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Reflections on the YDC

October 15, 2008 by Lightwaves

As the weather turns colder and the Ashram begins to make preparations for next year’s Yoga Development Course (YDC), we bring you the reflections of some of last year’s YDC participants on how the three month course has transformed their ideas, lives, and selves.

James Ward Says the YDC has helped him move forward in his life. After studying economics, taking a law degree at Cambridge and articling as a lawyer, he took a respite to find out how to merge his spiritual aspirations with his working life.

James says that the discipline and the structure of the YDC gave him time to look at things in himself that he would normally pass over. In a Kundalini workshop he was encouraged to think about love and realized, “I don’t know what it means, I thought I knew but I had never really thought about it.”

At 31 James feels that the YDC has helped him to step into his adult life and to understand what makes him act. “I saw that there are three doors to moving forward in my life and somehow they come together – fearlessness, giving and fun.” He feels that because of what he learned in the YDC, he has been able to take his next steps with awareness and confidence.

Rhea Miller’s passion for peace and social justice has involved her in many different forms of activism including: the anti nuclear movement in America, assisting refugees from Central and South America, helping to establish a peace camp in Arizona and traveling to the Middle East to support the Palestinian people.

In October of last year some friends took the 10-Day Yoga Intensive at the Ashram and returned home to Lopez to inform her that yoga was about, “letting the Light into your body.” “I never knew what yoga was. It always appeared to be some exercise thing that my body would never do, but when I heard what it really was, I knew I needed yoga!”

Along with helping her to develop receptivity to the Light, Rhea says that the YDC gave her valuable tools to help her stay centred. “I felt I wanted to fulfill my life’s purpose, but I felt that I never had good enough tools to do that. The course gave me what I needed.”

For Joan Gamble doing the YDC was like a culmination of learning since retiring in 2001. From her teaching position at the University of Moncton she moved to Ottawa where she became a regular student at the Radha Centre, taking classes in dreams, kundalini, and hidden language hatha yoga as well as getting involved with the Ottawa Radha community.

For Joan “The years after retirement were about healing and moving through my psychological stuff so I could really be there for the YDC and go deep. I wanted to deepen my connection with the Divine.”

For Joan, the YDC was unbelievably full. She never imagined she would be engaged 7 days a week. “It is a total commitment. It is just an amazing process – so balanced. We go deep into ourselves and then are given time to step back and assess and think about what has happened. The pace was perfect and I really appreciated the silence.”

Some time in 2004 Jacqueline Summer found herself metaphorically standing in stagnant water as she practiced the Crane pose in a Hidden Language hatha yoga class. She knew her life had to change.

Realizing she was stagnant, she felt the need for a creative outlet and went to a Steiner school where she was exposed to many different creative possibilities. She recognized she had a knack for story telling and decided to make a change from her steady pay cheque as a probation officer to the risky fulfillment of story telling. (Hear part two of her “Miriam’s Story” in this issue of Lightwaves) Making the change was supported by yoga all the way, she says. To take this massive step meant she had to rely on the Divine for support.

Not long after making the shift Swami Radhananda (Yasodhara Ashram’s spiritual director) came to England and Jacqueline said “I knew it was a sign, Swami Radhananda came from all the way over there in Canada to a place 5 miles from my house. I rode my bike there and heard Hari Om for the first time. It went straight to my heart.”

All this seemed to be preparation for the YDC, which she decided to do while at the Ashram for the first in the Autumn 2006, attending the Ascent intensive with Swami Durgananda.

Jacqueline says that during the YDC she developed a feeling connection with the Divine and also healed some old wounds.  During the mantra workshop early on in the course, she had an overwhelming feeling of love and found a true place of forgiveness. She says that her learnings from the YDC opened up her concepts of herself and what she can or can’t do. “I know that I can make changes, big ones and little ones, changes in my body, changes in my relationships. It can be really fast if that’s what I want to do.”

Click here for information on the upcoming 2010 YDC.

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  1. So wonderful to see these familiar and beautiful faces. Thank you for the update from some YDCers. How much I miss you all.

    Comment by adrienne wheaton — October 15, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  2. forgiveness, fun and dedication! Each of the stories from fellow YDC participants gave the same message to me. Recent travels have given me the chance to share with friends from the Ashram who are continuing to live their life with forgiveness, fun and dedication in the ‘outside world’. Thank you to everyone for sharing their stories. Stories keep all connected.

    Comment by susan gettler — October 16, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

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