Healthy Lifestyle VIP Retreat

Are you in need of a sunny get away filled with self-care?

Healthy Lifestyle VIP Retreat

Swami’s Beach, Encinitas, CA

I’m excited to announce my Healthy Lifestyle VIP RETREAT!

I love sharing the beauty and spirituality of Encinitas, CA with you. I’ve designed a special retreat filled with private yoga, meditation and vegan cooking classes designed specially for YOU.

You will begin each day with a meditation and yoga class at my home. I will give you personalized instruction so you feel confident in establishing a daily practice. 

Throughout the day we will meet up to make three delicious vegan meals, plus one dessert. I will also take you shopping and teach you how to stock your cupboards and refrigerator when you go home, so you can maintain a whole foods plant-based diet with ease. 

The remainder of the day you are free to walk the beach, go to Yogananda’s temple, gardens, spiritual bookstore or Lemongrass Aveda Spa to pamper yourself with a massage or facial: Spa web site

Watch my video to experience where your retreat will take place:

Your retreat can be customized for 2-4 days and includes:

Private yoga and meditation classes

One on one vegan gluten-free cooking classes 

Three meals a day

Ride to and from the airport

Free Gifts:

Three Meditation Mp3s for home practice

Intro to Ashtanga Download for home practice

Free copy of my Yoga’s Path to Weight Loss Book

Free 30 min follow up session. 

Cost: $399 a day for one person; $299 a day (each) for two people 

Accommodations Extra: My neighbor has a darling Air B N B just one block away from my home for $105 a night:Click here to see the property

 Everything in Encinitas is within walking distance, so you don’t need a car. 

Come experience the magic of Encinitas, while establishing life long healthy habits!

love and light,

Kathleen Kastner


Exercise Addiction Meets Meditation

“Meditation is like giving a hug to ourselves, getting in touch with that awesome reality in us. While meditating we feel a deep sense of intimacy with God, a love that is in explicable.” -Paramahansa Yogananda

Meditation with kathleen kastner

When I was in 7th grade a boy I REALLY liked didn’t like me because I was too skinny. In 8th grade, my sister told me my thighs were growing together. What’s a girl to do?!

The second comment lead me to start compulsively exercising for years, running six miles a day, rain, snow or shine. My mind was wired tight, like a dictator, allowing no room for excuses. By the time I was 22 I had chronic knee pain. My physical therapist said everyone is born with an allotted number of miles in their knees and I had exhausted all of mine. Someone later in life I asked me, “Who were you running from?” Myself.

Instead of running, I switched to working out on cardio machines obsessively, such as the treadmill, the ellipitical, the stair master and the dreaded step mill gauntlet for 60 minutes a session, followed by another 60 minutes of weight training. This lead to a bulky body type and a ferocious appetite. I would work out for 2 hours and want to eat for the rest of the night! I saw this often when I was working as a personal trainer. People sweating for hours at the gym, but never losing weight, due to the excessive cardio and the unwillingness to look at their diet. 

When yoga and meditation found me in my 20’s it was my saving grace! They helped me stop the insanity and find balance with movement, food and stillness. They gave me the consciousness to quit the gym, alcohol, caffeine  and adopt a vegan diet. Meditation is a gift you give yourself. It is a recess for the mind from obsessive thinking. It restores the mind with hope and optimism for the future. It gives you discipline with food, exercise, dreams and goals. Most importantly, it helps you to know God better and to love yourself as God loves you, unconditionally. This will help you be more loving and compassionate towards yourself, others, your body and your life.

Make meditation a part of your daily sadhana, spiritual practice. It’s equally as important to exercise the mind in stillness as it is the body with physical activity. We need both to lead balanced, productive and peaceful lives. 

Meditation: God is in the Silence

Article written for Yoga Magazine:

“Everything else can wait, but your search for God cannot wait.” -Paramahansa Yogananda
The great yogic philosopher, Patanjalim defined yoga as: “yogas citta vrtti nirodaha”, yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. Notice he didn’t say, “He who does handstand best is the most enlightened!” However, instead of adopting a regular meditation practice, we spend hours on the mat doing MORE asana (postures), in search of clarity, self -acceptance, and a deeper meaning to our lives. Because the ego mind can be preoccupied with fear, worry, and doubt, it is threatened by meditation and therefore encourages us to do MORE physical activity, whether it be asana, jogging, cleaning our house, checking our email, or anything to distract us from our meditation practice.
As yogis, many times we forget that being strong and flexible isn’t the cure all to a happy and peaceful life. In fact, sometimes we feel even more lost and confused after a strong asana practice, because all kinds of questions begin to surface from the depths of our being and we need more time in savasana and meditation to get quiet and clear. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to practice the seventh limb, dhyana (meditation), of Patajalim’s eight limb path.
My first yoga teacher once said, her greatest goal in life was to know God better. I remember thinking what she said was very commendable, but I definitely didn’t understand the magnitude of what she was saying at the time, because I was more interested in sweating and working out unfortunately. However, seventeen years later, I think I am beginning to understand what she was seeking in her relationship with God. (Interestingly enough she passed in her 30’s and is now in full communion with God as she desired, bless you Trish.)
When we cease the chatter of the mind through meditation, we create space for the Divine to connect with us. God is always trying to communicate with us, but are we listening, or are we too busy trying to get somewhere on the mat, or in our lives? Many times we are reluctant to sit down to meditate, due to a perceived lack of time, or maybe the fear of the unknown; the fear that maybe God has something to tell us that we aren’t ready to face, like the end of a relationship or a career that is not aligned with our highest good anymore. So in turn, we resist being still and miss an opportunity to change our lives for the better. We would rather stay feeling confused, frustrated, and physically “fit,” instead of seeking personal growth through connecting with God in the silence.
The habit of jumping out of bed in the morning, turning on the computer, radio, tv, coffee maker, and reading the newspaper, only creates more vrttis (chatter) in the mind. I suggest doing your meditation practice first thing upon waking and spend some quality quiet time deepening your connection with God first, before you go about your morning routine, otherwise it is very easy to run out of time, before you need to leave the house. I like to sit facing east to feel the sun on my face. Yogananda suggests getting 10 minutes of daily sunshine,”sun baths,” to charge body with the life force of the sun. I also suggest meditating before you go to sleep, so you can give gratitude for the day’s events and clear your mind of any worry, so you can sleep peacefully.
Quiet time in the morning will help you be more kind and patient with yourself and everyone you come into contact with throughout your day, such as your partner, children, pets, co-workers, strangers, people in traffic, etc. Every time you meditate you are helping to align your mind with Divine Mind, Universal Intelligence, which are thoughts based on love, patience, forgiveness, gratitude and service to the planet. You will have a greater ability to make more conscious choices in your life, with less stress and drama! Meditation will also help you to stop repeating self-destructive patterns and addictions in your life that aren’t serving your highest good. As you deepen your meditation practice, your need to self-destruct will begin to diminish greatly and eventually all together, because you will begin to love and respect yourself more fully.
Meditation, like asana, just takes PRACTICE and dedication. The effects are accumulative, so even 5 minutes, two times a day, morning and night, can help you to have a more peaceful and purposeful life.
The use of mantra in meditation can be very helpful to cease the mind “chatties.” . The sanskrit word “mantra”, means “instrument for the mind,” and the first mantra ever given to me was by a very hip Presbyterian female minister from San Fran, whom I met in a yoga training at Mount Madona Ashram in CA many years ago.
The mantra is: ”Be Still and Know.”
This mantra comes from Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.”
On the inhalation, say silently to yourself, “Be still,” and on the exhalation say, “And know.”
It is as if God is saying to our minds, “Be still and know that I AM GOD, and that I am taking care of all the details of you life, if you would just be willing to surrender them to me.”
If you do an inventory of your past, hopefully you will realize how life’s challenges always seem to have a way of working themselves out over time, maybe not the way you planned, but they usually work out for the highest good for your soul’s learning and for the highest good of all involved. We must remember this during times of deep despair and crisis-God ALWAYS has a plan. Meditation helps us to get clear on the divine plan for our lives.
I encourage you to make time daily for the most important relationship in your life, the one with God, and experience the unconditional love, acceptance and guidance that resides within you, in every moment.
Meditate for yourself and as an offering to peace for ALL beings everywhere.

“In the final analysis, it is all between you and God.” -Mother Teresa.