yoganandaParamahansa Yogananda was a major voice in promoting meditation’s benefits to the world. He toured the US in the 1920s speaking at all the great halls in the states. His popularity grew to the point that the 3000-seat Philharmonic in Los Angeles, the site of one of his lectures, had to turn away thousands of people beginning one hour before his lecture due to filled capacity. And this was an Indian guy speaking to 1920s Americans!

“Autobiography of a Yogi” was his internationally best-selling book that brought worldwide fame. This extremely popular yogi then established the Self-Realization Fellowship located in Los Angeles. I’ve been to one of their smaller centers in Encinitas, California for a group meditation. The power of the meditation was such I felt like I had been there for many hours of deep otherworldly meditative bliss. I could feel the energy of the room help fill my head with a meditative buzz of some sorts…it was similar to the effect of a Hemi-sync meditation cd. After what seemed like hours I opened my eyes when the gong to end the meditation had sounded. It had been 30 minutes.

The Self-Realization Fellowship offers a series of lessons by mail to learn the teachings of kriya yoga. I went through the course. It was pretty good but surprisingly simplistic. The core meditation teachings involve steady focus on your third eye. Focusing on your third eye involves closing your eyes and thinking about the spot 2 inches above the midpoint of your eyes. With breathing, focus, and intent, you will find the area seems more stimulated. More advanced kriya yoga lessons teach you to mentally direct their life energy around their spinal centers to help advance their spiritual pursuits. As your life energy rises, your spiritual journey progresses.

Yogananda incited a passionate following back in the days of the depression. His legacy still lives on with the Self-Realization Fellowship