A Tapestry of Light – Issue 10, 2015

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A Tapestry of Light Issue 10, 2015
In October, Yasodhara Ashram created an intricate tapestry of Light with strands of shining students flowing in for programs and courses, and ribbons of luminous teachers flowing out to conferences and workshops. Weaving together our offering of deep inner work while extending to what the world needs initiates the next phase of the Ashram’s evolution – fertile ground for expansion. And the Temple, which is imminent, hints at a new birth symbolic for awakening to greater understanding, awareness and compassion.

Thank you for your ongoing support – through attending courses and retreats at the Ashram and outreach programs, through your donations (and Aviva votes!), and through your love and care in helping weave the web of Light in your own community.


  Temple Update: From Vision to Reality


The Temple of Light is taking its next exciting step from vision to reality.

Yasodhara Ashram has just selected Spearhead Inc., a local manufacturing company, to construct the major components of the Temple. Chosen from a pool of international contenders, we are thrilled that the best choice is in our own backyard.

Located right across Kootenay Lake from us, what makes Spearhead so special is their use of leading-edge technologies which allow them to collaborate with the architects and construction team to produce precise digital models that link directly to their digital fabrication machines. The Temple components will be prefabricated at their facility, ensuring both quality and efficiency.

Tara Primeau, project manager at Spearhead commented, “We have worked on several other sacred spaces including a synagogue in Palo Alto, California and a chapel in Hawaii. We feel honoured to be included in this inspired project and are sincerely looking forward to the next steps.”

Thanks to Spearhead’s advanced technology, proximity and compatibility with our architects, a new working schedule for rebuilding the Temple has just been confirmed.

“The Temple structure will be prepared across the lake the spring of 2016, driven over and erected before summer. This means the Temple will be ready for occupancy by the fall of 2016. It is pretty dazzling news!” says Swami Lalitananda.

(US donors click here to donate to the ADHP)


  Generosity for Young Adults

The spirit of generosity shone through once again as this year’s Yasodhara 108 raised $24,418! Thank you to all participants and donors.

Funds raised go directly to the Ashram’s Young Adult Program, which changes the lives of more than 100 young adults each year and creates a foundation for their future.

Twenty-four participants offered projects such as 108 circumambulations of the Temple, quotations, photos of Light, poems or dances – together bringing in 263 donations. Swami Vimalananda, at age 86, raised $1100. Your gifts of support for this important program are always appreciated.

  Toward a Peaceful World

Swami Lalitananda and Alicia Pace attended the Parliament of World Religions from October 15 to 19. Swami Lalitananda shares some highlights.

The Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City was an immersion into diversity and a time to be nourished by leaders passionate for change, such as Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva and Karen Armstrong.

The messages I heard were to give back to life, to take action on climate change, to acknowledge women as a power, to demand care for our planet and respect for each other, to stop the violence toward our Mother through such destructive activities as fracking. The inner teachings of the indigenous grandmothers also resonated: Start with yourself – walk your path. Fill yourself before you try changing the world.

Our message from Yasodhara Ashram was to find the Light within, the underlying essence of all traditions. We offered the Divine Light Invocation to a group who gratefully received this tool and were happy to carry it home. A chaplain in a children’s hospital said the practice will help her offer up each family’s situation so she can move on to the next with her full attention.

The incredible spectrum of traditions – from indigenous, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan – offered richness and helped me recognize Swami Radha’s gifts. She cleared the path for women, encouraged our leadership, introduced divine feminine imagery. She brought quality, care and awareness to our land and teachings. She stood up for what she knew. She created a foundation for the Ashram to build on and expand so we can respond intelligently to the world’s needs and practice what we teach.

I am grateful to her and to all of you who support the Ashram, enabling us to step forward, learn from others and offer our contribution.


Upcoming Courses

Relaxation Retreat: Experience the quiet and tranquility of Yasodhara Ashram. Focus on going inward, stilling the mind and body, connecting to your inner source of peace, harmony and joy. Each day you will go deeper into a relaxation practice to emerge renewed and full of Light. Re-enter your life with sustaining practices to keep the relaxation, with all of its benefits, alive.
December 4 – 6

Renewing in the Light Retreat (Winter Solstice): In this retreat, we honour the seasonal cycles of light by nourishing your own inner Light. We explore the practice of the Divine Light Invocation, along with relaxation techniques, visualizations and meditations on Light.
December 18 – 20

New Year’s at the Ashram: Step out from the pressure of the holidays and honour the Light in the tranquil and beautiful setting of Yasodhara Ashram. Join us this New Year’s, as we celebrate the gifts of the year and enjoy the peace of the season. Take yoga classes and workshops, join others in Karma Yoga, sing, dance and reflect. A precious time of devotion and renewal.
December 30 – January 1

The Yoga Development Course: The YDC is an intensive three-month program designed to give students an in-depth introduction to the major branches of yoga and a foundation in personal and spiritual development. The course is of lasting value to all those who wish to establish and deepen their yoga practice and make permanent changes in their approach to life.
January 8 – April 7, 2016

Upcoming Outreach

We reach out beyond the Ashram borders with our diverse Yasodhara Outreach initiatives. Look for workshops in the coming week with Swami Samayananda and Swami Matananda in Ottawa & Chelsea and Montreal, with Padma in Kimberley in November and Swami Sukhananda in Portugal in December. Other workshops and satsangs are coming soon in England.Register now and tell a friend.

  Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust
  An Interfaith Study and Conversation on Care for our Common Home

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What happens when Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, United Church representatives, Yogis, Buddhists and an EcoSociety enter into a dialogue about the Earth, our ‘Common Home’?

Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ brought this diverse group together in Nelson for seven weeks to explore the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental challenges in today’s world. These are conversations based not on differences, but on what we all have in common – our concern for the Earth.

In his encyclical, the Pope reminds us “that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.”

Representatives from Yasodhara Ashram led the fourth conversation, exploring the “Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis.” True to the yogic tradition, we asked each person to reflect about what the issues mean personally. What choices are you making to live an ethical life? How are you using your power?

For more information about Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust contact montana@ecosociety.ca or paris@yasodhara.org.


  Bringing the Teachings to You

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Yasodhara Ashram teachers are on the road this fall, travelling to different cities – Kimberley, Penticton, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and even different countries, England and Portugal – to offer workshops and retreats.

“It’s like the Ashram comes to us,” is a comment often heard from grateful participants. Everyone is nourished by gathering together in community to reflect and practice.

Swami Samayananda notes that one significant effect of even short gatherings is the power of silence found in the midst of busy lives. Participants often express surprise at how quickly they are able to relax, become still and gain perspective.

This year the teachings are making their way into some new environments such as Bryn Bamber’s workplace at the Ontario Justice Education Network and Community Legal Education; a businesswomen’s networking group, SheEo, in Toronto; and educators and students in Jo-Anna LeGrandeur’s Cranbrook school division.

Check out Yasodhara Outreach workshops that are happening near you. Or contact us if you would like to bring an Ashram teacher to your area.


  Polishing the Diamond: Manifesting the Light

Swami Radhananda talks about “how wise and absolutely brilliant each person is” when a group comes together, keeping their Divine appointments.

Watch the video

  Resilience in Action

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In September Paris Marshall Smith travelled to Prince Edward Island with two local women to attend the Canadian Rural Revitalization Conference focused on Building Resilient Communities.

It was wonderful to share stories of resilience from Yasodhara Ashram and the artisans of Crawford Bay! Our communities represent examples of the innovation and depth that results from a commitment to “place,” showing how to adapt to and create change at a human scale. We demonstrate how individuals make a difference.

From the Ashram, I presented a narrative of the Temple – defining resilience not by how we hold on, but by how we let go. I also shared our model of Food Flow – a system that is centered on reverence for life.

To tell the local artisans’ story, we made a film with support from Columbia Basin Trust. It celebrates the quality of the Crawford Bay artisans and their community-building capacity. Theirs is a story of building a rural entrepreneurial culture through risk-taking, sharing resources and steadfastness, which enables them to sustain a livelihood and create multi-generational opportunities.

I returned from PEI with a stronger understanding of how investment in the creative – whether devotion, art or food – builds a sustaining foundation. It is the unseen qualities of trust, respect and knowledge that enable us to let go when we encounter challenge and are asked to change.


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News at a Glance

Immerse Yourself – Our next three-month Yoga Development Course (YDC) begins January 8, 2016, so there is still time to prepare and register. 2015 participant Karen Squires says of her experience: “I was looking for consolidated time and space in a supportive environment where I could go deeply into my process without other concerns. Here all our needs are taken care of. The main change for me from the YDC has been gaining a new perspective in dealing with challenges and transitions. And I’m better able to bring spiritual life into my everyday life.” Find out for yourself!

Welcoming New Residents – We welcome teachers and students who have returned for extended Karma Yoga stays: teachers Arlene Trustham of Courtney (seven months) and Carol Lucis of England (six months) and students Kerstin Gafvels (one year) and Rachel Pugh (to be determined). We appreciate their commitment and contributions. Inquire anytime about the possibility of an extended stay.

Voting for the Temple – Thank you for the tremendous community-wide support toward our application for a $90,000 grant from AVIVA for “greening the Temple.” Daily online voting helped show strong backing for our project. And thanks to Kootenay Insurance Services’ support as an AVIVA broker, we were entered into an additional $100,000 draw! AVIVA is now counting the votes and reviewing ideas. Finalists will be announced on November 3 by AVIVA.

InSpirit Festival – The first annual InSpirit Festival in Penticton October 23-25 achieved its objectives of raising funds for the new Temple of Light and bringing awareness of the Ashram to the local community. Organizers Parama MacLeod, Ruth Campbell and her partner Milton Orris, and Jane Shaak of the Shatford Centre brought together an inspiring weekend of creativity and insight. We appreciate their efforts along with the well-received offerings of Swami Jyotihananda and Rebecca Dale from the Ashram and Okanangan Yasodhara Yoga teachers. Watch for InSpirit again next year!

Living the PracticeTwenty-four women blossomed during the opportunity to spend five days with Swami Radhananda’s guidance October 4-9. The spaciousness and camaraderie of the retreat touched each one deeply.

One-Month Karma Yoga – The eleven karma yogis in the September-October program departed recently, leaving us with wonderful stories of lessons learned and gratitude. A new group of five has entered in. Consider joining us for this live-and-work program to experience life, yoga and work in a truly transformative way.

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Personal Practice Guide
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Swami Radha gives us direction and encouragement for accumulating our spiritual capital to keep our learning alive.

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“On Meaning & Purpose”
Reflection Questions

As the seasons change, take time and create space to reflect on meaning and purpose in your life. Thank you to Yasodhara Yoga Ottawa for creating this month’s personal practice guide.

  1. “The first question to be asked is, ‘What is the purpose of my life? What makes my life worth living?’ This is the beginning of self-inquiry…. Without such self-inquiry, you are subject to the authority and opinion of others – parents, friends, the mass media and so on.” (Kundalini Yoga for the West, p. 27) Choose a practice and update your response to these core questions.
  2. “When we actually begin to think of other people and do work for the joy of doing, and doing what needs to be done, there’s something that starts to happen – we are working together, for a purpose. And our work becomes meaningful.” (Living the Practice, p. 105) Reflect on what makes your work meaningful. Try bringing in an attitude of joy.
  3. “The color cakra plates are a visual representation of the Kundalini system. These images are like a mirror. What are you drawn to? Can you see the images as symbolic aspects of yourself? The gods and goddesses represent the intelligence of the cakra. Looking at them, can you recognize the tools they hold as effective means for dealing with the issues arising at this point in your life?” (Kundalini Yoga for the West, p. 17-18)
  4. Ask yourself, How do I stay connected to the Light in the midst of daily demands? What are the ideals I want to maintain regardless of any inner or outer challenges?

For more Teaching and Reflection ideas, click here.




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