The Sanctuary Ashram takes place in Stella Maris Retreat Centre during the month of July each year, directed by Korko Moses SJ
In this article two participants share their experiences:
Volunteering at the Sanctuary Ashram (John)
My experiences as a Karma Yogi for about 10 days in Howth during 2016 was highly enriching. I am very interested in the concept of Ashram and was in the lucky position to have the time to give to Karma Yoga and it’s spiritual practice. The staff at the Sanctuary and at Stella Maris (including the resident nuns) were incredibly welcoming. With an excellent introduction from the previous volunteer, I felt I was well briefed in what was expected of me.
From the beginning it became clear that the people attending the Ashram needed a reference point - someone at reception they could contact and knew was there. I found being that person rewarding and enriching and found a sense of compassion and caring growing in my heart in response to people’s needs.
Organising is what I like to do, and I found a lot of organising was required in that position. It was good to put energy into organising each day because it made things flow easier. Sometimes it was busy, with some people requiring a lot of attention. I found sleeping changed from day to day – sometimes very tired, sometimes full of energy. I found the orientation for new people a special time – having a short meditation and introducing people to Yoga and the Ashram, perhaps for the first time, was a pleasure. I even managed to get a couple of swims in too!
Just saying yes to everything, with an open attitude (which is a teaching from Karma Yoga) was very liberating and created a flow and ease that I felt throughout my stay there. It was a beneficial experience, a spiritual experience, a time with God that I am really glad I had.
Participating in the Ashram Experience (Carol)
I’m going back to it – so that’s a good sign!
It was my first introduction to an Ashram experience, and the thing that struck me most was that it gave me space for my own inward journey and also a place to share. There was a sense of community, even down to the Karma yoga.
The experience gave a very good introduction to every aspect of meditation, both on an individual and group level.
Previously I had only really done meditation in a group setting, but the Ashram experience helped me to carry it into my individual life. I had always been interested in the Eastern interpretation of meditation, and interested in the history of meditation in India.
The Ashram gave me the inspiration and motivation to meditate daily in my own life, and also very practical direction and structure. I aim to get up early in the morning and do meditation every day. Going to the Ashram really helped with my own personal journey.
Meditation is now part of my life and the Ashram was the first introduction into doing that.
The setting is stunning, and the food was lovely too. I found the yoga great, and the option of having individual time with Korko was really useful.
The Sanctuary Ashram experience was a very realistic introduction to what an Indian Ashram experience is like. Having taken part in the Sanctuary Ashram in 2015, I went to Korko’s Ashram in India 2016 and found that the experience in Dublin was really authentic in comparison with the experience in India.