The Laurelwood valley south west of Portland Oregon has a very special spiritual feeling. Some say that the Native Americans considered the land sacred from long time past. About a century ago the Seventh Day Adventists were attracted to it and established their academy here to help instill the love of God in young people. Stewardship of this land has passed now to Ananda and many who visit the property remark immediately on the uplifting joyful feeling that they experience here. The original academy buildings have been repurposed as a retreat center open to all and a place for students, interns and visitors to experience spiritual community and to learn meditation and universal principles of life through yoga. While followers of all spiritual paths are very welcome and encouraged to visit and to hold retreats here, the founders and leaders of Ananda Laurelwood draw their own inspiration from the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
The Yogananda Gardens project aims to express and expand the potential for uplifting spiritual experience through nature and beauty and God-reminding outdoor environments on land adjacent to the retreat facility. This is a long-term project; it will take decades to develop and mature the fifteen acres committed to it. Success for such a project requires a carefully chosen starting point, one grounded in universal truth that can radiate out in many directions.
To this end we have chosen for our initial first phase goal the creation of an eight-foot statue of Yogananda installed in an appropriately landscaped plaza environment by the summer of 2020 for the centennial celebration of Yogananda’s arrival in the west.