One month of Karma Yoga

I got home from a 2-month trip in Australia on June 12th planning to stay home and focus solely on building my business until early October, before travelling to Maui for a business retreat. However, this changed very suddenly.

Originally, I was going to title this post “So… I moved to an ashram.” This title no longer resonated with me when I posted a video on Instagram detailing my story of what lead me to the ashram. You can watch that video HERE.

Since that story has already been said and done, and I’ve just left the ashram a week ago, I figured I could give you a bit more detail on what my life was like there for a month.

I’ll give you the basic rundown of a typical day there:
6:50 am – Hatha class
8 am – Breakfast
8:30 am-12:30 pm – Karma Yoga
12:30 pm – Lunch
1:30-3:30 pm – Karma Yoga
3:30-4 pm – Reflection Break
6 pm – Dinner
*Occasional 4:30-6 pm or 6:30-7:15 pm – Karma Yoga (dishwashing shifts)*
7:30 pm – Satsang

We had half days on Wednesdays to attend workshops and women’s circles/workshops every Thursday. I also had a “reflection day” (day off) every Saturday.

In case you’re wondering what Satsang is, it means “in company of the wise.” Every evening, the community gathers in a beautiful building called the Temple of Light and we hold space to sing, chant, pray, and learn from one another.

I’ve gotta be honest and say that the first time I attended Satsang, I thought to myself “what the f*ck am I doing here? is this a cult?” But, I very quickly warmed up to the nightly ceremony and got very into the chanting and singing portions of it.

Also, if you don’t know what Karma Yoga is, it means ‘selfless service.’ Doing whatever task you’re asked to do simply because it is what needs to be done and doing it to your satisfaction. That’s right – YOUR satisfaction. Not the satisfaction of the person who asked you to do the task or aiming for an unattainable level of perfection.

Let me quickly explain a synchronicity I experienced with a book that I highly recommend reading to truly understand what Karma Yoga means:
The morning I was heading to the ashram, I was in a used book store in a little funky town called Nelson. I was drawn to the second aisle and soon understood why… it was on spirituality. I noticed a small book on the floor with a title I recognized from a friend’s shelf that he had recommended me to read while I was in Australia: The Bhagavad Gita. The first day my program started, the coordinator mentioned this book and recommended to all the participants to read it – especially the first 6-8 chapters because it really explains what Karma Yoga is. Soon enough, I learned that a lot of the teachings at the ashram are based on the teachings of this book.
If that’s not the Universe working magic, I don’t know what is.

Now that you know my schedule and routine for the month there, and what Karma Yoga is all about, we can dive a bit deeper into what the experience was truly like.

It was an emotional roller coaster. It was a beautiful experience full of ups and downs. It was the occasional questioning of “wait, what am I doing here?” It was the sigh of relief when I looked at the glacier lake I was jumping into.

Honestly, living in a community or an ashram is not for everybody. You’re pretty much constantly around people and participating in activities. You have to really know how to stay centered and grounded or you will find yourself too caught up in others’ energies. You have to prioritize the rare alone time that you do get to make sure you’re doing things that actually make you feel good in that time. You have to be willing to communicate effectively and work through conflicts with people, rather than bottling up emotions and holding grudges/resentments.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have too much of a problem with it. I’d say that, for the most part, I crushed community/ashram living. The only thing I had to keep working on was prioritizing what made me feel good when I had free time because often times I found myself on my phone trying to catch up with the “outside world.”

What did I love about spending a month at the ashram?

Everything. All the good and all the relatively bad. I loved waking up early and going to the most relaxing and nurturing yoga class that often included reflection time in it. I loved having 3 nourishing, fresh, and delicious meals cooked for me every day. I loved eating these amazing meals in silence. I loved reflecting at the end of the ‘work’ day. I loved doing the ‘work’ because I knew it benefited everyone in the community in one way or another. I loved connecting with so many like-minded people who are passionate about their health, personal development, and the earth. I loved learning new things in all areas of ‘work.’ I loved washing the dishes (as many as there were to wash) because it allowed me to get into a deep meditative state for a few hours. I loved gathering every evening as a community to chant and sing and pray and learn. I loved jumping in a glacier lake almost every day and reconnecting with myself. I loved making my healing and self-development a priority every single day while contributing to the community that provided the space for me to do so. I just loved being there.

Would I recommend this experience?

If after reading the whole ‘living in a community is not for everyone’ spiel you’re still intrigued by it all, then YES. Abso-f*cking-lutely. It has changed my life in so many positive ways and I’m certain it will change yours too. I learned so much about myself and the way I communicate, my work ethic, my strengths and weaknesses, and my ability to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty for the greater good. Also, the food was just out of this world delicious and nutritious every time lol.

Why Yasodhara?

Honestly, intuition. If you watched my IGTV on the story of how I ended up there, you’ll understand why my answer is so simple. I didn’t know it when I decided it to go but, Yasodhara Ashram was the first ashram founded by a woman and its principles are built on honoring the Divine Feminine. About a year ago, while I was living in Hawai’i, I met a man who photographs women in beautiful, empowering costumes. He explained to me the importance of honoring the Divine Feminine and how doing so will help heal our planet. This moment and thought set the wheels in motion for a lot of my healing this past year in regards to self-love and holding space for the Divine Feminine to shine within and through me. So, I find it funny that it has now come full circle almost exactly a year later and living in a community that holds this belief was quite eye-opening and healing for me personally. And, if this belief resonates with you as well, I think that should answer the question of ‘why’… along with the aforementioned amazing and delicious food lol.

This is all I feel called to share about my ashram experience right now; however, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

All my love,

Patty xx

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