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Shankar’s February update

The year 2011 was significant for the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga with the centennial celebration of the main house and thirty years of its use for our Centre. It has been an extraordinary period. In an era when many spiritual and healing centres were much talked about and a far smaller number actually started, the Centre has become the longest-running spiritual retreat centre on Canada’s west coast. It is not that our group had more skill, enthusiasm or money than others; the difference undoubtedly comes down to our great fortune in having a guide whose wisdom, vision and boundless energy unified a disparate group of young people looking for a better way to live.

As Babaji approaches his ninetieth year, he no longer travels to Salt Spring Island, nor even to his beloved ashram/orphanage in India. He has been slowly withdrawing from many of his regular activities at the Mount Madonna Center, but nonetheless still gives freely of his time to the increasing number of visitors, many of them Indian families, that seek his darshan on those days that he still attends MMC. Though he is occasionally forgetful (like many of us now!), and his legendary energy has diminished, his health is good.  Many of his Canadian students continue the annual visits to California to see him, and report that he radiates the peacefulness that he has long urged us to seek. We continue to be in awe of his effect on our lives and the lives of those who pass through the Centre. We offer him our love, respect and appreciation, and wish him continuing health in 2012.

Though the winter months are often a quiet time at the Centre, the last two months have seen great activity. The old tractor shed, long overdue for a facelift, is being upgraded for improved storage and workshop space. Last winter’s renovation of the upstairs of the main house is being completed with more cork flooring and paint. On the main floor the kitchen has been completely dismantled and the counters, cabinets and shelving will be replaced. This gave us the opportunity to remedy one of the long-standing issues of a hundred year old house – soundproofing between the kitchen and satsang room. This renovation also prompted a rethinking of the walk-in cooler in the basement, and, as so often happens with renovations, one thing led to another, and we now have an essentially new cooler. Adding to all this we have also made improvements to our karma yogis’ accommodation. The winter resident KYs have been very busy under the experienced eye of SN who has probably worked on every building at the Centre. Many thanks to SN who is being profiled this month in our Founding Member Feature series.

With the start of the 2012 season only weeks away, almost all staff are in place, the Yoga Teacher Training Program is filling well and karma yoga applications are steadily arriving. Shiva Ratri will be celebrated on Sunday, February 19th (note that satsang will be cancelled on that day). We look forward to another great year. In closing we wish Dharma Sara’s long-serving president, Divakar, a speedy recovery from his recent double hip operation. Email of the month award goes to Vivian, who on hearing of the success of the operation, emailed “Hip, hip, hooray!”

In peace