News from the Centre – March 2016

Hello everyone,

Spring! It’s March, the month that marks the official beginning of spring and the change back to daylight saving time. It is also the time of daffodils, nettles, budding trees, spring planting, Easter, and spring break for schools.

Nettles. A sure sign of spring!

Nettles. A sure sign of spring!

OmPK, Julie, Rajani, Paramita

OmPK, Julie, Rajani, Paramita

Rajani, Natasha and Blair

Rajani, Natasha and Blair

New and Upcoming Programs

header-AyurvedaWe are excited to offer a new program this month – Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse Weekend, March 18-20, a perfect opportunity to delve into the philosophy and practices of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing. This program will be taught by Dr. Manjiri Nadkarni, an Ayurvedic doctor from India. Please note that there will be a free introduction to Ayurveda at the Centre, presented by Dr. Nadkarni, at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 17.

Check our website for other upcoming programs. Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) is looking like it may to be pretty full this year, so if you’ve been considering signing up, this would be a good time to do it. Registrations have also begun coming in for our 42nd Annual Community Yoga Retreat (ACYR) July 28-Aug 6. It’s been such a big hit the last couple of years that people have been booking really early, before it’s even posted on our website.

Applications continue to come in for Yoga Service and Study Immersion (YSSI), and interviews will begin soon. If you or someone you know would like to spend the three summer months living, studying and working in a practicing yoga community, this is the perfect program, and this is the perfect time to apply.

Board News

The Dharma Sara Board has been looking forward. I’ve begun attending the monthly Board meetings because I’m energized and inspired by the big picture explorations along with practical on the ground plans. Younger board members bring new energy, supported by those who have been serving in this role for a long time. At the most recent Board meeting, Christine Torgrimson of the Salt Spring Nature Reserve made a presentation about possible ways for us to continue to protect our valuable wetlands. If you’d like to know more about what goes on at Board meeting, note that members have access the minutes. If you’re not yet a member and would like to be, you’re invited to follow this link to join.

New Kirtan Book and Album coming!

The kirtan book we published last summer continues to be well used every Wednesday and Sunday for kirtan and satsang as well as for spontaneous kirtan practice that happens quite regularly in the resident community. We are now about to publish a second edition, complete with diacritical marks and information about Sanskrit pronunciation. Both the first and second editions will be available for sale, the first edition at a reduced rate.

For kirtan fans, here’s another new item. Watch for our new Shiva Kirtan album, coming out soon! The hope is to have it ready before Shiva Ratri.

In this Month’s Newsletter

Arron Redford, who first spent time at the Centre 10-15 years ago shares her story in Our Centre Community. Two years ago, and again last year, she worked with Piet and Brian to pull the Ramayana revivals together in record time. At last year’s retreat, in a little role switch-up, she played the part of Ravana, the demon king.

Preet Heer, who did her yoga teacher training at the Centre about 12 years ago, volunteers to teach at Yoga Getaways when her busy schedule as an urban planner permits. Here she shares Ardha Chandrasana, or Half Moon pose, which helps improve balance and strength. This pose will stretch your hamstrings and the front of your thighs, at the same time opening your hip joints.

Shiva Ratri, the ‘Night of Shiva’, will take place this year on March 7-8. You can read more about this annual ritual and find the schedule here. Please read about the deeper meaning of Shiva Ratri in Shiva Ratri: the Destruction of Ignorance.

As we move back into the light of spring (in the northern hemisphere) and nature begins to blossom once more, may our hearts and minds also open and blossom.

Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre – November 2015

Hello everyone,

This month we in BC shift back to standard time, meaning there’s light earlier in the morning and darkness coming earlier at the end of the day. November marks the beginning of celebrations of light, to keep the light inside us burning in the midst of the darkening time of year.

Our residential community is small but mighty, and regular activities continue, with the addition of a 12-week wildcrafting class.

Wildcrafting class in the forest

Wildcrafting class in the forest

IMG_3554

Taking a closer look

Ongoing events include Wednesday kirtan, Sunday satsang and monthly full-moon yajnas. There’s one more Yoga Getaway this month – last chance in 2015.

Tana on the mower

Tana on the mower

Tanner & Myriam in the kitchen; Mark hard at work

Tanner & Myriam in the kitchen; Mark hard at work

We recently bid farewell to Hamsa, our amazing karma yoga coordinator. We will miss her, and trust that we will see her again. We also said goodbye to Christine, the Centre’s housekeeping coordinator, in mid-October. She’s just a couple of ferry rides away, and we hope she’ll come by to visit. Blair, a new community member, is creating a downloadable album of kirtan from the summer’s Annual Community Yoga Retreat. Watch for it in your inbox soon! If you are interested in stepping into one of the available positions, please read the information on our website.

I received a wonderful surprise gift a little while ago – a package of archival material, including many copies of Offerings from earlier years, from the time it was printed and mailed to members. Anna, thank you! I’ve been reading these from cover to cover and sharing them with the community. Included in this newsletter is an excerpt from one of them: questions and answers with Babaji. This particular set of questions and answers comes from the summer newsletter of 1998. In all the years Babaji has responded to students’ questions, neither the questions nor the answers have changed.

I hope you will enjoy reading The Perfect Path, this month’s Satsang Community story by Peter Ashok Baragon. Peter is a graduate of the Centre’s very first YTT in 2002, and continues to teach here at Yoga Getaways and YTT, in addition to teaching classes in Vancouver.

I also invite you to read Kindness and Forgiveness, qualities and practices that can support us at all times. It’s all too easy to forget the natural loving kindness that is the core of our being. Here’s a reminder.

The Salt Spring Centre School will be holding its annual Celebration of Light on Tuesday, November 24 (formerly referred to as Advent, for those of you who remember it from years back), still led, as always, by Usha, who began this celebration with school students and their families in the earliest days of the school. Every child carries an apple with a candle placed in it, around spiral of cedar boughs and stars while the entire community of parents and friends sings songs of light – an uplifting community gathering, reminding us to keep the light shining in our hearts.

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

Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre – October 2015

Hello everyone,

Autumn has definitely arrived. The weather is cooler and wetter, and the residential community has begun its seasonal shrinking, although we still have several wonderful karma yogis here.

Front row: Piet, Madelaine, Sharada, Hamsa, Marianne, Julie; back row: Christine, David, Lakshmi, Mark

Front row: Piet, Madelaine, Sharada, Hamsa, Marianne, Julie; back row: Christine, David, Lakshmi, Mark

Our wonderful karma yogis. Clockwise from top left: Alannah; Madelaine and Dee; Melissa and Diana; Diana, Sharada, Melissa and Kyle in the back

Our wonderful karma yogis. Clockwise from top left: Alannah; Madelaine and Dee; Melissa and Diana; Diana, Sharada, Melissa and Kyle in the back

This is the season of abundance, as you can see from this photo.

September harvest with David, Ray, Diana and Kyle

September harvest with David, Ray, Diana and Kyle

We look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with our island satsang family as we do each year celebrating the bounty of the season and our connection with each other. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you all, including our American friends who will celebrate Thanksgiving next month.

Changes at the Centre

Piet Seuss, our acting Centre Director

Piet Suess, our Interim Centre Manager

There have been some administrative changes at the Centre of late. Sally Adnams Jones, our Centre Director, has chosen to leave this role for personal reasons. I’m happy to say that she intends to stay connected with the Centre. We are grateful for her contributions to the Centre during her time here, and look forward to seeing her when she’s able to come and visit.

Fortunately, Piet Suess was willing to step up into a leadership position. He is now serving as Interim Centre Manager. Given his long association with the Centre (from the age of 2!) and his experience as ACYR coordinator for the past two years, he is very familiar both with the foundation of the Centre and the community. He brings his skills, his heart, and his creativity to the role.

There have been some changes on the Dharma Sara Board as well. Saraswati has stepped down as a member of the Board, and the two open positions have been filled by Jules Higginson and Natasha Samson. Jules has served on the DS Board in previous years and Natasha has been a DS Board intern for the past year. Fortunately, Saraswati is still very much connected to the Centre and will continue to be around whenever she can.

Opportunities at the Centre

There will be a couple of office positions opening up soon. They are not yet posted on the website, but meanwhile if you have any interest in living at the Centre and working in the office, please call the Centre office (250-537-2326) or email Piet: piet@saltspringcentre.com for further information.

Upcoming Workshops

There are two more Yoga Getaways coming up, in October and November. Also this month, Chetna Tracy Boyd will be teaching a Yoga for Cancer workshop for yoga teachers. Chetna is a superb, inspiring teacher and an important part of the Centre’s YTT faculty. Ongoing weekly activities at the Centre continue – Bhagavad Gita study, Wednesday evening kirtan and Sunday satsang, as well as daily yoga classes and monthly full-moon yajna celebrations.

Centre School back in session

Rosh Hashanah celebration with the Centre School. Tossing bread crumbs (bad habits) into the pond.

Rosh Hashanah celebration with the Centre School. Tossing bread crumbs (bad habits) into the pond.

The Centre School has been back in session for a month. A couple of weeks ago, Sharada celebrated Rosh Hashanah ( Jewish New Year) with the Centre School children, an annual tradition since the school began. The Centre School celebrates holidays from many cultures and traditions.

In this Month’s Newsletter

For your enjoyment this month, please read Bryan Eknath Hill’s story, in Our Centre Community, of his evolution from artist to massage therapist (with a lot in between), and yoga student and teacher.

As we move through this journey called life, we periodically run into obstacles. Our responses to difficulties tell us a lot about how we’re doing. I invite you to read – and practice – Accepting our Limitations.

With wishes for an abundant autumn and a joyful Thanksgiving,
Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre – September 2015

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying these last few days of summer. Lovely as all the sunshine is, we’re looking forward to a bit of rain. In fact, as I write this just before the end of August, the rains have arrived! We may get tired of it after a while, but right now it’s a blessing.

the maple tree on the mound

the maple tree on the mound

marigolds in the garden

marigolds in the garden

at the pond

at the pond

It has been a very busy summer at the Centre, filled with many wonderful people and events. We are pleased to introduce a new group of recently graduated yoga teachers.

YTT grads 2015

YTT grads 2015

One morning just before the last day, students and teachers alike were surprised by the sudden appearance of prop circles in the satsang room – yes, prop circles, not crop circles. There was lots of speculation about how that might have happened – forest gnomes perhaps? We did eventually discover the creative genius behind the sudden appearance, but I’m not giving away the secret.

Prop circles!

Prop circles!

Following YTT the movie, “Awake”, the story of Paramahansa Yogananda’s life, was shown at the Centre. Many people came, and the satsang room was packed! The movie came to us as a gift from two of our wonderful karma yogis, Tony and Donna. As the evening began, Tony played the harmonium and sang a Yogananda song, followed by Raven doing arati to Ganesh. Then came the movie, complete with popcorn.

At this writing, near the end of August, several karma yogis are about to move on to their next adventures. What a creative and loving group of people! Happily a few are staying on through the fall.

karma yogis

Hamsa, Madelaine, Marianne, Alannah, Brandon cuddling on the back deck

Karma Yogis

Meal prep: Raven, Matt, Myriam, Tana

Upcoming Yoga Workshops

Please take note of the two upcoming workshops, Prenatal Yoga with Kashi Richardson, September 18-21, and Yoga for Cancer with Chetna Tracy Boyd, October 2-4. These programs are approved for continuing education credits through Yoga Alliance for yoga teachers. If either of these interests you, I encourage you to register now.

We are excited to welcome Chetna, one of our core YTT teachers, as director of our YTT 500 program. She brings many years of experience teaching yoga at all levels and is also certified as a professional yoga therapist. In addition to her multiple skills, she is an absolute delight to work with.

Yoga Getaways continue through the fall season. They fill up quickly, so if you are interested in taking part, it’s always good to register early.

In this month’s newsletter

As always, there are several inviting articles to read. This month’s story in “Our Centre Community” is by Joseph Ramesh Pallant. Born into the satsang community, Ramesh has been involved in many inspiring undertakings over the years, living his values and contributing to life on this planet.

Pratibha’s article this month in the ongoing series, Ayurveda, Yoga and You focuses on the power of triphala. Please read Triphala – a Magic Formula for the Whole Body.

Kenzie has shared another book review with us, called We are all Walking Each Other Home. It is based on her reading of the book “How Can I Help?” by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, an inspiring book about our interconnectedness and our natural inclination to be of service.

As we begin the move into the next season, Practicing Gratitude may help us to remember the many supports we have, even in the dark times when it’s a struggle to find gratitude for anything.

With wishes for a smooth transition into autumn,
Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre – August 2015

Hello everyone,

When this month’s newsletter arrives in your inbox (if you subscribe), we will be in the midst of our Annual Community Yoga Retreat (July 30 – August 3), our 41st consecutive retreat. The first one, in 1975, was at a rented camp in White Rock, BC. After that there were a few in the interior of BC. Eventually we bought this beautiful piece of land, and the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga was born. We still offer many of the same classes and activities we did back in the early days: pranayama & meditation, asana, kirtan, stick dancing, talent shows. Styles change, but the foundation remains the same.

1977 retreat

At the 1977 retreat

2014 retreat

At the 2014 retreat

Soon after ACYR the second portion of YTT will begin, and on the 19th of August another excellent group of YTT students will graduate. One of this year’s YTT students is an avid birder and photographer. He took some great shots of a couple of Barred Owls that were hanging out by the school playground.

August-barred-owl

barred owls – photo by Adam Burt

Our summer group of karma yogis in the YSSI program will be here till the end of August. They bring so much to the community, and we will be sorry to see them go.

Some of the kitchen crew (Dee, Tony, Tanner, Matt, Julia, Karen)

Some of the kitchen crew (Dee, Tony, Tanner, Matt, Julia, Karen)

Meanwhile some additional karma yogis from Mount Madonna Centre have driven up to help create a fabulous Ramayana performance on the Saturday evening of the retreat.

ramayana

Ramayana 2014

The garden has been producing abundantly, and our farm stand is up and running. We’ve been eating wonderful salads greens, zucchini, cucumber and chard. It won’t be long before fresh tomatoes from the garden will be added to the list.

Tony in the garden

Tony in the garden

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

In this month’s newsletter

I invite you to get to know another yogi in the Centre’s community. Jules Higginson did YTT at the Centre the first year we offered it and, fortunately for us, decided to stick around. Although she lives in Victoria, she remains actively involved, mostly behind the scenes. I’m sure you will enjoy her sweet and quirky story, Coming Home.

In her ongoing Ayurveda, Yoga and You series, Pratibha offers us Maintaining an Even Keel – Understanding our Mental Temperament. This month she talks about understanding our mental makeup from an Ayurvedic perspective, and finding balance in our lives.

Having had the great good fortune to live at the Centre all these years, I continue to appreciate the blessing of living amongst others who are committed to living a virtuous life based on spiritual teachings and practice. Whatever situation you’re in, you might find it helpful to read The Company We Keep.

The comments function is once again working, so please share your comments on any of the articles you read. We love reading them, and often write back. It’s a simple way to stay in touch – that and comments on our Facebook page.

May we all find peace and joy in our lives.
Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre – June 2015

Hello everyone,

As I write this it’s almost June, but feels like July. Perhaps it will already have changed by the time this is posted, but right now it’s summer.

Dharma Sara Satsang Society’s AGM took place earlier in May, with reports from all departments and an election of officers. Divakar, after serving for many years as DS president, has retired. Fortunately for us, he will continue his involvement as a consultant and as a teacher. We have huge gratitude for all he’s given for so many years. The newly elected board includes Teresa Lakshmi McPhee as president, Pamela Chandra Rose as treasurer, Glenda Saraswati Garcia, Mark Om Prakash Classen and Amy Cousins.

The Dharma Sara Satsang Society board of directors

The Dharma Sara Satsang Society board of directors

Program season at the Centre is well underway. The Centre looks beautiful inside and out, thanks to the hard work of the folks in housekeeping, landscape and grounds and maintenance. The kitchen continues to provide top-notch vegetarian food, with more and more of it coming from the garden as the season progresses.

David with freshly harvested  radishes

David with freshly harvested radishes

A new group of karma yogis will have arrived for this year’s Yoga Service and Study Immersion program by the time you read this. This program provides a wonderful opportunity for complete immersion in a yogic lifestyle, with classes, structured practice time, sharing work, forming community. We’re happy to welcome the new group.

In another month, Yoga Teacher Training will begin. At this writing there are still some spaces available, so if you’ve been thinking about it, now would be a good time. If you know someone who would be a good candidate, please direct them to the Centre’s website for complete information. There are so many teacher training programs around, with almost as many yoga studios as coffee shops in the city, but none like the Salt Spring Centre’s YTT: a residential program on beautiful Salt Spring Island, an outstanding 20-person faculty, all with years of experience living and teaching the ancient wisdom of classical yoga. Add to that the fabulous vegetarian food and a warm and welcoming community immersed in the teachings of yoga and you have a recipe for a wonderful learning experience.

I’d like to point out, as well, a couple of YTT programs that are being offered in the fall for yoga teachers who have completed a 200 hour teacher training: Prenatal Yoga with Kashi Richardson, on September 18-21, and Yoga for Cancer with Chetna Tracy Boyd on October 2-4. Both these programs are approved for continuing education credits toward Mount Madonna Center’s YTT 500 hour teacher training. Please check the Upcoming programs on the Centre’s website.

At the Salt Spring Centre School, the year is winding down. Recently the children in the school performed “Splash!” The theme of the teaching year was water, so this play was a perfect – and delightful – choice.

Some of the "pie-rats" in Splash!

Some of the “pie-rats” in Splash!

Some of the girls in Splash!

Some of the girls in Splash!

In this Month’s Newsletter

Kenzie, a yoga teacher with a big heart and a love of poetry brings us “A book I wish were found at the library”. This month she shares her love of poetry in general and in particular the poems of Hafiz, found in a lovely book called “The Gift”, poems by Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Kenzie has found a perfect way to incorporate these poems into her classes. Even if poetry is not something you’re usually drawn to, I suggest you check this out; it may shift your perspective.

Pratibha, our satsang sister from California, brings us another gem in her “Ayurveda, Yoga and You” series, this one called “Saving our Skin!” It arrives at the perfect time for the warm (sometimes hot) days of summer. We all know about using sunscreen, but Ayurveda looks at skin care, both external and internal, in a more thorough way. As always, Pratibha shares easy, practical tips to keep us glowing.

Another dear satsang sister, Sudha, has contributed one of her lovely haikus for this newsletter:

Dwelling in the past
Leads to regret.
Staying in the present
brings Peace.

So often we get inspired to follow our spiritual path, but have a hard time staying on track once we’re back home in what tends to be called ‘the real world’. You might find it helpful to read “Yoga and Living in the World,” with reminders of some simple ways we can reconnect with our practice, our well-being and our hearts.

With wishes for peace to all,
Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre (December 2014)

Hello everyone,

December is here: a quiet time that is also full of celebration. Here at the Centre, the residential community is again very small, part of the cycle of life here. There’s still lots of work going on, but there is more opportunity for practice and inward focus.

A clear winter sky

A clear winter sky

There were several special events here in November. The Salt Spring Centre School held its annual Celebration of Light (aka Advent Celebration), begun more than 30 years ago, led by Usha who began this tradition and still leads us in songs of light.

Advent-Ezra

Sharada’s grandson Ezra lighting the candle

Advent-Sharada

Sharada lighting the candle

The Dharma Sara Satsang Society also held a special event a couple of weeks ago, a visioning gathering for all DS members, called Dreaming our Future: Community Vision World Cafe. Om PK, Jeramiah and Saraswati led us in a wonderful day of sharing ideas and fun, with electronic connections for members who weren’t able to get here. If you would like to be more involved in events such as this, and in Dharma Sara in general, we invite you to apply for membership.

Vision Retreat participants: Piet, Jeramiah, Caleb, Meera, Ariel

Vision Retreat participants: Piet, Jeramiah, Caleb, Meera, Ariel

VisionRetreat1

Visioning in action

On the 19th of this month we will hold our annual winter vegetarian potluck and gift exchange game, known around here as the non-attachment game; you pick a gift, but don’t necessarily get to keep it. Although it’s mainly local satsang folks who take part, if you’d like to join us, please contact Sharada (sharada [at] saltspringcentre [dot] com).

Other events are ongoing – satsang, kirtan, Bhagavad Gita study, asana classes – and of course we continue to be nourished by delicious meals, including many ways to cook squash, which was particularly abundant this year.

Our Centre Community introduces Indira/Uma/Cynthia Bennett, a longtime student of Babaji’s who lived for many years on Salt Spring with her family. Cynthia contributed to the Centre and Centre School in many way over those years, and still comes to our Annual Community Yoga Retreat when she can.

Prathiba has sent us a sweet treat for the holiday season: Sweets Without Sugar, with wonderful recipes included. Enjoy!

At this time of year, as the days grow shorter and the nights are colder, I invite you into a calming inward journey in “Turning Inward.” In this spirit, here also are a couple of poems by Sudha Soleil.

With wishes for peace to all,
Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre – November 2014

Hello everyone,

Time seems to have speeded up (must have something to do with aging), and it is now November, and most definitely fall. The long dry period has ended and all the plants and trees are happily soaking up the rain. The harvest has been abundant. David and Jeff filled several wheelbarrows full of squash.

Karma Yogis Christine, Tana (behind Raven), Raven, Olivia, Jeff, Marianne, Mark and all the squash!

Karma Yogis Christine, Tana (behind Raven), Raven, Olivia, Jeff, Marianne, Mark and all the squash!

Karma Yogi Olivia preparing stuffed peppers for dinner.

Karma Yogi Olivia preparing stuffed peppers for dinner.

Remembering Ravindra

As the seasons turn, change is the one constant. Early in October we said goodbye to our dear friend Ravindra (Theo Lefterys) . He had been ill for months and spent many weeks in the hospital on Salt Spring before he left his body. Click here to read Divakar’s memories of Ravindra and see photos of him from the early days – 1976. We send our love to his children, Harish (Rish), PK (Isaac) and Gita (Mikaila).

Ravindra, 2006

Ravindra, 2006

Happenings at the Centre

Later in October we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with a very large gratitude circle that over-filled the satsang room, followed by an amazing vegetarian potluck.

Zyleah and Christine by the harvest altar

Zyleah and Christine by the harvest altar

We held our second-last Yoga Getaway of the season recently – one more coming up November 7 -9.

As usual, there will be a small winter residential community, with more opportunities for study and practice than during the busy program season. Two new people who first came here as YSSI participants, will join the office team, Bergen as office coordinator and Marianne as programs coordinator. We are all very happy to have them here.

Centre School’s Celebration of Light

On Nov. 25 the Centre School will hold its annual Celebration of Light, led since the the earliest days of the school by Usha. During the evening, all the children, holding candles set into apples, walk one by one through a spiral of cedar boughs sprinkled with stars, to light their candle from the big candle in the middle. Throughout, everyone sings songs of light from many traditions. By the end of the evening, when all the candles are lit, the school’s teachers sing everyone out the door: May the longtime sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way home.

In this Month’s Newsletter

As always there are a number of articles I’d like to draw your attention to. Pratibha’s contributions are always rich and full of practical wisdom. This month she has contributed “Dealing with the Dark Days”, with practices from the Ayurvedic and Yogic traditions for dealing with the dark days of the coming winter and bringing more light into our lives. Tracy Chetna Boyd (well known to all YTT grads and recent participants of the Yoga and Cancer workshop) has shared her story in “Yoga Journey” which I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading. Like her teaching, it is full of wit and wisdom. Tanya Gita Roberts brings us instructions for Kapostasana (pigeon pose) in the Asana of the Month, a wonderful pose for calming and grounding, especially in this stormy, wintry time of year. Further reflecting on the theme of change and impermanence, I invite you to read “Reflections on the fragility and preciousness of life.

Wish you all happy and healthy.

Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre (October 2014)

Hello everyone,

Fall's long shadows on the fountain

Autumn’s long shadows on the fountain

Autumn, the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” (from ‘Ode to Autumn’ by John Keats) has arrived in its gentle beauty. This is the month of Canadian Thanksgiving, a time for all of us to join in gratitude for what we have been given: the guidance of our teacher, Baba Hari Dass, the gift of this community of yogis, the sharing of our many forms of spiritual practice, the abundance of organic food. We continue to feast on zucchini and other squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, carrots, beets, chard and other greens, apples and pears. To top this off, the trees along the driveway have again produced an abundance of walnuts.

Fresh, organic produce

Fresh, organic produce

Farewell to Kris!

Last month we said farewell to Kris, our extremely capable programs & rentals coordinator, who has moved back to Calgary. Fortunately for us, she will continue to help us out for a while. Kris, we love you and will be very happy to see you anytime you want to come and visit!

Wedding on the Land

Congratulations to Mamata Kreisler and Kris Gomez on their recent wedding. Mamata, Rajani and Rajesh’s daughter, was born in a cabin on this land, and decided to get married here, her first home. It was a beautiful sunny day for this wonderful celebration on September 27.

Rosh Hashanah at the Centre School

Lining up for apples and honey in celebration of Rosh Hashanah

Lining up for apples and honey in celebration of Rosh Hashanah

In late September Sharada again had the pleasure of celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year with the children at the Salt Spring Centre School. It is a time to review our lives, our habits, and recommit to living by our values and developing positive qualities. And it’s a time to dip apples in honey and wish each other a sweet year.

Also in late September, the community here had an opportunity to do a day-long First Aid workshop. Everyone who participated in the full program received a First Aid and CPR certificate.

In this month’s Newsletter

There are a number of articles I hope you will enjoy. Pratibha’s Ayurveda article, ‘Soup, Beautiful Soup’ contains recipes for nourishing, warming soups for all body types in this chillier fall season. Kenzie, in Asana of the Month, introduces what she calls her new queen of asanas: Pincha Mayurasana – Feathered Peacock, a forearm balance pose. It is a strengthening pose for the entire body (though not for everyone; there are some contraindications listed.) The article ‘What is it you really want?’ explores the possibility of being happy now. It has no contraindications; it is for all of us.

Programs at the Centre

Coming up this month: A Yoga and Cancer Workshop with Chetna is a yoga therapy training for yoga teachers who want to learn how to support people who are journeying through cancer. Later this month there will be another Yoga Getaway, with one more to follow in November – the last one of the 2014 season. We will also be celebrating Thanksgiving at the Centre as we do every year, with a gratitude circle followed by a delicious vegetarian potluck dinner, on Monday, October 13.

As always, Sunday satsang continues each Sunday, as does Wednesday kirtan (for a little longer), morning and evening arati at the temples every day, Bhagavad Gita studies and asana classes.

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

Love,
Sharada

News from the Centre (September 2014)

Hello everyone,

As I write this, the sky is cloudy, and although there may yet be many days of sunshine, fall is definitely in the air. Just a short while ago, we were in the midst of YTT and ACYR in the heat of July and August. Both programs were uplifting and deeply satisfying on many levels.

YTT participants, 2014

YTT participants, 2014

ACYR2014

Group shot at this year’s 40th Annual Community Yoga Retreat!

Meal Circle at this year's Annual Community Yoga Retreat

Meal Circle at this year’s Annual Community Yoga Retreat

Now the nights are crisp and the days are a bit shorter. Kids are getting ready to go back to school and the karma yogis in the YSSI program are preparing for the next step in their lives – some going to school, others embarking on travels, some heading home, others stepping into unknown adventures. I’d like to take this time to acknowledge the huge contribution made by the people who have joined us for the summer season. Jai community!

Brenn, Anne and Hannah

Brenn, Anne and Hannah

David threshing

David threshing

This is the season for harvesting fruit from the Centre’s orchard. Most of the apples have been picked and taken to a local farm to press into juice – hard work, but fruitful (pardon the pun). We now have over 300 litres of apple juice to take us through the year! The pears will be next.

A truck-load of apples!

A truck-load of apples!

Brenn and Tana making apple juice

Brenn and Tana making apple juice

In this Month’s Newsletter

Two of our recent YTT grads have agreed to write personal reflections on their YTT experience: Kim Gillett and Ginny Kloos. I am grateful for their openness in sharing their experience.

Babaji altar in the kitchen

Babaji altar in the kitchen

The kitchen, meanwhile, continues to provide delicious meals to Centre residents and guests. Raven Hume, the Centre’s kitchen coordinator, has shared his reflections on the practice of Kitchen Sadhana, bringing the aim of finding peace to all our activities.

This month’s Our Satsang Community story is by Glenda Saraswati Garcia. Saraswati is an integral part of both the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga and Mount Madonna Center. Along with teaching, she also serves on Dharma Sara’s Board of Directors. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading her story.

Pratibha has again contributed her wisdom in the article Balancing Vata Dosha in the Fall Season. This article is full of immediately useful information for responding to the changes that fall brings.These suggestions can help us keep our balance during this time of year. One way to keep our balance is through asana.

Peter Ashok Baragon has contributed Upavista Konasana, wide-angle seated forward fold, in Asana of the Month. This asana helps in letting go and decompressing after a stressful day, something we could all use.

There are a few more opportunities to enjoy a visit to the Centre during the fall season, with Yoga Getaways in September, October and November. For those who live close by, Wednesday evening kirtan and Sunday satsang continue every week.

With wishes for health and balance,
Love,
Sharada