Nestled in 12 hectares of bushland in sleepy Otford, south of the Royal National Park, is this tranquil retreat centre, owned and operated by a community of Krishna devotees. With a small permanent staff and a fluid team of volunteers, many from overseas, the centre offers facilities for yoga and meditation teachers to run their own retreats and classes. The residents practise Bhakti Yoga, a conscious way of life which includes honouring the Hindu deity Krishna, kirtan (devotional singing), service work and a vegetarian diet. The premises include two yoga halls, a dining room and accommodation for up to 60 people plus space for camping. The centre’s kitchen is supplied in part by produce from an organic vegetable garden tended by the volunteers. Food is prepared consciously, without meat products, and with an awareness of the seasons and the effects of different foods on the body. From June 2016 Govinda Valley will be holding seasonal community events featuring delicious vegetarian banquets, fire ceremonies and music. A monthly meditation group run by a local teacher meets on the closest Monday evening to the full moon.
- Report by Louise Charman-James, of Soul Signature