Celebrating the Temple of Light – Special Issue 4


Celebrating the Temple of Light
Special Issue 4, 2017


We are thrilled that the Temple of Light will be complete in the coming months and are excited to celebrate with you in August. If you can’t travel to the Ashram for celebrations, you can express the essence of the Temple where you are. Focus on Light in your life and extend it to those around you. Maybe enact a Random Acts of Light/Heart/Hope weekend to join us in spirit from August 4-7?


I am so looking forward to the Temple being completed (we’re getting close!) and serving its purpose. Yet I realize that the Temple has been serving its purpose all along. Everyone involved in the process – from architects to fabricators, construction and tradespeople – has been stretched beyond their usual limits to create this remarkable space.


Swami Radha emphasized yoga as bringing quality and awareness into our lives. This Temple, which has arisen from the ashes, is doing that…. And it’s just starting. What will it become? Who will it attract?


Thank you so much for your help and dedication – to those who helped build it physically, and to all who kept it in their prayers and made it possible through your generosity. Light and blessings to you!


Celebrating Sacred Space – The Emerging Temple of Light


As construction nears completion, join us in  Embracing Sacred Space, July 31 – August 4, our lead-in to the weekend celebrations. Explore your own inner Temple through the Kundalini system – from foundation to heart. What is this place of hope, unity and peace within yourself? What is your doorway in? Includes dance performances, developing art projects and spacious retreat time as well as joyfully preparing for the weekend celebrations.


Temple Celebrations begin Friday evening, August 4 with the first satsang and dedication. Special events include a dance performance on Saturday evening – in the Temple – with exquisite Bharata Natyam dancer, Anusha Fernando, who will also lead optional workshops. Engage in diverse perspectives through art, dance, song, ceremony, silence, festivities and fabulous food. Let’s joyfully honour Swami Radha’s vision, express our gratitude for having the Temple back, and warm the new space with the Light from our hearts! (August 4-7)


A sliding scale is available. Please contact registrations or click here for more information.


Supporting the Temple of Light: An Amazing Success

Thank you hardly seems adequate to acknowledge the overwhelming response to the Help Finish the Temple campaign. Together over 350 of us raised $179,577 to support interior painting, flooring, the deck and railings and other elements needed for completion.

If you haven’t donated yet, there is still time left to contribute. We are hoping to reach our goal of $200,000 by the end of the summer and have $20,423 more to go. You can donate here (US donors can donate here).

In addition to your donations, many of you sent such warm, encouraging messages, and we want to share these with you.

Hope you can visit this summer and experience the new sacred space that so many of you helped to create through your support!


“We’ve been practicing architects for over thirty years; this will certainly be the most remarkable structure that we’ve constructed.” – John Patkau
To celebrate this unique build, Patkau Architects joins Yasodhara Ashram to cohost a masterclass weekend September 15-17 that will focus on the Temple of Light’s construction. Through a blend of discussion, presentation and personal reflection, participants will explore the practical and technical aspects of the Temple’s design, fabrication and construction phases.

This masterclass experience is for anyone inspired by the intersection of purposeful architecture and collaborative design, and who would like to understand how a building like the new Temple developed. Participants will learn about Patkau Architects’ body of work, their iterative approach to design, the technical aspects that go into a structure of this kind and the requisite collaboration from all involved.

If you are an enthusiast or know professionals or students intrigued by world-class architecture, please join us in this rare opportunity!

The Temple is featured in the Patkau’s latest book Material Operations.



Behind the Lens: Capturing the Temple of Light 

Mythically represented in an ancient Indian river, Saraswati runs through Yasodhara Ashram with a soft and elegant touch. She is the goddess of arts and culture, wisdom and poetry, music and knowledge. Individuals who come to the Ashram are drawn in by the pull of the Saraswati lineage, connecting to their creative natures. 

Gem Salsberg, Amy Allcock, Dan Séguin and Linda Cooper Taylor are four photographers and videographers who have been documenting the reemergence of the Temple of Light and of life at the Ashram.

They share their perspectives. Click to read the full story.


Gem SalsbergI’ve been taking photographs since I was a little girl. My mother, who’s an artist as well, would lend me her film camera to use as a child. At age 16 one of my photographs was jury-selected for the BC Festival of the Arts … Read more.

Amy Allcock: Photography began as a hobby when I went abroad in 2002. After my return to Canada I posted my photos on Flickr, a photography website. The community I found there was incredibly inspiring … Read more.

Dan Séguin: I started taking photographs in my teens. My parents would hand me their big metal 35 mm camera at family parties to shoot photos. Later I was put on my high school yearbook committee and started telling stories that way. Around 2004, after a ten-year break I started taking photos again during my Master’s Degree as a mechanism for reflection … Read more.

Linda Cooper Taylor: Yoga is what drew me to photography. I’ve been practising yoga on and off since I was 17 and I’m nearly 60 now. I was pulled in by the magic of the essence of form through the architecture of the body – how the essence of a pose can be picked up through the angles of the body … Read more.

How do you experience the sacredness around you? How do you see yourself reflected in it? In this new workshop you will experiment with video as a form of self-inquiry.


All you need is your smart phone or tablet. Please contact us for more information about the new Ashram workshop.


See our Calendar for many other summer and fall course offerings. Personal RetreatsArtist and Professional Renewal Retreats and Karma Yoga are available year-round.
Architects On Site


Patricia and John Patkau recently visited the Ashram for a site review. Founders and principals of award-winning Patkau Architects, they developed the new Temple’s design, incorporating key elements from Swami Radha’s original vision and building from the original foundation.


Patricia Patkau


I’ve been a part of this project from the beginning, although, John – my partner in life and work – has taken over more of the finishing. We both became interested in the challenge of the architecture of the new Temple, but over time also in the place and the people here.


I visit the Temple digitally on a weekly basis from our Vancouver office, but it’s impossible to feel the space digitally in the same way as when I walk in. This is an incredibly beautiful site where it seems almost as if you’re alone. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful and the land is gentler than the coast. We are here at this time partly to look at landscaping, which is the last significant aspect of the project and will eventually have an equally strong impact as the building itself.


The Temple is at a critical but also very delightful stage. It’s exciting to see our design research of the last seven years manifesting into these remarkably light structures of the Temple petals. The pieces mould and meld together and are incredibly delicate forms that we’ve never been able to make before.


I remember being told at the start of the project that the Ashram community wanted to create a sense of luminosity, of spiralling up into light. This is captured in the movement upward to the light at the top in the roof. As well there are the large view windows that create passes across the landscape. So there is both a spiralling up to the lightness at the top and these passages that create not just one spectacular image, but moments. You’re always in the immediacy but also in the depth of space.


John Patkau


This is a very interesting time in the life of any building or construction project where all of the potential that you had hoped for and imagined is coming to fruition. At the same time, the niggly problems that construction is always filled with are forefront in your mind. It’s a very fraught moment for me because I see the little imperfections that will be perfected when the building is complete, while at the same time I am seeing the Temple in the form that I imagined it. It feels tremendously fulfilling.


Renewable Energy – Giving & Receiving
As part of Nelson & Area’s Interfaith Climate Collaborative, Yasodhara Ashram has pledged to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. This collaboration focuses on what we have in common – caring for the Earth and balancing what is received with what is given back. Swami Sivananda describes the new Temple’s focus on renewable energy.


The new Temple of Light is a wonderful example of a process of learning which began back in the 1960s. We are bringing together a lot of the knowledge gained, especially when it comes to looking at the entire structure of a building. Throughout the Ashram, once we switched out inefficient lighting and appliances, we learned as a first step to look at the building envelope – insulation, windows and doors.


The new Temple has triple glazed windows, super insulation, LED lighting and Solatubes, a special type of skylight. It will be a tightly sealed building, which will give us an efficient envelope. Added to this is a geothermal heat source and a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system which will increase overall operational efficiency. The underlying principle of this system is to work with what is naturally given from the earth.


The Temple is also piloting a newer source of renewable energy for us – photovoltaic solar panels. This technology allows us to feed solar energy back into the grid. We eventually envision completing a second installation, which will help us reach our goal of a net zero building.


Click here to learn more about the Ashram-wide focus on environmental sustainability and read in the Nelson Star about our commitment to 100% renewable energy. 


The Ashram’s sustainability focus was featured on CBC Radio’s Daybreak South (begins at 42:50).
The Temple has been receiving media attention as its completion nears. Here are some recent stories.


Find a Teacher Near You
Yasodhara Ashram
Box 9 Kootenay Bay, B.C.
V0B 1X0 Canada
phone: (250)-227-9224
fax: (250)-227-9494




Leave a Reply