Visitors leave the Yasodhara Ashram's Temple of Divine Light.

Visitors leave the Yasodhara Ashram's Temple of Divine Light.

Yasodhara Ashram celebrates 50th anniversary with tours, music and more

Web Lead

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Yasodhara Ashram yoga retreat and study centre, one of North America’s longest-running spiritual centres.

Anniversary celebrations will be underway from Aug. 7-11 and will include an opening reception, guided tours, an evening gala of song and dance, and a special ceremony in the Temple of Divine Light.

Founded in 1963 by Swami Sivananda Radha, Yasodhara Ashram has been welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds to discover the transformative power of yoga for the last 50 years.

A pioneer in the development of yoga in the West, Radha’s approach was distinguished by her unique ability to synthesize yogic teachings and western psychology.

Originally an undeveloped acreage on the shores of Kootenay Lake, the ashram took shape as Radha and her small but dedicated community built residences, cleared land, created a farm and taught yoga. These pioneers physically and spiritually laid the foundation of Yasodhara Ashram as we know it today. Over 1,000 people a year pass through the ashram as guests, teachers in training, course participants or karma yogis.

Since its founding, Yasodhara Ashram has grown to accommodate up to 140 guests, and offers year-round yoga courses and retreats. Now led by Swami Radhananda, president and spiritual director, the ashram is a thriving community with a network of trained Yasodhara Yoga teachers who offer classes across Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

To ensure this yoga and retreat centre thrives for another 50 years, Yasodhara Ashram:

•is deeply committed to participating in sustainable environmental practices;

•became a carbon neutral community in the fall of 2012;

•tends organic gardens and orchards that now supply over 20 per cent of the food and 11,000 meals out of the 55,000 the Ashram serves annually;

•is nurturing the next generation by providing bursaries for young people to attend courses and internships to support them in leadership skill building;

•is launching a new outreach program for Eastern Canada in the fall of 2013; and

•provides innovative programming, including artist/professional residencies, group retreats, teacher training and an in-depth three-month yoga immersion course unlike any other in Canada.

Yasodhara Ashram has been recognized by FortisBC’s 2008 PowerSense Conservation Award for its commitment to reduce energy consumption by adapting innovative and efficient technologies and solutions. Tourism British Columbia awarded the ashram its prestigious Environmentally Responsible Tourism Award in 2009, an award that acknowledges outstanding leadership in environmental sustainability. Reader’s Digest named the ashram as Canada’s best yoga retreat.

Yasodhara Ashram is a Canadian charity and a registered educational institution.  It is operated by volunteers in the tradition of charity and service embodied in its constitution.

—YASODHARA ASHRAM