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7 Days Personal Meditation and Yoga Retreat in California, USA

Spiritual Yoga Retreat California

Give yourself a gift and unplug from your busy life and recharge your spiritual batteries. People at all levels, from all paths are welcome. Some people notice a wonderful energy as soon as they set foot on the retreat grounds while others find this energy slowly flooding through them as the program proceeds and some awaken to find that they are suddenly filled with deep joy.


  • 2 yoga classes daily
  • 2 meditation sessions daily
  • One hour of spiritual counseling
  • Gain a deeper understanding of Hatha and Ananda yoga
  • One guided activity of your choice per day
  • Daily vegetarian breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 6 nights accommodations

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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The accommodation options are on private, double, and quadruple room basis. For indoor accommodations, The Expanding Light Retreats offers both standard and deluxe rooms housed in three different buildings. For outdoor accommodations recreational vehicle or RV camping is available year round and tent camping is available from April through October.

Each guest room includes two twin beds, carpeting, heat, air conditioning, except for the cabins, towels, and bedding. A limited number of queen-sized beds are available. Fresh linens and towels are available weekly with no daily maid service. Wi-Fi is available for all guests except those in cabins or tents. The Expanding Light Retreat also have centrally located guest computers and limited handicap accessibility.

Private and shared deluxe rooms

Harmony house

Each room has a private entrance, a private bathroom, air conditioning, a ceiling fan, and a hairdryer. Harmony house is dedicated to expressing Yogananda’s expansive approach to religion and his belief in celebrating God through beauty. Simply and elegantly appointed, each room is decorated in the theme of one of the great world religions.

Available rooms are the Yogananda room, Buddhism room, St. Francis room, Madonna room, Taoism room, Islam room, Judaism room, and the Hinduism room.

Private and shared standard rooms


Each cabin has one room, which is larger and more private than other standard rooms. Cabin occupants share separate men's and women's shower houses about a minute’s walk away.

Serenity house

Serenity house is an inn-style house with twelve air-conditioned rooms and four hall bathrooms. It has a comfortable lounge or classroom, equipped with a video player and a library of inspirational videos. The lounge or classroom also has a small refrigerator for personal items.

RVs and tents

If you would like to stay in a tent or an RV, please bring your own. The Expanding Light Retreat does not provide tents or RVs. Tent camping is available on shaded campsites. RVs are welcome year round, however, the property does not have RV facilities or hookups.

Tenters are part of The Expanding Light meals and programs, which means that tent spaces do not include facilities for cooking or picnicking. There is a high fire danger in the summer so no campfires are allowed, as well as candles, kerosene lamps, or anything with an open flame.

Because of animals, no food is allowed in the tenting area. The Expanding Light Retreat has a refrigerator behind the main kitchen which is available for guests. The camping area has a sink with running water and an outhouse. Men’s and women’s bathrooms are available with showers, toilets, and sinks, across the meadow from the tenting area.

Shower houses

For those staying outdoors, all outdoor accommodations have access to separate men's and women's shower houses that are an easy two or three-minute walk across the meadow. Facilities have flush toilets, plenty of hot water, and shower and toilet partitions for your comfort and privacy.

The Expanding Light Retreat California Yoga Retreat Program

During this retreat, you will have two guided sessions of yoga postures, energizing exercises, and meditation daily. You will have one guided activity per day, such as in-depth instruction in meditation, healing prayer or chanting workshops, an evening in the home of an Ananda Village resident, a Restorative yoga session, an Ananda yoga workshop, helping in the vegetarian kitchen, a guided tour of Ananda Village, specific classes, and more.

Guests can attend many workshops during a seven-day stay, each led by a qualified staff member or experienced ashram community volunteer. During the week-long stay, you would come into contact with up to eight different teachers or volunteers, depending on how much you decide to participate in the offerings.

The retreat starts on a Friday afternoon through Thursday after lunch. If you are curious, this is also a great way to see how an intentional community feels with a village of more than 200 devoted yogi meditators and more than 40 years of spiritual vibrations.

There are various ways you can enjoy your stay at The Expanding Light Retreat, You can follow your own schedule or partake of any of the offerings to help you deepen your personal and spiritual journey.

Day 1 - Friday

Have dinner with your personal retreat manager and learn about the retreat, its programs, and the ashram community.

Day 2 - Saturday

In the morning, you will have a one and a half-hour guided energizing exercises, chanting, and short meditation in the temple. Mid-morning, you will have a two-hour introduction to a simple breathing meditation and in the evening, you will have a chanting workshop at the temple.

Day 3 - Sunday

In the morning, you will have a one and a half-hour guided energizing exercises, chanting, and short meditation in the temple. The Expanding Light offers Sunday services that are more inward purification services which feature an ancient Vedic fire ceremony, Festival of Lights which includes readings from Bhagavad Gita and the Bible with talks and music.

Day 4 to 7 - Monday to Thursday

Throughout the week you can join these free activities led by a variety of qualified teaching staff and ashram community volunteers. There are also optional activities with pre-reservation for additional fees like massages, spiritual counseling, and therapeutic yoga sessions.

  • Classes on Patanjalis’ sutras and other yoga philosophy workshops
  • Guided tour of Ananda Village, the gardens, school, community gathering places, small businesses, and farming
  • Healing prayer workshop in the evening
  • Learn to meditate workshops for three times each week
  • Wednesday evening advanced Ananda yoga asana


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


This retreat will be held at The Expanding Light Retreat, California, United States. The Expanding Light Retreat is located in Ananda Village, a more than 40 year old successful intentional spiritual community. The Ananda community is situated on 700 acres of meadows and forests amidst the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains just outside Nevada City.

Ananda is organized like a village, with member-operated businesses, a school system, a market, homes, and temples. The Expanding Light guests are offered tours of the village and are welcome to walk the acreage as you wish. The energy and vibration of kindness and respect for every guest are tangible.

Nearby places

  • Lake Tahoe - 2 hours
  • Portland - 12 hours
  • Reno - 2 hours
  • Sacramento - 2 hours
  • Seattle - 15 hours

This Yoga Retreat is vegetarian-friendly

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Three delicious and satisfying vegetarian buffet meals are included in the package. Some of the dishes contain eggs and dairy. The Expanding Light Retreat uses organically grown foods as much as possible, including some organically grown eggs and produce from the Ananda Village, and organically grown fair trade coffee.

There are a variety of teas and fresh fruits available all day. A small refrigerator for guests who are staying at the Serenity house and a full size refrigerator outside the kitchen are available for storing special foods guests might need during their stay. There is a good cooperative market and deli in the village if you would like to buy special items and treats.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Organic
  • Whole food
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Computer lounge and Wi-Fi

Guests are welcome to use the computer lounge in the main building. Guests in deluxe rooms and most of the standard rooms can use Wi-Fi if you bring your own computer.

Crystal hermitage

At crystal hermitage, guests can enjoy the spiritual heart of Ananda. Tour the beautiful gardens, small chapel, the Shrine of the Masters, a small museum, and gift shop housing holy relics from India and Ananda's line of yoga masters.

Guest services lounge

The guest services lounge is a lovely room with a cozy fireplace located in the guest services building. When not in use for a class, it is open until late at night for guests to use.

Hansa temple

A unique architectural building that houses longer morning meditations for Ananda residents. If some guests are experienced meditators and would like a 90-minute meditation, they are welcome to join. Ask for times at the front desk.

Healing prayer

A healing prayer, on an individual basis, is offered through the healing prayer ministry for a suggested donation between 40 to 100 USD. Session lengths vary based on individual need.

Individual spiritual counseling

Receive assistance and guidance tailored to your needs with counseling, available from the Ananda ministers for a fee of 75 USD per hour. If you are interested, contact the front desk to schedule a private session.

Lahiri Mandir

This is a small chapel on the path to Lotus Lake. A sacred space ideal for meditation, Lahiri is open all the time for quiet reflection and meditation.

Lotus Lake

This lovely lake fills with water lilies and lotus flowers during summer. It is a beautiful area ideal for walks where you can often see wild birds. A path around the lake includes outdoor altars to the line of masters.

Masters' market

A natural food market with a deli, bakery, and cappuccino bar that also features homemade pizza on Friday nights, a local favorite.

Personal instruction in meditation

This is available to everyone on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10:00 or at other times by appointment. Even if you currently meditate, it is encouraged to take the class which includes how to focus your mind, how to sit comfortably, when and where to meditate, and more.

Private yoga classes

Personally tailored to your body and needs, these classes are available with one of the certified Ananda yoga teachers for a fee of 75 USD per hour. You can focus on classical Hatha yoga or Restorative yoga. Contact the front desk to make an appointment.

Rajarshi park

A complex that houses a number of Ananda businesses including the management offices for the community, the healing prayer ministry, with 600 members worldwide who do healing prayers for those in need, and Crystal Clarity publishers, which produces books, DVDs, and CDs by Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda, and others on topics related to yoga, meditation, and self-realization.

Serenity lounge

This is a homey room located in the Serenity building. When not in use for a class, it is open to guests for relaxation, reading, yoga, meditation, watching videos, listening to music, or just socializing. Serenity lounge is also stocked with tea and coffee and equipped with a small refrigerator, microwave, and electric teapot for guest use.

The Expanding Light boutique

The boutique is located in the guest services building and is open from 09:00 to 17:00 daily. Full of unique treasures, The Expanding Light boutique is a favorite destination and shopping stop for guests and locals alike.

The temple

This temple, located just off the dining room, is a beautiful space, in which daily practice of yoga postures and meditation is held, as well as classes and evening programs. When not in use for a scheduled class or event, it is open for meditation and Hatha yoga.


Long walks on the beautiful 700 acres of forest and meadow land.

Spa treatments

Just across the meadow from The Expanding Light Retreat is The Center for Radiant Health. The center offers massages, body and energy works, emotional freedom technique, career coaching, and astrology consultations. It is an independent cooperative of qualified Ananda health practitioners, available by prior appointment seven days a week.

Prices for massage sessions are 75 USD for a one-hour long massage and 95 USD for a one and a half hour long massage. They are a healing center rather than a spa, have treatment rooms but unlike a traditional spa, they have no pool facilities.

What's included

  • 1 guided activity of your choice per day
  • 2 Hatha and Ananda yoga classes daily
  • 6 nights accommodations
  • Daily vegetarian breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Twice daily meditation sessions

What's not included

  • Additional activities
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Personal expenses

How to get there

Driving directions from Sacramento

  • Take I-80 towards Reno and go about 25 miles.
  • At Auburn, turn left on CA-49 toward Grass Valley or Nevada City and go 38 miles.
  • Just past Nevada City, turn left at the 49 to Downieville sign.
  • Follow this road for 10.5 miles (watch your odometer). It is a curving mountain road that crosses the Yuba River.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote road, immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park, and go about five miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda Way and left again, almost immediately, on Expanding Light way.

Driving directions from Reno

  • Take I-80 towards Sacramento and go 55 miles.
  • Take CA-20 and go 27 miles.
  • Turn right on CA-49 towards Downieville and go 10.5 miles.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote road, immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park, and go about five miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda Way and left again, almost immediately, on Expanding Light way.

Driving directions from Seattle or Portland

  • Take I-5 to Williams, California.
  • Take CA-20 to Nevada City and go 77 miles.
  • Turn right on CA-49 towards Downieville and go 10.5 miles.
  • Turn right on Tyler-Foote road, immediately after the sign for Malakoff Diggins State Park, and go about five miles.
  • Turn left on Ananda Way and left again, almost immediately, on Expanding Light Way.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flights to arrive at Sacramento International Airport (SMF). Another option is Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) but it is less preferable.

Arrival by bus

Greyhound bus offers service from available cities to Colfax, approximately an hour from Ananda. To get to Ananda from Colfax, you will need to take a cab.

Amtrak offers limited bus service from available cities into Colfax (if coming from the East) and Auburn (if coming from the West), each about an hour away from Ananda. To get to Ananda from Colfax or Auburn, you will need to take a cab.

Arrival by train

Amtrak offers train service from available cities into Colfax (if coming from the East) and Auburn (if coming from the West), each about an hour away from Ananda. To get to Ananda from Colfax or Auburn, you will need to take a cab.

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