Personal Retreat

at The Expanding Light Retreat, Ananda Village CA

Reconnect with Your Inner Joy

Step away from your busy life for a few days. Take time to be still, “refill your cup,” and refresh your body, mind and soul.

This popular Personal Retreat experience gives you freedom to create your own schedule. There are many activities and classes offered that you can take part in. Delicious vegetarian meals are a constant, as is the thoughtful personal attention from our joyful and serviceful staff.

Dates: Year-round

Cost: $48 per day + Accommodations

Book a Retreat

“Within a few days I began to experience a peace and joy that I had never felt before in my entire life. What was unique and wonderful about this vacation was that the new level of peace I felt was a direct result of the yoga lifestyle I was living at The Expanding Light Retreat.”

Annalisa Cunningham, Author,
Yoga Vacations: A Guide to International Yoga Retreats

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What is a Personal Retreat at Ananda?

Personal retreat is more than a vacation. It’s an opportunity to clear your mind, take a break from worries and cares, relax on all levels and mindfully experience both your inner and outer environments; to reconnect with your deeper Self. It can be a time of conscious, spiritual opening, of making an effort to rise to a new state of awareness.  

The Expanding Light Retreat is the perfect setting for a Personal Retreat. It’s part of Ananda Village, a cooperative community in the foothills of The Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Choose to participate in yoga postures along with meditation for deep inner refreshment, healing sessions for your health, outdoor hiking and walking, sitting by the lake doing nothing, or reading a book in a comfy chair. Depending on the days you are here you can take classes on meditation, yoga philosophy and healing techniques, participate in kirtans (spiritual chanting) and attend Ananda Community events.

“It is so beautiful here – serenity abounds. The staff was friendly, helpful, but not intrusive – wonderful! I like the openness of the community, and the “take what fits, leave the rest” attitude. A wonderful experience. Loved sadhana. Thanks!”

Alline, CA

For Your Health, Relaxation, and Spiritual Refreshment

Included in your stay

Daily Yoga and Meditation Sessions

Yoga Postures: the most common practice of yoga postures is for exercise and stress relief. Ananda Yoga includes and goes beyond that, taking you to the higher purpose of asanas – to uplift your consciousness.  

Energization Exercises: Paramhansa Yogananda taught a unique set of Energization Exercises to help consciously draw cosmic energy into your body. 

Meditation: Learn and practice meditation techniques that are time-tested, their origin coming from ancient yogic teachings. 

3 Vegetarian Meals

Guests rave about The Expanding Light Retreat meals. Delicious, healthy, creative, nutritionally balanced, many are from our own Expanding Light cookbooks. Meals include fresh organic produce from Ananda Farms, as well as other organically grown ingredients, homemade breads, gluten and dairy-free options are always available.

Classes on Spiritual Subjects

Learn yogic philosophy, healing practices, chanting, and a variety of subjects from The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, written by Swami Kriyananda, based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. Every day is a different offering. You are welcome to attend the classes that are offered on the days you are here.

You are also invited to take part in any evening kirtans (spiritual chanting) and Ananda Community events that are happening during your stay.

Nature All Around

Enjoy 750 acres of beautiful rolling meadows and forestland in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Take long walks or jog on the many trails, sit on benches overlooking still meadows, with magical sunset viewing and expansive skies for stargazing. Wildlife such as deer, turkeys, foxes, quail and myriad birds enliven the countryside, and animal lovers can visit the goats at the “Yogoata” dairy.

Meditation Temples

Since 1967 truthseekers and disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda have been meditating in Ananda Village’s many temples. Different styles, shapes and sizes, each one has it’s own deep and special vibration. You may find one becomes your favorite, or prefer to spend time in different ones according to your inner needs.

“A paradise on earth! The Expanding Light, in the heart of the Ananda Community, is a place full of spiritual magnetism, depth and beauty, like very few places on earth. Here, one can not help but relax, let go and be uplifted. The staff are deep and wise souls, some of the kindest and most shining people you will ever meet; the environment is beautiful, clean and harmonious; the food is nourishing and tasty. 5 stars are not enough!

M.B

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Contact our Guest Services staff for more information and to book your experience

Complimentary

Fee-Based

FAQs

We are located in Ananda Village, one of the world’s most successful spiritual communities. Situated in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in Northern California, we are approximately two hours east of Sacramento and two hours west of Lake Tahoe. See our transportation and directions and map pages for more.

Ananda is a global spiritual movement, based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, who came to the west to show how everyone can realize God in their daily lives as a tangible, loving reality.

Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of the great Master, founded Ananda communities, the creation of which are extraordinary examples of the concept of practical spiritual living. Ananda is non-profit, non-sectarian. As Kriyananda said, “We are not here to convert you to our path, but to your own highest potential.”

We practice Ananda Yoga®, which was created by our founder Swami Kriyananda based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. Ananda Yoga is distinct from many other forms of hatha yoga in that it is first and foremost a spiritual practice rather than an exercise regimen. In keeping with the ancient roots and original purpose of hatha yoga, Ananda Yoga® is a powerful yet gentle practice designed to prepare the body and mind for deep meditation. As such, it is a perfect blend of spiritual upliftment and physical energization suitable for everyone – all ages, all body types.

Ananda Yoga is also a pioneer in the world of yoga and one of the founders of Yoga Alliance, the international organization which sets the standards for yoga certification.

You may choose from two types of accommodations: indoor or outdoor. For indoor accommodations we offer both standard and deluxe rooms housed in three different buildings and four one-room cabins. For outdoor accommodations RV camping is available year-round and tent camping is available from April through October.

Morning

6:30 – 8:00 am

 

Community Meditation
(Join us for all or part of this silent meditation)

6:30 – 8:15 am

 

Sadhana (spiritual practices) which consists of:

  • Energization Exercises (20 – 25 min)
  • Ananda Yoga Postures * (45 – 50 min)
  • Chanting (5 min)
  • Meditation (15 min – 30 min)
8:15 – 9:00 amBreakfast (in silence Monday-Saturday)
9:00 – 9:30 amHost check-in
10:00 – 11:30 amScheduled program, class, group activity, or free time
Afternoon
Noon – 12:30 pmMeditation (5 min chanting, 25 min meditation)
12:30 – 1:30 pmLunch
2:00 – 4:00 pmScheduled program, class, group activity, or free time
4:45 – 6:30 pm

Sadhana (spiritual practices) which consists of:

  • Energization Exercises (20 – 25 min)
  • Ananda Yoga Postures* (45 – 50 min)
  • Chanting (5 min)
  • Meditation (15 min – 30 min)
 *Ananda Yoga emphasizes the energetic and spiritual aspects of yoga postures. We pause in-between the poses to integrate the effects of the poses and use affirmations to bring the mind actively and directly into one’s practice.
Evening
6:30 – 7:30 pmDinner
7:30 – 9:00 pmScheduled program, class, group activity, or free time

Three delicious and satisfying vegetarian buffet meals are included with the cost of your stay. Some of our dishes contain eggs and dairy. We use organically grown foods as much as possible, including some organically grown eggs and produce from right here at Ananda Village, and organically grown Fair Trade coffee. We have a variety of teas and fresh fruit available all day.

We can accommodate some special dietary needs with non-dairy, non-wheat, and egg-free choices. If you have other dietary needs, it may be that we will not be able to accommodate them.

A small refrigerator for guests who are staying in Serenity House Lounge and a full size refrigerator outside our kitchen are available for storing special foods guests might need during their stay. There is a Market close to Ananda Village if you’d like to buy special items.

Yes, they are. Just across the meadow from The Expanding Light Retreat is The Center for Radiant Health.

The Center offers massage, body and energy work; Emotional Freedom Technique; career coaching; and astrology consultations. It is an independent cooperative of qualified Ananda health practitioners, available by prior appointment 7 days a week.

Plan ahead and include a treatment in your retreat by calling 530-478-7518.

The atmosphere at The Expanding Light is casual. For yoga postures and meditation, bring loose-fitting casual attire like sweat clothes, comfortable pants, and T-shirts. If you plan to attend Sunday Service, it’s ideal to bring something a bit less casual.

We suggest a good pair of walking shoes so you can enjoy our nearly 700 acres of beautiful grounds. You also might want to bring a bathing suit in summer to be able to enjoy the beautiful Yuba River (just a 20-minute drive from The Expanding Light).

We remove our shoes when entering the Temple and also the living quarters, so slip-on shoes are nice to have. In cold weather you might also enjoy having a pair of slippers for your bedroom.

Our elevation is 2500 feet, and while snow is rare, it can be chilly and rainy in the winter. We suggest you bring layers so you can be comfortable in a variety of temperatures.

Sorry, we are unable to accommodate pets at this time.

We can house about 50 people. This number does not include campers.

A shared room is usually two per room.

Our deluxe accommodations in Harmony House have rooms with private bathrooms.

Serenity House and Friendship House residents use shared bathrooms located in the hallways. Each hall bathroom has a shower, toilet, and sink, with a locking door to insure privacy. Cabin and tent residents use a shower house (one for men and one for women). The shower houses feature plenty of hot water, electric heat, and toilet and shower stalls for privacy. Our accommodations page has more information.

You should bring your own toiletries.

Yes. We have an internet room off the dining room with computers in it available exclusively to guests. We also have two internet access cables into which guests can plug their laptops. In addition, we offer wireless service in both Harmony House and Serenity House rooms.

No, there are not refrigerators in the rooms. Guests in Serenity House have the use of a single half-fridge, a kettle, and a microwave in the Serenity House Lounge. This is not for meal prep, just for a cup of tea or similar. You also can get tea at any time in the Dining Room.

Prior experience isn‘t necessary for most of our programs; our instructors will be able to adapt the poses for your own body. If you have serious physical limitations (heart disease, history of stroke, glaucoma, even very high blood pressure), please speak with one of our instructors when you arrive to determine how you should participate in the yoga postures.

For our longer-term guests, we have coin-operated washers and dryers at the back of Serenity House. Walk around the building outside to reach it. There is a keypad code needed to open the laundry. See Guest Services for the code. Some machines take quarters. You can get some from Guest Services. For other machines you pay Guest Services. Laundry powder is provided. Please make sure the door is locked when you leave.

Because The Expanding Light has several buildings at some distance from one another, it can be difficult for those with mobility challenges. The ground can be uneven. We do have a Deluxe room in Harmony House that is wheelchair accessible with a wheelchair shower. Our dining room and our teaching temple have ramps from the outside. The dining room ramp is around the back of the building. We have portable ramps to help when needed, for example, to go up or down several steps between the teaching temple and the dining room. Please give us a call if you would like to talk about this.

If you cancel or reschedule at least 7 days before your scheduled arrival, half of your deposit remains as a credit for one year and half is forfeited. If you cancel or reschedule with shorter notice, the entire deposit is forfeited.

For Yoga Teacher Training: If you cancel or reschedule at least 14 days before your scheduled arrival, $200 of your deposit remains as a credit for one year, and $100 is forfeited. If you cancel or reschedule with shorter notice, the entire deposit is forfeited.

To actually cancel your reservation call Guest Services at 800-346-5350 or 530-478-7518

Any policies specifically listed for a program override policies stated on this page.

Kshama
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The Expanding Light Retreat is a touch of heaven on earth! Accommodations are simple and refined, vegetarian meals are delicious and healthy, and the staff and guests quickly become lifetime friend. I am joyfully anticipating my next visit!
Sheri
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EL is my "home away from home"-- such great energy, welcoming staff, amazing food, wonderful offerings in terms of classes and retreat options. I love being in the beautiful, natural setting, with hawks flying overhead, deer roaming the meadows (carefree and unafraid of people!), and chattering squirrels chasing each other through the tree branches. At night, you can hear bullfrogs croaking boastfully in lotus lake. The views on sunset ridge-- a short walk up the hill from Expanding light-- are exquisite. All in all, it truly is a bit of heaven! I go as often as I am able.
Karry
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This is a beautiful place. The gardens are lovely. There is so much peace and beauty here. We visited the gardens twice during the tulip bloom. We had a wonderful vegetarian lunch. I would highly recommend a visit. We are definitely going to make this a regular place to visit.
Sofi
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My two weeks at Ananda were transformative beyond my hopes. The energy, the landscape, the people, the classes, the rituals, the meals, the accommodations. I will definitely be returning and encourage anyone on a path to self-realization to spend precious time at Ananda. Give yourself the best gift available in 2022. A Personal Retreat for healing. Exposure to people and energies you haven't imagined. What are you waiting for? Sofi, Santa Rosa, CA
Argie
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The Expanding Light Retreat is the best place I have ever been. The people were warm and helpful in every way. I look forward to taking my wife to have the same or better experience. I cannot way to go back again myself. Peace and blessing to all the people there that touch my spirit in the most profound way of pleasure.
Andre
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I had a wonderful time at the Expanding Light Retreat. Everything was top shelf and above. The staff was helpful, friendly and warm. The food was delicious. The room was quiet and clean. Because of the ambiance at the retreat my meditating there was deep and devotional And I got a one of the best night sleep in quite a while. I highly recommend you stay at the retreat.
Ramya S.
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I went to the expanding light for a personal 3 day retreat. I was not sure what to expect since this was my first time trying out a spiritual retreat. The expanding light retreat and Ananda village is very peaceful place to get away from the daily stresses of life and work on spiritual development. Having read the Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda, i was familiar with their view point and teachings and hence encouraged by my interactions at expanding light to explore more of Yogananda's teachings. The personal retreat is great for beginners like me who want to start their spiritual journey and are looking for some guidance. There is guided yoga and meditation classes and some discussion time with like minded people. The meditation halls have a great positive vibration and are so peaceful. This place provides guidance for people in different stages of their spiritual journey. I will definitely go back.
Nancy C.
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Go Whenever you can Expanding Light is unique in that one can be spiritually, physically and emotionally renewed all at the same time. Peace and Joy everywhere! Choose to take classes or to do solo time - your life will be refreshed in all aspects
Mel S.
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AMAZING! We love this place! It is absolutely amazing in every way. If visiting, you must keep an open mind and heart -- this place has such a wonderful energy and so relaxing. The food, the people, the grounds, it's the perfect place to recharge -- your cell phone won't work (it's great!). Unplug and get re-centered.
Tiffany F.
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Heaven on Earth! Outstanding vegetarian food( proteins, grains, veggies, soups- ALL homemade& delicious); clean, beautiful grounds (ie lotus pond,tulip/flower garden @ Crystal Hermitage, many deer and wild turkeys observed throughout the property daily); so much POSITIVE energy & inclusive of people of all backgrounds,faiths,etc!!!
Donald L.
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I just stayed at the E.L. or five days, and it was wonderful. The smallest detail is thought out and attended to. Staff are unparalleled in friendliness, always cheerful and bright. I was given an uncommon amount of help with my car trouble, which ended in a better-tan-expected outcome. Bravo E.L. staff!!
James N.
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Great staff, great programs, great food, great energy. But, it's not the typical outward energy that relies on will power and senses. Instead, the experience is more an inner one. There's still beauty, good places to hike, and the fantastic tastes of the vegetarian meals. And quiet, peaceful energy, to expand my consciousness, to renew and invigorate.
Kay C.
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Beautiful Meditaton Gardens that bring tranquility at a time most needed. Easily navigated from organized parking to walking paths on multi-level paths passing pools and thousands of Tulips, blooming trees, shrubs and flowers. Delightful Gift Shop a must visit!
Sarv G.
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We had serene personal Retreat at the Expanding Light. Staff is wonderful, healthy delicious meals served & most of all meditation was the best part to relax & enjoy. Ananda yoga spiritual teachers inspire with yoga & meditation practice to all the members who are interested to attend.
Peter S.
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This is my favorite Spiritual retreat facility in California. The classes cover everything that i am interested in and much more. The staff is super friendly and helpful. All meals are vegetarian but include the stuff that i like. Highly recommend giving them a try.
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