One of our favorite things about living here is our proximity to the Self-Realization Fellowship’s meditation gardens. They’re located in Encinitas, aka the yoga capital of the U.S. and the “flower capital of the world.” (According to the sign at the town limits.)
These two forces — plants and oneness with the universe — join raucously here at this garden, which is lush with foxtail and staghorn ferns, cycads, palms, cacti, ivy and elephant ears that provide shade for koi fish the size of teacup chihuahuas. The temple’s iconic golden dome, in the shape of an opening lotus, gleams above Highway 101.
The Fellowship was founded in 1920 by guru Paramahansa Yogananda. Adjacent to the gardens is the hermitage, where you can attend workshops, services and retreats; the late Ravi Shankir gave his first U.S. concert here during the 1950s, and George Harrison cloistered here as well. The gift shop and bookstore down the block is also a must-visit, with its stock of Indian jewelry and musical instruments, incense and perfume. (I picked up some jasmine oil, Ryan got incense.)
Many nooks and benches invite visitors to take a moment to meditate. And the view is sublime: the property is set atop a cliff overlooking Swami’s beach. Surfers and succulents, what more do you need?
Open every day except Mondays and holidays, the garden is free to the public, with a suggested donation. And attention, chatty Kathies: you’ll be shushed by the guards! We were. The communication here is supposed to be of the metaphysical sort. The flowers are the ones that shout.