I found the sweetest place and it’s called Ananda Ashram. Located on a gorgeous piece of property in Monroe, New York which is about an hour and 20 minutes from New York City. Ananda Ashram is a Yoga and Meditation retreat whether you are a frazzled newbie New Yorker or a long time, limber, peaceful devotee.
I am recommending this to you because I believe that Ananda Ashram was a life changing experience for me. Each day was a treasure and I felt the “city” and all my cares and woes simply melt away day by day.
You will begin the day at 7am with a “gentle” yoga class. Because of their easy teaching and guidance you find yourself doing poses you never thought possible. I kept thinking..”wow, look at me”. And going to class wasn’t a chore at all. I looked forward to walking through the dewy, misty grass and a sleepy start then ending with a full blown class. What a wonderful way to start the day. You are probably already hooked. By the way, the teachers are lovely and most of them live at the Ashram and have been trained there. Jennifer was my personal favorite and she played the most amazing music during class. It was a CD of Tibetan Singing Bowls. I bought one of these CD’s at the Ananda Ashram Store and it is playing right now. Jennifer joined the Ashram without very much knowledge of yoga or meditation 5 years ago and today is one of their seasoned teachers.
So now we are going to leave the yoga studio and head down to the lake house which is, of course, on the lake. Much of the food is grown at the Ashram’s garden and the water comes from their own spring. The meals are very fresh and imaginative and there is never a dull or boring food moment. As you approach the long buffet table you will usually see homemade soup; such as carrot and ginger or lentil, homemade bread, cooked and seasoned vegetables, rice, a huge salad with your choice of dressings. You can also have lassi, which is a luscious Indian drink of yogurt and usually mango.
We sat outside facing the lake with our trays brimming with tasty freshness and you will find a spirited camaraderie of like minded souls. It was fun to sit around after lunch and share stories with new friends. Take the walk around the lake after breakfast or lunch. It takes about 15-20 minutes and it puts you onto a lush path approaching a meadow.
Your day is full of simple and gentle activities. You will find yourself at the Fire Ceremony twice a day or meditating or listening to the harmonium and chanting in Sanskrit with Bharati Devi, whose has a contagious passion and knowledge of Sanskrit, or just being. Don’t miss Joan Suval’s Reading from the Masters. She is magical and a magnificent storyteller.
The Fall and Winter Calender of Events is chocked full of fascinating programs including a weekend Jivamukti Retreat.
Ananda Ashram is a beauty secret because it is all about beauty. Your inner beauty and the beauty of those around you.
It is now a wintery November day and I am longing to get back to the warm and peaceful world of Ananda Ashram. Check out the schedule for there are intriguing courses and lectures and celebrations and it is only 1 1/2 hours from New York City. You can drive or take the bus from Port Authority. I’ve included the travel instructions in this link.
I hope to see you there. You will find me sitting in meditation with a content look on my face!