Yoga, Service, and Community

Forum and Weekend Retreat

Exploring important topics of today from the perspective of inner knowledge and ancient wisdom.

Mount Madonna holds space for personal transformation. Through community of practice, stewardship of sacred land, preservation of wisdom, and lifelong learning, Mount Madonna exists to support and foster peace in the world.

Inspired by one of Mount Madonna’s longest running residential programs, the monthly Yoga, Service, and Community (YSC) Forum and Weekend Retreat offers an opportunity to broaden our community and welcome new voices to the important and ongoing conversations at Mount Madonna.

The YSC Forum is for lifelong learners who are looking for answers to life’s essential questions and wishing to be a part of building a community of engaged citizens, in conversation with both inner and ancient wisdom. In a time when spirituality has been commodified in many ways, we aim to stay rooted in the tradition of classical yoga, which for thousands of years has provided a holistic path to meaningful and sustainable life for all.

The Forum takes place on Friday nights, one weekend per month (with some exceptions). Each month you will hear from a new speaker and engage in individual and group reflection around the topic and related, meaningful questions. For example:

  • How is transforming myself related to transforming the world?
  • What does neuroscience say about the relationship between trauma and growth?
  • What is Karma Yoga - the path of service?
  • Can I examine the lineage that I am a part of and what I wish to conserve and pass on to the next generation?
  • What does it mean to take responsibility?
  • How can I stay centered and engage constructively in a polarized world?

The Forum lasts for one and a half hours on Friday night and the Retreat begins on Saturday morning. With this format, we invite you to come for conversation, and stay through the weekend for community. On Saturday you are free to explore Mount Madonna’s holistic offerings, including morning instruction in yoga philosophy, breathing practice, meditation, yoga asana, afternoon service projects, and an evening of music & gathering. On Sunday morning, the weekend closes with breakfast and a reflection circle.

We welcome all people of shared intent to join the ongoing conversation happening at Mount Madonna by attending the YSC Forum and Weekend Retreat. We strive to expand participation across the broad spectrum of identity including but not limited to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, age, religion/faith, class, language, and more. We recognize that each of us is a multiplicity of identities and that each element of identity impacts a person's lived experience. We invite you to bring your unique identity, culture and perspective to the YSC Forum to say what is true for you. By engaging in conversation across differences we build capacity, connection and community.

Fall Series:

October 27, 2023: Establishing a Daily Spiritual Practice - REGISTER NOW!

Additional Forum topics and dates will be announced three months in advance.

Join our mailing list to receive updates.

YSC Forum and Retreat Weekend Schedule


3:00 - 5:30 pm | Registration

5:15 - 6:15 pm | Dinner

7:00 - 8:45 pm | YSC Forum


7:30 - 10:00 am | Yoga Class**

10:00 - 11:00 am | Brunch

11:30 - 12:30 pm | Guided Walk

1:30 - 3:30 pm | Service Project

4:00 - 5:15 pm | Yoga Class

5:15 - 6:15 pm | Dinner

7:15 - 8:45 pm | Evening Gathering


8:30 - 9:30 am | Breakfast

10:00 - 11:30 am | Closing Circle

12:00 pm | Check-out***

* Participation in activities is optional

** Yoga class includes postures, breathing practices, and meditation

*** Participants are welcome to stay for lunch at 12:30 - 1:30pm on Sunday.

Schedule subject to change.

October Forum & Retreat

October 27, 2023

Establishing a Daily Spiritual Practice

What are your daily spiritual practices that bring you well-being and peace? Would you like to deepen your daily practice? Never miss it? We will explore tools we have and can use regularly to establish a daily spiritual practice that we rely on, return to, and renew regularly. This presentation includes time for self-reflection, conversation, sharing, and brief writing.


saradaSarada Diffenbaugh, Ph.D., is an educator who has helped to create transformative and experiential programs for students from early childhood through elder years. A yoga student of Baba Hari Dass since 1971, she loves and is devoted to her daily spiritual practice, and knows the challenges of having one. She is a founding member and has served in leadership roles at Mount Madonna including Mount Madonna School, the Center, and the Institute. She is also a founding member of Sri Ram Ashram, a children's home and school in India. She teaches yoga, meditation, and philosophy in several contexts. She and her husband Dayanand have lived at Mount Madonna, where they raised their two sons, since 1978. They now have six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

haleyHaley Tompsett, M.P.H., C-A.H.C. - Host: Haley serves as the Director of Community Well-Being at Mount Madonna. Her passion lies in understanding wisdom traditions and blending that wisdom with modern, evidence-based best practices for health and well-being. Haley received a Masters of Public Health from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in 2013 and continued academic training with the Mount Madonna Institute College of Ayurveda and the University of Virginia Contemplative Sciences Center as a Dalai Lama Fellow from 2018-present. She is a board certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor with over 15 years of personal inquiry into the health benefits of yoga and Ayurveda. Prior to Mount Madonna, Haley directed communications for a research leadership program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Minneapolis, MN.

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Tuition & Fees

Tuition and Fees:

Tuition: Sliding scale $200 - $500 + meals and lodging. See rate table & housing descriptions below.

Please pay what you can afford. Through paying a higher tuition, you help to make this course accessible to everyone. Your contribution supports Mount Madonna in offering programs to foster peace in the world and supports your fellow community members to be able to attend this and future retreats at Mount Madonna.

Financial Assistance: We aim for this retreat to be as accessible as possible. If you wish to request a scholarship, please email

About Funding for the Forum:

The YSC Forum is funded by Mount Madonna and your contribution in the form of tuition. As part of our evolving commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) at Mount Madonna, 80% of proceeds from the Forum go directly into the Mount Madonna Belonging Fund, which supports ongoing DEIB education at Mount Madonna and financial support for guests and volunteers from diverse backgrounds and identities to visit Mount Madonna. Scholarships to attend the YSC Forum and Weekend Retreat are available.

Accommodations & Meals Rates

Fees are PER PERSON and include lodging and meals for all days of the retreat; tuition additional. For full descriptions of each type of accommodation, please see images below.

Accommodations Type
Ram Cottage #1 - Single (1 person/room, 2 rooms); Shared Bath$735
Ram Cottage #1 - Double (2 people/room, 2 rooms); Shared Bath
Ram Cottage #2 - Single (1 person/room, 3 rooms); Shared Bath$536
Ram Cottage #2 - Double (2 people/room, 3 rooms); Shared Bath$389
Conference Center - Single Room (1 person/room) w/ Private Bath
Conference Center - Single Room (1 person/room); Shared Bath$452
Conference Center - Double in Room (2 people/room) w/ Private Bath$408
Conference Center - Double in Room (2 people/room); Shared Bath

Conference Center - Triple in Room (3 people/room); Shared Bath
Cabin - Single (1 person/cabin); Separate Shared Bath Facility$390
Cabin - Double (2 people/cabin); Separate Shared Bath Facility
Camp in Own Vehicle $172
Camp in Own Tent

Important Notes Regarding Rates for Accommodations & Meals:

  • Rates are per person include meals, lodging, and facilities use for all days of the retreat.
  • Rates are based on stated occupancy. Double and triple rates are available ONLY to groups of 2 or 3 people who are staying in the same room. Please list the names of the people with whom you are sharing the room on the registration form.
  • Please note that fees for accommodations will be based on actual room occupancy.
  • Children 4 years and under are welcome free of charge; for 5 - 12 years old, fees are discounted 50%. Please register those ages 13 and older separately as an adult.
  • All guests must be registered.
  • Rates stated here apply to this retreat only. Other retreat and program accommodations pricing may differ.


Guest Rooms

These tasteful rooms, some with ensuite bathrooms, are located in our Conference Center where there is wifi, two lovely courtyards with expansive views to read and relax in, and a full tea bar available at all times in the Conference wing of the building.

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Rustic Cabins

These simple rustic cabins are located in our Oaks Campground. They are a short walk to the main area, but have a feeling of being more remote. Cabins include electricity and heat, but not wifi or indoor plumbing. A separate shower house is nearby, containing private showers and dressing rooms, and flush toilets.

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Ram Cottages

The Ram Cottages have easy access to the Wellness Center and many hiking trails. Ram 1 offers two bedrooms, a small kitchen, bathroom, and shared living space with outdoor deck. Ram 2 sleeps 6 and offers a kitchenette, and a bathroom.

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Own Vehicle

Regular size parking spaces are available for your van, camper or other vehicle. There is no access to electricity. Showers and restrooms are available in campgrounds and Center buildings.

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Own Tent Camping

Developed campsites are available for people who wish to bring their own tent. Sites offer access to showers and flush toilets and are available year-round. Please be aware that we can receive significant amounts of rain from November through May.

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Register for the YSC Forum

Register for October Retreat

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Financial Accessibility

Email to request a scholarship:

Email Us