What the Centre means to me

Enthusiastic guests at the Annual Community Retreat, 2009

Just before the beginning of the Annual Community Yoga Retreat (our 38th consecutive summer yoga retreat) I asked some of the early arrivals what the annual retreat on Salt Spring means to them. Here are some of their answers:

Piet Shakar Suess – born on Salt Spring, living in Los Angeles
Is there a word for community and family combined into one word? Because that’s what it is to me. I’ve been coming here since I was a baby, so this is my home. It’s very easy to be happy and at ease here because everybody has that energy – before, during and after the retreat. It’s difficult to think of not coming back in the summer; it’s my yearly recharge. It’s like a touchstone, a return to the source of power. I give this place a lot of credit for making me who I am. Jai Sita Ram! Jai Hanuman!

Jai Aguirre – Mount Madonna Center
The Salt Spring Centre is a wave in my heart, a place that’s never too far away in my mind. It’s a place where my Canadian family keeps the fires burning, a place Babaji brought me as a boy and showed me a garden where his spiritual seed has taken root, and now a beautiful flower blooms. Salt Spring is also the home of the rock wall and the blueberry!

Shushil Skralskis – from the Pacific Northwest, living in California
For me it’s the people, the atmosphere, positive memories, the overall vibes. The Salt Spring Centre is a different flavour of Babaji’s teachings that’s manifested here; I see Babaji’s teachings in a different form. There’s something about the landscape, the people, even the political structure of the Salt Spring Centre, that’s refreshing. The retreat has a laid back, summery feel.

Caleb Corkum – Vancouver
I come here because it’s peaceful and quiet. I get to read and write; it’s a nice space for that – no distractions. I get to work with and hang out with people I don’t see a lot, like the folks from MMC. The people are friendly and the food is great. I don’t have to deal with the distractions of the city; everyone is calmer in this environment. It’s a comfortable, extended family atmosphere.

Mischa Pavan Makortoff – Vancouver
I’m part of the second generation of the extended satsang family. I continue to come back as an adult because I feel a strong connection to the place and the people. It’s a supportive, loving environment. I get to eat delicious food, hang out with wonderful people, see old friends again and make new friends – and I can do karma yoga. Being here, I experience wonderful flashbacks of past memories as I make new memories.

Jessica Yogita Zovar – Santa Cruz, California
The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga exists as a place of abundance, beauty and relaxation. Its land and people are very welcoming. The Centre opens its arms to you so that you may open more to all that is peaceful within and around. I’m called back every year to laugh, rest in the beauty of the land and return home to myself. And – you can easily fall in love in the strawberry fields. I did.

Toby Gaurav Aguirre – Santa Cruz, California
The Salt Spring Centre is my home away from home. For more than twenty years I have come here for the practice, the serene setting and to pick up with friends right where we left off. Excursions to the lake, volleyball battles and Capture the Flag pace us through the day. In 2007 I found true love here. Three weeks of weeding strawberries, yoga and bike riding, and we were in love. Next year we return with our first baby!

Ramsharan Aguirre – Mount Madonna Center
It’s difficult to put into few words the years of experiences, friendships and learning that have arisen from my bond with the Salt Spring Centre. From the earliest visit when we replaced the farmhouse roof – with Babaji nailing wood shingles – the classes, kirtan, talent nights, my morning walks with Babaji, endless rock walls, chai and wonderful meals, I  always head home with a full heart and a deep satisfaction. The future is secure as the young folk continue to return and keep in touch with each other. Thank you all.

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