The Four Stages of Yoga is an anthology of stories and conversations that encompass the journey yogis take from birth to the last moments of life. Though yoga philosophy has been around far longer than most realize, the deeper nuances of its effects on our own lives is revealed in this modern day expose.  Here, we see how Vedic India’s classic Four Ashrams of Life are experienced in the context of a yoga community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Just as Vedic myths have been carried down through eons to entertain and enlighten us, the true stories and visions encompassed herein speak to the very heart of living yoga in an everyday world. The first stage includes stories of childbirth and how yogis can draw a spiritual soul into their family, to rites of passage for children, and how yogic schools for young adults help instill and deepen compassion. During the creation of a unique yoga college come stories of visits with the Dalai Lama at his home in McLeod Ganj, as well as experiences with yogis, rishis, and mystics throughout India.

In the second stage of life we explore how householder relationships evolve; conscious work for those with monastic tendencies; how Vedic astrology can assist our lives as well as how yogis approach love, romance, and celibacy; and the mysticism that surrounds a yogic marriage ritual.

In the third stage we are introduced to how yogic couples, singles, and monastics are living their lives in creative new ways. We read stories of how yogis develop devotion, personal experiences with great souls like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and how married couples and singles can live more fulfilling lives.

The fourth stage offers reports of those embracing the Vedic sannyas vows, and how they live their lives during this remarkable and powerful stage of surrender and transcendence. Conversations with rishis, yogic psychics, and those experiencing this cycle provide a lens that offers hope and satisfaction for the last stages of life, and the final preparation for death and the afterlife.

Nischala Cryer

Nischala Cryer lives with her family at a remote meditation retreat in the Sierra Nevada Mountains outside of Nevada City, California. She is co-founder of Ananda University, a unique school offering “higher education for higher consciousness.” A former journalist and creative director, she has been a practitioner of Kriya Yoga for 35 years. She is author of The Four Stages of Yoga and Reflections on Living 30 Years in a Spiritual Community.

Calling the Child
When the Buddha Plays
Simon’s Rite
Spirit Warriors
Passage to Bald Mountain
When Men are Young
Gita’s Way
The Brahmacharya
The Wedding
A New Warrior
Yoga Therapy
Nature Boy
The Rishi
The Great Mother
Sentient Beings
Wild Things Are
Astral planes

“In a most engaging way, Nischala Cryer explains the traditional stages of a yoga practitioner’s life by weaving into that paradigm the story of her own spiritual journey. She shares this journey, and deftly draws in the reader, by sharing fascinating stories and observations of her private interactions with some of today’s spiritual leaders. She excites us with her tale, while simultaneously reminding us that, in truth, the highest journey is always to be found in our own heart. Highly recommended for both students and teachers of yoga. You will be entertained and educated with a soft and lyrical touch. Inspiring!”

— Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., founding member of Yoga Journal, author of nine books including Restore and Rebalance: Yoga for Deep Relaxation.

“One of the first books that explains in detail what it means to live the four stages of yoga. This book is inspirational, scientific, and useful. An inspiring guide for life.”

—Dr. Amit Goswami, quantum physicist, author of The Self-Aware Universe

“I just finished reading The Four Stages of Yoga. It took me only two days, because I could not put it down. For the past four years I have been reading at least one book a week, and I have to say that very few of those works have provided me with the feeling of transcendent oneness that yours did. I was moved to tears many times as my heart swelled with love for the great souls mentioned in these pages. I believe this refreshing book will move many readers to consider the path of yoga in their own lives. Congratulations on such a wonderfully enlightening account.”

Henry Huta, The Ancient Wisdom of Yoga Holistic Wellness Center, Florida, USA, doctoral candidate in Performance Psychology with a concentration in Yoga and Meditation.

“Spiritual practitioners of all paths will find The Four Stages of Yoga’s framework practical, useful, and illuminating.”

—Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda and The Life of Yogananda

“This is the first book, written by a Westerner, on the four ‘ashrams’ or stages of life. Others have written on this subject, but no one has captured it in such a profound yet personal way that touches one’s heart to the core. This book is a must-read for all those interested in yoga and Hinduism, and for those who want to perfect their lives by diving into the vast spiritual heritage found in Sanatana Dharma.”

Vanamali Devi, author of The Song of God and The Play of Rama

“Ancient knowledge from the higher civilizations, when applied to everyday life, is reflected throughout this educational and entertaining book. An inspiring new contribution to the field of yoga, ideal for all ages!”

Walter Cruttenden, Founder of The Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge (CPAK), author of The Lost Star of Myth and Time

“You buy this book to figure out what to do with your kids. You keep reading, because suddenly it is about yourself. Then you want to give it to your parents, or your grandparents, but you can’t, because soon you will become them and will need it yourself to guide your progress into, and through, the inevitable stages of life. This is a classic subject, but usually people write about it intellectually. I don’t think it has ever been done in this how-to-live way. Entirely practical, with life-changing implications.”

Asha Nayaswami, yogi in the fourth stage of life, author of Swami Kriyananda: As We Have Known Him

“This book offers important insights to help anyone consciously use the natural rhythms of a lifetime for their own and others’ spiritual benefit. You will find insights, practical suggestions, wise counsel, large-hearted humor, and accessible inspiration no matter where you are on your spiritual journey. Read it slowly and savor.”

Joseph Selbie, author of The Physics of God

“Through imaginative stories, true-life interviews, personal experiences, and ancient yogic wisdom, Nischala Cryer offers a vision of the purpose behind each stage of life. This book is a guide to living with fulfillment and enlightenment.”

Nayaswami Devi Novak, co-Spiritual Director of Ananda Sangha Worldwide, co-author of Touch of Joy: A Yogi’s Guide to Lasting Happiness

“This book is moving, entertaining, and full of wise insights for those engaged with yoga, nature, and the journey of life!”

Joseph Bharat Cornell, Founder of Sharing Nature Worldwide, author of Deep Nature Play and AUM: The Melody of Love