Sharada’s September Update

Hello everyone,

Summer has sped by as it seems to do every year, and we’re now moving into the fall season. The Annual Community Yoga Retreat in early August was a wonderful, sweet gathering. Later in August twenty-eight YTT eager students graduated from our YTT program, and are now certified yoga teachers, trained in classical Ashtanga Yoga and Hatha Yoga.

Satsang in the pond dome during the retreat, Summer 2013

Satsang in the pond dome during the retreat, Summer 2013

We still have several Yoga Getaways coming up, so if you’re looking for a nourishing, relaxing weekend, do check our upcoming programs. You may also want to consider booking time for a personal retreat. Details are on the Centre’s website.

Centre residents and guests are being treated to meals that are freshly harvested and prepared. We’ve been enjoying just-picked tomatoes, zucchini, beans, corn and salad greens, chard, plus strawberries and blackberries.

Chard, fresh from the garden

Chard, fresh from the garden

A big thank you to the farm team and to all the fabulous cooks, as well as the rest of the karma yogis in housekeeping, maintenance, landscaping and office who support the functioning of the centre in a spirit of service.

Karma Yogis Jack, David, Georgia, Christine and Ben discussing an upcoming project

Karma Yogis Jack, David, Georgia, Christine and Ben discussing an upcoming project

Some of our karma yogis from the summer term of KYSS have moved on to the next adventures in their lives and others have just arrived to join our community. The Karma Yoga Service and Study program continues to contribute to transformation in people’s lives. In this month’s edition of Offerings we invite you to meet some of them and read about their experiences in the series of posts called Meet Our Karma Yogis.

Georgia, our new Karma Yoga Coordinator, has initiated ongoing discussions on the topic of community building. I’ve been delighted to note that the karma yogis who come here continue to feel inspired by the ideals and practice karma yoga. This month’s article on Living in Community continues the theme, with guidance from Babaji.

Utkatasana, chair pose

Utkatasana, chair pose

Other articles you may enjoy reading include this month’s Asana of the Month – Utkatasana (chair pose), contributed by Bryan Hill. It is a simple pose that works the whole body. Bryan has also contributed this month’s Meet our YTT Grads article. For anyone living in the Comox area on Vancouver Island, I recommend checking out his classes.

We are delighted to introduce a new feature this month – an article on health, following the principles of Ayurveda, shared with us by Pratibha, our satsang sister from the Mount Madonna community. This article, A Seasonal Cleanse, focuses on preparations for the changing season. Pratibha, a long-term member of Hanuman Fellowship and Mount Madonna Centre, is a yoga instructor and Ayurvedic practitioner. She has been attending our summer yoga retreats since 1976, and is an important part of our family. We all wish she could be here more often.

As the Centre slows down somewhat in this season, life at the Centre School picks up. During the summer, the Salt Spring Centre School is used by the Centre, all the school’s furnishings and materials having been packed into one classroom (an annual event – probably the only school in BC that goes through the annual pack-up ritual). At the end of August, the school gets set up again in preparation for the new school year. Teachers and parents work together to transform the building back into a school. This follows an old tradition: In the early years, before the school building was here, programs and school co-existed in the satsang room; on Friday afternoons the school moved to the yurt for story-writing while the satsang room was transformed into a program space. On Sunday evenings it was turned back into a school.

A reminder from Babaji: Life is for learning and the world is our school. Doing your homework every day brings liberation. Wish you all happy and in peace.

Love,
Sharada

Sharada’s July Update

Hello everyone,

Happy Canada Day – and Fourth of July if you’re American – and happy summer, everyone. The sun is shining (on some days), the grass is still green and the sky is light into the late evening. We hear the song of the frogs at night and the birds early in the morning.

The pond at the back of the mountain-fountain

The pond at the back of the mountain-fountain

Added to the ongoing daily tasks that keep the Centre running – and asana classes, yoga theory study and kirtan – this is a time for swims in one of Salt Spring’s many lakes and naps in the hammock. As always, we are blessed to have an awesome group of karma yogis here to keep everything on track.

Laundry sadhana; Lucille with a bouquet of parsley

Laundry sadhana; Lucille with a bouquet of parsley

Yoga Teacher Training is coming up this week, always an exciting time, followed by our Annual Community Yoga Reteatour 39th consecutive yoga retreat! – at the beginning of August. If you plan on joining us please read the information online and register. The retreat is filling up quickly. The early bird registration date has now passed, and late registration closes July 15; to ensure that there’s a space for you, register now! The retreat is always a wonderful time for strengthening our learning, deepening our practice, and connecting with family and friends. You can see some beautiful photos of past retreats here and here.

Self-development is supported by practice, whether we’re talking about learning to play a musical instrument, become a skilled athlete or make progress on our spiritual path. This month’s teaching from Babaji, called “Regular Sadhana” is a reminder of the importance of regular practice.

“Our Centre Community” this month features Markus Vikash Knox, whom many of you know from Sunday satsangs and Wednesday kirtan evenings; you may also know him as the maker of the rose petal beads. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading his full story.

July’s “Asana of the Month” is Half Moon pose – Ardha Chandrasana – contributed by Peter Ashok Baragon, an early graduate of the Centre’s Yoga Teacher Training program, who teaches at both Yoga Getaways and YTT. He has also contributed this month’s YTT Grad feature. He is one of several people who have graduated from the Centre’s Yoga Teacher Training program who are now teaching at the Centre, either at Yoga Getaways or YTT (or both).

On July 22 of this month, we will be celebrating Guru Purnima, an ancient Vedic ceremony (Yajna), to honour Babaji and all spiritual teachers. Please follow this link for more information on this year’s event. We welcome you to join us at 8:00 am on the 22nd for this auspicious ritual in honour of Babaji and all spiritual teachers who have inspired and supported us in treading the spiritual path. If you are interested in offering at the Yajna, or would like more information, please contact Rajani at 250-537-9537 or rajanirock@me.com.

I wish you all a sunny summer, filled with light, joy and peace.
Love,
Sharada

Sharada’s June Update

Happy summer, everyone. Soon it will be sunny and hot – maybe not today, depending on where you live – but it’s coming. The expansiveness of summer means the Centre is in its busy season, and about to get busier. Following are a few of the events that are about to unfold.

This week we welcome a new group of karma yogis into our Karma Yoga Service and Study program. They will be joining the kitchen, housekeeping and maintenance crews, with one person added to the farm team for the summer. It is always inspiring to meet people who choose to live a life of community and service.

l-r: Landscaping consultation, Ryan and Stacey; Tara sweeping the lobby, Van prepping for lunch

l-r: Landscaping consultation, Ryan and Stacey; Van prepping for lunch; Tana sweeping the lobby

While the Centre gears up, the Salt Spring Centre School year winds up the school year. This year’s play – Pinocchio – was a big success; this annual event includes every child in the school. This month the school holds its 5th Annual Art Lottery on June 16, the school’s biggest fundraiser, with great opportunities to come away with a beautiful piece of art donated by one of the many artists on Salt Spring Island.

Coming up on June 14 is the ‘Keeping the Flame Burning’ weekend, which includes our AGM. You can read more about it under the Retreats and Programs on our website, at the top of the home page. The following month we will be celebrating Guru Purnima at the Centre on Monday, July 22 at 8 am. Please read about Guru Purnima under Upcoming Events, with more details coming later in June.

Jeramiah's famous haircut, 1983

Jeramiah’s famous haircut, 1983

There are several articles in this edition that I hope you will enjoy. The Our Satsang Family article this month features Jeramiah Rajesh Morris, who has been part of this family since he was two, living here with his mom. It is full of great stories – hope you enjoy it. Meet our YTT Grads introduces Karen Cabral, who graduated from the Centre’s YTT program a couple of years ago. Preet Heer, who often teaches at Yoga Getaways, offers us Tree Pose in Asana of the Month. These articles give you a fuller picture of people’s experiences at the Centre.

This year’s Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) begins on July 3. It is a 200 hour yoga teacher training, with an in-depth curriculum and a faculty of very experienced teachers. There is still some space left in the upcoming YTT, so if you or someone you know has been thinking about enrolling, now’s the time to do it.

Immediately following the first session of YTT is our 39th Annual Community Yoga Retreat, a special program full of learning, connecting and fun, offering a great variety of classes – plus a program for children, enabling families with children to come. Please read the details under Retreats and Programs on the homepage of our website. If you want to come, I encourage you to register online early for the best value. This newsletter features an interview with Kathryn Kusyszyn, this year’s ACYR Coordinator, telling about her connection with Babaji and the Centre.

Sanatan, Divakar, Sudarsan, Rajani, Lakshmi - some of the Canadians at the May retreat with Babaji; Babaji at the celebration

Sanatan, Divakar, Sudarsan, Rajani, Lakshmi – some of the Canadians at the May retreat with Babaji; Babaji at the celebration

Several people from our community went to Mount Madonna Center recently for the celebration of Babaji’s 90th birthday. I welcome you to read some reflections arising from that special satsang family reunion, in the article called Inspiration and Gratitude. For the moment, here are a few comments from some of our satsang family:

“There was so much love in the room. There was a pouring out of love from Babaji – and people were so gracious, softened. I was almost drunk with love.” – Kishori

“It was like a river flowing with love and gratitude from several hundred people flowing directly to Babaji.” – Rajani

“I think everyone came with love and it went through us like electricity.” – Sudhir from MMC

From Babaji: Love is a universal religion.

Love,

Sharada

Sharada’s May update

New leaves on the old maple atop the mound

New leaves on the old maple atop the mound

Hello to everyone from all of us at the Centre. It’s a glorious day today – sunny, warm, the air filled with the sweet fragrance of spring blossoms and freshly mown grass. Life is in full swing here, with programs or rentals scheduled every weekend and some during the week, plus guests who are here on personal retreats. Below is a little update on some of the goings-on at the Centre.

Seedlings ready to be transplanted

Seedlings ready to be transplanted

Farm update
Jack reports that the farm team is currently planting ten varieties of cucumbers, twenty varieties of melons, six kinds of zucchini, fifteen kinds of winter squash, including some blue pumpkins and some that can get up to 100 – 200 pounds! Meanwhile we continue to enjoy amazing meals, with as much as is available from the farm. No 200 pound squashes yet, but lots of greens – best salads anywhere!

Kids at the school maypole dancing in celebration of May Day!

Kids at the school maypole dancing in celebration of May Day!

School update
The school’s garden is also in full swing. The kids did the work of preparing the beds, including the spreading of manure – farmers in the making. They’re now planting the seeds that they gathered and categorized in the fall. Having just completed making homes for mason bees, they’ve now taken them home to their families to attract these pollinators to their gardens. In other school news, rehearsals for “Pinocchio”, this year’s school play, are well underway. Coming up at the beginning of May is the annual May Day celebration, complete with dancing around the maypole, a tradition begun by Usha way back in the earliest years of the school.

Annual Community Yoga Retreat coordinator announced
As mentioned last month, planning for the Annual Community Yoga Retreat is going strong, and we are happy to announce that Kathryn Kusyszyn has accepted the position of ACYR Coordinator. She has been attending retreats here for quite a few years and familiar with the program and the community. We are very lucky to have her.

Offerings Articles
I invite you to read this month’s Meet our YTT Grads article, featuring Kenzie Pattillo who graduated from the first YTT offered at the Centre in 2002. Kenzie also contributed the Asana of the Month piece, focusing on Gomukhasana (cow’s head pose), with lots of variations for those of you who find this pose difficult. The Our Satsang Family feature will return next month. Included in this newsletter is another teaching from Baba Hari Dass on the subject of developing positive qualities, something we can all practice.

Spring time at the Centre

Christine and Ben hanging out In the orchard after a day’s work; walking through the trail

Blackburn Lake to become nature reserve? 
We are delighted to share some local island news with you. Please read Paramita’s letter about the property next door – currently an organic golf course and hopefully soon to be a nature reserve. The Centre is in full support of the proposed zoning change that would allow The Salt Spring Conservancy to buy the property for the purpose of protecting the land and the many species of animals and birds that live there (and here). You can click on the link in Paramita’s letter to read the letter from the Salt Spring Conservancy.

AGM Update
Also, please take note of the posting about the upcoming Keeping the Flame Burning weekend. More information will be posted on our website with details about the weekend, which will include Dharma Sara’s Annual General Meeting along with some fun stuff. This is not to imply the AGM isn’t fun! It’s an opportunity to learn about the many facets of Dharma Sara’s projects, including the many projects at the centre.

May the longtime sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.

In peace,
Sharada

Sharada’s April update

nettles

The nettles are here – a sure sign of spring

Although it’s been in the air for a while, spring officially arrived a couple of weeks ago. It may not be so on the day this arrives in your inbox, but today the sun is shining and the sky is clear blue with only tiny wisps of clouds.

Our community has grown once again, and we are delighted to welcome our wonderful team of karma yogis – several for the full season, others for the 3-month KYSS program. The meals are amazing, thanks to both the farmers and the cooks. The housekeeping crew has been doing some deep cleaning in the house, while the maintenance and landscape crew continues to beautify the grounds and keep everything working. Meanwhile the office staff is busy with all the work related to programming, registration, scheduling and the many, many daily tasks of keeping the Centre organized.

Dinner time with Karma Yogis  Laura, Sam, Sherri, Lisa, Christine and Van

Dinner time with Karma Yogis Laura, Sam, Sherri, Lisa, Christine and Van

With such a strong team in place, the first Yoga Getaway of the season went off with nary a hitch. It’s always a pleasure to be able to welcome people to the Centre and provide the teachings, the best food on the island (and beyond) and the experience of peace.

A week prior to the Yoga Getaway, the DS Board and Panchayat (group of elders) and the department managers held a strategic planning meeting with the same facilitator who guided us through the process a couple of years ago. It was gratifying to note that so many of the goals we had set at that time have been met, with others in progress.

Strategic planning with Chandra, Lakshmi, SN and Carol

Strategic planning with Chandra, Lakshmi, SN and Carol

Jack reports that the farm yogis are an enthusiastic group – all women except for him. The salads that are coming from the farm are amazing! The big news of the moment is that all six varieties of potatoes are planted – a lot of potatoes. There are also 29 varieties of tomatoes in the greenhouse. Last week the farm crew spent a day repairing and recovering one of the greenhouses after a big wind ripped the plastic off. In other farm news, the new (to us) farm truck has a name, following the truck-naming competition on our Facebook page. The fifty suggestions were winnowed down by community members’ votes, and the six names with the highest number of votes were posted on FB for the final vote. The envelope please: Welcome Jai Mazdananda! – and congratulations to Patrick Hogan for suggesting the winning name. His prize was a copy of ‘The Salt Spring Experience’ and a variety of saved seeds from the farm.

Jack and the new members of the farm team, Sherri, Christine and Lisa

Jack and the new members of the farm team, Sherri, Christine and Lisa

Coming up in the third week of May is a big celebration of Babaji’s 90th birthday at Mount Madonna. Please follow this link to read the invitation. If you would like more information, or if you plan to attend, please contact either Lakshmi – lakshmi@saltspringcentre.com or Sharada – sharada@saltspringcentre.com.

Some features to check out this month: The Founding Member profile (now renamed Our Satsang Community) this month features Chandrika Lajeunesse. Chandrika has been part of our satsang community since the 70s; her brother, AD (Anand Dass) was Babaji’s first North American student, and the first yoga teacher in the Dharma Sara community. Chandrika began learning yoga from AD before she met Babaji.

The YTT grad article features Kishori Hutchings, one of the Centre’s founding members, who did her yoga teacher training the first year it was offered here, and who continues to teach, along with the many other gifts she shares with the community.

The Asana of the Month – Child’s Pose – is by Neil Mark, who teaches at the Centre during Yoga Getaways. He graduated from our YTT program in 2003 and describes himself as an extreme athlete turned yogi.

Planning for our Annual Community Yoga Retreat (August 1 – 5) is underway, and we are actively seeking an ACYR Coordinator. This will be a short-term contracted position. If you are interested, please contact Lakshmi: lakshmi@saltspringcentre.com for more information.

Sharada visits Van and Hannah in the kitchen

Sharada visits Van and Hannah in the kitchen

We welcome you to keep in touch by commenting on the various articles in this newsletter and by reading – and commenting on – postings on our Facebook page. It’s always wonderful to hear from people in our extended family.

With gratitude and love in this season of growth,
Sharada

Sharada’s March Update

Welcome to spring at the Centre – a typical west coast spring: weather a little warmer, green and wet, some spring bulbs popping up, and above all, longer hours of daylight. Time to wake up!

Jack, Tanya and Stacey preparing the centre for a new season

Jack, Tanya and Stacey preparing the centre for a new season

Our program season begins this month with a Yoga Getaway, March 22-24, by which time our karma yogis for the first term of Karma Yoga Service and Study (KYSS) will have arrived. We are ready for them! On March 1, several full-season yogis arrive. They will be welcomed with a Bhakti evening: arati, a puja, kirtan and the chanting of the healing mantra, led by Shantam, whom we’ve had the good fortune to add to our community for the past month. During his time here, he has developed a registration software program for us, not to mention singing and drumming at satsang and leading rituals such as the full moon puja we recently celebrated. It’s been a delight to have him here. However, work – and above all, Stephanie – are calling him back to Mount Madonna.

ShivaRatri-VancouverShiva Ratri is right around the corner. On March 10, into the early morning of March 11, there will be prayers, mantra and kirtan all night, the night of Shiva. Follow this link for details. Because Shiva Ratri falls on a Sunday this year, satsang that day will be cancelled. Come for the evening – or the whole night if you like, for chanting and prayer. For those in the Vancouver area, if you’d like to participate in Shiva Ratri, you can come here and sing all night or you can go to the shorter version, 7 – 10:30 pm, celebrated by the Vancouver satsang. It will be held at ‘The Yoga Practice’, 2170 Marine Drive; West Vancouver. Details are on the poster which you can download here.

the winners

The winners, Beira kale

The big news from the farm is that the greenhouses are planted, and Jack reports that the winner of this year’s first-sprout competition is Beira Kale. Let’s hear it for the little seedlings! The farm yogi team will be arriving mid-March, and there is plenty for them to do. In other farm news, the farm now has a truck, perfect for taking produce to the Saturday market and for on-land chores. Thanks to Stacey, Jack and SN for arranging the purchase.

There are a number of articles I’d like to draw your attention to. This month’s Founding Member Feature is not a founding member, but is by the daughter of two longtime students of Babaji and former residents at the Centre – and the only child born on the land (at least while it’s been a yoga centre) – Mamata Kreisler, daughter of Rajani and Rajesh. Read it and learn what it was like for her to grow up in a yoga community – definitely worth reading.

This month’s Meet our YTT Grads features Jessica Encell, one of last year’s Yoga Teacher Training grads, who also happens to have a longstanding connection with this community, although none of us (including Jessica) knew it until last summer. Jessica was visiting her grandmother, who was instrumental in in the purchase of this land. We all have our own routes to the Centre – and to our own centre.

The Asana of the Month is Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle, aka Butterfly), presented by Clare Blanchflower, a YTT grad and one of the teachers at the Centre’s Yoga Getaways. Many of you will have had the pleasure of experiencing her classes, and the warmth and caring of her teaching style. Her instructions are both clear and inviting.

March is a short month at the Centre School, since spring break takes up half of it. Before the break, though, there are report cards and student-led conferences. Often when kids come home from school, their parents ask them what they did that day, but the kids have already moved on to what’s happening right now. (We have so much to learn from children!) During student-led conferences, parents actually get to see and experience some of the things their kids have been learning, and the kids get to be the guides and teachers.

In this newsletter there is an article about karma yoga that I invite you to read. To whet your appetite, here is a song written a by Sanatan a number of years ago, when the ‘mountain-fountain’ was being built during a summer retreat. Here are the lyrics. Perhaps you can persuade him to sing it for you one day.

Salt Spring Centre has been built by hand
By the magic and the mortar of the karma yoga man,
The magic and the mortar of the karma yoga woman.

Yes, that long rock wall has been built by hand
From the magic and the mortar of the karma yoga man,
The magic and the mortar of the karma yoga woman.

Listen to me, children, here’s a riddle and a rhyme
About a man who built a mountain that the angels could climb.
He built it with the skill and the magic that he learned
When he found that holy river and those old samskaras burned,
When he found that holy river and those old samskaras burned.

Karma yoga woman, karma yoga man,
We’ll care for you and feed you the best we can.
We want you to come here and have a good time
And know that karma yoga gives you peace of mind.
Karma yoga gives you peace of mind.

Well, this mountain and this fountain have been built by hand
By the magic and the mortar of the karma yoga man,
The magic and the mortar of the karma yoga woman.

Listen to me, children, here’s a word from the wise,
I got it from the man with the sparkling eyes.
Take it with a chuckle or a grain of salt –
If your foundation buckles, then it’s all your own fault.
If your foundation buckles, then it’s all your own fault.

Salt Spring Centre has been built by hand
By the magic and the mortar of the karma yoga man,
The magic and the mortar of the karma yoga woman.

Thank you all for the magic you bring.

In peace,
Sharada

Sharada’s February Update

The big maple tree on the mound in the fog.

The big maple tree on the mound in the fog.

Although the weather is still wintery, there’s a touch of spring, of newness in the air. It’s a bit chilly, but the days are getting longer. The darkness of winter is not always something we’re grateful for, but without it we wouldn’t be able to experience and enjoy the gift of the light’s return.

The farm isn’t yet displaying its abundance, but the abundance is there in the form of seeds, just as abundance is always present in seed form even when we can’t see it. Spring seeding is beginning in the propagation greenhouse in preparation for the explosion of growth in the coming season.

Although the Centre’s resident community is still small, it is also about to begin growing. Two new people will be arriving (may already be here when you read this) to contribute their skills in the office, as registrar and programs manager.

In the past months a number of renovations have been completed, notably the drywall in the basement and the waterproofing of the dish room. There are, as always, other items on the never-ending list, but the big ones at the top of the list are being checked off. Everything looks great.

Cailin training Laura, our new registrar

Cailin training Laura, our new registrar

We are on the lookout for a small pickup truck in good condition, to serve the needs of our farm both for on-land use and to take produce to Salt Spring’s famed weekly Saturday market. If you have one you’d like to part with or know someone who has one to sell, please contact the Centre office. Also, take note that we still have space for some enthusiastic karma yogis for the first term of our KYSS program, March 17 – June 3. If you know of anyone who would love this opportunity – or if you would – check the Centre’s website for details.

garden-team

Tara and Jack gardening in the fog

There are a number of features in this newsletter I invite you to read. This month’s founding member profile is of Mayana Williamson, whom many of you will remember from her many years of involvement in Dharma Sara and the Centre. The Meet our YTT Grads article features part two of Laura Harris’ wonderful ‘diary of a yogi in training’, describing her experience of the second session of YTT to her graduation. We’ve added another new feature this month as well: Asana of the Month, focusing this time on Viparita Karani – legs-up-the-wall pose.

This year’s Shiva Ratri, the Night of Shiva, an all-night vigil of chanting and ritual in honour of Shiva, the destroyer of illusion, is scheduled for March 10 through to the morning of March 11. Find details on our blog. Don’t be daunted by the prospect of staying up all night chanting; you are welcome to come to all or part of the night.

Reading month at the Salt Spring Centre School

Reading month at the Salt Spring Centre School

February is a very busy month for the Salt Spring Centre School – reading month and off-screen challenge (probably harder for adults than kids!). Reading month for kids isn’t the same as reading week for university; it’s more of a competition, working in teams, to see who can read the most books – and remember the facts, for the final Battle of the Books quiz, an event the kids love. Two other Centre School traditions also fall in February. On Hundreds Day, the hundredth day of the school year, you can find collections of one hundred items of all kinds throughout the school, contributed (and counted) by the kids. Also, Lunar New Year is celebrated in early February, with the traditional dragon parade and a noodle lunch, complete with chopsticks.

As we move from winter into spring, may our lives open to growth and abundance.
With warm wishes for continuing light in our lives,
Sharada

Sharada’s January update

I hope you all had a peaceful holiday season and are ready for another spin around the sun as we begin this new year. As it turns out, the world didn’t end on December 21 and here we are. I remember the same forecast about the millenium, and that also went right by. It turns out the only world that can end is the one created by our minds.

Life is quiet at the Centre, but the next program season is just around the corner. Meanwhile, classes continue as does satsang. On March 10 into the morning of March 11 we will gather to celebrate Shiva Ratri, an all-night vigil of kirtan and pujas. Because Shiva Ratri falls on a Sunday this year, there will be no satsang that day; instead people are invited to join us at 7:00 – or anytime thereafter, throughout the night – and sing Shiva kirtan. There will be more details in the February edition of Offerings, so stay tuned.

We are also reinstating the weekly Free Introductory Yoga Classes that we offered years ago. The classes will be held from 11 am to 12:30 pm on Sundays, January 6 – March 17. The focus will be on instruction and practice of pranayama and asana as taught by Baba Hari Dass, and will be led by a rotation of the Centre’s YTT grads. These classes are open to everyone at all yoga levels.

As part of the continuing series of founding member profiles (which I think of as old member – OM – profiles), this month we feature Rajani Rock, who lived at the Centre for many years, still lives on the island and is still involved at the Centre.

In addition, we are delighted to introduce some of the grads of our Yoga Teacher Training program, beginning with part one of Laura Harris’ wonderful YTT journal, “Life of a Yogi”.

All of us here send warm wishes to you for a year filled with peace, well-being and love.

May we be filled with loving kindness,
May we be well,
May we be peaceful and at ease,
May we be happy.

In peace,
Sharada

Sharada’s December update

The days are growing shorter and the nights colder, but our resident community of seven people and the many people in the community who don’t live at the Centre continue to keep the light burning in the heart of the Centre. During this time the work of running the Centre slows down somewhat, yet preparations are underway for the spring program season. Applications are coming in daily for various full season positions as well as karma yoga service and study sessions.

Satsang and yoga classes will continue throughout the winter, and if we can muster both cooks and cleanup crew, our monthly community dinners will also continue, following satsang on the first Sunday of each month; check the Centre’s calendar and yoga schedule for updates about this and any other events. At this writing, Wednesday evening kirtan is also continuing, at least for now, and possibly through the winter; stay tuned.

There has been very encouraging news from Mount Madonna Centre (MMC), our sister centre (‘center’ in the US) about Babaji’s recovery from a mild stroke in early November. He attended Thanksgiving at MMC and happily handed out candy to the children as always. Jai Gurudev!

As happens each winter, a number of people travel to MMC for the annual New Year’s Retreat, to see Babaji, gather with our extended satsang family, work and practice together and bring in the new year with prayers and songs for peace.

May our holiday season be a time of ease, connection and joy, remembering, when we get caught in the busyness of the season, to slow down and breathe. When we forget – which we do regularly – stop for a moment and be still. Let yourself relax, be kind to yourself. From Babaji: Life is not a burden. We create burdens by our desires, attachment and ego. If we accept life in the world, it creates contentment and all conflicts fall away. Wish you happy.

In peace,
Sharada

Sharada’s November Update

The water is rushing in the creek and the pond is very full. The deer are eating the last of the windfall pears that lie outside the farm fence – and occasionally managing to get into the garden; the farm team is working on closing all possible entry points. Our program season is almost over and the Centre’s residential community will soon shrink as it does every winter. We are grateful for the amazing people who end up finding their way to the Centre as karma yogis. Thank you all! We couldn’t do this without you!

On the first of this month we held an appreciation dinner for Shankar to thank him for his commitment and service to the Centre over his four years as director. Over forty people came for the fabulous dinner prepared by the kitchen team, and stayed for the circle that followed. People shared their gratitude for the many ways Shankar has touched their lives. There were more toasts than roasts, along with a few jokes and songs. People were happy to hear Shankar isn’t going far away and will remain an important part of our satsang community.

We are delighted to welcome our new Centre director, Paramita Meredith Knox. Please read Greetings from the New Centre Director to learn more about her connection to Babaji and the Centre. Paramita has slid into life at the Centre with ease, having been welcomed by everyone and supported by Shankar in this transition. Given her familiarity with the workings of this community and her communication skills, honed by her years as a social worker, Paramita has a solid foundation to stand upon as she moves forward in her new role.

The Centre School will be holding its 29th annual Advent celebration of light on the 27th of this month. The school children walk, one at a time, youngest to oldest, through a labyrinth of cedar boughs and stars to light their candles from the one central candle while they and all the adults who are gathered – parents, grandparents and friends from the island community – sing songs of light. Usha, the school’s founder, who initiated this celebration in the first year of the school, continues to bring her special touch to the gathering as she leads everyone in song.

In the dark days of winter, may we all keep our candles lit, remembering that the light is always there. Keep on shining!

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning,
Keep your lamps trimmed and burning,
Gotta keep your lamps trimmed and burning,
For this old world is almost done.

In peace,
Sharada