Four-Day Meditation Retreat at Ananda Girisuta
(Prama Institute), North Carolina

June 17 – 20, 2021

We had a lovely retreat from June 17 to 20 at Ananda Girisuta, close to Asheville, North Carolina. We were only eight of us, including Dada Diiptimanananda and Didi Ananda Acira, and the group synched very well together. More than half of the participants drove long distances and arrived the day before to rest before the retreat would start. The routine was vigorous but with plenty of breaks and time in nature, so it felt very relaxed. Some of the participants love running, and we took the opportunity and went two times for runs in the hilly forest and meadows around the retreat center. We also went for daily nature walks in the morning with all participants.
We enjoyed singing Kiirtana together in the dome-shaped meditation hall that has good acoustics and plenty of fresh air. The guitar lacked two strings, so we borrowed strings from another guitar. However, the strings were not completely matching, so we tuned the guitar in a new way. Dada Diiptimanananda had to adjust the chords to the Kiirtana, resulting in various new chords (with minor and major sevenths, ninths, and sixths), giving a unique flavor to the Kiirtana tunes.

Everyone who attended this retreat used the opportunity to have personal instruction in meditation and got their initiation and new Sanskrit names. On the last day, we had a two-hour Sadhana Shivir with three times twenty minutes of Kiirtana and meditation. Everyone was keen to go deep into meditation, and the Sadhana Shivir was very blissful.
It was warm those days in Ananda Girisuta, and we often took the chance to have our classes and free time in the fresh breeze and shade at the deck on the southern side of the house.
Didi Ananda Acira prepared delicious and healthy sattvik food and served it with an aesthetic eye for colors and shapes. Dada Diiptimanananda prepared daily fresh homemade bread, some gluten-free and some with wholewheat and rye.
We had daily yoga classes both morning and evening. Liz Soko attended the retreat and gave two beautiful hatha yoga and yin yoga classes.

This retreat went very well, and we all enjoyed the time together and learned many new things during our conversations and classes.


The Meditation Steps retreat was a life-changing experience. It completely surpassed all my expectations. The meditation and yoga techniques that we learned are simple, yet powerful. Since the retreat I have been doing the practices twice a day, and they have brought about a deep feeling of inner peace and joy in my life. I recommend it to anyone who wants to take their meditation practices to the next level.

Our teachers were Dada Diiptimanananda and Didi Ananada Acira, and they were excellent. They have devoted their lives to teaching and their passion and enthusiasm really showed. The lessons happened very organically. They were more like discussions than lectures, and that made for an ideal learning environment. Whether instructing us as a group or individually, they encouraged us to ask questions and they answered them eagerly.

The setting was incredible. The Prama Retreat Center is a beautiful domed building set on a hill, surrounded by woods on a 100 acre plot of land. There are trails going all throughout, and we enjoyed daily walks (and sometimes jogged) through the beautiful scenery with Dada Diiptimanananda. It was the perfect place to meditate.

It was really inspiring being around like-minded people. The other students were so sincere and eager to learn that waking up for the 5AM meditation was not difficult at all. In fact, I really looked forward to it. There is no better way to start the day than with an early morning kirtan and meditation, especially when you are in the company of good people.

All-in-all, I can’t imagine a retreat going any better. There was no dogma, just pure, practical tools that are designed to lead you to bliss. If you are considering going to one of the Meditation Steps retreats, stop considering and just do it. You won’t regret it.

– Alban (Arpan) Toci

About Ananda Girisuta

We welcome you to a meditation retreat at Ananda Girisuta (Prama Institute) in North Carolina.
The meditation retreat on June 17 – 20, 2021, is a four days meditation retreat in the beautiful natural environment close to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

You can expect that the mind will undergo a profound positive mental and spiritual transformation during those four days. There will be a chance to have personal guidance and recommendations on yoga, meditation, diet, and other lifestyle habits during the retreat. This retreat will include a full day schedule with lots of exciting activities, yoga, meditation, and walks in nature. We have been doing many online activities, and in this retreat, we will emphasize spending more time in a natural environment and building a spiritual environment, and sharing.

We expect this retreat to be a small one, and we will be cooking the meals ourselves with guidance from Didi and Dada. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn how to cook delicious sattvic vegetarian food.

Ananda Girisuta is located on forested hilltops and grasslands surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. It sits in Marshall, NC, near the French Broad River, about 25 minutes outside Asheville, NC. They have accommodation for 36 people in shared accommodation. Blankets, bed sheets, and towels are available for rent.

More about Ananda Girisuta (

• Three sattvic vegetarian meals per day
• Yoga classes in the morning and evening
• Collective meditation four times a day
• Inspirational talks on meditation, yoga, philosophy, food, nutrition, and healthy living.
• Fun games and workshops
• Outdoor walks and activities
• Individual meditation lessons with our teachers (optional)
• Relax your body and calm your mind in a tranquil, beautiful environment


Prama Institute (Ananda Girisuta)
182 Ananda Girisuta Dr.
Marshall NC 28753
United States

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