Change Yourself, Change Your World – Issue 11/12, 2015

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Change Yourself, Change Your World Issue 11/12, 2015
Swami Radha used to say that the Temple was present in the unseen and just had to manifest. Now that time is here again, with the new Temple of Light hovering near though still invisible. And with its nearness comes a feeling that the Ashram will be entering a new phase, as if a beacon of Light is being polished to shine more brightly in the world.

The victorious convergence of the Paris Agreement gives me hope. The ideals of our new Canadian government also give me hope. For the Ashram, too, I am hopeful. The teachings we have offered for 52 years are mystical yet practical and effective in helping us discover our own depth. Our plan is to make these teachings accessible to more people. It is a time when the Ashram’s purpose and values align with a wider direction, where understanding ourselves from within is needed to meet the external demands.

“Change yourself, change your world” – that is our theme for 2016.

Many thanks to our students, teachers, karma yogis – to children, families, elders, young people and those in between for your tremendous support over this past year. Your generous donations toward the Temple and your care for the Ashram have been heartwarming! Thank you! We look forward to welcoming you back in 2016, a very special year of the Temple Rising.

Much Light on the holidays.


  2016 Programs – Renew, heal, develop, evolve


Join us in this inspiring year of the Temple Rising! Check out our new 2016 Program Calendar online or in poster format.

Come to Yasodhara Ashram
Absorb the Ashram’s natural beauty and spiritually charged atmosphere along with transformative teachings. Our classic programs – such as the 10 Days of Yoga, Light & Vibration and Living the Practice – offer depth and insight. New programs – such as Cultivating Compassion, Yoga & Nature and Care for Caregivers – meet diverse needs. Follow what calls you.

Travel in a tribe
Gather your people, choose a convenient date and choose one of our courses/retreats at the Ashram at a time that suits you. (Suggested minimum 6) Call or email early to reserve.

Invite us to your area
Can’t travel? Gather friends, family or colleagues where you are and we can send a teacher to offer a workshop on your homeground. (Suggested minimum 10)

Invite us to conferences and gatherings
We specialize in themes such as mind and consciousness, spiritual ecology, building resilient communities, interfaith dialogue, women & leadership….Your ideas?

Pass it on
Help us keep these vibrant teachings alive by sharing our program and website. Thank you!

And remember, we always enjoy hearing from you!

BONUS to Americans! U.S. dollar exchange rates are at an all time high against the Canadian dollar. It’s not too late to sign up for the 2016 YDC!


  Interns: Nurturing Tomatoes Leads to YDC

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Kyle Atkinson and Tamara Jackson both recently completed eight-month internships and describe their process of living and learning at the Ashram.

Tamara, a garden and accommodations intern, will be returning in January to attend the three-month Yoga Development Course (YDC). “People say the YDC is transformative and that’s what I’m looking for. I’ve gotten a good introduction through my Karma Yoga and the 10 Days of Yoga. Now I want to take the time and space to allow more to come up.

“Through my internship I gained confidence, leadership, intuition, more personal awareness. Leading teams taught me valuable people skills. And looking after the tomatoes – loving and nurturing them – reinforced strengths in me that I need to share.”

Kyle tried out the one-month Karma Yoga program before applying for an internship. From his work in the garden and woodworking shop, he learned patience, communication and work ethics.

“I noticed that as I gained more confidence, I made less mistakes, so I could see the power of my mind in that. Being here has helped me get everything in alignment. For my next steps, I have three solid options. Before, I didn’t even know I had options. I know more about what I want now.”


Upcoming Courses

See more in the 2016 Program Calendar online and in this programs-at-a-glance poster.

The Yoga Development Course: The Yoga Development Course (YDC) is an intensive three-month program designed to expand awareness through personal and spiritual development. Built on a series of integrated workshops that weave experiential learning with various practices of yoga, the YDC offers powerful tools for transforming and enhancing life. The course is valuable not only to yoga students and teachers but to all those who wish to make lasting changes and to live a richer, more meaningful life.
January 8 – April 7, 2016 and January 9 – April 8, 2017

Taste of the Ashram: You are invited to be part of the Ashram for a short day program that gives a taste of this special community. Join us for a yoga class, lunch and guided tour of the grounds, including an overview of our environmental initiatives and gardens. Or stay overnight for an extended stay!
Feb 6; March 5; April 9; May 14; June 11; July 2; July 16; July 30; Aug 13; Aug 27; Sept 3; Sept 17; Oct 1; Nov 5; Dec 3

Spring Equinox: Finding Balance Retreat: Celebrate this special time of equal day and night, by reflecting on balance. Balancing daily life demands – work, relationships, family, information input – and taking care of yourself can be challenging. Learn yogic techniques such as breath, visualization, reflection and relaxation to help restore calm and a clear sense of what is most important in your life.
March 18-20

Stilling the Mind Retreat: What is the mind? What are its tendencies? How can it be directed? Each day you will learn practices – including visualization, breathing techniques, concentration and reflection – to help you understand different levels of mind and to approach the mind’s expansive potential.
May 6-8, July 31-Aug 4, Oct 14-18

10 Days of Yoga: Journey of Self-Discovery: Give yourself ten days to expand your understanding of who you are and who you want to be – a reprieve from stress in a safe and nurturing place of reflection. For students of all levels, this course offers practices that support your personal and spiritual development. You will leave with tools to create more meaning, joy and relaxation in your life and with more trust in your ability to live a balanced life.
May 19-29, July 21-31, Aug 11-21, Oct 13-23

Personal Retreats, Artist and Professional Renewal Retreats and Karma Yoga are available year-round.

  Temple Rising

The Temple of Light will rise again to become the focal point within the Ashram in the coming year. Swami Premananda, our skilled builder and woodworker, reflects on its evolution.


The Temple is a beacon, a Lighthouse that attracts people to the area and to the teachings. I can’t imagine the Ashram without a Temple. It gives hope to the world.

This new Temple design is very inspiring and beautiful, and continues the intention of being an open, welcoming place for people of all religions. People who come here appreciate the quiet and vibrational aspects of the Temple, and all the practices that have come into it. Swami Radha’s presence in the Temple is an important part of it.

This version of the Temple is a leap forward – just as the original Temple was unusual and modern for this area back in the 1990s. The new Temple will have a unique inner and outer symbolism too, offering more of a connection with the outdoors – to the wind, water, ravens, trees around us.

With our building experience, Swami Sivananda and I act as interpreters on the Temple Hub and we are bringing the practical aspects to it. We want to make sure everything works smoothly in combination with the beauty.

I’m looking forward to lots of people coming to the Ashram throughout this historic year. We’ll be gathering inside the new Temple of Light by fall!

Come to a special Temple Celebration August 5-7 to celebrate the progress. And donate now to help make it happen.


  Video: Stillness, Breath and Light – December 24, 2005

Swami Radhananda raises timeless questions about our connection to the Light and our life force. “There is something that comes in on the breath. How do we make it into intelligence and how does it help us in our search for wisdom?”

Watch the video

  Give the Gift

Thank you for remembering the Ashram this holiday season! By donating to Yasodhara Ashram, you give the gift of a confident future for the teachings. Your gift contributes to the beauty and care of a sacred place that welcomes all who seek the Light.

Choose how you would like to direct your donation from the four options below.



Our first priority this year is rebuilding the Temple of Light, a symbol of unity in all spiritual traditions. Your support also goes toward rejuvenating, rebuilding and maintaining the physical structures that hold our practices and programs – where participants learn, stay, eat and retreat. Now over 50 years old, many of the Ashram’s buildings need work.



Sustainability means many things. At Yasodhara Ashram it is both in our practices as a model for sustainable living, as well in our goal to be a viable organization for generations to come. By designating your donations to the Sustainability Fund you will support projects and programs that lead to our current and long-term sustainability goals.



Courses help people of all ages and backgrounds to courageously face their personal evolution. By supporting the Education & Outreach Fund you directly contribute to building stronger, healthier communities – one participant at a time. Funds support bursaries, on-going training for teachers, global outreach and more.


FUND – Where it’s most needed

When you designate your support to the General Fund you allow the Ashram to determine where your gift will have the greatest impact. As you can imagine, needs change with time and circumstance. This fund gives the Ashram flexibility to address needs as they arise and ensure that our programming remains of the greatest possible quality.

Make a Gift
(US donors click here to donate via the ADHP, our US sister society.)


  Retreat Offers Sacred Connections

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Wonderful synchronicities happen here! When Claire Poirier (left) came for two weeks on a professional retreat to focus on her PhD dissertation, she found kindred spirits.

Claire’s work with the Royal Alberta Museum involves helping to repatriate sacred and ceremonial objects to First Nations. She shared her passion during an informative Lunch & Learn.

While here she connected with Ashram resident Chuck McNab of the Cree Nation. “I enjoyed hearing Claire’s desire to learn more about First Nations culture. Her desire to know ancient protocols and the right, respectful ways to handle sacred objects inspired me to want to know more of my own lineage. ”

Claire also met Alanda Green – Ashram teacher, local resident and author of Napi’s Dance, a novel about the black stone that is currently in the Royal Alberta Museum. Alanda comments, “The amazing effort that Claire describes moves me incredibly. The fact that indigenous teachings are coming forward with respect and understanding gives me hope.”

Claire said she found it “incredible” to discover people so linked to her commitment; and she expressed how supported she felt by the whole community. “The spaciousness of the retreat allowed me to find the clarity and focus that I needed for my work.”

Come for your own Artist or Professional Retreat in 2016! You will have access to all of the benefits of Ashram life plus a private room or cabin that allows you the space you need to do your work.


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Rejuvenate yourself through this deep relaxation practice that promotes optimum health and well-being. Share with a friend!

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News at a Glance

Supporting the Paris Climate Summit – Yasodhara Ashram joined the West Kootenay EcoSociety and Nelson-and-area faith communities in holding daily climate interfaith vigils during the Paris Climate Summit. The vigils provided spaces for people to come together to send prayers and intentions to the leaders and global community. And at the Ashram we chanted and maintained silence each morning to support the negotiations – resulting in a sense of nourishment and victory!

Thank you for the Aviva support! – Thanks to your amazing support, we will receive $5000 as a bonus gift from Aviva for making it to the finals in their Community Fund grant process. Although “Greening the Temple” was not a grand prize winner, we continue to raise funds for the Temple and green technologies in its construction. Thank you to the Aviva Community Fund Program for the opportunity!

Swami Radha Celebrated – On November 30, we honoured Swami Radha’s 20th anniversary of her passing into Light by offering lunch to our surrounding community. It was a joyful day for the crowd of 100, with lots of conversation and gratitude. As part of the traditional bandhara – a celebration of “opening the storehouse” of gifts that she gave – we happily served our friends and neighbours. We also honoured the Earth and the start of the Paris climate change talks with a silent candle-lit space in the Radha Room. See photos from the day.

Find a Teacher Near You

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Expand your experience of Yasodhara Yoga and find a teacher near you.


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Personal Practice Guide
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Sit with Swami Radha’s message at the end of Radha’s Story. “What is the purpose of your life? You ought to know. The evolution of consciousness – nothing else matters.” Reflect on the purpose of your life at this point in time. What does “the evolution of consciousness” mean to you?

Link to audio

“Mystery and the Mystical Aspects of Yoga”
Reflection Questions“Evolution is mysterious, and never ends; there is always more to learn.” Swami Radhananda, Living the Practice, p. 30.Thank you to the Ladner Yoga Group who prepared this month’s personal practice guide.

  1. “Each part of the body reveals a mystery and serves us so wonderfully helping us stretch and dance and move and eat.” (Living the Practice, p. 15) Sit still in silence and imagine what it is that your body needs to do right now – a yoga pose or any movement or position. Try it out and write about your experience of listening to your body.
  2. “The mystery of life tends to draw people to yoga.” (Living the Practice, p. 115) Write about what brought you to yoga – your story, your own history. What qualities do you see in your story? Courage? Inspiration? Dedication? Gratitude? What else?
  3. “The mystery of silence intrigues me.” (Living the Practice, p. 71) How do you experience and employ silence in your daily life? What does silence have to offer you? Breathe and be silent for five minutes, watching your mind. Then write for five minutes about what you saw your mind doing during the time that you watched it. Are you surprised at what you noticed? How can you use this information that you now have to make your life better?
  4. Kali is the black Goddess. “Not only is Kali the darkness, but She eradicates darkness at will. She gives the disease and removes it. This is one of the great paradoxes of the fierce Tantric goddesses; they are the quality that they also heal.” (Aditi Devi, In Praise of Adya Kali, p. 11) Radha wore black to symbolize the darkness of the night. What is the mystery of darkness that is waiting for you to discover?

For more Teaching and Reflection ideas, click here.




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