Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

An Update — SRF Retreats and Programs for Spiritual Renewal 

February 06, 2023


Paramahansa Yogananda said, “Every person needs a retreat, a dynamo of silence where he may go for the exclusive purpose of being recharged by the Infinite.”

For many decades the SRF retreat programs have been open to anyone seeking spiritual renewal and who desires to leave behind the pressures of everyday life — if only for one or a few days — to deepen their awareness of the Divine.

Reopening Plans for SRF Retreats

Ever since we had to put the SRF retreat programs on hold, we have looked forward to the time when we could resume welcoming devotees to participate in conducted retreats and individual retreats at our various retreat facilities. Now that conditions are favorable to resuming the retreat programs, we would like to share with you our reopening plans and some important changes.   

Launch of Online One-Day Retreat Programs

Mother Daughter Meditating

As you may know, in the last few years we launched the online SRF retreat program — in several languages — making it possible for devotees all over the world to participate from the convenience of their homes and local meditation groups.

For many, this was their first SRF retreat experience with several hours of the day dedicated to silence, meditation, introspection, and study of Paramahansaji’s teachings, to help deepen their relationship with God.

We will continue to offer these online retreats even after our in-person retreats are reopened. These online retreats are especially meaningful to those who otherwise may not be able to travel to one of the SRF retreat facilities.

The following testimonial from one of the online retreat participants was echoed by many others who have attended these retreats. 

“I am writing to thank the organizers and presenters of the Humility retreat.... It was wonderful, and I am so grateful that we have these one-day retreats. I found the content of the retreat to be inspiring, the prayers, talks, and chants well chosen. The format was also well thought-out....The day flew by, and the organizational format permitted one to really enjoy all parts of the program fully, easing into a deeper and deeper experience as the day progressed.”

Lake Shrine Retreat (Pacific Palisades, California)

Lake Shrine Temple 2

Since its opening in 1997, the Lake Shrine Retreat has hosted devotees from around the world. This beautiful and tranquil location overlooks the Pacific Ocean on one side, and the SRF temple, and lakeside meditation gardens on the other. The picturesque SRF Lake Shrine was dedicated by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1950. He envisioned here a spiritual environment where people from all over the world could come and experience peace of heart and mind.

We are planning to reopen the Lake Shrine Retreat soon. Retreats will be self-conducted at first and held on the weekends. Over time we will reintroduce monastic-conducted retreat programs, as well as providing visitors the opportunity to stay at this retreat for longer periods than in the past.

Encinitas Retreat (California)

Encinitas Temple

The SRF Encinitas Retreat is located on the beautiful site of the SRF Ashram Center in Encinitas established by Paramahansaji in 1937, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Although our current retreat there was originally built as an ashram for the SRF nuns in 1966, it was never occupied by the nuns; but instead has been used for decades as a retreat for SRF members and friends from around the world. 

As monks and nuns have continued entering the SRF ashrams over the years, we are now facing a shortage of living and working space for our monastic community. In order to provide room for a larger community of SRF nuns in Encinitas, we will now begin using the retreat facility as a nuns’ ashram. At the same time we are working on plans for resuming a retreat program for our members (please see below).

To continue offering a spiritual retreat experience in Encinitas, which so many of you have treasured over the years, we plan to inaugurate a modified retreat program. This program will still offer the focus and spiritual environment needed for a rewarding retreat. Retreatants will have private access to the meditation gardens and Hermitage, as well as other activities and the rich program of inspirational services, study groups, and meditations at our Encinitas Temple. We are working on designing this modified retreat program, which will include suitable accommodations, and will share details with you in the coming months.

In keeping with Paramahansaji’s far-seeing vision for the Encinitas Ashram, we are happy to share that we will also be making plans for a beautiful new Encinitas Retreat facility for SRF members and friends at some point in the future. Though this may require some years to develop, with much professional assistance, we look forward with great anticipation to the ultimate realization of the full, multifaceted potential of this dynamic spiritual center as envisioned by Paramahansaji. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you through the modified retreat program, as mentioned above.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we develop these plans. Please stay tuned to updates in the coming months. 

Hidden Valley (Escondido, California)

Hidden Valley Temple

Guest programs for men will resume at the SRF Hidden Valley Ashram sometime in Spring 2023. Participants can stay for longer periods, providing them with a unique opportunity to engage in personal meditation, study, and introspection, and some of the other activities at the ashram.

Greenfield (Front Royal, Virginia)

Greenfield Front Royal Virginia Temple

The Greenfield Ashram is located in the Shenandoah Valley in northern Virginia, amidst a lush deciduous forest. Numerous guest programs are available throughout the year including conducted weekends (open to both men and women), one-day silent programs (held separately for men and women), and women’s Kriyaban programs (open to women who have taken or are currently taking the Kriya Lessons).

Greenfield is currently in an interim phase in 2023 with the construction of a spacious new meditation chapel, and so at present all of these conducted programs are being held at the beautiful 4H Educational Center in Front Royal, Virginia. Women are able to stay at Greenfield Ashram, where three cottages and two apartments are available. During personal overnight visits to Greenfield, women are invited to meditate with the resident nuns several days of the week and may participate in service activities.

Global Retreats (Germany, Brazil, and more)

Bermersbach Retreat Germany

We are focusing on the future growth and expansion of monastic-led programs at the SRF retreats in Germany and Brazil, and possibly other countries. We hope to bring the retreat experience to many more members and friends in Europe and South America, who might not be able to travel to one of our retreats in the U.S.

As in past years, we will also continue to offer weekend retreat programs conducted by SRF monastics during their visits to places around the world.

We look forward to sharing more information with you in the coming months. Please know that our joy and purpose, as always, is to serve you to the best of our ability; and we deeply appreciate your support and prayers as we continue plans for an expanded retreat program to benefit all of our worldwide spiritual family. 

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Leave a comment
Alberto Bird

First attended the Encinitas retreat in 1987 and came back regularly as my circumstances permitted. Spending time there in silence, retreating from the world and focusing on God, was invariably a deep and blessed experience. I always came back home renewed, healed and recharged. Deeply praying that Master facilitates the reopening for lay devotees of this holy place.

Michael HughesAlberto Bird

Is the site open to visitors now? Will be visiting the area next week. I am a student and have been since 1977

Maria Democh

I would love to attend a retreat in Escondido. Please advise availability. Thank you.

Kat Ivey

I was called here this morning. I feel deeply that i need to attend a retreat here. Please let me know when available.

Blessings,
Kat

Dr Debasish Gopal Krishna Panda

Reatret at Puri odisha in December 2023 kindly send me3the program date and venue. Thank you

Bhupendra T Lotwala

My wife and I would love to spend a couple of days at the Encinitas retreat when it is reopened. We have found the place to be very spiritual and peaceful during our prior stays there. Thank you. Jai Guru.

Tom Shell

I’m a Kriyaban and would love to be informed when the Encinitas retreat opens again. I’d like to do a weekend there. Jai Guru! 🙏🏼

Amy Lemon

I am so looking forward to the retreat at Encinitas to open again. Please let me know when you are accepting reservations.
Om Guruji

Kathy

I have been attending the Encinitas Retreat annually since 1997. Though I was disappointed at the current closure, I am excitedly looking forward to the re-opening. Please notify me of when you will take a wait list. All the best, Jai Guru. Kathy

Margaret oie

I am from Minnesota and looking forward to going back to another in Encinitas. Hopefully in February of 2024.

marlena blavin

I have been doing self retreats and your guided ones at Encintas since the 70's. I so miss them I live in canada now and would love to come for a week or two of silence in this holy ground.

Jerre Marie

This is a question. Has the much beloved marble bench at Encinitas been restored? The last time I was there I was told it had been vandalized, and therefore removed.

Cheryl Buchanan

I'm interested in attending a retreat at your Encinitas location. I enjoy spending time at the meditation garden.

Nita Panda

Jai Guru, I am a Kriyabaan from Fullerton Temple, please keep me posted with Encinitas Retreat program availability for 2023. I enjoyed Kriya Retreats for women only at Encinitas, waiting eagerly to hear back.
Nita

debra henry

I am looking forward to doing a retreat in California this year. I live in Canada. I am looking to do a retreat for 4-5 days to deepen my connect to God.

Debra Penne

I cannot wait for Encinitas to re-0pen. I am truly hoping that there will be provisions for participants to stay on the grounds somewhere, as that holy vibration is so needed, even during sleep hours. Thank you SRF for getting us back to retreats ASAP.

Elaine Hodge

I am so looking forward to a private retreat at Encinitas when the modified program is started. I have been to a retreat at Lake Shrine and want to attend one at Encinitas where Master spent so much of his time. I was so uplifted by his energy at Lake Shrine and know I will feel his energy at Encinitas.

Andrea

I can't wait for the Encinitas retreat to be reopened. Please add me to any email distribution list for updates.

Kari Jenners

My daughter and I live in Escondido, CA. We are very interested in becoming members and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to begin our Spiritual Enlightenment in your community. Please sign me up for info on retreats and how to begin our journey. In light and love. Kari & Kota

David Vanderbloemen

Hello! I would like do be a part of a retreat if possible. Currently, I am living in Seattle. I can come as soon as it is allowed, all the best. -David

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