Testimonials for Makara (Stephen J. Hopson)

“The weekend retreat was given by a master in both instruction and relational skills.  There were times when I would have liked to linger on certain topics; however, Makara adjusted his time to meet my needs and questions which I appreciated.  It was grounding and affirming!  It was an opportunity to get in touch with myself and bring it into the world.”   Jennifer A., Vancouver, WA

Full of special gems to apply throughout one’s spiritual journey. Makara did an excellent job of relating his life experiences to our situation(s). He is very passionate and it shows!”  Cindy, B., Seattle, WA

Stephen provided a transformative retreat with many life-changing “Ah-Ha’s.”  It was a very pleasant surprise, much more than I expected!  I learned more about self acceptance as well as acceptance of family and friends.  He did a wonderful job listening and responding to each participant’s stories about where they were.  He was an awesome presenter of the Spirit’s truth.”  Patricia P., Salem, OR

Stephen’s retreat was eye-opening and inspiring.  I wish I would watch him over and over again.  Stephen is amazing!  He helped me shift my perspective.”  Michelle B., Portland, OR

I had no idea what to expect and that was a bit scary. I only knew I needed to come and to be open. I loved the unfolding of the lessons as they came.   I was grateful for Stephen’s insightful guidance as we traveled deep paths to find our obstacles as well as the voice of our true selves. Upon reflection, I realized I am feeling fully alive for the first time since my husband’s death. I now know I live deeper than even such a tumultuous change. I learned that awakening is happening, will happen and that I don’t have to “do anything” except use tools to accelerate my own awakening like having compassion for one’s self. I will encourage others to attend this retreat!”   Anya D., Forest Grove, OR

In the class, I felt safe and connected. I love Stephen! He made me laugh and see the light in others and the universe.   What I found helpful to learn was to raise my vibration and hug trees!   I loved that there wasn’t a lot of production or hype. I felt comfortable, homey, warm and safe. Knowing Stephen’s life challenges and seeing how he grew from them was immensely inspiring. He’s so loving and welcoming that I felt I could be my true self around him.   The only thing I wish we had was more guided meditations but other than that I learned so much to the point where I am spreading my light all over Portland!Megan N., Portland, OR

A lot of what we covered was not new to me but being able to hear and learn from Stephen’s experiences was invaluable. Having his knowledge and experience as a resource helped me speed my own awakening. The retreat made my path clearer. The flow of the weekend was good, the slides were relevant and Stephen’s personal journey was inspiring!”   Jodi, G., Portland, OR

The best part was the openness and kindness along with the sharing of ideas, wisdom and revelations. I didn’t know what to expect but was impressed with the organization and thoughtfulness as well as the spiritual lessons I learned. I really responded to Stephen’s honesty and authenticity! I would like to take another class with Stephen in the fuure!Jeffrey B., Oregon City, OR

I really loved our teacher, Stephen. He was deep, funny and really easy to connect with. I learned that I have the power to be the person I want to be. I don’t have to be a slave in life or anger. I no longer feel serenity is out of reach!”   Olivia M., Portland, OR

Stephen helped me navigate my way to where I could “see myself” through the concept of becoming more centered and watching life through the eyes of an observer.  It was great to meet Stephen!  Junko S., Portland, OR

What I liked about the “Awaken to Your True Potential:  A Yogananda” retreat was the great insights and personal attention received.  There was a good mix of “class time” and “personal time.”   Stephen had great thoughts and energy throughout the weekend.  I learned that being more centered and trusting my intuition more can help me see how everything is actually perfect.   I enjoyed the concept of seeing life with the eyes of an observer.   Kristin E., Portland, OR  

Stephen is an excellent and engaging facilitator, very warm and fun.  He was good at interacting with everyone – he’s very easy to connect with.  I appreciated the “introductory” email he personally sent to me after I registered for the “Awaken to Your True Potential:  A Yogananda Retreat.”   The topics discussed were very relevant.  My expectation was to see life from a higher perspective and it happened!       Laura St. G, Lynwood, WA

He is truly authentic!  I was pleased to have accompanied my husband on this retreat.  I was “thrilled beyond description” as he opened up and participated fully in the seminar when his expectations at the outset were suspicious and cynical.  It speaks to the powerful delivery of the content by Stephen Hopson in the most genuine way.  I feel as a couple we are now more aligned after this seminar!  Personally, I am excited to implement the practices learned and I am especially looking forward to sharing this information with our staff!  Andrea B.  Portland, OR

I entered skeptical and confused about what it was all about but despite that, it was surprisingly useful!  Stephen was great – it was a great pleasure meeting him.   R.B. Portland, OR

Stephen is a very good speaker.  I enjoyed all the workshops and information.  I wanted to learn how to deal with past trauma and I now have the tools for that.  I am excited to go home and try to incoroporate what I’ve learned!  Heather S., Eugene, OR

Stephen’s strengths included storytelling that made us laugh and relax in addition to providing us with encouragement.   The content was approachable yet general, allowing one to extract and apply information as necessary.  Gina P., Portland, OR

I enjoyed interacting with Stephen as well as with the other participants, sharing stories.  I am going to try to follow the different ways of developing more magnetism and not worry so much.  Stephen was good!   Marie G.  Ottawa, Canada

Stephen created a safe environment for all of us.  He was genuine and passionate throughout the weekend.   Stephen has an incredible gift to allow people around him to feel safe and then dig deep and that is very rare –  most people seldom get that opportunity to take that risk.  I really enjoyed this retreat very much, not to mention the group of souls the “cosmos” attracted to this weekend retreat. I found the ideas relating to calmness, meditation and energization techniques to be most helpful.  Thanks for the opportunity and journey!  Shauna S., Redmond, OR

The Soul Awakening Retreat helped me to recognize areas of my life where I need and desire to change in order to be the best person I can be. Not in terms of this present material world but in my relationships, my service, my spirit (soul) and purpose in life.

 Stephen brings awareness and perspective to workshop participants in a manner that participants feel safe and not challenged. I’ve gone to other retreats that were touchy-feely and overly emotional, as if everyone had to release something whether they wanted to or not. Soul Awakening is not this kind of retreat. Options to explore more deeper soul awakening retreats will be welcome. Stephen shares from real life experiences, encourages others to do the same and helps us to see things from a different perspective enabling us to tie in the spiritual connection without feeling a religious connotation. G.O., Portland, OR

Informative tools, shared knowledge and experiences. Humor. Good group dynamic. Will send word of mouth to encourage others to attend Laurelwood and participate in programs. Enjoyed this retreat overall – very satisfactory for me. Felt encouraged and welcomed. Will attend another retreat program again – will plan on doing that. Phenomenal!   Anonymous, Portland, OR

I liked the group discussions best. Found most helpful learning new terms (words) and different ways of thinking. Great presentations! Stephen made sure that we stayed on track with our comments. Comfortable and serene atmosphere. Amy L., Eugene, OR

We all connected well as participants! Very helpful to share our experiences and what we have learned from our experiences. Will definitely continue to learn to think differently if I encounter “challenges.” Stephen connected well with the participants. He was very clear in the beginning about his expectations of this workshop/retreat.   Karen P., Renton WA

It was nice to meet other people who are in the same mindset who are also looking into growing spiritually. From Stephen’s own experiences, it helps identifying your own obstacles that are in fact, successful. I definitely am coming out of Ananda LW with more positive insights! Stephen is such an enthusiastic teacher. Keep up the great work!   MaryJoyce K., Newberg, OR

I most liked the small class size and being able to participate in discussions.  It was most helpful to learn that having perspective helps in coping. I hope to come back for different sessions! Jim H., Renton, WA

The best part of the class was having quality time with Stephen – discussing my struggles (now I’ll call it progress – instead of struggles). This was an excellent class! I learned a lot about myself. Tools I learned about what I need to work on. I am here for a reason! The retreat facility was excellent! Friendly staff! Bright! Excellent food! The overall program was very balanced. Elly R., Vancouver, WA

I enjoyed the camaraderie and deaf accessibility of the retreat. It was a worthwhile effort. It is a wonderful beginners’ retreat for those who seek to grow and improve themselves. The most helpful learning was through the presenter’s own personal life stories and lessons learned. I plan to read his book thoroughly and continue the yoga and mindfulness practices. Stephen has deep enriching spiritual awareness as a strength! He also has a comprehensive understanding that can apply to our lives. This is an excellent beginner’s workshop for deaf people who are seeking to improve their lives. The facility was expansive and I was glad for the opportunity to be outdoors! Excellent food! Keep up the momentum! Kevin B., Portland, OR

I found it most useful to learn the right way of meditation. This class is awesome! I think the weekend is too short. Maybe it should be more like three or four days. So much to learn about awakening soul. I liked most the very powerful vibes of the retreat facility. It’s a very clean place with very trustful people. The Lodge is beautiful! Just like a home. Sandra B., Scappoose, OR

It quickly felt like family and home.  I liked the passion of the instructor the best!  Thank you for offering this deaf ASL retreat.  This could evolve to something bigger!  Kellie G., Seattle, OR

Very awesome, Stephen is great!  Very aware and awake about deaf cultureKevin W., Bend OR

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