Swami Radha, August 1989
In this video, August 1989, Swami Radha talks about the Ashram, Community and Karma Yoga. She touches on spiritual practices that hold the community together.
View the video
Looking Back and Looking Forward
In late July we gathered to express our gratitude to the original Temple and to say goodbye in a ceremony of offering back flowers grown in its gardens, remembering silently our experiences and then sharing together in small groups what the Temple meant to us. Now, with the Temple down to its original platform, we look to the future.
If you missed our video updates, here is a brief synopsis:
As our 11 video updates since last month’s newsletter showed, fire damage necessitated deconstruction down to the floor, with just the entry area and the prayer room remaining. The process of deconstruction contracted to a Creston company took about two weeks and cost $50,000. All windows and doors – unharmed by the fire – are now in storage, as are the chandeliers that will be assessed for re-use. Working with Yasodhara managers, the contractors saved and recycled as much material as possible.
Four thousand time-lapse photographs capture the seven days of Temple deconstruction in magnificent form. Click here to watch the time-lapse video.
With the Temple site back to the platform where dance performances and celebrations used to take place, we have the time and space to envision, brainstorm and plan the process of building the new Temple. Staying true to the original essence, people are visualizing, sketching and building models to bring forward innovations. We are looking into new materials, inviting in professionals and imagining the new Light-filled manifestation.
We breathe, we learn from the past, we listen for what Divine Mother wants to happen. Please join us, wherever you are, in celebrating our past and the promise of our next steps.
Thank you for your heartfelt messages and donations. We will keep in touch about Temple Rebuild ideas and planning as we move forward into the next phases.
To make a donation, visit the Temple Rebuild page.
Our Doors are Open
We welcome the opportunity to host groups from all spiritual traditions at Yasodhara Ashram. The essence of the Temple of Divine Light, which was designed with eight doors to represent different pathways to the Light, lives on! Whether in Mandala House or at the beach, the prayer rooms or in the tipi, satsang brings us together nightly with the same “Temple” spirit of community and devotion. And we continue to accommodate the needs of every individual and group that enters.
Over the past few months, a Sufi group shared a Circle Dance, the Mishras played a classical sitar concert and an Aboriginal songwriter held a tipi-blessing ceremony. We also hosted numerous guests, including those on artistic and professional retreats, and invited in our neighbours and visitors with Taste of the Ashram.
In September Venerable Lama Losang Samten will be returning to offer his second Buddhist Meditation Retreat at Yasodhara Ashram.
For more information about how we can meet the needs of your group – large or small – please visit our website or contact registrations.
Ethics in Yoga
In Yasodhara Yoga we encourage our teachers to clarify their own values. With every teacher certification course, we always pose the question, What are your ethics?
Now we want to expand that discussion with other teachers from diverse traditions.
- What are your values and principles as a yoga teacher?
- How do you actually live your ethics in your classes?
- Do the ethics in classes apply to your life outside teaching?
- How do our modern-day values tie in with an ancient system, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras? Or do they?
This weekend course – new to our program offerings – will give you an opportunity to challenge yourself, think deeply, interact with others as well as to study, question and practice together.
In the end, will we agree on certain principles or will each find her own way? Join us for this timely exploration. Bring your favorite Yoga Sutras translation…
And please help us spread the word by printing and taking posters to your local yoga studios.
For more information, see the program calendar.
The Sacred Ground of Learning
Ametisse Gover-Chamlou’s first Yasodhara Ashram stay at age 18 included the 2013 Yoga Development Course and Karma Yoga. Next step was a year of Liberal Arts at Quest University near Vancouver. She returned to the Ashram for Karma Yoga and a month of teacher training. In September she returns to Quest.
The power of experiential learning – Swami Radha’s mainstay – shines forth in the summary written by Ametisse after completing her 30 book reflections required for teacher certification.
Push, rest, go, stop, do more, do less, tense, relax, inhale, exhale – walk the line of my limitations. The place between I can and I can’t is the Sacred Ground of Learning. It is a resting ground and a battlefield, a place of both work and reflection.
I have grown. My voice grew deeper – more personal, more abstract, more irrational – when I was speaking from my most vulnerable. That’s where I was my most sincere, and that sincerity carried me into unknown places within myself.
There are symbols and themes that thread themselves throughout my papers: Mountain, battle, fire, Mother, feminine, breath, birth, water, harmony. As I read over my reflections I see how these themes were given space to mature the more I opened myself to inner and outer intimacy. I see how in giving more of myself to the reflections, the deeper I was able to go.
Learning does not happen in shallow ditches. I needed to dig the well and dig it deep. I needed to reach the water in order to drink from it. This was a process of healing – a process of getting real and a process of change. The Sacred Ground of Learning is where healing takes place.
Outreach Goes to NYC
Yasodhara Outreach is stepping up to an international learning event at Columbia University, New York. Alicia Pace, Vice-President of Yasodhara Ashram and founder of Yasodhara Institute, will guide a session titled Exploring the Spiritual Space Within at the 11th International Transformative Learning Conference October 24-26. Alicia reflects on this opportunity.
I’m thrilled. Swami Radha saw the benefit of connecting the teachings with educational institutions and this is a step in that direction. Alliances like this keep us tapped into what is happening in the world and, in turn, I believe we have a significant contribution to make. Yasodhara practices and our experiential learning focus are all about transformative learning – the expansion of consciousness. In this session, participants will engage in the Straight Walk and literally walk through a series of reflective questions.
This opportunity supports the ideals of the Yasodhara Institute, a longer-term idea I am fostering to extend our teachings into professional and synergistic educational partnerships.
What I also appreciate is that this idea came forward from two Yasodhara friends who live in New York – Andrea Rollefson, a YDC graduate and photographer, and Christie Rall, a PhD candidate at Columbia University. They opened the door and helped submit the proposal for Yasodhara’s participation.
If others in our network have academic and/or professional sessions they would like us to provide, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Check out our other Outreach offeringstoo.
Ottawa’s Former Radha House Sells
The building that housed Ottawa Radha Yoga Centre for 30 years sold on July 31. This special 100 year-year-old house provided the sacred space for satsangs, classes, celebrations, management of the Radha Yoga Youth Outreach Program (RYYO) and many workshops with Swami Radha, Swami Radhananda and other Yasodhara swamis. With classes downsizing and local teachers needing more personal time, the house was no longer sustainable. In their farewell celebration, members of the community scattered rose petals from their recent rose ceremony at the four corners of the house, commemorating their own experiences in the space and preparing the ground for the new owners.
“Because the sale was contemplated for two years I was prepared for it,” comments Denise Pratte, an active Ottawa karma yogini who spent a month at the Ashram this summer. “It has been my spiritual home, the place where my devotion started.”
Teacher Anne Churchill, one of five in the Ottawa area, is pleased that Joan Gamble will
offer weekly satsangs in her home starting in September and thus continue Yasodhara Yoga Ottawa. “It’s a big transition and we are ready for it,” she says. “We will meet this fall to make future plans. We can learn from how other centres carried the teachings out to diverse communities across the country.” Anne already teaches seniors at a community centre.
In Spokane, the original Radha House building on Pacific Ave. recently went on the market (see the listing) as the Yasodhara Yoga Spokane group adjusts to changing needs. Classes will continue at the beautiful studio – a former carriage house – in historic Browne’s Addition on property that includes a 100-year-old apartment house and the Timeless Books depot.
Trust in the Knowing
Nina Mirachi celebrated her 27th birthday in May and recognized something was missing in her life. She decided to return to Yasodhara’s Young Adult Program (YAP). Her supervisor suggested she take two weeks; Nina insisted on one month.
“I wanted the support and also the process that is in place here and that has helped me so much in the past.” As part of YAP, Nina participates in full-time Karma Yoga, a weekly evening class, a Saturday afternoon workshop, morning Hatha Yoga and evening satsang.
Nina’s introduction to the Ashram came in 2009 after she finished college. By the end of her month-long stay she didn’t want to leave. So she returned in 2010 and 2011. Now, being back at the Ashram, she says it confirms her intuition. “It’s that same feeling of being in the right place and finding what I need. I trust that.”
When Nina tells her friends in Arizona about Yasodhara Yoga, she emphasizes the reflection, self-evaluation and questioning. “I really focus on how to bring the practices back to my life.”