Five-day Meditation Retreat at Ananda Dhiira
Penn Valley, California

May 12 – 16, 2021

We just finished a wonderful retreat at Ananda Dhiira Master Unit in Penn Valley, California. It was such a joy to be together with everyone for five days and share meals, listen to each other’s stories and meditate together indoors and outside in the serene natural beauty of Penn Valley and South Yuba River. The food was also delicious and either grown organically at Ananda Dhiira or from other organic sources. The food was, of course, sattvik, and most items were also gluten-free and vegan, and freshly made and tasty. Didi Ananda Acira took the main lead in the kitchen with help from Dada and the participants.

The schedule was tightly packed with activities starting from 5 a.m. until after 10 p.m., but it didn’t feel tiring as we had plenty of time for meditation, yoga, and outdoor activities. The weather was so good, and we enjoyed mudpacks and swimming by the South-Yuba river, harvesting fresh salad and greens from Didi’s garden, and outdoor Kiirtana and meditation in the mornings.
We had a mother with six-year-old twin boys that were so sweet and playful and added lightness and joy to the retreat. They enjoyed playing together while we had our classes, the outdoor activities by the river, and participating in the yoga classes and other activities.

We had three classes during the retreat. Didi Ananda Acira introduced Yama and Niyama, and we enacted short plays in small groups on five of the principles. Dada Diiptimanananda gave a class on Bhagavata Dharma, the essence of our spiritual practices. He explained how the practices help expand our mind, enable us to connect and surrender to the Supreme Consciousness, and enjoy the blissful flow (rasa.) And the importance of service imbibed with ideation of the Great. The goal of the spiritual practices is to finally merge with the Supreme Unmanifested Consciousness.
Dada Gunatmananda gave a class on Samskaras (reactions of actions in potential form for expression). He started by explaining the three chambers of the mind (Citta, Aham, and Mahat) and how the mind works. He then went into details of the nature of Samskaras – how they express, different types of Samskaras, and how we can exhaust them and attain liberation. The class went very deep into the subject, and Dada also answered practical questions from the participants.

On Saturday morning, we had a three-hour Akhanda Kiirtana. We had some musicians participating in the retreat who joined the Dadas and Didi to lead the Kiirtana. We sang for three hours the mantra BABA NAM KEVALAM and danced in a circle. The time passed quickly in joyful singing and dancing.
Most of the participants had not learned personal meditation, and we scheduled one afternoon for one-on-one meditation instructions. Four brothers and four sisters learned meditation (Diiksa) and got their Sanskrit names. It was beautiful to see them taking the determination to move along the spiritual path.

This retreat was the first in-person event since the Pandemic. The participants were all young in years and spirits, and everyone came and left in good health. We enjoyed the event together like a big loving family, and it was meaningful and heart-warming to be together after a year of alienation and social distancing.

The retreat ended on Sunday morning with games and sharing love and care for each other. Everyone was shining with love and enhanced health after spending time together at Ananda Dhiira, enjoying fresh organic food together, and doing hours of meditation and yoga every day for five days.

About Ananda Dhiira

Ananda Dhiira is a beautiful retreat center located in Penn Valley, California. It is surrounded by oak forest and is close to the South Yuba River. Nature at Ananda Dhiira is breathtaking, and you can see lots of stars so bright in the night. We will enjoy our time together for the daily yoga classes, collective meditation, silent moments, mud therapy in the river, enjoying delicious sentient (Sattvic) food, have fun together, and deepen our meditation.

During this retreat, you can learn personal meditation technique if you wish.

Program

• Classes on:
– Surrender, a journey from outer turmoil to inner peace
– Strengthening the heart cakra
– Tips to deepen your meditation
• Twice a day yoga classes
• Four times meditation practice every day
• Outdoor walks and activities
• Individual meditation lessons with our teachers (optional)
• Mud packs and swimming in the river
• Relax your body and calm your mind in a tranquil, beautiful environment:

Accommodation

Accommodation is available for up to ten women and six men.

• Two private rooms for women with two single beds (2 people sharing each room)
• One dormitory room for women with three bunk beds (for six people sharing)
• One dormitory for men with five single beds (located in a separate building from the retreat center)

Bedding is provided with bedsheets, pillows, and blankets

What to bring

Comfortable clothing (no sleeveless shirts or short pants, please), toiletry, towel, notebook & pen, swimming suit (if you want to swim after the mud pack), medications (if you have any), sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, and other personal needs.

Address

Ananda Dhiira
19393 Sanctuary Road
Penn Valley, CA 95946

Transportation

The nearest airport is SFM (Sacramento International Airport), which is 45 miles from Ananda Dhiira. You can take Uber from there to Ananda Dhiira or rent a car.
The nearest train station is AMTRAK Auburn station.
If you arrive at SJC or OAK, or SFO airports, you can get an AMTRAK train to Auburn station. From Auburn, there is a shuttle to Grass Valley and another shuttle to Penn Valley. We can pick you up from Penn Valley.
Please note, it is not easy to get public transportation (shuttle or uber) in the evening from Auburn station. It is better to arrive during the day.
There is a security code when you enter the entrance gate at Sanctuary Road, so you will need to contact Didi Ananda Acira personally to get guidance.

Didi Ananda Acira: anandaacira@gmail.com +1 (347) 530-4425

Refund Policy

All registration fees are refundable up to 48 hours before the start of the event, or you can transfer them to future events. If you are sick and cannot attend the retreat, we will always consider and refund the fees or transfer to another event. The safety and comfort of our participants is our priority.

Prohibited Items

It is not allowed to bring any tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants. Food will be provided. Please do not bring any meat, fish, eggs, onion, garlic, mushrooms or any food containing those items. If you have any questions, please contact us for more information.

Contributions and Course Fee

PayPal: If you want to send directly from your PayPal account, please use the email address: eventregistration@meditationsteps.us
Or click on the link below:

USA: You can pay by Zelle by using the email: eventregistration@meditationsteps.us
You can access Zelle at your online banking website or app. It is an inter-bank system with no transfer fees and instant transfer. Please write a note with the purpose of the transfer.