SHORTLY after Steven Odnoha lost his job at Intel, he drove three
days from Rio Rancho, N.M., to the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale,
Pa. For months, Mr. Odnoha had been wondering how he could get the time
off to join a yearlong meditation program at the nonprofit yoga retreat. His pink slip, in September 2007, provided the answer.
“I figured if I stayed for a year, the economy would be warming up
by then, and I could head back and see what’s available for a
semiconductor manufacturing technician,” said Mr. Odnoha, 40, as he
picked wild thyme from a small garden outside the institute’s kitchen.
Obviously, the economy didn’t cooperate, but Mr. Odnoha doesn’t
mind. Now he spends his days on the Himalayan Institute’s 400-acre
wooded campus, practicing hatha yoga and meditation, studying spiritual
walking and preparing meals in the institute’s kitchen. In exchange for
his cooking duties and an annual fee of $3,000, he gets a private room,
three vegetarian meals a day and unlimited access to the institute’s classes, seminars and other events.