Yoga of Self-Development

Our guided yoga retreats, self-guided retreats, intensive courses and selfless service stays support healing, personal growth and self-development. Spiritually we offer a focus on Light and the Divine Feminine, much-needed in our world today. Please note that we are only open to guests who have made an advance reservation.
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  • Whispers from The Garden – Eldering and Social Change

    Spend some time in a garden in winter and you’ll find it’s a very quiet place, resting, waiting. And who doesn’t love a garden in spring? Everything so tidy and organized, seeds planted, rapid growth, early offerings, so full of potential! Then summer, when a garden is in its prime – lush, high production; seems that this is what a garden is all about. But for me, there is something surprising and soulful about a garden in the middle of autumn, when it has been through more than half of its life cycle, yet still flourishing in unique ways in the next to last phase. I, myself, am in the autumn of my life journey, the phase where the end of life is more fully in my consciousness, and I’ve been exploring how to bloom now, here, in new ways. The reality of my mortality infuses this season of my life with a deep sense of gratitude, humility, commitment, and sacredness. Sacred Questions As a participant in one of the Ashram’s first online courses on discovering the sacred, I realized that a sense of sacredness in my life had been, paradoxically, most present for me in the few times that I’d accompanied loved ones as they prepared to die. In those spaces, I was aware of forces not entirely of this world so very present in my experiences of witnessing their sacred passages out of this human realm – and I was left with many questions. It was my longing to understand death better that led me, at the age of sixty-two, to study conscious dying and death doula practice at the Conscious Dying Institute. Many insights emerged from my studies, perhaps none more impactful than beginning to make peace with my own mortality which brought with it a deep and genuine sense of gratitude for living. And then something more happened for me. From newfound peace and gratitude, emerged brand new questions around purpose. In what some call the “third third” of our lives, I wondered if there was still more to become. Was there more of my Self to unearth, to release, to seed and grow into? Were there new roles for me to play, different yet based upon all I’d been before, in my family, my community, my work in the world? In my long career as an educator and coach for social change leadership, most recently as a co-founder of the Wolf Willow Institute for Systems Learning, I’ve spent decades supporting incredible, amazing leaders from all walks of life – almost all at least twenty to thirty years younger than me. Now, my attention turned towards my peers, those still passionate about wanting to contribute to a better world yet also heeding an inner intuition that called for changes to the focus and quality of their leadership. What would it mean to intentionally seed purposeful, new ways of knowing, being and doing at this point? What would it take to consciously, bravely say ‘yes’ to this inner calling to elderhood? Soul Work I wanted to learn more. I stumbled upon a book called “The Inner Work of Age ~ Shifting from Role to Soul” by Connie Zweig. As I read it, I became excited about the author’s explanation that older adults are not yet finished growing up! The final stages of life can be a profound time of human development, one that we have been preparing for in all our previous steps and stages. A critical phase that, if we are privileged to live long enough, offers us unique opportunities for continued growth. Even more interesting to me, was evidence that this stage of life holds tremendous purpose and potential, not only for individuals but for society. Carl Jung wrote, “A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species.” To my mind, this statement connects natural aging to natural meaning and purpose for the health and well-being of all of us. I was reminded that we humans are but one species, a part of the natural world of this planet, and subject to natural processes that likely hold relevance for resilience and well-being. This resonated deeply with my soul and filled me with longing to step out more fully onto the natural course of an entire human journey. I developed a new sense of determination and commitment to be all that I could be as I enter the elderhood phase of my own blessed life. “We suffer from ageing illiteracy.” writes renowned gerontologist, Bill Thomas – and as my own interest increased around how to make the most of the last decades of my life, I had to agree. I began to seek out sources of new learning and development about this part of the life path and discovered programs that promoted new, positive perspectives on ageing. In September 2022, I enrolled in one such workshop at a beautiful leadership retreat centre on one of the islands off the coast of BC, and stepped into a new circle of fellow seekers, all of a certain age. That phrase, ‘a certain age’ is a funny one – meant to be used when you want to mask your true age, most often used to refer to women, for whom growing older is experienced, in this youth-obsessed culture, as particularly cruel. Yet in this program on ageing, the phrase was flipped for me. Here was a group very ‘certain’, as in, sure of themselves. We affirmed for each other that older age held new promise and we were eager to develop new mindsets that would support living lives right to the end of life, with purpose, passion and pride. The good company of my fellow participants breathed new life into my explorations and a seed was planted in my mind. I began to dream of designing a program that might offer even more – not only supporting positive attitudes about ageing but also framing