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Learn Ananda Meditation® Kriya Yoga Retreat California

Join this retreat to learn how to meditate for the first time, or, if you already meditate, learn Ananda Meditation® to bring more concentration and joy to your practice. You’ll leave with the techniques and understanding you need to sustain a meditative practice. At The Expanding Light Retreat center, you’ll feel the uplifting peace of more than 40 years of people's devoted Kriya meditation practice. The welcoming and relaxed atmosphere here, the daily practice of Ananda Meditation® after yoga postures, the humor and joy of the staff, and the wonderful fellow students will help you relax and experience inner peace.


  • Daily yoga practices
  • Daily energization exercises
  • Daily meditation and chanting sessions
  • Evening Lahiri Shrine meditation sessions
  • 2 nights' accommodation
  • Daily vegetarian meals

Skill level

  • Beginner


2 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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The accommodation options are for single or double occupancy. A single guest may choose to share a room with another guest of the same gender or occupy a room privately. Two guests traveling together may occupy a room privately.

Each guest room includes two twin beds, heat, air conditioning, towels, and bedding. A limited number of queen-sized beds are available. King conversions are available for an extra charge upon request. Fresh linens and towels are available weekly with no daily maid service. Wi-Fi is available for all guests. Guests who stay in a tent or RV have access to free Wi-Fi in Serenity Lounge as the Wi-Fi does not extend to all tent or RV sites. The Expanding Light Retreat has a computer lounge with two computers and a printer. Please be aware that the Expanding Light has limited handicap accessibility.

Private and shared DELUXE rooms

Harmony house

Each room has a private entrance, a private bathroom, air conditioning, a ceiling fan, and a hairdryer.

Private and shared STANDARD rooms


Each cabin has one room, which is larger and more private than other standard rooms. Cabin occupants share separate men's and women's shower houses a few paces away and the path is lit after dark.

Serenity house

Serenity house is an inn-style house with twelve rooms and four hall bathrooms. Serenity House lounge is available for all guests. It is equipped with a small refrigerator for personal items, hot tea and a microwave.

RVs and tents

The Expanding Light Retreat does not provide tents or RVs. Please bring your own camping gear and be sure that tents are water tight in the case that it may rain. RVs are welcome year round, however, the property does not have RV facilities or hookups.

Tent spaces do not include facilities for cooking or picnicking. There is a high fire danger in the summer so no campfires are allowed, as well as candles, kerosene lamps, or anything with an open flame.

Because of animals, no food is allowed in the tenting area. The Expanding Light Retreat has a refrigerator behind the main kitchen which is available for guests.

Shower houses

For those staying outdoors, guests have access to separate men and women shower houses. Facilities have flush toilets, plenty of hot water, and shower and toilet partitions for your comfort and privacy.

The Expanding Light Retreat Meditation and Yoga Retreat USA Program

What you will learn

Your weekend will include physical exercises to aid relaxation and written lessons to help you get the best possible start on your meditation practice. During this weekend retreat, you have the best setting for learning how to meditate. The learning will include:

  • An important concentration technique brought to the West by Yogananda (he called it "one of India's greatest gifts to the world")
  • How to sit comfortably so your body is not an obstacle to inner peace
  • How to begin a daily practice of meditation
  • Ways to experience the benefits of meditation throughout your day
  • How to keep your meditation practice fulfilling so that you want to continue

Typical daily schedule

The retreat starts in the afternoon of the first date listed. It’s ideal to arrive before 4 p.m., if you are able to. That way, you can join in the afternoon session of yoga and meditation, which begins at 4:45 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. The first real gathering of your group is at 7:30 p.m. If you need to arrive here after 5 p.m., that’s fine, but please let The Expanding Light Retreat know. They can also put aside a dinner for you if you need to arrive after 7 p.m. The program ends with lunch on the last date.

Below is the typical day in The Expanding Light Retreat center. Schedule may vary depending on the course or event. All activities are optional so you can decide how much to enjoy.


  • 06:00 Wake-up bell
  • 06:30 - 08:30 Sadhana (spiritual practices) which consists of: energization exercises (20 to25 minutes), yoga postures (60 minutes), chanting (5 minutes), and meditation (15 to 30 minutes)
  • 08:30 - 09:00 Breakfast (in silence on Monday through Saturday)
  • 10:00 - 12:00 Scheduled program, class, group activity, or free time


  • 12:00 - 12:30 Meditation (5 minutes of chanting, 25 minutes of meditation)
  • 12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
  • 14:00 - 16:00 Scheduled program, class, group activity, or free time
  • 16:45 - 18:30 Sadhana (spiritual practices)
  • 17:15 - 18:30 Lahiri Shrine meditation (altrnative to regular sadhana)


  • 18:30 - 19:30 Dinner
  • 19:30 - 21:00 Scheduled program, class, group activity, or free time


Nayaswami Krishnadas
Nayaswami Krishnadas lead this inspiring pilgrimage many times. He lived in Los Angeles where he and his wife were leaders of Ananda LA. Krishnadas. They know and love the shrines of Yogananda (and knows the best places to eat). He will also lead this inspiring and fun trip with support staffs and in coordination with Narayan and Dharmadevi Romano, spiritual directors of Ananda L.A.
Mukti Deranja
Nayaswami Mukti, or also known as Mukti Deranja, moved to Ananda Village in 1992 and has been a key member of the Ananda Music Ministry since then - including singing in the choir, performing Swami Kriyananda's piano solos and music ensemble, and accompanying him on the piano. She often teaches chanting workshops and performs in kirtan groups. She has used chanting as an integral part of her spiritual practice as a powerful tool for personal transformation.


Home to The Expanding Light Retreat yoga and meditation retreat, Ananda Village is one of the most successful spiritual communities in the world and is part of the worldwide organization of Ananda. Ananda Village was founded in 1969 by Swami Kriyananda, one of Paramhansa Yoganandas foremost disciples, to fulfill Yogananda's vision of world brotherhood colonies and spiritual communities based on the twin principles of plain living and high thinking. The Ananda community is situated on 700 acres of meadows and forests amidst the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in northern California just outside Nevada City. As a guest at The Expanding Light Retreat center, you are invited to tour the community and visit the numerous sites and attractions the village has to offer.

Nearby places

  • Sacramento - 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reno - 2 hours
  • Portland - 12 hours
  • Seattle - 15 hours

This Yoga Retreat is vegetarian-friendly

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Three delicious and satisfying vegetarian buffet meals are included with the cost of your stay. Some of the dishes contain eggs and dairy. Organically grown foods are used as much as possible, including some organically grown eggs and produce from Ananda Village itself, and organically grown fair trade coffee. There are a variety of teas and fresh fruit available all day. The Expanding Light Retreat can accommodate some special dietary needs with non-dairy, non-wheat, and egg-free choices. If you have other dietary needs, they may not be accommodated.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Organic
  • Whole food
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Crystal hermitage

At Crystal Hermitage, guests can enjoy the spiritual heart of Ananda. Tour the beautiful gardens, small chapel, and the Shrine of the Masters, a small museum and gift shop housing holy relics from India and Ananda's line of yoga masters.

Hansa temple

Hansa temple is a unique architectural building that houses longer morning meditations for Ananda residents. If some guests are experienced meditators and would like a 90-minute meditation, they are welcome to join. Ask for times at the front desk.

Healing prayer

A healing prayer, on an individual basis, is offered through the healing prayer ministry for a suggested donation between 40 to 100 USD. Session lengths vary based on individual need.

Individual spiritual counseling

Receive assistance and guidance tailored to your needs with counseling available from the Ananda ministers for a fee of 75 USD per hour. If you are interested, contact the front desk to schedule a private session.

Lahiri Mandir

This is a small chapel on the path to Lotus lake. A sacred space ideal for meditation, Lahiri is open all the time for quiet reflection and meditation.

Lotus Lake

This lovely lake fills with water lilies and lotus flowers in summer. It is a beautiful area ideal for walks where you can often see wild birds. A path around the lake includes outdoor altars to the line of Masters.

Masters market

A natural foods market with a deli, bakery, and cappuccino bar that also features homemade pizza on Friday nights, a local favorite!

Personal instruction in meditation

This is available to everyone on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10 a.m. or at other times by appointment. Even if you currently meditate, it is encouraged to take the class which includes: how to focus your mind, how to sit comfortably, when and where to meditate, and more.

Private yoga classes

Personally tailored to your body and needs, these classes are available with one of the certified Ananda yoga teachers for a fee of 75 USD per hour. You can focus on classical Hatha yoga or Restorative yoga. Contact the front desk to make an appointment.

Rajarshi park

A complex that houses a number of Ananda businesses including the management offices for the community; the healing prayer ministry, with 600 members worldwide who do healing prayers for those in need; and Crystal Clarity publishers, which produces books, DVDs, and CDs by Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda, and others on topics related to yoga, meditation, and self-realization.

Serenity lounge

This is a homey room located in the Serenity building. When not in use for a class, it is open to guests for relaxation, reading, yoga, meditation, watching videos, listening to music or just socializing. Serenity lounge is also stocked with tea and coffee and equipped with a small refrigerator, microwave, and electric teapot for guest use.

The Expanding Light boutique

The boutique is located in the guest services building and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Full of unique treasures, The Expanding Light boutique is a favorite destination shopping stop for guests and locals alike.

The temple

This temple, located just off the dining room, is a beautiful space, in which daily practice of yoga postures and meditation is held, as well as classes and evening programs. When not in use for a scheduled class or event, it is open for meditation and Hatha yoga.

Spa treatments

Massages can be a wonderful, healing addition to your stay. The massage practitioners are Ananda members and work through the Center for Radiant Health. The center offers a variety of types of massages, as well as craniosacral therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), astrological readings, career coaching, and more. Prices for massage sessions are 75 USD for a one hour long massage and 95 USD for a one and a half hour long massage. There are treatment rooms, but unlike a traditional spa, The Expanding Light Retreat has no pool facilities.

What's included

  • 2 nights' accommodation
  • 3 daily vegetarian meals
  • All classes and activities described in the program
  • All course materials as appropriate

What's not included

  • Shuttle service from Sacramento Airport (SMF)

How to get there

Driving directions from Sacramento

  • Take I-80 towards Reno and go about 25 miles.
  • At Auburn, turn left on CA-49 toward Grass Valley / Nevada City and go 38 miles.
  • Just past Nevada City, turn left at the 49 to Downieville sign. Follow this road for 10.5 miles (watch your odometer). It's a curving mountain road that crosses the Yuba River.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote road, immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park, and go about 5 miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda Way and left again, almost immediately, on Expanding Light Way.

Driving directions from Reno

  • Take I-80 towards Sacramento and go 55 miles.
  • Take CA-20 and go 27 miles.
  • Turn right on CA-49 towards Downieville and go 10.5 miles.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote road, immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park, and go about 5 miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda Way and left again, almost immediately, on Expanding Light Way.

Driving directions from Seattle or Portland

  • Take I-5 to Williams, California.
  • Take CA-20 to Nevada City and go 77 miles.
  • Turn right on CA-49 towards Downieville and go 10.5 miles.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote road, immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park, and go about 5 miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda Way and left again, almost immediately, on Expanding Light Way.

Arrival by airplane

Flights should be booked to arrive at Sacramento International Airport (SMF). Another option is Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) but it's less preferable. Transfers from and to Sacramento International Airport (SMF) are available on request. The Expanding Light Retreat can organize transfers for an extra price and based on availability. Please request this service from them once you have booked your plane tickets.

Arrival by bus

Greyhound bus offers service from available cities to Colfax, approximately an hour from Ananda. To get to Ananda from Colfax you will need to take a cab.

Amtrak offers limited bus service from available cities into Colfax (if coming from the east) and Auburn (if coming from the west), each about an hour away from Ananda. To get to Ananda from Colfax or Auburn you will need to take a cab.

Arrival by train

Amtrak offers train service from available cities into Colfax (if coming from the East) and Auburn (if coming from the West), each about an hour away from Ananda. To get to Ananda from Colfax or Auburn you will need to take a cab.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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