Lighten, Brighten, Open, Deepen – Newsletter Issue 1, 2016

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Lighten, Brighten, Open, Deepen Issue 1, 2016
Yasodhara Ashram’s 2016 theme, “Change Yourself, Change Your World,” may imply drama. But change can also be subtle. Perhaps your change is to relax more, or take time to heal, or space to reflect. Could your theme be “Relax Yourself, Relax Your World,” “Heal Yourself, Heal Your World,” “Investigate Yourself, Investigate Your World?”

Swami Radha encouraged us to cooperate with our own evolution. When we are born to fortunate circumstances and have gained some awareness, we can actually choose to make efforts to live our potential. The Ashram is here to help in this process – to lighten, brighten, open, deepen, and to hold the sacred process of helping people reveal themselves to themselves.

First comes the unburdening, which requires courage. I see it now in the Yoga Development Course with our twenty-one students who are filled with their unique life experience and are entering deeply into themselves. Memories and concepts rise up to meet them – to be acknowledged, accepted, kept or let go. Do I want to keep carrying this? What would happen if I open my mind to something new?

Swami Radha says, “The ability to adapt to change is the major challenge of life, demanding a blend of courage, flexibility and faith.” What is the faith needed to trust the subtle power of Light? And how by making changes in ourselves, do we influence the world?

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

Spring Equinox: Finding Balance Retreat
March 18-20

Celebrate this special time of equal day and night, by reflecting on balance. How can you step back to gain perspective and move forward with clarity? 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.


Relax, Renew & Reflect: A 5-day Retreat
May 13-18

Give yourself the gift of five days to renew, reflect and reconnect to yourself, five days in an environment dedicated to spiritual well being. Absorb the beauty of nature and remember what gives your life meaning and joy. This retreat offers a blend of gentle Hatha Yoga, relaxation and spiritual practice. When the body and the mind relax, what can happen?
10 Days of Yoga: Journey of Self-Discovery:
May 19-29, July 21-31, Aug 11-21, Oct 13-23

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.
Cultivating Compassion Retreat
May 27-29, July 22-24, September 2-4

Being compassionate towards ourselves, those around us and the world requires the willingness and courage to be kind-hearted. How do you live an ideal of compassion in a world that seems to express so much of the opposite? How can you deepen your understanding so kindness and concern can grow? Using practices of visualization, meditation and breath, experience the gift of an open heart.

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

Our popular Taste of the Ashram program runs at least once a month on Saturdays.

  Yoga Development Course 2016 Begins


A wonderful blend of twenty-one participants came together on January 8 to begin their three-month journey of self-inquiry through the Yoga Development Course (YDC). Our community of teachers and karma yogis welcomed them with words of encouragement and support. We listened to their inspiring stories of the knowing and synchronicities that brought them to the Ashram for healing and growth at this time.

Natalie Chromec of Sweden said a previous one-month Ashram stay turned her life around. “For the last four years I’ve been working really hard to come back. I want to become a better me.” Jane Aldiss of England related, “I’ve studied and worked for a long time and don’t feel I can go any further by myself. By coming here, I’m getting the support I need to progress in my life and be of more benefit to others.” Lisa Sadleir-Hart of Alaska reflected, “I have a deep connection with earth justice and spiritual life and feel I need to strengthen myself to do the hard work that I know I’ll be called to do.”

Now in its 47th year, the YDC continues to attract a diverse group of seekers. This year’s participants travelled from Scotland, England, Sweden, the United States and across Canada to gain powerful tools for transforming and enhancing life. Seven are brand new to the Ashram; three were interns last year and three participated in our Young Adult Program. Another three – all Yasodhara Yoga teachers – are taking the course for the second time.

Consider the YDC 2017 for your own personal and spiritual development. The 10 Days of Yoga, offered in May, July, August and October 2016, is a great first step toward this amazing journey of self-discovery and renewal.


  Constructing a New Life After the YDC

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Greg Shkuratoff returned to the Ashram in early January to mark the one-year anniversary of his entry into the 2015 Yoga Development Course (YDC). He reflects on the changes it is making in his life.

I work in the construction industry, and emotions can run high when the pressure is on. Before taking the YDC, there was a point where I couldn’t handle the environment and the stresses. The YDC came forward and I thought it would be the perfect foundation to help me navigate the stormy seas of the construction line of work.

I use the Ashram’s yoga tools – like bringing in the Light – to keep me centred. Then I can see with the eyes of compassion and better understand what someone’s day has been like; have the courage to ask questions rather than assume; be confident and clear about what I need.

Continue reading about Greg’s experience…


Upcoming Courses

Yasodhara Ashram has been built on the generosity of each person that passes through our doors – whether it is through Karma Yoga offerings or financial contributions.

Thank you for giving so that we can give back, creating a sustainable community for future generations. Support the Ashram by clicking below to give to the area that speaks to you most:













FUND – Where it’s most needed


  Temple Update

The Temple, though still invisible, is definitely forming as if the Ashram is pregnant with a potential that will soon be born. When the time comes, we expect it to be a quick and beautiful birth. Here is a summary of the latest off-site, behind-the-scenes progress report from Patkau Architects.

We just reviewed samples of potential cladding (outside covering material) that is very promising. If the pricing is within scope, we will send the samples to Spearhead (the fabrication company located between Nelson and Balfour). Spearhead is currently working on a physical mock-up of one of the “petals” that compose the primary space of the Temple. The structural engineers will also be sending their newest information to Spearhead to incorporate into the model. Reports from mechanical and electric development are expected soon, and a meeting with the glazing partners (responsible for floor-to-skylight glass panels) is scheduled for next week.

Stay tuned – it is happening! We will have a firmer sense of the construction timeline in the next few weeks. And we are looking forward to seeing the Spearhead model – a sample of the shape and layers that will compose the actual building.


  Video: Radha’s Story Part 1 of 3

The inspiring biography of Swami Sivananda Radha is now available to view online. Watch Part 1 of her incredible story on YouTube. Stay tuned for Parts 2 & 3 in the weeks to come.

Watch the video

  Join us for a Learning Residency!

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Do you love to learn? Are you motivated to live in a community based on values? If so, you may want to apply for a Learning Residency at Yasodhara Ashram.

Join our community for four to eight months and practice selfless service as you gain professional skills and experience for your future. Learning Residencies are available in our Accommodations, Garden, Kitchen, Grounds, and Preserving Kitchen areas.

In addition to integrating into this flourishing spiritual community, you will also be given yogic tools to help unlock a deepening knowledge of self and understanding of others. The program is based on experiential and self-led learning within a guided mentorship. This is a unique opportunity to deepen your skill-set while you offer service and expand your own self-understanding. This program is open to all ages.

View our current Learning Residency openings here.

Please help us spread the word and share these unique opportunities with others who may be interested in learning valuable skills while living in a spiritual community.


  Two New Ways to Stay Connected – Twitter and Instagram

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Yasodhara Ashram is now on Twitter and Instagram!

We’re expanding our presence online and providing more ways for you to stay connected to the Ashram and the teachings. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to receive regular updates ranging from daily happenings at the Ashram to inspirational quotes from Swami Radha.

Ashram President Swami Lalitananda is also on Twitter. Follow her at @swamijila for insightful and inspirational tweets, including regular updates on the rebuilding of the Temple of Light.

As always, we’ll continue to post to Facebook and share our videos online on our YouTube channel.

We look forward to connecting with you in these new ways!


Swami Radha Available
on iTunes

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Download inspiring talks, mantras, guided meditations and visualizations from Swami Radha.

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News at a Glance

Honouring Swami Radha’s 60th anniversary – On February 2nd we will celebrate Swami Radha’s sanyas initiation and life of selfless service. A puja (ceremony) will remind us of her courageous commitment and give us the opportunity to express our gratitude. Read Radha: Diary of a Woman’s Search or watch Part 1 of Radha’s Story to experience Swami Radha’s life-changing journey at Sivananda Ashram, India, in 1956. Join us in the spirit of gratitude!

A Chef’s Perspective – Okanagan-based chef Giulio Piccioli recently visited the Ashram for Karma Yoga. During his stay he met with the Ashram’s Food Flow team and was inspired by our approach. He writes, “So much of what we think we can do for our health, for our mental well being, and for the planet is practised at the Ashram day after day. Sustainability, local, re-using, re-cycling, conserve & evolve are not just words but choices that are being made in every action, in every dish prepared.” Read his full review.

Calgary hosts Silent Auction in support of the Temple RebuildYasodhara Yoga Calgary is hosting a silent auction and celebration in support of the rebuilding of the Temple of Light. It promises to be a wonderful evening with music, raw vegan food, elixirs and beautiful auction items. If you are not in Calgary but would like to support the auction, you can bid on items via phone (403-284-0012) or email ( Auction items were generously donated by Ashram friends from across Canada and all proceeds will go towards the Temple Rebuild Fund.

Find a Teacher Near You

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Personal Practice Guide

How do you want to be in 2016? How determined are you to move towards the life you want to live? The following reflections are offered by the Yasodhara Yoga Toronto teachers to assist in shaping your 2016 intentions.

View the Practice Guide




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