Mandala House, the ashram's main building (image via

Hola from western Canada! I fled Montreal just before the heat wave hit and have been enjoying the cooler climate of British Columbia (where it’s unseasonably cool and rainy). I just spent a few days at the beautiful Yasodhara Ashram, where I had the full intention of blogging and taking pics. However, I had limited wifi access and a full schedule of karma yoga (selfless service in action), enjoying nature, thinking about my life and reconnecting with old friends. My photography ambitions were thwarted when my camera battery died and I realized that I’d forgotten my charger.

Yasodhara Ashram is a spiritual community on 120 acres of woodland resting on the shores of Kootenay Lake in southeastern BC. Founded by Swami Sivananda Radha (a disciple of Swami Sivananda and one of the first western women to be initiated in the yoga tradition) in 1963, the community continues to uphold her teachings while staying relevant to modern life. The ashram is run by initiates, but these are swamis who wear cardigans and khakis and pack around laptops. Rooted in tradition and simple living, the community also thrives on innovation and progressive ideas ~ collaborative working styles, sustainable building design, integrated food systems, new business models. The ashram has won provincial sustainability awards and aspires to be carbon neutral by 2013, when it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The members of the community can explain what’s happening there better than I can, and I’ll be posting the details of some wonderful conversations I had. When I wasn’t chatting with the locals, I was pruning apple trees, picking knapweed (an invasive plant threatening BC land) and weeding the garden ~ lots of clearing away and removing unwanted bits, which is highly necessary in my life right now. I was also reconnecting with my yogic foundation: I spent two years living in this community (from 2004-2006) and, as publishers of ascent magazine, I worked for them “in the world.” I credit this community for informing my investigative, inquiring and integrity-seeking approach to yoga (and myself, of course).

Stay tuned for continued ashram adventures!