Why did you choose this program?
When I landed in Alberta after a backpacking trip, I was completely seduced by the rocky mountains and the vibe of western Canada. People were kind, relaxed and connected to the pristine nature at our doorstep.
I was sharing a basement with a man that I did not know; he was a strong meditator. We developed a friendship and what he was telling me about meditation, studying with masters and community living was really resonating for me. I decided that I wanted to experience giving my services to a conscious community without receiving a paycheck back, just food and shelter.
When I saw Clear Sky Center and the Karma Yoga Program on a woofing website, I knew that was my next step :)
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The Karma Yoga Program was all structured to receive and guide me. All that I had to do is to apply to the program. This led to writing a letter of motivation as well as a phone interview with an onsite manager. Once accepted, I had to get there and be ready to learn with an open mind.
The center was well organized to welcome new participants with an amazing learning curriculum and structure to ensure the adaptability of the new students.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I'd say, do your homework. Read the Karma Yoga website page attentively and ask questions. This program is an intensive learning and skill development experience, and not one of leisure in the field (although there is a magnificent land with time to integrate all the incredible teachings on it)!
Make sure you are wanting this kind of immersive experience and are ready to transform who you think you are. You need to know you want spiritual transformation and evolution. You need to know this transformation will happen if you put your heart into it and really seek the truth.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
A day in the Karma Yoga Program starts around 6 - 6:30 am with a group meditation for around 50 mins. After that, there is a communal breakfast where everyone helps to prepare and clean up.
Once brekkie is over, there is usually a group connection where a Karma Yoga contemplation is proposed to guide the day. Teachers onsite are guides to support the discussion. Some specific tasks/projects are assigned to you for the day like cooking, working on the field, cleaning, preparing for retreats, etc. Lunch and dinner are also in the community, lots of time to exchange about self-awareness, mindfulness, new insights, astrology, Dharma, etc. There can be a sit in the evening too.
Some fun nights are in the schedule and you usually have one day off / week.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I was freaking out to the idea of traveling alone. I reached a point where I knew I would stay in a cage unless I met this fear, so that's what I did. Going into a meditation center to study and live with a community, I was also afraid to lose «myself» and be obliged to deal with people that I don't like and be stuck. All that happened and it became the best and most transformative experience of my life. Can't recommend it enough :)
Meet your fear. This is the only way you'll realize it's not true and it just holds you back from your true potential and life meaning.
What did you get from this experience?
The realization of mine and others' true potential that is far beyond our imagination. The power of meditation and conscious community is just unrealized unless you really get your teeth into it and taste through real experience.