Yasodhara Ashram’s Year of Invitation – Issue 1, 2018


Yasodhara Ashram’s Year of Invitation        Issue 1, 2018
An invitation to the Ashram is actually an invitation to know yourself. When I first came here in 1980 for the 10 Days of Yoga, I received exactly what I needed. I had already been working  with the practices – including mantra, dream work, self-inquiry – with a group in Lethbridge. The younger me was asking questions about my next steps and trying to understand the patterns of my mind. I felt stimulated and activated by this incredibly diverse form of yoga. It was more real than academia and so much more focused than naively drifting through life trying to find my way. The invitation then was to find out for myself. I was given amazing tools like Life Seals – where I could literally see the patterns I create – and reflection on Ideals – where I started to determine my own direction. I was offered support, guidance and challenges.

It’s not over. The gifts and challenges continue; mind patterns emerge in new configurations. But the invitation to keep going, to keep opening and knowing myself is constantly here. The bonus now is being an integral part of a dynamic community that offers others what has helped me.

It is an honour to welcome people to this living legacy of Yasodhara Ashram. Swami Radha said we each come by divine appointment. I see how true that is and invite you to keep yours!

This year all of us at Yasodhara invite you to the new Temple of Light, a symbol of limitless compassion and of a higher dimension always waiting to be entered….

Join us in 2018! 
This spring we are offering a 15% discount on many of our retreats and courses. You are invited to come and join us in this inaugural year of the new Temple of Light. As always, our prices include accommodations and meals, morning hatha, workshops, group work and time for personal reflection, and evening satsang.

Awakening Wonder
April 27 – 29

Enrich your experience of the world around you and open your heart to wonder. By building awareness of mind and sense perceptions, you can start to choose your way of being moment-by-moment, awakening to your own potential.
Find out more.

Women Holding the Earth
May 18 – 22Through dance, yoga and time in nature connect with your body on the sacred ground of the Ashram. Become grounded in yourself through self-exploration and dialogue with other women.
Find out more.
Transitions: Embracing Change

June 8 – 10

Experience how yoga can support you in times of ending and beginning, change and transition. Explore your past experiences of transition and identify what choices you want to make now. What is the creative direction for your future?.
Find out more.
Straight Walk: A Path of Perception
June 29 – July 1Where are you now and where do you want to be? Based on an ancient Buddhist practice of self-awareness, the Straight Walk involves several walking meditations done with observation and concentration. You take steps, literally and symbolically, to understand your perception and to gain a new perspective..
Find out more. 
Other courses and retreats included in the 15% Discount Offering are:
*    Breath: The Invisible Work, May 4 – 6
*    Yoga & Healing Retreat, May 11 – 13
*    Life Seals: Mapping a Life of Meaning, May 25 – 27
*    Yoga and Nature  June 1 – 3
*    Solstice Retreat: Renewing in the Light, June 22 – 24
*    Relaxation Retreat, June 29 – July 1

See more in the 2018 Program Calendar online and our programs-at-a-glance poster. Personal RetreatsArtist 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. Bring a friend!

Climate Action Gathering

The Temple of Light hosted more than 70 people for a community climate action vigil, “Holding Space: Inner Reflection, Outer Action,” on January 21. This bright start to our Year of Invitation highlighted the Temple as a space that draws together committed people.

The vigil was part of a week-long speaker and dialogue series offered by the Nelson Interfaith Climate Action Collaborative. Ashram representatives spoke about finding inner balance as a foundation to outer action.

Swami Lalitananda noted, “The way the Ashram can help is to give people a chance to think deeply and to be in a quiet place. You can come here and just be and have time to ask important questions such as, How can I give back?”

“Resilience isn’t the ability to do it ourselves, but the ability to link with our neighbors and work together,” noted Paris Marshall Smith, Ashram Board member and Sustainability Coordinator for the region. She outlined how the Ashram’s long-term commitment to renewable energy is “action based on values.”

After small group discussions, participants summarized their personal commitments to climate action, which included rideshares, pressuring politicians, becoming more informed, reducing consumption, improving food storage, avoiding air travel and listening to youth. See more photos on Facebook.

2018 promises many memorable opportunities to come together in the Temple.

June 23 is the Public Opening of the Temple of Light combined with the Annual Strawberry Social – a time to cut the ribbons, meet old friends and new, and celebrate a sacred space that will serve the Kootenay community for years to come.

August 3-5 is the Temple Dedication, a contemplative gathering to honour the divine and human forces that manifested this beautiful vision. Join us in sending vibrations of peace to the world and honouring our rich lineage of teachings.

We encourage individuals and groups to make a pilgrimage to the Ashram this year. Choose your time, gather friends and come for a course, retreat or Karma Yoga. We can also tailor retreats for your group’s needs. The Temple is ready and waiting for you!
Supporting the Yoga Development Course

The new Temple of Light is described by the designers, Patkau Architects, as “Open to sky, to horizon, to every direction in welcome; on a fixed axis, in free form, turning to all in support of an enduring vision; a place to collect and to introspect.” This year’s 49th annual Yoga Development Course (YDC) participants are the first to experience it and the support it provides. Here are some key word impressions:
Pure tranquility
A sense of renewal and rebirth with the essence preserved
Simply spiritually nourishing
Feeling the presence of Swami Radha
Reverence, awe, oneness
The stillness is palpable
Feeling grateful
Feeling held by the Divine

Hearing the silence

Two Yasodhara teachers are here, too, supporting the YDC for the full three months.

Karen Lanphear of Sandpoint, Idaho, took the YDC last year and says, “It feels like full circle to come back. I’m being asked to do new and different work, and I feel that what I do is supportive. Being here helps me remember the lessons, and how deep and lasting those lessons are.”

Sheila Thomson of Spokane, Washington set the intention to return to support a YDC after participating five years ago. “I wanted to give back and to deepen my practices and my knowledge. In addition to Karma Yoga, I have time to rest, read and reflect in the prayer room. And I also have the special opportunity to teach in the YDC.”

Other teachers from throughout Canada are coming to support the YDC for periods from 10 days to a month. We always welcome back our teachers and past karma yogis throughout the year to support the ongoing work at the Ashram. We couldn’t do it without you! Contact Registrations.
Asking the Juicy Questions of Life

Professional Retreat guest, Brenna Atnikov, describes her journey from professional burnout to discovering a more life-sustaining approach to her life and work.

With my professional work designing and facilitating systemic change projects, I haven’t been able to prioritize and find time for rejuvenation of my spirit. I’ve been working on a number of projects where there is too much work and not enough time to pause, reflect and ask: Who have I become? Who am I becoming? If this is my life’s work, how can I do it in a much more life-giving and sustaining way?

In the retreat I felt like I was getting re-acquainted with myself through many of the Ashram’s practices. I was meditating and recalling my dreams in a way that I haven’t before. Learning the tools to work with them has been powerful. The mantras and chanting are a way to tap into myself and the collective of the group. Being in the forest has also been important.

One day as I was journaling by the lake, a question came up – When I look into the next 10 years, what might I miss out on that I need to start cultivating now?

The question surprised me. I’m confident that if I’d been in the city doing a self-guided retreat, this question wouldn’t have emerged. I knew it was the right question because it was really juicy. I sat with it for awhile and then had a powerful dream. Now the question is: How do I bring the feminine back into my life and my work? During my time at the Ashram I had a profound re-connection with Kuan Yin which moved me very much. I have promised to honour and celebrate Her in myself and in my life.

When I first came to the Ashram I thought I had to give my work up and do something completely new. Now I know that if I keep going through this process of honouring and celebrating the feminine – and being more fierce about it – then I can continue doing the work that is life-giving for me, that is connected to my purpose.

Learn more about Brenna’s work at Reos Partners.


Giving and Learning

Learn the skills you need for your life path and be part of this flourishing spiritual community. Learning Residents are an integral part of the Ashram, supporting the day-to-day work while learning tools to help unlock a greater knowledge of themselves and an understanding of others.

The Residencies are for people who have a skill base or experience that lends itself to a particular area of the Ashram. Three-month residencies (with the option to extend) are currently available in Hospitality, Garden, Kitchen, Preserving, KitchenLands & Groundskeeping, Infrastructure and Communications.

The Learning Residency program is based on experiential and self-led learning within a mentorship structure. Orientation, weekly classes, daily reflection, morning yoga classes and evening satsangs enrich the program. This is a unique opportunity to support the day-to-day work of the Ashram, expanding your own self-understanding through yogic tools and is open to all ages.

You can also help the program by sharing information with people you know who might be interested.

Creating a Sacred Kitchen

Anne Calder is a Learning Resident in the Ashram kitchen and became inspired to write a series of articles that combine information about the Ashram approach to food with tips for readers. Here is her experience of sacredness in the daily ritual of meal preparation.

It is a pleasure to see such a variety of people coming for a taste of the Ashram. I am overjoyed to witness their gratitude towards the food that is served. This invoked a curiosity to look deeper into what makes our meals so remarkable and the Ashram kitchen so sacred.

Every time I research recipes, my page floods with options. Cooking has exploded in popularity with no lack of learning resources. Yet a camera fails to capture the love and passion instilled into the meal, allowing the dish to truly stand out.

I’ve certainly learned that preparing food can be made into a ritual. It’s like a typical scene of a witch hovering over a bubbling cauldron, chanting incantations and calling out the names of various ingredients to conjure up a magic potion. For me, cooking for the community, and similarly at home, possesses much of this magic.

The kitchen environment is a key element. A clear space, listening to mantra or other inspiring sound, is as important as the spices being used. I keep my intentions clear when I enter the kitchen, for I am aware that the energy I carry is transmitted into everything I do. Cooking with love is the secret ingredient. It is what has us reminiscing over home-cooked meals. The Ashram acknowledges this key element through persistent encouragement of bringing spiritual practice into all works of life.


Lighten your load with this canvas bag. Graphic donated by our designer origami.desi.


Desktop Photo 


Reaching Out Widely – Some first-time Teacher on Tour Outreach offerings in new locations are in store this year! April 6 – 8 Swami Satyananda travels to San Antonio, TX, hosted by a recent 10 Days of Yoga participant. There she will offer an introductory Friday evening to the Ashram and Temple, followed by a weekend Dream Yoga workshop. For more information, email yogawithbarb@outlook.com. September 7 – 9 Swami Matananda will offer a weekend Tools for Transformation retreat at well-known Shanti Retreat on Wolfe Island, ON. You can register now through the centre’s website. In Europe, Swami Sukhananda has a wonderful line-up of workshops planned with familiar and new locations. See her list of January to March offerings in London and other locations in England, Germany and Budapest. Mark the dates and tell your acquaintances in these areas! 

Media Coverage
– An interview with Swami Lalitananda about “mind and consciousness” is featured  in Retreat Guru’s blog magazine. The Valley Voice of the Kootenays featured the completion of the Temple in December. as did Creston Living Magazine and Crawford Bay’s Mainstreet.


Sous Chef Position – We are seeking an experienced and creative whole foods-oriented professional to join our staff on a full-time basis. The Sous Chef assists the Ashram’s Red Seal Lead Cook/Kitchen Manager by cooking buffet-style lunches and suppers that are simple, nutritionally balanced, tasty and seasonally responsive. Our kitchen is a mix of volunteers and paid professionals and we strive to create a harmonious kitchen environment to complement the meals we produce. See job posting.  

FotoFest International Artist – Ashram friend Leila Sujir of Montreal will be one of 48 artists featured in the FotoFest 2018 exhibition at Houston,TX dedicated to India: Contemporary Photographic and New Media ArtFotoFest is a non-profit dedicated to promoting the exchange of art and ideas through international programs of photographic art. This year’s exhibition by artists of Indian origin is focused on contemporary issues including gender, land rights and class divisions. Leila’s entry is titled “Peacock’s Dream.”

Find a Teacher Near You
Yasodhara Ashram
Box 9 Kootenay Bay, B.C.
V0B 1X0 Canada
phone: (250)-227-9224
fax: (250)-227-9494
Yasodhara Ashram, 527 Walkers Landing Road, PO Box 9, Kootenay Bay, British Columbia V0B 1X0 Canada
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