Begin a New Year with Clarity and Inspiration
January 4 - 7, 2024
Center for Spiritual Enlightenment - San Jose, CA & Online
What is the best way to begin a new year? Intentionally. Soulfully. Open to the highest possibilities for your life. Learn and practice the ancient disciplines of Kriya Yoga to hone your receptivity to inner guidance and chart your course for the year ahead with soul inspiration.
As we begin the new year of 2024, we honor the life of Paramahansa Yogananda, celebrating the 131st anniversary of his birth and drawing from the wealth of wisdom he offered for living a soul guided life.
Get access to exclusive written material such as downloadable booklets, session handouts, practice instructions, and other inspirational material to support you during and after the retreat.
Sincere inquiry and engagement with a spiritual teacher brings these timeless teachings and methods into the present moment of our lives in a personal and relevant way.
All live session recordings will be available for viewing shortly after the end of each session to accommodate participation in different time zones.
About the Experience
An onsite retreat offers a sense of spaciousness in a pristine natural environment to restore vitality and bring greater clarity to mind and body. The structure of the retreat program provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in spiritual practices and directly experience the transformation that is possible as you explore the unfolding of the true Self.
NOTE: Early morning meditation, Hatha Yoga, and evening sessions are offered online for all retreat participants. See schedule for details.
Enjoy the ease of commuting to the Center for the morning and afternoon sessions and returning home to sleep in your own bed.
~ Limited onsite retreat housing available. Apply Here.
An opportunity to be with Yogacharya as she opens a doorway to seekers around the globe to imbibe the spiritual possibilities of radiant living through the life-transforming practices of Kriya Yoga.
The onsite community setting provides a safe and uplifting environment for discovering the self, avoiding distractions, and being nurtured with comfortable surroundings and nutritious meals.
Sitting in the presence of the teacher and other spiritual practitioners is an uplifting, beneficial environment for spiritual study, practice, and initiation. The intentionality of the group energy supports focus and profound meditation experiences.
Enjoy the beautiful and serene meditation gardens. Walk the Labyrinth and the Radiant Path, access an expansive perspective beneath the vast ancient oak in the Oak Tree Garden, be renewed at the Fountain, or sit on one of the benches throughout the garden.
As a sanctuary dedicated to meditation and prayer, the pristine temple resounds with the sacred silence of divine communion. Just to sit in the temple is a prayer that resonates with healing energy for the body, mind, and spirit.
Online (at-home) participation provides an opportunity to experience the retreat from the comfort of your home and focus on spiritual and physical self-care. The structure of the retreat program supports complete immersion in spiritual practices and the direct experience of transformation that is possible as you explore the unfolding of the true Self.
Initiation into Kriya Yoga during the retreat is available for those participating online.
During a Kriya Yoga Initiation the meditation methods specifically employed in this lineage that have been passed on from guru to disciple through the ages are shared with those who are prepared to receive them. Preparation for initiation includes the introduction to Kriya Yoga philosophy and lifestyle guidelines received during the retreat as well as the preliminary meditation methods, and introduction to the Kriya Yoga Masters in this tradition.
The meditation methods taught by Yogacharya O’Brian are those passed on to her by her guru RoyEugene Davis as he was instructed by his guru Paramahansa Yogananda. While there is no pledge required for initiation, the practices are only effective if employed with understanding and steadfast dedication to one’s spiritual path.
Tune in to live sessions and connect to the teacher’s energy and the lineage of the teachings. The online experience makes it possible to witness the universal approach and accessibility of Kriya Yoga for practitioners worldwide. Experience the profound connection across space and time.
Create a sacred, private space at home to support your meditation and self-care practices during the retreat and beyond. The retreat teachings for setting up your practice space at home will have a lasting, valuable impact on your environment.
You don't have to travel far to have a connected, deep, and profound experience of being on a spiritual retreat. Post-retreat integration of the teachings and practices into your home can be seamless.
Learn how to create an intentional space to make it easy for you to build and sustain your daily practice during the retreat and beyond.
Build positive spiritual energy in your home by engaging in a consistent practice of meditation and other spiritual disciplines.
Bring healthy self-care practices into your home environment and seamlessly integrate them into your daily life.
ABOUT KRIYA YOGA
Kriya Yoga, brought to the West from India by the great yoga master Paramahansa Yogananda, is a way to sanctify one's life through the four essential disciplines — contemplation, meditation, dharmic living in harmony with all life, and surrender of the sense of separate existence.
'Kriya' means 'action,' and 'yoga' means conscious union of body, mind, soul, and Spirit. In the highest sense, Yoga is realizing we are one with the Infinite—integrally connected with all that is. 'Kriya Yoga' indicates those actions we take that contribute to the realization of this innate wholeness.
KRIYA YOGA LINEAGE
Kriya Yoga in this tradition has been passed on through the centuries from guru to disciple through instruction, initiation and transmission. This lineage begins with Mahavatar Babaji, the great avatar or yoga master, whose mission is to support the awakening of souls and planetary evolution. Through him, the teachings were transmitted to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya.
After receiving permission from Babaji to make the teachings of Kriya Yoga more widely available to sincere seekers, Lahiri Mahasaya, a family man known as a householder yogi, initiated thousands of students, including Swami Sri Yukteswar.
Swami Sri Yukteswar trained and initiated, Mukunda Lal Ghosh, one of his foremost disciples who would later be instrumental in the worldwide dissemination of the teachings of Kriya Yoga. Mukunda had been initiated into the practices of Kriya Yoga early in life by his father who was also a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya. Yet, his destined guru-disciple relationship was with Swami Sri Yukteswar who faithfully guided him and supported his unfolding spiritual realization. After years of devoted study and practice with his guru, he entered the swami order and took on the monastic name, Swami Yogananda. At a later date, Sri Yukteswar gave Yogananda the monastic title of Paramahansa, meaning "supreme swan" and indicating the highest spiritual attainment, which formally superseded his previous title of "swami."
Yogananda came to America in 1920 with the blessings of his guru, to spread the liberating teachings of Kriya Yoga to the West. He remained in the West initiating thousands into the spiritual practices of Kriya Yoga and inspiring seekers worldwide to discover the liberating truth of their spiritual nature and their relationship with the Infinite. Among those he trained, ordained to teach, and initiate others into Kriya Yoga, was his disciple Roy Eugene Davis.
Roy Eugene Davis met Paramahansa Yogananda in 1949. He was accepted for monastic training and later ordained by him in 1951. Mr. Davis dedicated his life to offering these teachings worldwide for over 60 years.
The vitality of Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, with the spiritual direction of Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian, a disciple of Mr. Davis, abides in the living legacy of this teaching tradition.
Mahavatar Babaji, guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, refers to the enlightened saint who revived the ancient Kriya Yoga teachings and methods and made them more widely available in India during the nineteenth century. He foresaw and blessed the dissemination of Kriya Yoga in the West and, ultimately, spreading to all lands.
"Few people know that the kingdom of God extends fully to this earth plane. The highest yogic attainments are not barred to the householder. Even in the world, the yogi who faithfully discharges his or her responsibilities, without personal motive or attachment, treads the sure path of enlightenment."
Lahiri Mahasaya (September 30, 1828 – September 26, 1895), a disciple of Mahavatar Babaji, and the guru of Sri Yukteswar, demonstrated the life of an ideal householder yogi. He is called the father of Kriya Yoga, having been instrumental in bringing the ancient teachings to the modern world and making them accessible to all people including householders, women, and people of various faiths.
"One [supreme] Self is the ultimate Reality. It is the source of everything. The soul is immortal. God’s attributes permeate it. Let your spiritual path be God-communion."
Swami Sri Yukteswar (May 10, 1855 – March 9, 1936), a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, and guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, established three ashrams in India, wrote commentaries on the scriptures, organized conferences, promoted inter-religious harmony and trained disciples in the Kriya Yoga tradition.
"Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transforming touch of pure love. All souls are inherently inclined to aspire to realize eternal, conscious, blissful, existence."
Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893 – March 7, 1952), a disciple of Swami Sri Yukteswar, and guru of Roy Eugene Davis, brought the teachings of Kriya Yoga to the West in 1920. He founded Self-Realization Fellowship, initiated thousands into Kriya Yoga, and published study lessons and books. His most famous book is Autobiography of a Yogi.
"Self-realization is the knowing—in body, mind, and soul—that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that God’s omnipresence is our omnipresence; that we are just as much a part of God now as we ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing. I never allow the word “impossible” to take root in my mind; nor should you."
Roy Eugene Davis (March 9, 1931 - March 27, 2019) met Paramahansa Yogananda in 1949. He was accepted for monastic training and later ordained by him in 1951. He taught spiritual growth processes for more than sixty years in North and South America, Europe, West Africa, and India. The founder and director of Center for Spiritual Awareness, his books have been published in thirteen languages and in eleven countries. He was the Editor-Publisher of Truth Journal magazine.
"What the world really needs—and is getting—are more intelligent, emotionally mature people who are able to live out of awakened spiritual consciousness, for the best of human efforts cannot accomplish what awakened spiritual consciousness can make possible out of itself."
Kriya Yoga is a way of life, a path for intentional, spiritually conscious living. Receive guidelines, inspiration, and practices for discovering your life purpose, living fully, and living well. Learn the art of self-mastery and arrange conditions for your highest success.
Yoga is Self-realization. It is the experience of conscious connection with the divine Self within and all around us. Kriya Yoga supports an awakened life that includes body, mind, heart, soul, and relationships.
To awaken fully is to realize the truth of our essence of being and that of Ultimate Reality. It makes the unencumbered life possible. We are free to thrive and contribute in dynamic and positive ways to the well-being of all. This is the goal of Kriya Yoga.
Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian, spiritual director of Center for Spiritual Enlightenment—a Kriya Yoga Meditation Center with headquarters in San Jose, California—is a meditation teacher, poet, and writer who has been teaching Kriya Yoga for more than 40 years. Ordained in 1982 by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, Yogacharya O'Brian's message is “engaged enlightenment,” an invitation to live an awakened, creatively inspired, and fulfilled life.
Acharya Sundari Jensen is a Senior Kriya Yoga Teacher and minister who wholeheartedly embarked on her spiritual journey in March 1992 when she met her spiritual teacher, Yogacharya O’Brian. With over three decades of experience, Acharya Sundari has been sharing the teachings of Kriya Yoga and has led numerous courses and retreats, including programs on Samkhya Philosophy for Kriya Yogis, Life Purpose: Dharma Meditation Retreats, Living Your Spiritual Practice, and Silent Meditation Retreats, and supporting development of Kriya Yoga Teacher Training programs for CSE teachers and leaders.
In addition, Acharya Sundari is a certified Hatha Yoga teacher, Vedic Counselor, and IAYT-certified Yoga Therapist. Serving as CSE’s Executive Director and Vice President of the CSE Board of Directors, Acharya Sundari, along with a team of committed leaders, supports the well-being of CSE now and into the future.
Acarya Devin Kent Sodt met his spiritual teacher Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian in 2001. He was ordained to teach in the tradition of Kriya Yoga by Yogacharya O’Brian in 2010. He has been teaching meditation and spiritual growth practices since 2005 for groups and individuals.
Rev. Ann Sarasvati Hayes was accepted as a disciple of Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian in 2000 and was ordained in the Kriya Yoga tradition in 2007 by Yogacharya O’Brian. She has a Masters of Divinity from Meru Institute. Rev. Hayes has been teaching meditation and spiritual practice programs as well as offering spiritual counseling since that time. She is an assistant producer of The Yoga Hour podcast and served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment for 7 years. Rev. Hayes is a retired registered nurse and former director of several nonprofit health organizations in San Jose, California. With her husband, Rev. Jeff Collins, she is the co-founder of Santa Rosa Kriya Yoga Meditation Group, established in 2014. www.SantaRosaMeditation.org
Rev. Julie Darshini Hitchcock was initiated into Kriya Yoga in 2011 and ordained to teach in 2019 by her teacher Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian. As spiritual director of Awakening Meditation Center, an affiliate center on the central coast of California, Rev. Darshini offers classes, retreats, satsangs, vedic counseling, and more. As a minister, mother, wife, and professional Rev. Darshini delights in supporting others as they discover spiritually conscious joyful living while out in the world. https://awakeningmeditation.org
Rev. Devi was initiated into Kriya Yoga in 2008 and ordained in 2022. She is a certified Yoga Teacher, Meditation Teacher, and Vedic Counselor and received her M.Div. at CSE’s Meru Institute where she now serves as Dean of Students. Rev. Devi also serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors. Her intention is to support practitioners of all levels, in nourishing body, mind, & soul through yoga, meditation, & Vedic Counseling.
Rev. Irma Sandhya Lovic, M.Div, an ordained CSE Minister and Kriya Yoga teacher, has been immersed in the study of Vedic sciences, Yoga, Ayurveda, and Vastu since October 2013 when she met her spiritual teacher Yogacharya O'Brian. A certified Vedic Counselor, meditation, and Hatha Yoga teacher, she received her Masters of Divinity from CSE’s Meru Institute, where she now contributes as a faculty member, helping to train aspiring Kriya Yoga meditation teachers.
On the CSE staff, she assists Yogacharya O'Brian and serves as the CSE Press & Media Director, enhancing the Center's online ministry. Her diverse contributions advance the CSE's mission of fostering spiritually awakened living.
What Participants are Saying
“Even though Spirit is omnipresent, being in person with Yogacharya and the community has its own magic and embodied grace. Blessed to have the choice.”
“Learning to connect to stillness is like discovering how to hit the reset button. I'm so grateful for receiving these teachings and practices.”
“Such a blessing to receive online Kriya Initiation from Yogacharya. I feel so uplifted!”
“When I spend time on retreat, away from the demands of daily life, my soul connection is refreshed and strengthened. I can then re-engage with the world with deeper equanimity and divine love.”
Plan Your Attendance
January 4 - 7, 2024
(Thursday Evening - Sunday Afternoon)
This retreat is for those who are prepared to take a committed step on their spiritual path. Attendance at all sessions is required to participant. Retreat sessions will be livestreamed online for all participants.
We are also offering a hybrid option to attend a portion of the retreat in-person, which includes the opening session, morning sessions, lunch, and afternoon sessions. All meditation sessions, hatha yoga, and Friday/Saturday evening sessions will be online only for all participants.
Overnight Lodging: Apply to stay at CSE overnight and attend all sessions in person. Limited space available. Click here to see lodging options.
Note: Retreat registration is required prior to applying for overnight lodging.
OFFER A DONATION
Your registration fees cover basic administrative costs. Please consider offering a donation to support the CSE ministry and to continue offering programs like this one. You can offer a donation during the registration process. You will also have an opportunity to contribute throughout the retreat.
PARTICIPANT WAIVER OF LIABILITY
This program includes one or more Meditation and Hatha Yoga sessions. By registering and participating in this program, you agree to the Participant Waiver of Liability.
$65 IN-PERSON + ONLINE
$40 ONLINE ONLY
KRIYA YOGA MEDITATION RETREAT
Begin A New Year with Clarity and Inspiration