The Expanding Light Retreat a non-profit, spiritual retreat offering wellness programs, retreats to individuals and groups, and yoga and meditation teacher trainings based in Kriya yoga.
Nayaswami Mangala has an impressive background in yoga teacher training, Ayurvedic training and practice, and in-depth medical training and practice. She holds a master in nursing and has won awards as nurse practitioner of the year in 1982, and for outstanding achievement in teaching when she was a lecturer at The University of Washington School of Nursing in 1987.
Maitri’s name means “Friend” in Sanskrit and well describes her kind and supportive nature. She is a calm, high-energy person who approaches her many interests with enthusiasm and talent. Maitri was drawn to doing yoga postures and living a yogic lifestyle in the early 70’s. A certified Meditation Teacher and a Level 2 Yoga Teacher, Maitri's special interest is Yoga Therapy for body,mind and spirit, in which she teaches. With another nurse, Maitri created the successful MS Study at The Expanding Light, for which she created a video of Energization Exercises and yoga postures for MS.
Nayaswami Krishnadas lead this inspiring pilgrimage many times. He lived in Los Angeles where he and his wife were leaders of Ananda LA. Krishnadas. They know and love the shrines of Yogananda (and knows the best places to eat). He will also lead this inspiring and fun trip with support staffs and in coordination with Narayan and Dharmadevi Romano, spiritual directors of Ananda L.A.
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)
Combining a fun-loving spirit, keen insight into the spiritual life, and genuine warmth, Nayaswami Gyandev makes the inner quest seem both natural and doable. Since 1983, he has taught Ananda Yoga to thousands of students and trained hundreds of teachers around the world, often forging deep and lasting bonds of friendship and inspiration. Gyandev’s devotion to sharing wisdom shows through the many resources he develops, like online newspapers and forums, videos, and new courses to help students deepen their experience of yoga, and give teachers more tools, and insights for their own classes.
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)
Nayaswami Diksha has been a popular Expanding Light teacher since 1997 as well as the director of the meditation teacher training program. She is a native Israeli who came to the U.S. in 1990 and is a powerful and dynamic woman who has shared yoga postures and yogic teachings across the United States, Canada, and Europe. She teaches many different courses at The Expanding Light. Diksha is also an outstanding chef and very knowledgeable about the yogic diet and Ayurveda, an Indian system of natural health and healing.
Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)
Badri Matlock is a dynamic young teacher and program leader. His dedicated practice of yoga and meditation began at age 17, and he has lived and taught at Ananda since 2009. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Kinesiology from California State Long Beach. Badri serves as director of the level one Ananda Yoga Teacher Training. While dedication to the spiritual life is his greatest passion, he loves family, community, music, surfing, and sports. He is known for his energetic presence and his love of service and having fun. He lives at Ananda Village with his wife, and two children.
Nayaswami Anandi is known for her natural warmth, humor, wisdom, and kindness. Almost since her arrival at Ananda in 1971 as a founding member of Ananda, she has been sharing the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. An Ananda minister since 1980, Anandi has directed and taught in many of Ananda's guest and outreach programs, including the Palo Alto Ananda Community, Ananda's membership training program, The Cooperative Living Training, and The Expanding Light. She was initiated as a Kriyacharya by Swami Kriyananda in 2011.
Nayaswami Mukti, or also known as Mukti Deranja, moved to Ananda Village in 1992 and has been a key member of the Ananda Music Ministry since then - including singing in the choir, performing Swami Kriyananda's piano solos and music ensemble, and accompanying him on the piano. She often teaches chanting workshops and performs in kirtan groups. She has used chanting as an integral part of her spiritual practice as a powerful tool for personal transformation.
Catherine is your personal retreat host and will be available to meet with you and support your stay. Additionally, other staff will teach daily classes and lead yoga & meditation sessions. Catherine is a long-time meditator and member of Ananda. She lives at Ananda Village, is an Ananda minister, and served as the director of development for Ananda Worldwide for 25 years. With her natural warmth, intelligence, and humor, Catherine will feel like an old friend from your first meeting.
All of our teachers/hosts are yoga and/or meditation teacher certified coming from diverse backgrounds and are devotees of Paramhansa Yogananda.
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Restorative Yoga)
Melody has been living the teachings of yoga from a very young age. She became a certified Ananda Yoga and Meditation Teacher in 2006. One of the main instructors for the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training Program, Melody is registered at the highest level through Yoga Alliance, and also teaches Restorative and Prenatal Yoga. Melody is also a dancer who finds great joy in practicing the movement of yoga, and guiding beginning through advanced students into the stillness of meditation that follows yoga. Melody’s loving nature shines through her ability to take care of all of her.
Jagadeesh Robert Franklin
Jagadeesh Robert Franklin and his wife Shanta are the live-in residents on the Expanding Light campus and will be available throughout your stay to answer questions and support your visit. Since 1984, Jagadeesh has been studying and practicing Yogananda's techniques of Kriya Yoga meditation and his system of Raja Yoga, which offers guidance for a joyful, loving, and fulfilling life daily. As a certified Ananda meditation instructor, he says that one of his greatest gifts of this lifetime has been the joy of sharing the precious techniques of meditation with others.
Shanta Franklin was born in the beautiful little town of Varese in Northern Italy and graduated from Liceo Artistico di Varese, a high school of painting, sculpture, and architecture. She then studied classical ballet technique and worked as a professional modern jazz dancer. Later on, she taught dance in two academies.