Karma Yoga – Frequently Asked Questions
Life at the Ashram is rich, uplifting and nourishing, and it is also something completely new to many who arrive here. Here are answers to some questions we often receive from new karma yogis.
Q: What is Karma Yoga?
A: Karma Yoga, also known as the Yoga of Action or Selfless Service, entails integrating mindfulness and intention into daily tasks, elevating actions from menial to meaningful. It is very different from a work exchange in that participants are focussed on spiritual practice and personal growth throughout the day. Karma yogis integrate reflection into their work and then come together with others to share how their learning went.
Q: Is the Ashram a place where we need to follow a Guru and adhere to a certain way of thinking?
A: No. While we do offer the teachings of our founder Swami Radha, she would have been the first to encourage people to forge their own path to greater awareness and well-being.
The Ashram’s approach is to encourage reflection and to help people connect to their own inner guidance. People of all backgrounds and walks of life are welcome here.
Q. I see that Karma Yoga programs have no fee. Is this too good to be true?
A: It is, in fact, true. Many participants choose to make a contribution towards their stay, which we appreciate, but this is not a requirement.
It is good to note that karma yogis do need to be able to cover their expenses during their time here (typically about $100/month) which includes internet, laundry, snacks and other incidentals.
Q: How is the food at the Ashram? Can dietary restrictions be accommodated?
A: Guests often remark that our food is one of our greatest offerings! It is delicious, nutritious and 25% of it is grown right here on site. We also buy local and organic wherever possible.
Vegetarian and vegan options are always available and we do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. There is a section on the application form to note restrictions.
Q: How many hours do karma yogis offer selfless service?
A: Karma yogis typically offer 6-8 hours of service per day, 6 days a week. Those 60 years of age and older can request fewer hours. The precise hours of the day can vary somewhat depending on the tasks. See the main Karma Yoga webpage for a sample schedule.
Q. Is there any time off?
A: Karma yogis typically have a couple of hours of personal time most afternoons plus one full day per off per week for reflection.
Q. What areas of the Ashram do karma yogis support?
A: There are many! Whether offering service in the garden, orchard, groundskeeping, hospitality, preserving kitchen, kitchen, shop, welcome centre or other areas, karma yogis are integral to keeping the Ashram running.
Q. Are karma yogis assigned to one area of the Ashram or do they support several areas?
A: The extent to which a karma yogi focusses on a specific area depends on what program they are part of. Our Two-Month Karma Yoga Program is an introduction to the practice of Karma Yoga where participants support multiple areas of the Ashram. We also offer several Learning Residencies where participants develop technical and leadership skills in one particular area while also spending some time supporting other areas.
Q: I am concerned about my ability to keep up. How will I know if a Karma Yoga program is right for me?
A: As part of the application process, applicants have an interview with the program leads where they can raise questions and concerns about Karma Yoga and see whether our programs are a good fit.
It’s worth noting that while many of the tasks at the Ashram do require a considerable amount of effort, people of a wide range of ages and abilities have had a rich and transformative time here.
Q: Are there any prerequisites before applying?
A: All prospective applicants are asked to attend a free information session so they can learn more about Karma Yoga and life at the Ashram. For upcoming dates see the main Karma Yoga webpage.