“In the highest civilizations of Ancient India, advanced yogis, called rishis, established four stages of life that each soul must pass through on their journey towards the ultimate yoga — union with the divine.”

Living Your Highest Yoga
With the Four Stages of Yoga

Come and join us for a deeply inspiring weekend, in-person at the Expanding Light Retreat or online. Our five guests speakers are twenty-first century yogis, who have taken the principles of the four stages of yoga and applied, experimented, adapted, and reflected on their truths in contemporary life.

If you enjoyed reading Nischala Cryer’s uplifting book The Four Stages of Yoga: How to live a fulfilling life, then this event will bring you in personal contact with many of the great souls she interviewed – Brother Craig, Nefretete, Nischala Joy Devi and others. This conference, hosted at Ananda Village, a world renowned intentional spiritual community, brings you joyfully into the wisdom of the four stages through inspiring talks, storytelling, essential tips, wise advise, Satsang, discussions, and blessings from the presenters hearts.

Deepen your awareness and receptivity to the four stages:

  • how Vedic astrology and your “Navamsha Chart” affects the four stages of Life
  • how the four stages of yoga helps emerging planetary transformation and you
  • yoga and psychology for navigating the four stages of yoga
  • how to know your dharma and have more confidence at any age
  • yogic healing for yourself and others
  • rites of passage for the four stages of yoga

Co-sponsored by The Expanding Light Retreat, Crystal Clarity Publishers, Online with Ananda, and Ananda University

The four ashrams, or stages of spiritual development, is a practical, useful, and illuminating approach to life for spiritual practitioners of all paths.

Four Stages of Yoga Mala Icon

“A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma.” – Swami Sri Yukteswar, Autobiography of a Yogi, (1946 Edition)

Qualities of the Student Stage, birth to age 24

  • Awaken enthusiasm for lifelong learning
  • A time to teach family values
  • Introducing yogic education
  • Inspirational mentors, teachers, spiritual guides
Four Stages of Yoga Lotus Icon

“May the longtime sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you, guide your way on.” – Celtic song

Energy and experiences typical to the Householder Stage, age 24 – 48

  • Magnetically charged with warmth, strength, and physical beauty
  • Time to find a mate, a successful career, a home, possibly children and a network of friends who share our ideals
  • Many remain single during this stage as they deepened their potential to grow towards understanding, maturity and inner happiness
  • Creative adventures
  • For yogi householders the task is to learn to serve others
Four Stages of Yoga Conch Icon

“I believe that for many people, seventy is the new fifty. It certainly feels that way to me.”  – Brother Craig Marshall

Understanding absorption of the Forest Dweller, age 48 – 72

In Vedic lore, the blowing of the conch shell is said to banish evil spirits, avert natural disasters, and scare away poisonous creatures. The conch is a symbol for the breath. Breath controls mind, and when the breath is correct it allows us to reach more, more blissful, and higher states of Samadhi.

The third stage of yoga brings us face to face with the reality of the Forest Dweller; we are finally able to examine our life for its true purpose – to develop our latent spiritual gifts even as we gradually withdraw from the world.

Four Stages of Yoga AUM Icon

Furthering out quest for Self-realization during the Sannyasi, age 72 to 120

It is said that OM is the most sacred mantra to merge into God. When the yogi chants the sacred OM, it leads to perception of the Infinite. OM is the symbol for the Sannyasi. Swami Satchidananda of Integral Yoga defined the word sannyasi as ‘perfect abandoning’ or ‘setting aside.’ In Sanskrit, it means one who has renounced his or her personal life, living for the service to others.


Nischala Joy Devi

Nischala Joy Devi

Nischala Joy Devi is a masterful teacher and healer. For many years she has been highly respected as an international advocate for her innovative way of expressing Yoga and its subtle uses for spiritual growth and complete healing. Her unique presentations empower each individual, allowing the teachings to expand beyond boundaries and limitations of any one tradition or any one stage of yoga. Her interview in The Four Stages of Yoga book discusses her personal journey with yogic healing.

Brother Craig Marshall

Brother Craig Marshall

Brother Craig Marshall (formerly Brother Mitrananda) spent 35 years as a monk with the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) in Los Angeles before leaving the monastery to pursue speaking, counseling, and teaching ventures throughout the world.  As a popular minister, Craig counseled thousands around the world, including many well-known people like George Harrison and Steve Jobs. Craig taught monks and householders how to develop intuition, face fears, and how people could realize their deepest dreams.  His powerful communication skills have empowered many to take a stand for what meant most to them.



Master Vedic Astrologers like Drupada offer ways to overcome karmic patterns by directing our efforts towards personal growth, healing, and self-transformation.  Using the Four Stages of Yoga, Drupada will show how Vedic Astrology and mantras can enhance the subtle dynamics of our own lives, and of our relationships with others. Drupada brings over 35 years of experience in Vedic astrological readings and teaching for audiences of all spiritual paths throughout America, Europe and Australia.

Anandi Gray

Anandi Gray

Using yogic psychology and both eastern and western modalities, Anandi Gray presents research for pragmatic self-development that will help us live more dynamic, fulfilling lives through all the Four Stages of Yoga. Anandi Gray is a licensed clinical and mental health counselor and a 30+ year teacher of psychology, yoga, and meditation.  She taught Raja Yoga for 20 years in the Philosophy Department at Southern Oregon University, and also taught Substance Abuse Counseling in the Psychology Graduate Program.



Education for Life Teacher, Raja Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Director of Inner Adventure Camps, Teacher at Ananda College of Living Wisdom

Kamran Matlock has spent the last ten years designing spiritual curriculum and leading classes, workshops, and spiritual retreats on personal transformation, integral growth, and self-discovery through yoga principles. He is a founder and director of Inner Adventure Camps, transformational programs for teens based on rite of passage and vision quests in nature. He also helps develop Education for Life, a spiritual education movement based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. Kamran also teaches and serves as a board member for Ananda College, which offers gap-year and spiritual travel programs for adults.

Nefretete Rasheed

Nefretete Rasheed

Dr. Nefretete Rasheed is moderator for The Four Stages of Yoga Conference. Her adventurous and creative youth is chronicled in one of The Four Stages of Yoga chapters. Nefretete’s early experiences with Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga, working with Native American teachings, dancing and acting with famous individuals in New York City and abroad led to a professional life as an educator and artist of interdisciplinary Arts, Theatre, Dance and Poetry. Nefretete brings infectious positive energy and perhaps a few creative surprises to The Four Stages of Yoga conference.

Nischala Cryer

Nischala Cryer

Using the great Vedic Cycles of Time, Nischala Cryer will present why the Indian Rishis established the Four Stages of Yoga and their importance today in planetary evolution. Her book, The Four Stages of Yoga, How to Lead a Fulfilling Life, offers a vision of the purpose behind each stage of life. Through imaginative stories, true-life interviews, personal experiences and ancient yogic wisdom, the author offers a guide to living with fulfillment and enlightenment. This Four Stages of Yoga Conference brings the audience face-to-face with some of the real-life characters from her book. Nischala lives with her family at a remote meditation retreat in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A former journalist and creative director, she is co-founder of Ananda University, a unique school offering “higher education for higher consciousness.”

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