by Beth Fiteni
Though in existence for over 40 years, I only recently discovered a gem in Woodburne, NY called Sivananda Yoga Ranch. It is a sweet little nonprofit retreat center where guests and volunteer staff follow a daily routine to keep body, mind, and soul healthy. The day includes yoga and Kirtan (sung prayers) twice a day and two healthy vegetarian meals made with their own garden vegetables when in season. They also just got their solar panel project up and running! The tradition followed is based in 5 principles of proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet (they teach workshops on permaculture and earth care), and positive thinking. Though based on Hindu tradition taught years ago by Swami Sivananda, the philosophy embraces the idea that there is one God with many faces so all faiths are welcomed, respected, and reflected in their small library of spiritual books. With a beautiful view of the mountains, simple affordable accommodations, and peaceful nooks for relaxation, the Ranch provides a nice get away to get centered & refreshed. It is one of multiple international Sivananda retreat centers around the world, and I look forward to seeing more of them—especially the one in the Bahamas!