Ellen Grace O'Brian Biography

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian is a meditation teacher, poet, writer, and spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment—a Kriya Yoga Meditation Center with headquarters in San Jose, California.

She has taught meditation retreats and workshops nationally and internationally for more than four decades. She has led retreats in the U.S. at 1440 Multiversity, Kripalu Center, Unity Village, and Omega Institute. Presentations at major conferences worldwide include the Symposium for Yoga Therapy and Research in the United States, Universal Foundation for Better Living in the Bahamas, Sambodh Society in India, the Kriya Congress in Italy, and the Gandhi Development Trust Nonviolence Conference in South Africa.


She has received many community service awards, including the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Promotion of Religious Pluralism from the American Hindu Foundation.

Ordained to teach in 1982 by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, her message is “engaged enlightenment” – an invitation to live an awakened, service-oriented, creatively inspired, fulfilled life, now.

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian  in the garden

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose, CA

Along with her service as a meditation teacher and esteemed Yogacharya, Ellen Grace O’Brian is the Founder of Carry the Vision, a community nonviolence education project bringing meditation instruction to staff and children in schools, the prison population, and other segments of society. Her work on behalf of global peace through interfaith cooperation includes several years of service as Vice-Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and Chair of their Partner Cities Program, supporting collaboration between interfaith groups in cities around the world. She is the founder of Meru Institute, providing healthy lifestyle education and leadership training in Yoga studies, Ayurveda, and community service.


Yogacharya O’Brian’s published works include Living the Eternal Way: Spiritual Meaning and Practice in Daily Life and Living for the Sake of the Soul, as well as the award-winning volume of poetry: The Moon Reminded Me. She is the founder of The Yoga Hour podcast and hosts Kriya Yoga Today podcast. Her latest bestselling book, the Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga, was published by New World Library.


She lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and divine partner. They enjoy playing kirtan music together, chanting, walking their dog by the sea, watching Warriors basketball, discussing yoga philosophy, and delighting in their fragrant garden. They have three grown children and two amazing granddaughters.

Read more about Yogacharya O'Brian's spiritual journey here: About the Author – Yogacharya's Spiritual Journey

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