Twenty-one sparkling people dedicated to self-development will soon transition out of the Yoga Development Course (YDC) and into their next steps. This year’s 50th anniversary brought together a wonderfully diverse yet cohesive group with talents ranging from business, libraries and law to healing, environment and music; they come from as far away as Mexico and Ireland. Leigh Monette, Scott Barta and Whitney Johnson reflect on the relevance of the course for their lives.
“The course is so ‘Now’,” says Leigh Monette of her second YDC following her first in 1988. “The methods have changed but the teachings are as real and valid today as they were 50 years ago. The trust in the teachings and the Light bring forward exactly what we need.
“Last summer I thought I had a year to live and knew this was where I needed to be. Thankfully the diagnosis was wrong – and I still needed to follow through. The care I feel here on all levels has invited me to come into knowing who I am today.” She adds, “Our group of 21 has an integrity and a harmony in supporting the highest in each other.”
Scott registered for the YDC without ever having visited the Ashram. “I’d plateaued in my career. There was this void.” Listening to a message that he would be heading west and meeting spiritual mentors, he googled ‘spirituality BC’ and Yasodhara Ashram was the first link. “The more I read, the more I liked.”
A life-coach by profession, Scott calls the YDC programming “pure genius. I have a lot of respect for what Swami Radha did at the time she did it. Two things set this program apart – the diversity that the teachings offer, and the empowering question asked by teachers: ‘What does it mean to you?’ It’s not somebody telling me this is what I have to do or what I have to know.”
Whitney, an agricultural worker who mentors farmers, committed to this year’s YDC after participating in the One-Month Karma Yoga Program in 2017. “The YDC creates space for openness and lightness and working through tough issues. I see my potential and I recognize I can make this environment wherever I am. It’s incredibly relevant to my life. It’s also been helpful to be with younger people who are already on this path to self-discovery – that gives me hope.”
There will be a celebration of the YDC’s 50th anniversary – Return to Centre, August 2-4 at the Ashram. Everyone is welcome. Now is also a good time to consider attending the 2020 Yoga Development Course for the first or second time!