Me in Shirshasana

Me in Shirshasana

Me in Headstand Position

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The Self-Realization Fellowship

The Self-Realization Fellowship was founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda.

He was requested by Mahavatar Babaji to spread the technique of Kriya Yoga,

the scientific technique for the attainment of Self-Realization, in the West. Having been

trained by his guru Swami Sri Yukteshwar as a young boy for this divine mission he was

well suited to be a successful teacher and guide for the western culture. He was invited by

the International Congress of Religious Liberals to serve as the delegate from India when

they convened in Boston in 1920 delivering an address on ” The Science of Religion”.

Unlike most other religious approaches Self-Realization Fellowship emphasizes

the practice of a particular scientific technique which, when practiced, automatically

draws the practitioner toward the inner experience of a personal relationship with God.

By 1925 the Self -Realization Fellowship had established a headquarters in Los Angeles

on Mount Washington Estates. Yogananda traveled and lectured through out the

United States and initiated thousands of followers in the practice of Kriya Yoga.

Legally affiliated with Self-Realization Fellowship is the Yogoda Satsanga Society

of India, headquartered in Dakshineswar, which was founded by Yogananda in 1917.

One of the unique features of the Fellowship are the lessons which give detailed

instruction in the Self-Realization Fellowship energization, concentration and

meditation techniques which lay the preliminary practice for the more advanced

instruction in Kriya Yoga.

After Yogananda’s passing (mahasamadhi) in 1952 Rajarsi Janakananda,

born James Jesse Lynn, served as president of the organization. He was an american

businessman and self-made millionaire who became a close disciple of Yogananda.

He served as President of SRF until his passing in 1955.

Sri Daya Mata, born Faye Wright, has been president of the Self-Realization Fellowship

and Yogoda Satsanga Society since 1955 until her passing on November 30th, 2010.

The Kriya Yoga technique is based on the science of the breath. All living creatures must

perform pran-kriya or the action of breathing. So the flow of the breath is intimately

connected to the life force itself without which no other bodily functions are possible.

By focusing our attention on the flow of the breath and ultimately it’s control we

can consciously connect to the life force itself. Since this is something that anyone and

everyone can do, it has a universal appeal.

Paramahansa Yogananda, along with other prominent figures from India, have had a

profound influence on western culture as well as on religious and educational activities.

Even the Beatles were drawn to the eastern philosophy and religion. According to

a Harris Poll study in 2004, 7.5 percent of adults in the United States, or approximately

16.5 million people, practice yoga. Since Yogananda personally lived in the United States

and taught his students and followers for over 30 years and his work

has been carried on by his very qualified monastic disciples it is no wonder that the

influence of the Self-Realization Fellowship has been profound in the west as well as

around the world.

“The 8 Steps of Yoga” an interpretation by Steven H. Pollastrini

1.Yama
We must refrain from certain actions. The ego wants to put it’s own priorities over other
peoples’ interests. This tendency must be overcome for progress to be possible. If all are one then each must live as one, with no one being superior and no one being inferior. Hence the wisdom uttered by the Prince of Peace, “Love thy neighbor as thyself “.

2 .Niyama
In order to progress on the spiritual path we must learn to listen to instuctions from those
with greater wisdom and practice their instructions.

3. Asana
We all must maintain proper alignment of the┬ácerebrospinal axis.┬áSo we practice sitting in the “steady and pleasant posture” with an erect spine. This allows for the free flow of energy through the spine.

4. Pranayama
Breathing is the chief function of all other functions in the body. Without the breath there are no other functions possible, therefore, all functions center around the breath. Our pattern of breath has a psycho-physiological effect on our state of mind.

5. Pratyahara
As we follow the breath inward it frees the mind from outer distractions and centers the
focus of our attention inward. This leads to control of the thoughts in the mind.

6. Dharana
Then we learn to become aware of the thoughts in the mind and how to keep away unwanted thoughts
by concentrating on a single thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts.

7. Dhyana
Only after completing the above steps can we advance to a state of meditation in which we can experience the state of pure consciousness in the thought-free state of awareness.

8. Samadhi
In the thought-free state of pure consciousness one becomes aware of the natural peace and joy of Satchitananda, the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss of the Spirit. OM, Shanti… Shanti… Shanti….