taking classes on how to meditate and classes in yoga postures. Ananda Yoga uses classic postures (asanas) and directs their use in an uplifting way, towards greater Self-awareness. We begin with relaxation, move to energy control and awareness, and then flow upward toward inner peace. Each student learns to develop his or her own strength and unique expression of the postures.
Ananda meditation techniques emphasize the spiritual purpose of meditation but just as many students come for stress reduction, concentration, calmness or health benefits.
Our most popular course is the Raja and Hatha Yoga Intensive: a 3-month weekly program that combines hatha yoga, diet, healing, breathwork, meditation, chanting, and much more under the timeless and timely umbrella of Patanjali’s famous Yoga Sutras (the 8-Fold Path of Enlightenment).
People come from a variety of traditions to meditate because the upstairs, high-domed meditation and yoga space beckons the soul to soar into skies of inner freedom! First-time visitors are attracted by the beautiful, blue-tiled 8-sided dome that so dynamically communicates a sense of joy and high aspiration. They want to know, “What is this lovely place and who are you folks?” [back]
Simple living and high ideals have inspired an intentional, spiritual apartment-community in Lynnwood and a farm-ashram on Camano Island. Residents live and support one another in a lifestyle of meditation, service, simple living and high ideals. Ananda is known throughout the world for its network of independent, intentional communities which are among the most successful in the world today. [back]
Ananda is Worldwide
Organization and Governance
Ananda Washington is organized under the Ananda Church of Self-Realization of Seattle which is a Washington state nonprofit organization recognized as a tax-exempt church by the Internal Revenue Service.
Ananda Church is locally governed by its ministers and senior members, and is supported by pledges and tithes from local members. (Income from classes and products constitutes only 25% of total general revenue.)
Each of the core members and leaders of the Ananda Sangha (Fellowship) have been part of this spiritual heritage for decades and reflect a calm and joyful commitment to this way of life and a respect for all.
Ananda would not exist without the many volunteers who staff the desk, answer phones, teach classes, sing and play music, sweep and clean, prepare meals and who enjoy meeting new friends. A typical Sunday Service involves some 20 volunteers alone! All the yoga, meditation and other teachers serving you are volunteers. [back]
Our Spiritual Roots
Ananda has evolved from an ancient tradition whose roots are in India but whose essence is universal and nonsectarian.
We honor our guru-preceptor, Paramhansa Yogananda, who came to the West (America) with this tradition which has the ancient name of Sanatan Dharma. He brought with him the science of Kriya yoga through which we might commune inwardly with the divine presence in us and in all creation.
Yogananda’s teachings reflect a special connection between the yoga science taught by Krishna (in the Bhagavad Gita, India’s beloved “bible”) and the teachings of Jesus Christ. You will therefore find that at Ananda we make frequent references to Jesus’ teachings as illumined by Yogananda and the line of Kriya yoga masters in India who sent him to the West.
Strictly speaking, Ananda is neither Christian nor Hindu. Rather, we see in the original teachings of these faiths, and, indeed, in the teachings of the saints of all religions, universal precepts that are timeless. For this, we use the Sanskrit term, Sanatan Dharma: the eternal religion. Sanatan Dharma avers that we, and indeed, the entire cosmos, are a manifestation of the consciousness of the Infinite Spirit.
Those who have realized Oneness with Spirit teach us that we were created to achieve realization of that Oneness as children of God and to reunite our seemingly separate consciousness with that of our Creator.
There is a “high road,” or “airplane” route that can accelerate this realization and it is meditation, especially the advanced “pranayama” known simply as Kriya yoga. This technique was resurrected in modern times by the Self-realization masters in India from centuries of neglect, indifference, and priestly secrecy to fulfil the spiritual needs of millions of souls in this modern, scientifically oriented new age.
The practice of meditation is not only a science; it is also an art. There is a subtle, powerful, and necessary transmission of consciousness that takes place through the receptivity of the meditator to the grace of the preceptor, or guru. Kriya yoga is thus taught not only as a meditation technique but is given in the bond of discipleship.
Discipleship refers to a personal connection to God through an inner relationship with one who knows God and who can transmit that knowing. It was the purpose of Paramhansa Yogananda, at the behest of those who sent him to bestow the kriya-key that unlocks “the power to become the sons of God” to all those who sincerely and humbly seek it with devotion and attunement with him.
Attendance at classes, services and activities at Ananda Temple and its community and ashram is open to everyone. Neither formal membership nor discipleship is a prerequisite other than for initiation into Kriya Yoga. [back]
A Brief History of Ananda Washington
Ananda Washington is comprised of several local organizations and has members throughout the region and state.
Ananda Seattle initially began as a meditation group meeting in a member’s home in Seattle. This was around 1982.
During this time the fledgling Ananda meditation group in Seattle was visited by Ananda teachers from the original intentional community near Nevada City, CA: Ananda World Brotherhood Village.
Classes and musical programs were offered at various locations around Seattle. Its members organized retreats up to Orcas Island, and would go on retreat to Ananda Village in California at least annually, especially to the popular event there known as Spiritual Renewal Week (offered in mid-summer each year).
In 1983, the predecessor non-profit organization to Ananda Seattle was officially formed. From here until 1986, regular visits by Ananda teachers continued and the work grew steadily.
Then, in 1986, the local leaders asked Swami Kriyananda if there was an Ananda teacher available to move to Seattle to teach full-time. Swamiji responded by sending not just one, but four minister-teachers! And so, the organization was re-constituted as Ananda Seattle and, in time, became recognized by the I.R.S. as a church and non-profit (“501(c)(3)”) organization.
Rented facilities were obtained first on Aurora Ave near 85th; then later, the center moved up to Midvale Road and 175th (in what now is the city hall for Shoreline). After that and in 1994, the center moved to the Roosevelt District (Roosevelt and 65th) one block from the East West Bookshop which had been started by Ananda members (but owned by Ananda) in 1987. (The Bengal Tiger Restaurant now occupies the former Ananda Center.)
East West Bookshop
East West Bookshop, too, has had four locations, all within one block of Roosevelt and 65th! At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, East West’s large retail location was moved north to the Ananda Community in Lynnwood and thereafter now shares space with the Blue Lotus Temple in Bothell. It is now the East West Center for Self-Realization and is focusing on programs and events both online and in person. Visit www.EastWestSeattle.org for the latest news.
In the early 1990’s, local members began the search for an apartment complex to be an intentional spiritual community following the example set by Ananda members in Portland, Sacramento, CA and the San Francisco Bay area.
In 1992 their efforts bore the fruit of the purchase of a 32-unit apartment complex adjacent to Lynnwood and near the northern intersection of Interstates 5 and 405: an ideal location on 5 ½ acres of tree-filled, park-like land!
Owned by members and operated by Ananda, Ananda Community of Lynnwood hosts many events throughout the year. One, most notable, is the popular Summer Solstice Open House. This features other local intentional communities and has fair-like booths from Ananda enterprises and others from around the Sound.
Bothell Blue Lotus Meditation Temple
With the seed of a generous donation in the year 2000, we were eventually able to build the meditation temple and move our center to Bothell. It opened in December 2006.
Now, recently, we’ve completed the development of the site with the opening of the Institute of Living Yoga’s Yoga Hall! Here we can also hold our festive holiday banquets even as the hall is used daily for yoga and other classes.
During the years since 2000, Ananda members, in cooperation with the spiritual directors of Ananda Washington (Nayaswamis Hriman and Padma McGilloway), have established Ananda Farms Camano Island .
Thank you for your interest in Ananda. [top]
Blue Lotus Temple Bothell
The Blue Lotus Temple, Bothell, is a place of peace that is open to all.
It serves both the local Ananda membership and the larger circle of yoga and meditation students and sincere seekers from all walks of life.
Visitors come to the temple seeking inner guidance in prayer or meditation, or a respite from the demands of a busy world, or simply a quiet place to “be.” Some come to lend a helping hand, and others come to find community with like-minded friends who share high ideals and a practical commitment to expressing them.
Ananda offers group meditations throughout the week, and classes in meditation and yoga. Spiritual counseling services are available and there’s always one or more inspirational or practical “how-to-live” classes and workshops being held every month. When you visit, you’ll discover the bookstore and gift shop with items of beauty and inspiration.
Tuesday through Friday, for a half hour beginning at 12:30pm, locals and Ananda staff members come together for a mid-day meditation. All are welcome, no experience needed!
Blue Lotus Meditation Temple – Our “Hope for a Better World”
The gentle blue-domed shape rises to a diaphanous lotus bud delicately outlined in a golden frame. Its beauty and shape invite one’s spirit to soar! Its message is crystal clear, and it’s for everyone: All who toil and trouble, lift up your eyes! Within you lies the joy you seek.In every age and in every culture throughout history, sacred shrines are treasured as places of spiritual revitalization: reminders of life’s higher purpose.
We pray that the Temple will be such a place of pilgrimage, where all those who seek this inner state will find a “hive,” where the “honey” of Divine realization can be “tasted” and shared.As a place of worship, Ananda Seattle’s Meditation Temple is dedicated to the Self-realization precepts and the Kriya-yoga masters whose life and teachings inspired it. As a sacred space, the Temple is dedicated to serve all who see in the diverse expressions and manifestations of form, the One, Infinite Spirit as Creator, Friend, Beloved, Father-Mother and the Self of all. [top]