WHAT IS KARMA YOGA?

What if there were a way to transform work into service? To make every action meaningful and part of your personal development? Through the practice of Karma Yoga, also known as the Yoga of action or selfless service, you can gain new skills, connect with like minded people, and practice mindfulness in a spectacular natural setting. You can learn to lift any task from the menial to the meaningful.

Karma Yoga is the foundation of life here at Yasodhara Ashram. It is explained in the Bhagavad Gita as the performance of one’s duty without thought of reward or punishment. This means doing the work simply because it needs to be done, putting high quality into your efforts and expecting nothing in return.

Karma Yoga is a powerful practice for liberation where you can take the theoretical learnings of yoga and test them out in your daily life. By practicing Karma Yoga you can transform attachments and attitudes and deepen your understanding about yourself and others. It is the spirit with which we approach our work that transforms our actions into the practice of Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is marked by willingness, care, consideration and cooperation. It is an intrinsic facet on the path of spiritual development and a tool for self-reflection. Read our Karma Yoga frequently asked questions.

WHO OUR PROGRAMS ARE FOR

Karma Yoga is first and foremost a spiritual practice. Because of this, we find our programs are most suited for those with an interest in personal development, as well as desire to learn about living and serving in a spiritual community and how to integrate spiritual practice into daily tasks. Our programs are very different from WWOOFing and other kinds of work exchange programs. In addition, while Karma Yoga programs include a weekly workshop and other benefits, those looking for more of a course or retreat experience may wish to explore other offerings under the “Programs” menu of the website.

The Ashram is a place for healing, and we welcome those seeking greater well-being, connection and purpose in life. Please note that the Ashram does not have resources on hand to support those experiencing serious physical and mental health issues. It is important that applicants ensure that they are able to independently care for their health during their stay. We send Light to everyone for their healing journey.

A Day in the Life of a Yasodhara Karma Yogi

WHAT OUR KARMA YOGIS DO



Caring for the Ashram:
Grounds and Buildings

You can learn:

  • Skills for operating hand tools and working in a shop.
  • How to install and operate irrigation equipment.
  • How to identify and remove invasive species.
  • Painting, oiling and repairs.
  • Techniques for preparing ground, planting, pruning and weeding in perennial gardens.



Sustaining our Community:
Organic Garden, Orchard, and Food Preservation

You can learn:

  • How to support soil fertility and practice crop rotation.
  • Composting.
  • Pruning in the orchard.
  • Seeding, planting, weeding and harvesting.
  • Food preservation techniques such as fermentation and canning.



Caring for our People:
Hospitality, Food Preparation and Guest Services

You can learn:

  • Customer service and communication skills.
  • Guest services such as greeting, responding to questions and supporting guests during their stay.
  • Best practices for room and facility preparation and cleaning.
  • Food preparation and basic cooking techniques.

KARMA YOGA PROGRAM DETAILS AND HOW TO APPLY

Two-Month Karma Yoga Program


Duration
2 months

Description
This is the Ashram’s introductory Karma Yoga program. You will be introduced to Ashram life and the practice of Karma Yoga as a spiritual practice. You will learn about selfless service through supporting a variety of Ashram areas in accordance with needs and interests.

It may be possible to extend your stay and for some specialization in a particular Ashram area. This can be considered in the second month of the program as your interests and skills emerge.

Prerequisites
Those new to the Ashram must participate in a Karma Yoga (Selfless Service) Programs Information Session or another online class to ensure the Ashram’s approach is a right fit.

Intake Dates:
Jul 4, Aug 1, Sep 5, Oct 3, Nov 7, Jan 5 2025

Karma Yoga Program Application Form

Returning Karma Yogi Program


Duration
1 week to 3 months
(extensions by discussion)

Description
Those who have significant Karma Yoga experience with the Ashram are invited to return for periods of 1 week or more to continue their practice of Karma Yoga.

Hybrid option: For returning karma yogis it is possible to do your own remote work part-time while also doing part-time Karma Yoga. Please let us know the nature of your work and what you would need. A suggested financial contribution will be determined based on your arrangement.

Prerequisites
Karma Yoga experience at the Ashram is required. This can be through the Two Month Karma Yoga Program, the Yoga Journey extension, or the Yoga Development Course extension.

Karma Yoga Application Form

Pathways Program: Building a Longer-Term Commitment


Duration
Commitment of 3 months or longer

Description
Those who have developed a taste for Ashram life from past Karma Yoga experience at the Ashram are invited to build and strengthen their commitment to spiritual life through longer-term stays.

Community members gain in-depth knowledge and experience in a variety of areas. They participate in training programs and can grow into team leaders and resident teachers.

Hybrid option: For long-term karma yogis it is possible to do your own remote work part-time while also doing part-time Karma Yoga. In your e-mail, please let us know the nature of your work and what you would need. A suggested financial contribution will be determined based on your arrangement.

Prerequisites
Karma Yoga experience at the Ashram is required. This can be through the Two Month Karma Yoga Program, the Yoga Journey extension, or the Yoga Development Course extension.

How to Apply

You can inquire about this opportunity anytime by contacting info@yasodhara.org.

What You Will Receive

  • Comfortable accommodation. Please note that you may share a room with one other person. During the summer months you may wish to camp with your own tent, you can inquire about our camping facilities during the application process.
  • Three nutritious and delicious meals per day (and the occasional treat!)
  • Access to our grounds which include beautiful gardens, forest and beach.
  • Access to our facilities and amenities including our library, prayer rooms, and the spectacular Temple of Light.
  • Morning Hatha Yoga several days per week.
  • 6-8 hours of daily Karma Yoga practice, six days per week.
  • Evening Satsangs
  • One full day a week for personal reflection.
  • Weekly class or workshop.
  • A contact person to address your questions and needs.

Karma Yoga Schedule


Here is an overview of what your time here would look like on a typical day.

Full-time Karma Yoga is 6 to 8 hours daily. Hours can vary (see note below) and elders (60 and over) can request fewer hours. Karma yogis offer service 6 days a week with one day reserved for reflection.

  • Hatha Yoga – 6:50-7:50 a.m. several days per week
  • Breakfast – 8-8:30 a.m.
  • Karma Yoga – 8:30-12:30 p.m.
  • Lunch – 12:30 p.m.
  • Karma Yoga – 1:30-6 p.m (2 to 4 hours within this timeframe, hours can vary)
  • Dinner – 6 p.m.
  • Satsang – 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Important note: Karma Yoga schedules vary from day to day. In the early days of training, we aim to introduce as many areas of activity in the Ashram as possible. Some activities like breakfast making and certain dish shifts are by sign up. Some hours vary according to the activities, community needs and the weather. We also sometimes have ‘work bees’ to focus everyone on a particular activity such as weeding or harvesting when there is a need.

By Contribution Programs


There is no fee for our Karma Yoga programs for those participating in full-time Karma Yoga (6-8 hours per day). Donations given in a spirit of generosity make it possible for us to offer you our delicious organic meals, shared accommodation, enjoyment of our lake side grounds and Temple, and classes and workshops – all included in the program. We invite you to consider making whatever contribution you can toward your stay.

All Ashram Karma Yoga stays include a $25 contribution toward The Reconciliation Fund. This money is donated to a First Nations non-profit organization to help right past injustices. Everyone who visits or lives at Yasodhara Ashram is on the beautiful, but unceded territory of First Nations peoples, and we want to take meaningful action and give something back for this privilege.

Karma Yogis should also budget approximately $100 per month for charges such as wi-fi use, laundry, and incidental costs such as snacks and treats.


Need More Information?

Testimonials

Information Sessions
To learn more about the Karma Yoga program and what your time will be like at the Ashram, join one of our free online information sessions where we will share information and answer your questions.