living off grid

Welcome HOME...we did it!!!


Welcome to the Ananda Loka homestead! 3 years ago this was dense it's our beautiful homestead in nature!! 2017 was another huge year of learning, growth and development. Honestly, it often feels as though we are fumbling and struggling to manage it all, while trying to live the balanced lifestyle that we envision. That’s reality isn’t it? Especially for parents!! This has been the most productive 5 years of our lives combined. Creating and building a radically unique lifestyle is challenging work. I heard somewhere that “failure is the mother of success”…as a mother now, this rings so true! Parenting is rife with failure. I am realizing that how I relate with my failures, determines the nature of my success. My inner yoga these last few years has been all about developing deeper self-awareness, while cultivating a more authentic sense of wellbeing. Sounds sweet, yet shinning the light of truth into the shadows of conditioning has often felt frightening, overwhelming and utterly humiliating. Parenting continues to be the greatest ego-shattering experience, lol! Humility ain't cheap. Our toddlers are literally screaming in our faces everyday…thus they show me exactly how deep or shallow my experience of yoga really is. How can someone so adorable be so deadly?!

From January through July 2017, with the help of some friends, Mark worked hard to get the house finished enough for us to move-in. In Spring, they installed the septic system with separate grey and black water, so that we can filter the grey water and use it to irrigate our future orchard and garden. They finished electrical, siding, drywall, venting, plumbing and the propane gas system, all safety certified.

In July we moved-out of the cabin at Bhumi Farm. We lived in our tent trailer under the carport with a little outdoor kitchen and open-air shower in a horse troff surrounded by wasps. Sound quaint? Considering that the entire site is dirt and gravel, the month of July was hot, dry, dusty and dirty all. the. time. Did I mention that there was no nearby outhouse and we have 2 toddlers?! Admittedly, I used the potty a few times. Friendly neighbours were generous with use of laundry machine and showers, thank you!! Mark was feeling the pressure as the house plumbing took longer than anticipated to complete…but look at that system!

From June through August, we were feeling an ongoing sense of vulnerability, anxiety and uncertainty related to the wildfire season. A catastrophic fire started in the closest local town of Ashcroft, only 20kms north east of our valley. Everyday, we checked the fire reports, acutely aware of the possibility that changing winds could bring the out-of-control inferno towards us, while also feeling saddened about the local people who were dramatically affected by the fire. We were relying on sheer luck, as we had not yet prepared the forest around our homestead to be fire safe. The palpable experience motivated Mark to learn about healthy forest management, which was his focus over this last winter. He became determined to create a 100 meter fire safe zone around the homestead, which included: removing all the thin, crowded trees and ladder fuel (low, dead branches), thus allowing for more crown (tree top) space, sunlight, visibility and the bonus of an enhanced view over-looking the valley and surrounding mountains! Mark’s resourcefulness and commitment always astounds me. Below left is a photo of the Ashcroft/Elephant hill fire from our valley's north road, 1 day ablaze. Below right is all that remains of a burned down home in Ashcroft. 

Amidst the uncertainty of life, we found lots of time for summer fun at the lake!

In August we moved-in to our new home!!!!!

So much was going-on, we were too overwhelmed to celebrate and yet, it’s the greatest accomplishment of our lives. I feel so amazed working in our hand-crafted kitchen everyday, surrounded by giant windows, looking out at the indescribable beauty that fills my eyes with wonder and my heart with joy. Settling-in to our dream home has provided our family with so many gifts. We love to rise early for sadhana (spiritual practice). The profound sense of wellbeing that I feel by beginning my days with the sunrise in gratitude, prayer, meditation, yoga and divine communion is beyond words. For me, these buds of success are a true testament to the fruits of sincere commitment, which for most of my life spent on the move, had remained elusive. Planting roots and building a homestead with my family in this spiritually inspired wonderland sometimes feels scary, while beyond the fear, I am deeply fulfilled in my wild heart's mission. 

August was incredibly eventful!! As well as moving into our home, we showcased our new Ananda Loka display at 3 Festivals of India: here in Venables Valley, in Vancouver and in Kamloops! Sharing yoga and bhakti is what lights us up!! 

Whoa, what a year...this amazing journey is always filled with adventure, creativity and fun! I can’t express how utterly relieved and grateful we feel to be living in our home…the home we designed and built on a mountain, immersed in nature and bhakti. It’s a mind-blowing dream come true. Although, I get lost amidst the daily challenges of life, everyday I am moved with awe and reverence of this gift and overwhelming beauty. A dream that has only been made possible by grace, commitment, determination and the ongoing support, encouragement and contribution of so many wonderful people. 

- Our mentors, with who’s guidance we keep growing towards the light.

- Our friends at Bhumi Farm for hosting us and sharing their abundant organic produce.

- Our friends and family who have generously provided accommodation, childcare, massage and donations.

- Many friends, both local and visitors, who have helped by bringing supplies, cooking, childcare, web design, photography, construction, forest management, landscaping, laundry, showers, meals etc... 

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for filling our hearts with your LOVE!! 

There are many more, but here are a few friends from last year...

Now, well into 2018, we are continuing interior finishing on the house and planning projects for the dry season. Speaking of which, there is still snow on the ground in April! We are so ready to "Spring" into action for more outdoor fun!! This year, we'll focus on landscaping, garden/greenhouse/orchard planning and building a kids play area…sound fun?! Leave a comment below if you like what we're up to and if you're interested in future retreats. 

Follow us on facebook and Instagram for regular updates, links bellow!

Visit us and experience the Yoga Off Grid adventure! Breathe fresh air, drink fresh mountain spring water, eat fresh, local, organic vegetarian cuisine, relax, get dirty, practice yoga, meditate, play, laugh, feel, cry, listen, sing, dance, explore…take a break from your routine, UNPLUG HERE and re-connect with yourself.

We also offer work trades for accommodation and meals. Contact us for more info and we hope to see you soon!

Wishing you well always,

Ananda Loka family


Building our House Off Grid


Welcome to late 2016, our 3rd full year of development at Ananda Loka! Although the whole adventure has been incredibly exciting, challenging and fulfilling, this year is particularly monumental because we began building our family home. We dug the foundation in May 2016 and hope to move into our new house near May 2017. Timeline is an important factor when creating a budget and choosing your building type. Because of our mission to offer retreats, we created a simple, practical and beautiful home, which would fit our budget and could be completed in about 1 year. Although we are interested in alternative building techniques, according to our priorities and knowledge, we chose conventional construction for this phase of the plan. We designed the home together on sketch-up and then had professional plans drawn. Mark hired an experienced house builder who worked with him to build the exterior that you see in the photos. With the full-time assistance of our property caretaker Josh, Mark is spear-heading the entire project; researching building designs and techniques, ongoing budgeting, sourcing and ordering all materials, managing all contractors, he designed and installed the in-floor heating system, they milled and stained the cedar soffit and siding…and they are currently finishing the inside of the house.

There are so many considerations when planning to build a shelter, especially an off grid shelter. So much of our journey together as a family, has been about building a solid foundation, from which to grow and serve with more love. Our off grid homestead and retreat project started with 2 years of foundational design and development; building solid roads and installing a reliable water system, along with a robust solar system. We dug trenches throughout the property for waterline and underground wiring to distribute water and power. We prepared building sites, along with constant landscaping and forest management.

A few key factors we considered when designing our off grid home were:

  • Small footprint (lower cost, more efficient/sustainable)
  • Simple design (lower cost, more efficient/sustainable, low maintenance)
  • Safe and secure (fires, rodents, extreme climate etc…)
  • Energy efficient (hot summers, cold winters: solar and wood heat, natural light)
  • Incorporating natural and local materials (healthy and beautiful)

The house is a simple 2 storey rectangle with a gable roof and about 800 sqft on each floor, for a total of 1600 sqft. The building site is on a medium slope down the mountain facing north east. The front door enters a boot room and opens onto the main/top floor. On the main floor we have an open-concept altar/living room and kitchen, an office/guest room, a powder room and a pantry room. There will be a deck off the living room spanning the length of the house, overlooking the yard and fir forest with 180 degree peek-a-boo views of the valley and mountains. Inside, stairs take you down to our family bedrooms, bathroom and wood stove. There is a hallway and a door out to the backyard.  

May 2016 - Digging the the video!

May 2016 - Framing the footings and pouring fresh cement over Sri Yantra for auspiciousness.

June 2016 - Built the foundation forms and hired a mixer/pumper truck to pour the cement.

Pouring the the video!

June 2016 - Waterproofing and plumbing to keep us dry. The white tubing is an in-floor radiant water heating system, yes!!

June 2016 - Now that's a solid foundation! (Mark's shop behind, built last summer 2015).

July 2016 - Framing the 1st floor.

July 2016 - Framing the 1st and 2nd floor...panoramic videos.

August 2016 - Finishing the framing and boarding up the building.

August 2016 - Installed a tin roof and good windows.

September 2016 - Milled, stained and installed cedar soffit and siding.

October 2016 - Mark, Josh, Chay and Sri Vas finishing the siding.

October 2016 - Installed doors and rain gutters.

October 2016 - Celebrating our beautiful, off grid home in paradise! A dream coming true...

The house and water will be heated by wood in the winter and solar energy in the summer. Electricity will be fully solar-powered in the summer and supplementing with a high-efficiency, on-demand propane generator during the shorter winters days. Pristine gravity-fed water comes from a spring up the mountain and we have 3000 gallons of underground storage. 

Amidst the mundane struggle of everyday family life, along with keeping up to this massive endeavour...the constant awe, wonder and gratitude I feel to be here sharing it all with such beautiful people, fills me with reverence.

The immensity of what we have learned on this adventure so far and what we continue to learn everyday is indescribable. Simplicity and conscious consumption are key for sustainable living. This experience has given us the opportunity to learn more about what is truly needed and what is not needed. Focusing on what is needed and letting go of what is not needed, re-organizes a person towards greater wellbeing. The fulfillment we long for is not as elusive as we think it lives in each of us, as a constant inner whisper. We can pause, feel and learn to listen to the everlasting song of the heart. 


Our next blog will be the interior finishing, completion and move into our new house!!


PS If you were looking forward to the video blog that I promised, sorry, that project turned-out to be beyond my capabilities with 2 toddlers at this time, lol.