on Sept. 24, 2010
The retreat will be held in the peaceful setting of New Vrindaban.
ISKCON’s rural community in New Vrindaban, West Virginia is set to host its Ninth Annual Vaishnavi Retreat from October 1st to 3rd.
The retreat is an opportunity for devotee women to nourish their bodies, minds, and souls in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Last year, over seventy women from across North America attended, and a similar-sized audience is expected again this year.
The retreat will feature a varied list of seminars both practical and philosophical. Radha Dasi, who conducts seminars on conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution across the US, and is also a certified peer counselor for victims of domestic violence, will present The Freedom in Forgiveness: Exploring Forgiveness As a Spiritual Practice.
Gopimata Dasi, a certified yoga instructor who teaches nationally, will guide attendees through Hatha yoga (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques) for better health.
And Vraja Lila Dasi, a certified coach in non-violent communication who conducts seminars world-wide, will speak on the topic “The Culture of Care Starts From Within.”
Presenters also include direct disciples of Srila Prabhupada, such as ISKCON educator Laksmimoni Dasi, veteran photographer Vishakha Dasi, Grihasta Vision Team member and relationship counselor Krishnanandini Dasi, Nidra Dasi, and Nanda Dasi.
Other seminars include Vedic Women: Then and Now; The Magic of Hearing about Krishna; Every Soul Loves Book Distribution; Krishna Conscious Parenting; Writing for Krishna, Auryvedic Massage Workshop; Bharatnatyam Dance Workshop; and Quickly Cooked Snack/Meals.
One stand out will be October 2nd’s presentation by Praladananda Dasi, a new York-based film producer, on film production for amateurs, entitled How to Film: Making the Best Use of Your Time and Video Equipment.
The seminar will cover a wide spectrum of topics such as how to frame or compose an image; looking at light and shadow; filming from different angles and perspectives; zooming in and out; and the art of interviewing. Praladananda will also discuss the use of sound. Students will be given time to practice what they are shown, and to bring their work back for review and discussion. Attendees are advised to bring either a camcorder or zoom-and-shoot digital with video capacity.
Praladananda, a native of the Carribean island of Trinidad, began her film career as an editor. Working on other people’s films in this capacity inspired her to start producing her own films.
“I mostly edited feature films, but my focus as a producer is documentaries. I like documentaries because I can make a difference in people’s lives,” she says. “I produced a film on blindness in Nigeria in western Africa, where 4 million people are blind because they cannot afford a simple cataract operation that costs $80.”
Praladananda is currently producing a 60-minute documentary film on New Vrindaban’s Palace of Gold.
“The Palace of Gold is an architectural wonder,” she says. “The devotees who built it were young, and in general they had no previous training or experience. But they dedicated their lives to building the Palace, and they have left their mark on the world. The Palace will be here for many years to come.”
She adds, “The setting of the Palace of Gold—also the setting for our Vaishnavi retreat—is of course the beautiful countryside of New Vrindaban. The walking trails, rolling hills and abundant wildlife are the perfect setting for city people who need to de-stress. Even the deer and birds feel at peace here. It feels like a sanctuary.”
Healthy vegetarian meals will be provided for retreat participants, and lodging is also available. A small donation of $10 per seminar is requested from women do not wish to attend the entire retreat.
New Vrindaban Community is located south of Moundsville – Wheeling, off Route 250. For more information about the Vaishnavi Retreat, call (304) 845-9591 or visit