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“A Place of Peace”

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Satchidananda Ashram - Yogaville
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Buckingham
Reviewed December 23, 2013

Yogaville is first and foremost and Ashram (residence of monks) and an intentional community of followers of Swami Satchidananda, also known as Gurudev. His image is everywhere, during lunch there are readings from his talks and on the Saturday Satsang (evening service) there is a video of his talks. These all serve as reminders of this great man, who was a leader in the interfaith movement, whose motto "Truth is One, Paths are Many" adorns the gates to the LOTUS shrine and meditation hall. It would be a benefit to read about Swami Satchidananda before going.

Those who visit are guests at this Ashram -- it is not a spa. There are a variety of meditation sittings, yoga classes, lectures, etc. on the daily schedule and if you are coming for a workshop, the staff is very professional.

For those who might like some spa-style treatment, the Ashram has a list of the many body workers in the surrounding area, from massage, to Thai Yoga, to Alexander technique, etc.

The facilities themselves are simple - Sattwic, is the Sanskrit word, meaning tranquil. Not too fancy, yet clean and restful. The accommodations range from campsites to dorms and private rooms. If there is anything amiss,Guest Services will gladly take care of it.

The Yogaville community is very gracious, but it is helpful to remember that they live at a different vibration level than those of us who visit from the big city. They are committed to a life lived in peace and tranquility, so be understanding when folks don't interact they way they do in the city.

The food is excellent - and it is mostly vegan, with a little dairy provided as yoghurt. The coffee shop, which has limited hours, is a blessing to some.

For me, the setting in the woods along the James River and its myriad of trails, is worth the trip. I've been there in the summer and swam in the river, in the fall and reveled in the changing leaves, in the winter in the snow and in the spring amid the beautiful flowers, birds and butterflies.

One poster noted to bring a can of bug spray: Horrors! The Ashram staff will gladly remove any critters that may venture into your room, but will not kill them. Ahimsa is the Yogic virtue of non-harming, and the community adheres to it. The setting is out in the woods, and there are many wondrous and fantastical bugs you've probably never seen before - enjoy!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank vcrdc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 - 52 of 65 reviews

Reviewed December 21, 2013

I have been regularly going to Yogaville since the late 90's. It is always lovely and nurturing. The setting is stunning with breath taking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Great for hiking. The accommodations range from nice hotel rooms to the very simple and basic dorm. The price range for everyone. The staff is caring. Yoga classes and daily meditations are included in the price but all activities are optional. Have enjoyed every stay!

Room Tip: Be clear about what kind of experience you want. Some Dorm room accommodate 8-10 people. If you don...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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4  Thank Anandi C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2013

Oh this place is THE place for a real peaceful getaway. I have been there twice already with my family and can't wait to get back there. The people are friendly, open minded and happy, the food is vegetarian and makes you feel soooo gooooood, their workshops and retreats are inspiring...You will get down to earth over there for sure.

Room Tip: take the guesthouse...quiet and private. Or even ask for a private rental.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Heidi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2013

Went for my birthday weekend which happened to be Thanksgiving weekend. Felt like home instantly. If you are a conscious, spiritual being then you have to make a visit to Yogaville! From my first night at yoga, I got to drop deep inside to a place of peace that I hadn't been able to access in the crazy NJ madness for a while. That feeling of peace stayed with me the entire 4 days of our trip and I got to take a little back with me for a while settling back into NJ life.

The LOTUS temple was stunning...and so awesome to see lit up at night. The food was superb. I was so nervous going into the trip thinking "4 days without meat?! I can't do it (I actually brought leftover turkey with me just in case haha)" But we felt so completely satisfied from our 3 meals per day that we barely broke into our snack bag that I packed.
The grounds are gorgeous, the people were warm, and everyone mostly kept to themselves and allowed you to find yourself and stay inside.

We stayed in one of the Lotus Guest Houses. The room was much bigger than anticipated and I loved all of the accomodations and amenities. I just wish that they had a sauna or a fire pit. The bed was comfy and there was a full size tub in which I got to take a bath! The heater was a bit noisy but it worked like a charm. We slept so well because it was so quiet there (Quiet hours are between 10pm-8am)
My one complaint is that they had things at the same time instead of spaced out throughout the day. So you had to choose between yoga and a puja ceremony, or this vs. that. I wish we could have done it all!

Again, what struck me the most was the ability to be at such a place of peace. I can't stop thinking about it and want to go back immediately. I actually really want to do a month there. I felt like I was just skimming the surface of what could be a great place of healing and self inquiry.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank marenleigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2013

I stayed at Yogaville for a weekend with a friend. We stayed in the Lotus guest house in a room that had 2 twin beds. The room was simple and clean. We had a nice view of the woods. Note that the private rooms in the "guest houses" are more motel style with doors that open to the outside. Walls are thin and you can hear people talking in the next room, but quiet hours are from 10 to 8, so there were no noise issues while sleeping.

Note that this property is not near any restaurants or stores. Bring what you need with you. Most cell phones do not get reception. You get 30 minutes of free wifi per day, or can pay $5 for a full day.

The schedule has 2 times a day to choose from a few yoga classes, and 3 opportunities per day for meditation at various location on the campus. The classes and meditation sessions I went to were top notch. The instructors/leaders are well trained, wise, and lead very good sessions.

Food - The food is fresh and healthy, but mostly vegan. There was a little dairy here and there, but not much. Foods are labeled with ingredients and they provide a lot of gluten free options. You might want to consider bringing snacks with you if you do not think you can tolerate eating vegan for the duration of your stay.

The schedule is designed so you can stay really busy if you want, or take it easy. Nobody pressures you into attending anything on the schedule. You come and go as you please.

I got the impression of a cult-like environment while there. Pictures of the swami were everywhere and they seemed to worship him. The only time beliefs were pushed on everyone was lunchtime. You had to be quiet at lunch and listen to readings of the teachings of their beloved swami. I greatly disagreed with these readings, so I ate lunch pretty quickly.

I attended the Saturday evening community gathering to observe. They have kirtan(music/chanting) and you don't have to chant if you don't want to. They played a video of the swami speaking. There was an interesting talk on a devotee's recent trip to India. The service concluded with chanting, a bizarre candle ceremony, distribution of holy ashes (optional), and blessed food (trail mix). I appreciated the chance to observe spiritual rituals of others without being pressured in any way to participate.

Overall, it's a good value and an interesting experience. You can't beat the prices - food, lodging, and classes are all included. I'm glad I checked it out.

Room Tip: Splurge on a private room instead of the dorms if you like privacy.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank mkeith03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2013

I spent 4 days and 3 nights here. I stayed in a private room with a private bathroom. The accommodations were good - clean and comfortable.
Yoga for an hour and a half twice a day - optional. There was a different instructor each time. Two were excellent. One was good and one was so-so.
Meditation optional 4 times a day - led by a resident twice and twice with no leader.
The vegan food was excellent. Nice variety and really tasty.
The one lecture I went to was very basic but the speaker was pleasant.
The hikes in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains were peaceful. A deer accompanied me for about 10 minutes on one of my hikes.
The shrines are inspiring.
All the people - residents and visitors - were accepting, open and friendly.
There's a cafe that has coffee and other treats (healthy and less-healthy).
No cell phone reception but there's WiFi at the cafe for 15 minutes every 24 hours a day for free or unlimited for $5 a day.
I loved every minute.

Room Tip: Go with the private room with private bathroom to avoid possible snorers. The camping looks really n...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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6  Thank ranchette7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

this Is my first ashram and I really didn't know what to expect. I stayed in the Lotus guest houses so I had a room with a private bath. the room was mostly clean, however the shower curtain needed to be changed. there were a few small spiders and spider webs in the corners and a few dead bugs in the corners of the room. this is not a spa Or a 4-star hotel, it is basic accommodations. I agree with the other reviewers that the food was excellent and plentiful. if you are looking to get away from the world this is your place. however if you'd like to have a convenience store or a fast food restaurant, there's not one within 30 miles. also, read the rules on the website before you visit. there are a lot of rules about dress and activitIes. I would not go back.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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6  Thank Sandra J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Satchidananda Ashram - Yogaville

Address: 108 Yogaville Way, Buckingham, VA 23921-2229
Location: United States > Virginia > Buckingham
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Buckingham
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Since 1980, Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville has served as a year-round spiritual retreat center and residential community offering teacher trainings, programs, retreats, and guest stays. In addition, the center has facilities for teachers and groups who are interested in conducting their own private retreats. Yogaville is located in the peaceful rolling hills of Buckingham, Virginia, within view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Satchidananda Ashram - Yogaville Hotel Buckingham

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