With Karma Yoga

Mount Madonna, under the guidance of Baba Hari Das, is known for being a proponent of Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga generally refers to the practice of offering one’s work efforts as a form of prayer/devotion without attachment to the results. This is easy to say, but we all like to receive a desired result for our efforts, be it the paycheck, the allocades, or the fulfillment of “do good” tendencies.  It takes practice to develop non-attachment to the outcome of our efforts. As in any form of yoga, and in the words of our beloved Ashtanga teacher, Pattabhi Jois, “Practice and all will come.”  In the following photos we get a view of some of the Karma Yoga opportunities at the Mount Madonna Center. For a larger view please click back and forth.

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A position called Field Staff involves setting up, cleaning, and breaking down conference rooms. The conferences can be from 15 to 100+ people. In the first two photos, Ivan from New York, Jennifer from Vancouver, and I (yes, this is my new hairdo!!) set off for work.  With the cart we transport chairs, tables, meditation cushions, and yoga props. In the third photo, Mary from Wisconsin, and Glenda from Canada, load the recycling truck.

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Kitchen duty!  Shakar from Canada, who is also a Celtic musician;  Ashley from Idaho and Mary Craig from Tennessee peeling avocadoes for dinner; Kranti, long time resident of Mount Madonna, with the pasta sauce.

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With Mary mopping up after dinner; tortilla frisbee with Shakar ; In the dishwashing room, sometimes as many as 200 meals to clean up with many pots and pans. The red dot on my forehead is called a tilak.  In Hinduism it represents a protection to the mind against negative outside influences.

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Mary and I at tea service with Nasrat from Afghanistan; 3 days per week Baba Hari Das offers British/ Indian afternoon tea for his guests. We serve chai and herb tea, cookies, and open faced petite sandwiches.
In the kitchen with the happy karma yogis, Mary Craig and Ashley.

Yes, there are many great people and we have lots of fun.  Lessons in community living include dealing with the personalities of many strangers in close quarters and all sorts of attitudes regarding the practices of yoga.  I highly recommend Mount Madonna as an incredible learning experience!


Mount Madonna Center

On April 28th I arrived at the Mount Madonna Center in the Sierra foothills 25 miles from the city of Santa Cruz, CA. Mount Madonna is a yoga community and retreat center founded by students of Yoga Master Baba Hari Das. One of my primary goals for being here is to vacation from “Big City” life and to be closer to nature.

Mount Madonna offers a work exchange program in which outsiders are given a taste of living in a yoga community. In the coming weeks I will post some of the photos and thoughts of life at Mount Madonna. In this post let me show you around the facility.

Photo captions           Please click back and forth for a better view.
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Welcome, the Entrance Sign;  Surrounding Groves;  Map of buildings
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The Aum Grove;  Lion’s Head Waterfall;  Community Building for meetings and meals
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The School, for ages Pre-school to 12th grade; The Temple Founder’s Stone;  The Temple Entrance
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The Hanuman Statue in the Inner Temple Sanctum;  Buddha stone Niche;  Pine Grove
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My home for 8 weeks;  even in Paradise, a Cafe ;  Hanuman, the Hindu God of  Service and Valor