Yoga, Service and Community at Mount Madonna Center

Community Life at Mount Madonna Center

Founded in 1978, Mount Madonna Center of Creative Arts & Sciences is a mountaintop retreat center and intentional community of practice, deeply rooted in classical yoga philosophy and practices. Inspired by the teachings and example of Baba Hari Dass, a silent yogi and a master of classical Ashtanga Yoga, the aim of the Center is to create a supportive environment which nurtures peace. The spiritual disciplines of yoga in its various expressions—karma yoga (or selfless service), raja yoga (the royal path), bhakti yoga (the yoga of devotion), and jnana yoga (path of knowledge)—provide the foundation of our community life.

Residents eat communally, serve alongside one another, share in study, meditation, and practice, and join in responsibility for the various on-land projects of the Hanuman Fellowship, the organization that unites the Center’s activities within a common mission:

The Hanuman Fellowship, inspired by the teachings of Baba Hari Dass,
is dedicated to the principles and practices of yoga.

By means of Sadhana (spiritual practice), Karma Yoga (selfless service), and Satsang (supportive community), we aspire to create an environment for the attainment of peace.

In service of this mission, MMC supports the larger society by hosting various retreats and programs whose content aligns with our mission of mindful self-development & transformation. The Mount Madonna Institute (MMI) offers Diploma, Certificate, and Master of the Arts programs in several areas of professional and personal development. Also sharing the MMC property is Mount Madonna School (MMS), an accredited private school (pre-K through 12th grade) teaching academic excellence, creative self-expression, and positive character development to its 200 students.

The work of sustaining Mount Madonna Center is done primarily on a volunteer basis. We aim to work in the spirit of selfless service in support of the educational and developmental activities on our redwood mountaintop home, and this service becomes one of the main practical methods of self-development for those who live and serve here. The Center is home to 80-100 adults and children; this number is made up of around 40 founding residents, and around 20-30 people who have lived and served at the Center for more than 2 years, and about 20-30 people in residential programs.

The land itself, and the established, dynamic community of practice residing there, create the ideal container for learning, reflection, and healthy self-development. It is indeed a community of learners, as it is also a community of seasoned teachers. “Teach to Learn” is a familiar and lived phrase here.