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Yoga Service and Study Immersion Program (YSSI)

Study the true spirit of yoga. Live in the peaceful practice of it.

Regardless of your background, or level or experience with yoga, if you’re taking some time to consider the next steps in life, wanting a more in-depth exploration of your spiritual practice, looking for a chance to spend some time living in a peaceful setting, hoping to be of service, and can provide the skills that support the karma yoga requirements of the program…

Then, this is the program for you.

YSSI is a unique, 10-week program where you live and serve on the beautiful land at The Centre while fully immersing yourself in the study and practice of Classical 8-Limbed Ashtanga Yoga.

Past participants describe YSSI experience as truly life changing — one that helps set a new perspective, provides education and knowledge, incubates self growth and promotes inner peace.

Stay Tuned

The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga is no longer accepting applications to the Yoga Service and Study Immersion (YSSI) program in 2024. If you wish to be notified of future YSSI intakes, please sign up for our newsletter below.

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“The opportunity to live a life in spiritual community has been deeply meaningful. It has been an honour to be a part of a residential group that works so well together. The warmth and loving support from the extended satsang has also been incredible.”

~ Joe M, past YSSI participant

Yogi work party

About the Program

What makes this program different from a yoga teacher training or a yoga retreat?

Unlike a 200hr yoga teacher training — where the primary focus is to prepare to teach and/or deepen their personal practice — YSSI’s primary aim is to help you develop and progress in your own spiritual journey (sādhana) through immersive connection, study, practices, and service.

While you’re here, you’re supported by the experienced and knowledgeable Centre faculty and staff as you move deeper into your own practice and spiritual calling. We invite you to show up with a beginner’s mind.

The first month your schedule will include all Centre classes and programs, as well as your YSSI curriculum. This allows you to experience life in the yoga community, after which the Centre programs and offerings are optional choices for the rest of your course.

The program also includes hands-on service in one of the Centre’s designated service area (kitchen, housekeeping, farm, maintenance, grounds, or office) practicing yoga daily, learning Pranayama (breathing techniques), diving into meditation, and studying foundational texts in classical yoga philosophy such as the Yoga Primer, Bhagavad-Gītā, the Yoga-Sūtra and more.

You’ll also have the option to experience community gatherings, such as chanting circles (kirtan) and devotional rituals like fire ceremonies (āratī and yajña), that are often not a part of regular yoga retreats or training programs.

Including one of the most powerful components of living and serving at the Centre: the chance to experience satsang — being in the company of fellow seekers and travelers pursuing their spiritual truth.

Core Components

Service

Participants in the YSSI program uphold the values of karma yoga and contribute to the Centre’s mission of providing a sanctuary for learning and spiritual practice by offering hands-on service in different areas of operation. Selfless service is a transformational practice and is at the heart of the Salt Spring Centre.

See below for karma service expectations.

Sādhana

Participants in the YSSI program receive Instruction in the traditional practices of yoga, with the aim of helping participants develop their own spiritual practice, or sādhana.

Introduction to meditation, Pranayama (breathing techniques), and postures are all used to help familiarize students with various methods and to support establishing a regular and lasting spiritual practice.

Study

Participants will become familiar with the 8-limbs of yoga and dive into some traditional yoga texts such as the Bhagavad-Gītā and Patanjali’s Yoga-Sūtra.

In addition, there is study of related subjects like non violent communication, and Ayurveda (the Science of Life), Satsang and weekly YSSI Circle.

Satsang

Satsang — being in the company of those seeking spiritual truth — permeates all that residents and program participants do here. We live, serve, study and play alongside one another. Weekly circles provide our community with a chance to share their own experiences, and to listen to and support fellow residents as they do the same.

“The community and family created and maintained throughout the summer was the integral aspect of my SSCY experience. Being able to live, work, eat and play with 30+ people every day created a rich environment for growth and a safe place for me to process issues that arose.”

~ Uddhava, past YSSI participant

Schedule and Dates

Session Dates

  • Applications are now closed for the 2024 season.

Schedule

Participants live and serve at the Centre for the entire 10 weeks and commit to 20 hours of service per week, plus an additional 8-10 hours of yoga study and meetings per week.

The first few weeks of this program includes a daily focused morning practice of traditional yogic breathing exercises (prāṇāyāma) and meditation to learn the foundations.

The following weeks will include focused morning practices, allowing the opportunity for self practice on the other mornings.

Residents can also attend the Centre’s public yoga asana classes as part of their program and as their service commitments allow.

Sample Day in the Life

“The teachings of Babaji deepened my Karma Yoga experience. To perform one’s duty without attachment to the results or any sense of ego involvement, I was able to relax and enjoy each moment.”

~ Tana, past YSSI participant

Tuition and Commitment

How much does the program cost?

You might be asking: is this program similar to wwoofing, or a residential karma yoga exchange at an ashram where you trade work and service for room and board?

Sort of.

Although much of the tuition of the YSSI program costs are subsidized by your service and contributions to the Centre while you’re here, we ask for a $1,500 investment for your participation in the program.

If this is a karma yoga program, why does it cost money?

Well, two reasons.

First, YSSI is unlike other karma yoga programs in that we provide a level of education and instruction comparable to what you might find on a yoga retreat or teacher training.

So, while in the program, you’re getting a lot more than just room and board.

Second, the Centre is a not-for-profit organization that uses the bulk of its revenue to provide for general needs including property taxes, utility bills, and meeting staffing requirements to remain open and productive/operational.

The tuition fee of $1,500 contributes to the expenses of what it costs the Centre to host you during the program — that is over and above the amount you contribute through your service.

Commitments

What am I responsible for?

  • 20 hours of service in the Centre’s daily operation
  • Daily 60-minute Pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation classes for the first few weeks, with weekly classes thereafter
  • Weekly yoga theory classes
  • One community circle per week

What am I provided with?

  • Accommodation in our forested, well-maintained campground
  • Two hot vegetarian meals per day and self-serve breakfast.
  • Access to ongoing public yoga classes at the Centre, including gatherings for kirtan and satsang and traditional rituals like āratī and yajña.
  • On-site laundry facilities
  • WiFi connection and desktop computer and printer access
  • Access to a communal kitchen to prepare your own food (if you would like)
  • Time to explore the unique and beautiful Salt Spring Island.