Yoga, like sword ownership and sleeping, is an ancient practice whose benefits are just now being appreciated. Reap the rewards of ancient ways of life with today's Groupon to Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, located in Grass Valley. Choose between the following options:
• For $65, you get accommodations at one weekend yoga retreat of your choice (a $130 value).
• For $149, you get accommodations at a five-day Beginner's Yoga (Level 1) retreat (a $325 value).
Following in the footsteps of the late Swami Sivananda, Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm's fleet of yogis employs the guru's signature medley of yoga tenets to emphasize fitness, healthful living, and inner serenity. Greet the sunrise from your four-person dorm (upgrades available for an additional fee), which is tucked away in an 80-acre trove of greenery in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm's next weekend retreat is Yoga of Sound and Voice (June 17–19), a jam-packed agenda of yoga classes, voice workshops, Satsang sessions, and competitive pondering that begins at 2 p.m. Friday and ends at noon on Sunday. Throughout the retreat, seasoned sound sculptor Sylvia Nakkach guides participants through a maze of healing chants and elk-bugling salutations hinged on the exotic tunes of Tibetan and Vedic mantras. Future weekend workshops include the Deaf Yoga retreat (September 15–18), which endorses silent meditation through courses in American Sign Language, and Yoga for Back Pain (September 30–October 2).
During the farm's five-night Beginner's Yoga retreat (next session is July 17–22), instructors lead blossoming yogis through a steady stream of tranquility-tendering activities such as introductory yoga workshops, nature walks, and aura scrub-downs. Between meditating, chanting, and learning yoga philosophy, students nosh organic, vegetarian meals.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm
Founder swami Vishnudevananda created the nonprofit Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm to foster a community of students and instructors interested in introspection, self-discovery, and their holistic health. Located within an 80-acre expanse of the Sierra Nevada's foothills, the secluded farm enfolds visitors with oak- and pine-filled hills, three nearby rivers, and enough wildlife to stage a cartoon musical.
Under the tutelage of three swamis, a staff of volunteer instructors uses the peaceful setting to help focus students’ attention on personal growth and bodily awareness during traditional outdoor yoga classes and specialized workshops. They faithfully teach the five points of yoga—proper exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet, and meditation—as they lead students down the four paths of yoga. Through the path of action, the path of devotion, Ashtanga, and the yoga of knowledge, they help their students forge a union of body, mind, and spirit. They weave specialized psychology, philosophy, and spirituality lessons into their asanas, which are bolstered with wellness programs and treatments such as massages with herbal oils, nutrition and detoxification programs, and ayurvedic therapies. To further unite their students with the world around them, the yogis promote sustainability with well water, solar-power systems, and an organic vegetable garden with which they can learn permaculture strategies.
The farm has onsite accommodations, including tents and heated cabins that overlook a pond. To keep their guests well-fed, a team of cooks whips up organic vegetarian cuisine following yogic and ayurvedic dietary principles, which means that meals are free of meat, fish, eggs, onions, and caffeinated beverages.