Yoga Service & Study – Frequently Asked Questions

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Yoga Service & Study Immersion FAQs

Who should apply?
  • Those wanting to begin, renew or deepen their spiritual practice and understanding of the classical teachings of 8-limbed Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga.
  • Those wishing to experience the benefits of living, working and studying together in a spiritually based community.
  • Those who will commit to abide by the guidelines for residents of the Centre, including the practice of vegetarianism and a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.
  • Those who may want to take a yoga teacher training program in the future and would like to have a strong foundation prior to that training.
  • Those who are unable or not interested in taking a yoga teacher training but would like a more in-depth understanding of the yogic system.
  • Those who are able to commit to the complete 3 month YSSI program.

The Centre is not a place for rehabilitation or recovery and is not the right environment for those seeking a therapeutic or rehabilitative program. The endeavours of our community keep us very busy, and they require enthusiasm and hard work.

Note: We can accept singles or couples, but we are unable, at this time, to accommodate children.

Who attends this program?

People of all ages and from all walks of life come for our YSSI program. Some are fresh out of high school; some have ended their working lives and are looking for a change of focus in their retirement. Some have taken time out of their busy careers, while others are looking to reshape their lives after being laid off. People come to us from many different countries. In previous years, we have had applications from as far afield as Denmark, Australia, Ghana, Switzerland, England, Spain and Japan, along with many from Canada and the United States.

Most of those coming wish to strengthen their yoga practice – some have even taken a formal yoga teacher training program; but others come with little knowledge or experience of yoga. For some the experience of living in a working yoga community is the main attraction. All share the common desire to selflessly contribute their skills and life energy to the mission of the Centre: passing on the teachings of classical ashtanga yoga as taught to us by Baba Hari Dass.

What kind of work will I be doing?

You will be scheduled for approximately 20 hours each week in a work department.  Your work shifts will be focused in one of the following areas: kitchen, housekeeping, maintenance or landscaping. 

If you have a special skill to contribute, such as building, renovation, vehicle maintenance, plumbing, information technology or the like, you may be asked to focus your time in that area. Our needs vary with the time of year and the type of programs we are hosting. An extensive orientation to your department area will be given at the start of your stay.

In addition to the work hours of the YSSI program, there are an additional required 12 – 15 hours each week as the study component. Please refer to the YSSI page for more information.

How many yoga asana (postures) classes will I be able to attend each week?

The YSSI program has been enhanced for a more in-depth focus on the yoga teachings, including yoga study, workshops, mentorship and self-inquiry. There are morning and afternoon asana class options. Sometimes evening asana classes are also offered. Depending on individual work assignments, it may not be possible to attend all yoga asana classes on all days. The number of yoga asana classes you will be able to attend will vary depending on your daily work shifts and days off.

Are participants given consistent days off?

You will generally have two full days off of work shifts each week, but it is not always possible for these to fall on the same days each week, depending on the needs of the community.

What should I bring?

Bring appropriate clothes for indoor and outdoor work as well as yoga asana and mediation classes. Other items to bring include toiletries, an alarm clock, rain gear, sun hat and sunscreen, a flashlight or headlamp and warm clothing for the evenings. Indoor shoes are recommended and may be required depending on your work department. Residents find that slip-on outdoor shoes are convenient as outdoor shoes are not permitted indoors. Please bring your own tent and bedding. We may be able to provide tents for those who do not have them.

Many also wish to bring the following: swimsuit, journal, book(s) to read, water bottle, travel mug and yoga mat/props. If you are bringing a bicycle (which is recommended where possible), please also bring a bike lock and helmet.

Towels are supplied and laundry facilities are provided, the cost of which is included in your monthly fee. Please do not bring the following: non-prescription drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, pets, or non-vegetarian food (no meat, fish or eggs). Use of open flames at the Centre is restricted to ceremonies and cooking so please do not bring candles, incense etc.

Who are the instructors for the YSSI program?

Classes will be taught by a variety of experienced teachers, including the SSCY Yoga Teacher Training faculty and guest instructors from Mount Madonna Center, CA

General FAQs

What is the foundation upon which our community is built?

Our teacher, Baba Hari Dass, has been the inspiration for all that has been done at the Centre. Working together selflessly for the interest of the Centre is the basis of all we do and all that has been achieved in the thirty years of the Centre’s existence. When one strives to give up self-interest and works for a worthy cause in harmony with others, cheerfully and wholeheartedly, an atmosphere of peace, love, trust, and support is generated. This environment is the background for all who come, whether they are residents, yoga service & study immersion participants, program guests or day visitors and is the foundation for passing on the teachings of classical ashtanga yoga.

Do I need to bring my car to the island?

You are welcome to bring a car to the Centre, but the great majority of people do not. The Centre is a scenic 40 minute walk from the island’s main town, Ganges. Bicycles are a very useful way of getting around, and we highly recommend that you bring one if possible – though keep in ind Salt Spring is very hilly. Public bus service on the island is limited but hitch-hiking is an easy, legal, and very popular option. It is also common to carpool with those who do bring a vehicle for outings such as group hikes. Many people choose to spend much of their time off at the Centre.

Will I have Internet access?

Yes. We presently have high speed internet with two communal desktop computers available for residents to use. Some people choose to bring their own laptops, as wireless internet access is available in all the central areas. As a courtesy to guests and other residents, we ask that laptops not be used in the dining area.

Can I make phone calls and receive messages?

Yes. At the orientation, you will be shown the location of the residents’ telephone. Messages can be left for you at that number. Calls throughout Canada and the US are free to residents; you will need a phone card for other long distance destinations. Cell phone service is unreliable at the Centre but service can be accessed in Ganges and other parts of the Island.

Where can I receive mail?

Our mailing address is: 355 Blackburn Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2B8. Incoming mail will be placed in a box set up for KY participants, while outgoing mail can be left in our main office where stamps are available.

Can you tell me what to expect in regard to the food served at the centre?

Two full meals are served daily to the community residents. When there are no programs running, meals are served at 12:30pm and 6:00pm. During programs, residents eat the same meals as the guests, and meal times may be adjusted to suit program needs.

The diet is lacto-vegetarian and does not include meat of any kind, fish or eggs. As practicing yogis, we do not cook or serve onions and garlic as they can over-stimulate the mind. While gluten-free and dairy-free options are available at all meals, those with serious food allergies should consult us before committing to the YSSI program. Where possible, as much produce comes from our own farm. The Centre is well-known for the quality, nutrition, and taste of its cuisine, and residents are highly appreciative of the Centre meals.

Are there other guidelines I should know about?

Please read our Centre Guidelines for more information about what to expect at the Centre.

How do I get to the Centre?

We have posted detailed directions on our Getting Here page.

Karma Yoga Program

© Salt Spring Centre of Yoga 2017