How Will Ananda Grow?

The inviolable, built-in limitations of guru-based institutions

Eric Armstrong
8 min readSep 1, 2022


Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the folks at Ananda. They couldn’t be nicer. Their program is excellent. And Yogananda is the inspiration behind ALL of my energy-flow techniques. But EVERY guru-based system has built-in limitations. Will Ananda be able to overcome them?

Head and shoulders of Yogananda, in his younger days, wearing a turban.
Young Yogananda, from his book, How to Achieve Glowing Health & Vitality

To most people, Yogananda is best known as the author of Autobiography of a Yogi. I first read it in college, but found it even more inspiring several decades later when I read it again.

That book was uplifting, and even illuminating. It showed me what was possible. But it did not even begin to tell me how to achieve any of those possibilities.

It would be years before I was introduced to the practices Yogananda taught. That’s when the real inspiration began. (In his later years he did not look as healthy as he did in the picture above. But he had the same spark of energy glowing in his eyes.)

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My Debt

Saying that I’ve been “inspired” by Yogananda is putting it mildly. The spiritual practices I teach and that I’ll be sharing in forthcoming books derive almost entirely from Yogananda, in one way or another:

  • Ipsalu Tantra Kriya Yoga is primarily a combination of things taught by Yogananda, Osho, and some Tibetan practices. They’re all good, but the things I took from it and built my practice on all came from Yogananda.
  • Ipsalu’s core practice, Cobra Breath (a breath-and-energy-flow technique) came from the Chicago-based Temple of Kriya Yoga founded by Goswami Kriyananda, who throughout his life studied with one of Yogananda’s disciples — a lineage that clearly also built on Yogananda’s teachings.
  • The Ananda Palo Alto center has an excellent Raja Yoga program that put the “cherry on top” of the energy-flow sundae that had by that time been developing for a decade and a half.
  • I picked up some great tips on breath & kriya technique from a visiting yoga guru, but it was the internal energy flow that made them “sing”. Other folks learned the same techniques, but were not nearly as enraptured by doing them.



Eric Armstrong

Eric Armstrong has written books on weight loss, golf, meditation, & yoga. He even builds a Yoga Meditation Bench. Turns out it’s an Ancient Tradition!