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The Expanding Light Retreat

The Expanding Light Retreat is a 700-acre spiritual and vegetarian community that shares yoga and meditation teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda since 1969.

Yoga Retreats 15

Instructors 11

Nayaswami Mangala

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 Jones

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, Yoga Teacher and AIYT Certified Yoga Therapy teacher. Maitri's special interest is Yoga Therapy for body,mind and spirit. 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.

Barbara Bingham

Barbara is a Hatha yoga teacher, a registered physical therapist, and a former gymnast. She brings all of her training together in her yoga teaching and helps people enjoy using their bodies in the healthiest way possible. Barbara teaches the anatomy and physiology classes of the Ananda yoga teacher training and can show clients and students how to adjust yoga movements to their particular limitations, whatever those might be. Known for her playful, approachable style, Barbara also brings compassion and sensitive awareness to her yoga teaching.

Nayaswami Krishnadas

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.

Gyandev McCord

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)

Diksha McCord

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.

Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)

Badri Matlock

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.

Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)

Mukti Deranja

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.

multiple hosts

All of our teachers/hosts are yoga and/or meditation teacher certified coming from diverse backgrounds and are devotees of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Melody Hanson

Melody has been living as a yoga teacher since she was very young. She became a certified teacher in Ananda Yoga and Meditation 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 she also teaches Restorative and Prenatal yoga. Melody is also a dancer who finds great joy in practicing the movement of yoga and guiding the beginner 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.

Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Restorative Yoga)

Vahini Sleighter

Vahini has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 10 years and has lived in Ananda centers since 2009, mostly in Assisi, Italy. She is a contributing teacher in the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training. A trained prenatal yoga instructor, in the past seven years she has been teaching yoga with the emphasis on the subjects of deep relaxation and creating a deeper connection with nature. She is eternally thankful to be able to share these teachings, which have powerfully transformed her life.

ASY&M (Ananda Yoga)

Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)

Reviews 35

Elizabeth Denison

from United States, February 2018

"This is the real thing!"

The instructor was knowledgeable relaxed positive and grounded in the truth values of yoga.

Mahsa Nouri

from United States, January 2018

"Wonderful experience "

The energy, the people/staff, the site, the activities, the food

Megan Morgan

from United States, December 2017

"A great place to reconnect with your own light"

The personal retreat was a great experience. The staff provides as much structure and activity as you like and there is also plenty of time to reconnect with nature. It is a beautiful place filled with great energy for healing and centering.

Stacy Lewis

from United States, November 2017

"Not a Yoga Retreat "

The people who work there and people who were staying at the commune were very nice and helpful.

Antonio Manso

from Brazil, July 2017

"Perfect opportunity to connect in an amazing place "

Food was very tasty, and prepared with care and creativity. Everything organic and healthy was a plus.

Double room was nicely decorated, towels and sheets were clean and well arranged.

During meals it was great to meet other people, also some employees who shared their experience at Ananda. The place and scenery was fantastic and the overall energy really inviting to dive into a meaningfull and profound experience.


from United States, July 2017

"Beginner's Week"

The sehedule, the teachers and the wonderful attitude that permeated.

Monica Morong

from United States, June 2017


The entire experience was life-changing. The schedule was lovely, the people were lovely, the village is on sacred ground and you could feel the peaceful energy, the food was outstanding, the classes were mind-altering... the experience was lasting and I am excited to go back again!

Kay Paden

from United States, June 2017

Testimonials 5


The Expanding Light Retreat website

My time at Expanding Light was extraordinarily rewarding and peaceful. I wanted a lot of time alone to deepen my meditation practice, and to read, write, and walk, and Expanding Light met all of my expectations and more. It took me a little while to adjust to the quiet, but I quickly got over that and worked myself into a pleasant daily routine, albeit only for three days. When I returned home, I still had four days off before I returned to work , and a couple of my co-workers told me how relaxed I seemed. I will always carry my experience with me. A little lady named Adrienne who was in the Karma Yoga program at The Expanding Light came across my path and told me that I'd probably leave there with the Ananda Glow, and I do believe that happened. Thank you so much for everything.

Shauna USA

The Expanding Light Retreat website

I wanted to thank you again for a wonderful and insightful week at The Expanding Light. I really enjoyed being in your presence, and I'm grateful for the tools you've shared with me. I feel like I've finally caught a glimpse of the light inside of me, a light I've been chasing all of my life. As long as I can remember, I sensed there was something very special and powerful inside of me, but I didn't know how to reach it. You have all truly blessed me with a deep and spiritual awakening. Ananda is a very special place, and I hope I can hold onto as much of it as possible.

Elizabeth USA

The Expanding Light Retreat website

I was surprised by how the whole philosophy and practice made so much sense. Being skeptical of religion, I am also surprised that I am leaving with a spiritual practice/belief. The information I learned and the practical methods gave me confidence in taking yoga home with me. A great five days, I am very thankful I found Ananda.

a traveler USA

The Expanding Light Retreat website

I had needs met I didn't even know I had! Every day was a new adventure, with something interesting and transforming. It almost felt like little miracles. The food was nutritious and very good.

Pamela USA

The Expanding Light website

I could not have envisioned a more perfect personal retreat experience. Or perhaps I should say, it was the personal retreat experience I envisioned and needed and more.

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