faq

Here are helpful answers to some of the frequently-asked-questions.

Can’t find the answer to your question? Please feel free to contact us.

General FAQ

An ashram is a spiritual community formed around the body of teachings from a particular guru and lineage. Yasodhara Ashram is based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda Radha and is open to people of all backgrounds to pursue their spiritual development. Yasodhara Ashram is both a residential spiritual community, with residents who live here year-round, and a yoga retreat and study centre, open to guests and students.

We practice a holistic yoga based on a lineage of teachings from Swami Radha, who studied with Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh. There is an emphasis on the spiritual traditions of yoga. Our approach includes Karma Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Dream Yoga. (see Our Practices) The Hatha Yoga and Hidden Language Hatha Yoga we teach here is gentle and reflective.

Combining yoga practices with personal development techniques, our teachings create a bridge to the spiritual dimension while supporting the aspiration to live our practice in daily life.

A swami is a person who has made a commitment to a life of renunciation and selfless service. Similar to a nun or monk, swamis take a different name and are initiated into mantras that emphasize redirecting energy to the Divine and away from the illusions of the world.
Satsang translates to “in the company of the wise.” It is a spiritual service where the community gathers together in devotion and prayer. Ritual, mantra, bhajans and inspirational talks are all part of the nightly tradition. Satsangs are held every evening at the Temple of Divine Light.

COURSES FAQ

Courses begin after dinner on the scheduled first evening. We ask that you check in before five p.m. to accommodate your class start-up time. Courses end at six p.m. on the last scheduled day, but you are welcome to stay overnight and have breakfast the next day at no extra cost.
Yes. Course fees include shared accommodations and three meals daily. Private accommodation is usually available at an extra charge.
Our teachers are all Yasodhara-trained and certified, which means they have taken the three-month Yoga Development Course and the Teacher Certifications. Most teachers are Ashram residents or swamis with over twenty years of teaching experience and have studied directly with Swami Radha and Swami Radhananda.
Swami Radhananda is on private retreat for most of the year and does not usually offer personal consultations. She does teach a special five-day course at the Ashram each year that fills up quickly. You can access Swami Radhananda’s teachings through her two books and the archived videos of her satsang talks are available online. Find out more at www.radhananda.org
A typical daily schedule while on a course will look like this:Hatha Yoga – 7-8:45 a.m. (Ten Days of Yoga) or 7-8 a.m. (all other courses)
Breakfast – 9 a.m. (Ten Days of Yoga) or 8 a.m. (all other courses)
Workshop – 10-12:30 a.m.
Lunch – 12:30 p.m.
Reflection – 1-3 p.m.
Workshop – 3-5:30 p.m.
Dinner – 6 p.m.
Satsang – 8-9 p.m.
We offer weekly Hidden Language Hatha Yoga classes and Dream Yoga sessions on Wednesday evenings in the fall, winter and spring. Contact us for more information.Year-round Ashram workshops and retreats are also available at a reduced cost for local residents who prefer to stay at home and commute to class. Ask about course prices without the accommodation fees.

Karma Yoga FAQ

Karma Yoga is the practice of selfless service. Known as the yoga of action, it is the foundation of life here at the Ashram. Karma Yoga is translated into our daily work as service to the community. We work together in the kitchen and garden and grounds; we build houses and repair our buildings; we clean and care for our spaces. All residents and guests participate in Karma Yoga and engage with work as a spiritual practice.
The Karma Yoga you are asked to do also depends on your skills, physical capabilities and the length of time you are planning to be here.

If you join us as a full-time Karma Yogi, your schedule will be the same as the residents: We work 6 days a week, 8 hours a day, with one day for reflection.

If you are a half-time Karma Yogi, you will be working 6 days a week, 4 hours a day, with the afternoon for personal reflection and practice.

A typical day for residents or Karma Yogis includes:

Hatha Yoga – 6:50-7:50 a.m.
Breakfast – 8-8:30 a.m.
Karma Yoga – 8:30-12:30 a.m.
Lunch – 12:30 p.m.
Karma Yoga – 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Reflection break – 3:30-4 p.m.
Karma Yoga – 4-5:30 p.m.
Dinner – 6 p.m.
Satsang – 8-9 p.m.

Yes, you are welcome to sign up for a course at anytime. Please see our ‘Course Calendar’ for offerings, dates and fees.
Karma Yoga is based on generosity and offering. Selfless service is doing what needs to be done. All tasks provide an opportunity for service and learning. We do take skills and interest into consideration, but the priority is doing the work that needs to be done together.
We will take your skills into consideration, especially if you have made a long-term commitment to being here as a Karma Yogi. If you are a professional, please be generous with your knowledge, as we may be in need of your expertise on a project that arises.

TEACHER TRAINING FAQ

The Yoga Development Course is for anyone interested in building a foundation of personal and spiritual development. The YDC is open to those 18 and older who are interested in exploring many branches of yoga, including Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Karma Yoga.

Often people come to the YDC during a major life transition, to aid in a healing process or to assess their direction in life. The YDC is also the first step in becoming a Yasodhara-certified teacher.

It is recommended that before attending the YDC you have some familiarity with Yasodhara Ashram or the teachings of Swami Radha and have a true desire to spend time in a spiritual community. Read more about the YDC.

Our approach is to offer tools and techniques that help you access your own intuition and wisdom. You are taught specific practices and are encouraged to use these practices to explore the deeper levels of your mind. The basic questions are, Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? Each person responds individually and shares in small and large groups. There is an emphasis on recording your experience, either through writing or drawing, so that you capture your discoveries and can review and see your own growth. The process of learning is self-directed and experiential, with questions opening up your exploration to gain clarity.

The YDC starts near the beginning of January and runs until early April.
We accept applications until mid-December. To ensure your place, please apply early – in the summer or fall.
Yes, but we do recommend taking a course at the Ashram or attending classes at a Radha Centre or with Yasodhara-trained teachers. This will give you a better idea of the approach in the three-month course.
Contact us at registrations@yasodhara.org for the application
There is a $750 deposit to hold your place in the course. When you arrive you have two options to pay the remainder. Pay in full upon arrival (minus $750 deposit) or pay in three installments at beginning of January, February and March.
All of our staff teachers are Yasodhara-trained, and our senior teachers are students of Swami Radha, each with over twenty years of teaching experience. Two resident sanyasis provide education program oversight and advisement during the course.

The YDC is a transformative experience that nurtures a greater understanding of yourself and your connection to the Divine.

It is a three-month, seven day a week, full time, residential intensive, totaling 675 hours of class time. The course consists of a series of integrated workshops one to five days in length. Participants are asked to attend all classes and activities and to stay onsite for the three months.

Days begin with morning Hatha at 7 a.m. and end after satsang at 9 p.m. Outside of class time, there are daily assignments as well as time for personal practice and written reflection.

The YDC is open to all levels – from beginners interested in yoga to long time practitioners wanting to go deeper in their practice. We explore many branches of yoga and our focus is on personal reflection.

We do encourage participants to take a shorter course at the Ashram or through a Yasodhara-trained teacher prior to the YDC; this ensures that you understand that the yoga we offer is not just physical asanas but an in-depth self-study.

Please call ahead to discuss your needs. We ask that you are physically able enough to attend daily classes so that you get the most out of your time. Although we do our best to provide assistance to guests with limited mobility, the Ashram is located in a mountainous rural setting that affects accessibility.

The Hatha Yoga we practice is a gentle meditative style suitable for all levels of experience. We ask all participants to listen to their bodies and take responsibility for themselves. Our gentle style includes visualization and relaxation – options that are of benefit to those with physical limitations.

Yes, but it is important for your visitor(s) to understand that you are engaged in a structured course that does not have much ‘free’ time. That is, time for visiting will be limited. You will also be in your own personal process and need to think if having a visitor will be supportive to you.

Visitors who come and overnight during the YDC most often join in karma yoga with the rest of the Ashram community.

The average number is between twenty and thirty.
Prices are based on shared accommodation. Private rooms can sometimes be arranged at additional charge. We do encourage you to share a room since part of the YDC experience is learning from others in the group, including your roommate.

For the course, you will need to have the following books by Swami Radha: Kundalini Yoga for the West; Hatha Yoga the Hidden Language; Radha, Diary of a Woman’s Search; The Divine Light Invocation; Mantras, Words of Power; Realities of the Dreaming Mind as well as The Bhagavad Gita by Swami Sivananda and Carried By a Promise by Swami Radhananda. These books can be purchased at the Ashram gift store or purchased online (except Swami Sivananda’s Bhagavad Gita) in paper or digital formats: http://www.yasodhara.org/online-store/

There is an optional post-course component of continuing study, in which each student has one year to complete a personalized reading list with written reflections on a total of thirty books. These reflections are a prerequisite to the Hidden Language Hatha Yoga and Kundalini & Dream Yoga Teacher Certifications.
No but the YDC is required for all of our teacher certification. A ten-day Hatha Yoga certification immediately follows the YDC, and includes developing a series of lesson plans and a post-course teaching practicum. The YDC and completion of post-YDC book reflections is required for the Hidden Language Hatha Yoga and Kundalini & Dream Yoga teacher certifications.
Following the YDC, you can stay on up to five months at no extra charge to help you integrate the learning from the course, deepen your practice and participate in daily life of our spiritual community. This offer is available immediately following the YDC (April – August). You can inform us of your decision to stay anytime during the YDC.
Come a few days in advance if you can; we don’t charge for this time and it gives you a chance to settle in. If you can’t arrive early, then plan to be here before 5pm the day the course starts.
You will need a valid passport and a letter for Customs & Immigration from the Ashram outlining your reason for being in Canada and the length of your stay. This letter will be sent to you at the beginning of December.

We have a local medical clinic that is open three days a week with attending physicians, a counselor and a physiotherapist. We recommend having any dental and medical needs taken care of before coming.

The Ashram is 1.5 hours from the nearest hospital, and 3 hours from larger hospitals with specialized services. Because of our isolated rural setting, ambulance services are not always immediately available and at best take 20-30 minutes to arrive. Although we have first aid attendants onsite and a medical clinic nearby (open 3 days/week and without emergency services), our ability to respond to medical emergencies is limited. If you have a serious condition, including severe allergies, a heart condition, or any potentially life-threatening disease, it is essential to check with us prior to registering.

  • A laptop computer is handy for submitting daily papers
  • Casual winter clothes including warm boots
  • Comfortable yoga clothes
  • Clothing for satsang and special events
  • Medical supplies that you need for the duration of your stay
  • A digital recorder can be helpful
  • Journal
  • Indoor footwear or slippers
  • Alarm clock
  • Spring and summer clothes if you plan to stay on
Yes, we can store them for you until you arrive.

YOUR STAY AT YASODHARA FAQ

The Ashram is in the southern interior of British Columbia, about midway between Calgary and Vancouver, and north of Idaho. Please refer to our ‘Getting Here’ page for more information on bus, plane and ferry schedules, and for driving directions and times.

A typical daily schedule while on a course will look like this:

Hatha Yoga – 7-8:45 a.m. (Ten Days of Yoga) or 7-8 a.m. (all other courses)
Breakfast – 9 a.m. (Ten Days of Yoga) or 8 a.m. (all other courses)
Workshop – 10-12:30 a.m.
Lunch – 12:30 p.m.
Reflection – 1-3 p.m.
Workshop – 3-5:30 p.m.
Dinner – 6 p.m.
Satsang – 8-9 p.m.

A typical daily schedule while on a Guided Retreat will look like this:

Hatha Yoga – 6:50-7:50 a.m.
Breakfast – 8-8:30 a.m.
Karma Yoga – 9-10 a.m.
Personal Retreat – 10-11 a.m.
Workshop – 11-12:30 a.m.
Lunch – 12:30 p.m.
Personal Retreat – 1-4 p.m.
Workshop – 4-5:30 p.m.
Dinner – 6 p.m.
Satsang – 8- 9 p.m.

If you come for a Personal Retreat your day may look like this:

Hatha Yoga – 6:50-7:50 a.m.
Breakfast – 8-8:30 a.m.
Karma Yoga – 9-11 a.m.
Personal Retreat – 11-12:30 a.m.
Lunch – 12:30 p.m.
Personal Retreat – 1-6 p.m.
Dinner – 6 p.m.
Satsang – 8- 9 p.m.

Yes. Visitors are welcome year round between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please register in the bookstore and we will give you a site map for your self-guided tour.

This year, to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are also offering a special day program, A Taste of the Ashram. Call or e-mail to pre-register for these summer sessions that include a yoga class, lunch and a guided tour of the Ashram gardens, Temple and environmental initiatives.

We encourage guests to remain on the property for the duration of the program to receive the maximum benefit from their time here. If you do need to leave the Ashram grounds at any time, please notify the office (for our emergency procedures purposes.)

If you are interested in visiting the local area, plan time before or after your stay. There are lovely artisan shops in Crawford Bay and a hot springs at Ainsworth.

Illegal drugs and alcohol are not permitted.

Many of the Ashram residents have taken vows of celibacy. We ask all guests to observe this tapas (austerity) while here. It is an opportunity to observe your physical and mental habits and examine the role of sex in your life. Many people have commented that this short-term restraint allowed their energy to be refocused. It also helps create an open, safe atmosphere in the Ashram.

Everyone is asked to dress modestly and to refrain from entering each other’s private living spaces for the purpose of socializing.

If you are married or in a relationship, you are very welcome to be at the Ashram. We ask couples to observe celibacy while here and will give you separate accommodations. Families will be accommodated together or in neighbouring rooms.

Family members are very welcome at the Ashram. We are an intergenerational community with offerings for children, elders and everyone in-between. Family members are welcome to take a course, be on retreat or participate in Karma Yoga. There is Family Week each summer and the Children’s Program especially designed for children whose parents are on course.
Pets are not allowed, partly due to guest sensitivities and partly because of our remote wilderness location. We want to minimize the risk of disturbing the extensive wildlife in our natural habitat and we also wish to avoid any harm coming to your pets.

The Ashram is located in a mountainous, rural setting. We do not offer wheelchair accessibility, but we can offer transport between buildings and we do our best to provide assistance to guests with limited mobility. Please call ahead to be sure we can accommodate your needs.

In terms of participation in Hatha Yoga, our gentle approach encourages practitioners to listen to their own bodies and adjust the practice in ways that are suitable to them – for example, visualizing if physically doing a pose is not an option.

We have two main guest buildings – Saraswati Lodge, which is a classic cedar lodge and the Barn, which is a renovated barn converted to a beautiful residence using green technology. Rooms have single beds, closets, dressers and desks. Most rooms are shared with one other person and most bathrooms are also shared. All linens and towels are provided.

Additionally, we have special retreat accommodation options:

Creek Cabin is an original log cabin that was recently upgraded with a private bathroom. It offers privacy and a lovely independent setting right on the Ashram main grounds. Ask for details and rates.

We sometimes have vacancies at Yasodhara Heights, which are independent eco-cabins above the Riondel Road. The Heights cabins have private kitchens and are completely furnished. Ask for details and rates.

Private accommodations in the lodges are often available for an additional $35 per night.

We serve three nutritious, organic meals daily. Vegetarian, vegan, wheat-free and bean-free options are always available. We occasionally serve humanely-sourced chicken and fish for those who include it in their diets.

An afternoon fruit snack is available for Karma Yogis. Tea, coffee and sometimes freshly-baked cookies are available for purchase. Our bookstore also carries snacks such as power bars, chocolate bars, nuts and dried fruit.

We always provide options for those with wheat, dairy and bean sensitivities. The ingredients for each menu item are listed. If you have special needs, such as a gluten-free diet, you may want to bring some of your own supplies such as gluten-free bread.

A fridge and cupboard space are available to guests for necessary supplies. However we cannot offer cooking facilities; therefore if you are bringing meal items they should be prepared ahead or easy to heat in a microwave.

Our kitchen prepares a large variety of foods. If you have severe allergies (such as nut allergies), please bring emergency medication. We do not have a nut-free kitchen.

Please note that the Ashram is 1.5 hours from the nearest hospital, and 3 hours from larger hospitals with specialized services. Because of our isolated rural setting, ambulance services are not always immediately available and at best take 20-30 minutes to arrive. Although we have first aid attendants onsite and a medical clinic nearby (open 3 days/week and without emergency services), our ability to respond to medical emergencies is limited. If you have a serious allergies, or any potentially life-threatening disease, it is essential to check with us prior to registering.

Please bring outdoor work clothes, waterproof footwear, loose-fitting clothing for Hatha Yoga, slippers or indoor shoes and an alarm clock. Dress is casual, though you may want something special for satsangs and celebrations. Bring seasonal clothing such as warm boots with good traction for winter, a modest bathing suit for summer. You may also want to bring a phone card, a journal, a prayer shawl and your personal yoga mat (although we have mats and blankets available.)

Be sure to have adequate medical coverage and bring along any medications that you may need during your stay.

Both wireless internet access and public computer terminals are available at Kali’s Café, from 7:45 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Pay phones are located in guest residences and at Mandala House, with phone cards for purchase in the bookstore. There is limited cell phone reception in our immediate location.
Yes, guests may send and receive mail via Canada Post. Mail often takes longer because of our rural location. Our mailing address is:
Yasodhara Ashram
PO Box 9
Kootenay Bay, BC
V0B 1X0
Personal care products, teas, snacks and stationary are available in the Ashram Bookstore. You can also place prepaid orders for items to be picked up in Nelson.