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 (27)
4 Days Personal Retreat for Health, Leisure, & Spiritual Refreshment Yoga Retreat in California, USAAvailable all year round
3 Days Cosmic Attunement: Autumn Equinox Healing Wisdom Workshop and Yoga Retreat in California, USASeptember 20-22, 2019
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 ’70s. 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 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 Lo Cicero
An exceptionally knowledgeable and gifted meditation teacher, Nayaswami Krishnadas shares his passion for meditation with dynamic enthusiasm. Over three decades he has taught thousands of people, from all over the world. His classes are filled with information and valuable meditation techniques. In a down-to-earth and humorous way, he emphasizes helping you understand the basics. He has a vibrant zest for life that comes out in a warm, personable nature and service disposition. He has the ability to deeply inspire and motivate people to pursue a life-long meditation practice.
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.
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.
Years ago, during an outward bound trip in Utah’s Desolation Canyon, Greg Sundara Traymar was resting comfortably on the sandy banks of the Green River, enjoying the magnificent canyon scenery, when he was overtaken by a profound peace and calmness. From this life-changing experience, he realized that his life’s work would be helping others find the same inner renewal and love for nature. In 2007, Greg Traymar received the Environmental Education award from his college department and prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He is the International Director of Sharing Nature Worldwide.
Nayaswami 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.
All of our teachers/hosts are yoga and/or meditation teacher certified coming from diverse backgrounds and are devotees of Paramhansa Yogananda.
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.
Catherine serves our personal retreatants by being available to answer questions about the retreat, Ananda Village, and the Kriya Yoga path. She is available to help you be aware of all the services that are available for you. She also conducts tours of Ananda Village and as the principle archivist for Ananda Sangha, is a knowledgeable source of stories and the history of Ananda. A long-time Ananda minister, Catherine was 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.
Nayaswami Mantradevi LoCicero
Nayaswami Mantradevi teaches with insight, clarity, and joy, gained from over 35 years of meditating and sharing yoga philosophy. Her concern for others is one of her key qualities, and she has the innate ability to communicate and apply spiritual principles to real-life situations. Mantradevi combines yoga philosophy and inherent creativity for dynamic and interesting classes. Mantradevi teaches courses in relationships, emotional healing, chakras, recreate yourself, and in transition. She authored the study book, “Achieving Inner Peace and Tranquility.”
Ananda Meditation teacher, Ananda Yoga Instructor, E-RYT 200. Jaidhara started his journey with Ananda in late 2004 and served in various international Ananda locals ever since. He spent 7 years in India as a monk with Ananda’s Monastic Order, teaching meditation and helping to develop Ananda's work. He was kitchen manager at the Ananda Assisi retreat center and then served as Swami Kriyananda’s personal cook in the last year of his life. He now lives at Ananda Village with his wife and son, and is helping develop new online programs for the Ananda School of Yoga & Meditation ®.
Nayaswami Maria McSweeney
Nayaswami Maria McSweeney was born in Pacific Palisades, California. She attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. During college, she was an exchange student in Ecuador for 6 months. She came to Ananda in 1976 and worked on the Ananda Farm in organic agriculture from 1976 through 1986. In 1979, she was married to Ananta in a ceremony performed by Swami Kriyananda. In 1986, Swami Kriyananda asked Maria and Ananta to direct the Ananda community in Sacramento. Maria plays acoustic guitar and harmonium, and is an avid bird watcher.
Kamran Matlock has a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis on archetypal psychology. He has spent the last 10 years designing spiritual curriculum and leading classes, workshops, and spiritual retreats on personal transformation, integral growth, and self-discovery through yoga principles. He is a founder and director of Inner Adventure Camps, transformational programs for teens based on rites of passage and vision quests in nature. Kamran also teaches and serves as a board member for Ananda College, which offers gap-year and spiritual travel programs for adults.
Sam is an AnandaYoga® therapist, certified with International Association of Yoga Therapy, C-IAYT, and Ananda Yoga® Teacher, E-RYT-500, weekend Retreat facilitator, instructor for 200-hour yoga teacher training. Sam initially took Ananda yoga teacher training to deepen his own practice of yoga, but by the end of the course, he felt inspired to begin teaching yoga classes. Sam found profound joy in teaching professionally. Wanting to expand his inner joy and depth of knowledge, Sam became an Ananda yoga therapist. He now lives near Ananda Village where he works as an instructor and therapist.
from United States, July 2019
"You will get more than you could ever pay for . . . "
So many things . . the accommodations, food, and service are all better than could ever be rated by stars. These people amazed me with their service and the food made me want to become a vegetarian. The class instruction was guided well by all the instructors. The grounds are so natural. The atmosphere produced an environment where I could truly contemplate my life and refocus on the moment.
The spiritual experience and the community connections were beyond amazing. I hope I can thank the spirit of all creation for the gift of this place, by continuing in my meditation and becoming the person I was meant to be.
from United States, June 2019
"Not just a Yoga retreat"
Teacher super helpful, flexible and friendly. Liked that I had opportunity to take Yoga at different times throughout day, and if I wanted to, just take a walk or relax.
from United States, June 2019
"A spiritual yoga retreat "
This was a brand new experience for me. I suggest to ask questions at the front desk before starting any of the activities. I’ve done yoga at traditional yoga studios before, but none like this at the retreat. I learned something new , we did a lot of exercises like muscle tension and then some yoga poses and then 30 min meditation. The whole yoga session took 2 hours. They have yoga three times a day. It was held in a beautiful location in the temple. I would describe this as a spiritual yoga retreat which is why I booked it. The food was also new for me, all three meals per day were vegetarian. This was hard for me to eat, but I was happy to take on that challenge, since I’ve tried here at home but have been unsuccessful. My favorite items they had were the oatmeal and hard boiled eggs. I also liked the plethora of tea, coffee and water. The location is easy to get to and beautiful location, they have a beautiful lotus lake a separate temple to meditate and staff on site if you need any thing. I scheduled a spiritual counseling and it was an eye opening experience.
from United Kingdom, June 2019
"Incredible the grounds, the people, the classes, the energy "
from United States, January 2019
"A Lovely Setting with Good People"
The Expanding Light Retreat and Ananda Village are a nice escape from the stress and clutter of everyday life. The staff and other attendees were warm and welcoming and the food was great!
We did a great deal of mediation, reflection, and goal-setting on this New Year's Retreat.
from United States, November 2018
"Truly a joyous and life enhancing experience!"
The Learn to Meditate Weekend really starts at the beginning. With how to sit in meditation comfortably. No one has ever taught me that before and it's so valuable. Mukti is just a joy to be with and an excellent instructor. I enjoyed it so much I brought my staff back two weeks later for another weekend retreat! They loved it too!
from Malaysia, October 2018
"Beautiful location a peaceful and tranquil retreat centre"
I was on a personal retreat but there were a lot of things to do each day.
from United States, September 2018
-Reasonably priced and cute shop
-Energy based yoga
-Close to river
from Canada, June 2018
"Very particular teachings"
from United States, June 2018
The center is beautiful. Melody is a wonderful, caring instructor and has put together a helpful binder with a lot of information. The format was also excellent. I learned a great deal in a short time.
from Japan, May 2018
Very peaceful, great way to get away from the world for a few days and recharge!
from United States, May 2018
"Short But Satisfying "
The property was beautiful and the entire staff was wonderful. The Village is self-contained with everything you would need or want. There are more affordable options than booking a room. You can plan a day experience or visit the tourist places there.
from United States, April 2018
The people were awesome, a great energy and everyone was so kind, caring and lovely. They make it difficult to go back to the "normal world" outside Ananda!
from United States, March 2018
"Beautiful place "
Excellent location, great food, great experience
from United States, February 2018
"This is the real thing!"
The instructor was knowledgeable relaxed positive and grounded in the truth values of yoga.
from United States, January 2018
"Wonderful experience "
The energy, the people/staff, the site, the activities, the food
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.
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.
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
The sehedule, the teachers and the wonderful attitude that permeated.
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!
from United States, June 2017
from United States,
The people were nice enough. The retreat though had very little yoga. Rather it focused on body energizer activities, and meditation. I wanted to focus on yoga and improving my abilities, and came away deeply disappointed for the lack of yoga on this retreat. Also, the website should state that a big focus of the retreat is teaching about the Ananda communities beliefs, which includes gurus they've chosen to follow, reincarnation, and sources of energy.