Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi
  AHYMSIN Newsletter, Issue - September 2012  

Discover the Potential of Your True Nature, Explore the Five Elements

by Marylou Nunamaker

August 31st through September 2nd, 2012, marked the Ninth Himalayan Yoga Meditation Teachers Association Retreat offered by HYMC of Palatine, Illinois, USA. This year’s theme was “Discover the Potential of Your True Nature, Explore the Five Elements.”

We gathered at The Cenacle in the beautiful Lincoln Park area of Chicago. Upon arrival, each participant received a lovely HYMC bag filled with a bottle of water, an HYMC water bottle, a snack, The Art of Self-Beautification Spiritual Journal, and hand-outs pertinent to the ease of attending the various meetings throughout the retreat. We also selected a stone with the Ohm symbol hand painted on it.

After a delicious vegetarian dinner we met in our communal room for a brief orientation, acquainting us with the 24 hour chapel, the outdoor meditation garden, and use and enjoyment of The Cenacle snack room, (in addition to our own snack room); and information that nearby, to the east, was our vast Lake Michigan, a treasure and one of the five great lakes in the U.S.   Also within the same four block area were the admission-free Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (butterfly garden). Laurine Clark explained the hours of the book store that she set up at the retreat, which included a seating area. It became a meeting place for discussions between meals and lectures.

Soon after orientation, Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati presented the first part of her 6-hour lectures on The Five Elements, encompassing the five cognitive senses and the five active senses. Swami Nitya is a leading authority on the study of Tattvas/the Five Elements and their effects on our lives. In 1997 she made her Doctorate in Eco-philosophy on the subjects of the Mahabhutas (Five Great Elements) and Yoga Philosophy in its widest sense. In 1997 she was awarded a 'World-Peace Prize' for contributions to World Peace (LGWFP/NGO of UN). She is a prolific writer of several books and articles, a ceramics artist, and a teacher of many other subjects.

This class ended with guided prayers, as did each day’s events.

Saturday morning began with Swami Ma Radha Bharati leading the participants in guided prayers and meditation. Swami Ma Radha, M.A. Philosophy, M.A. Public Policy, is the Academic Director and a permanent faculty member of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh, India.

Following was an hour of hatha yoga practice led by yours truly.

After breakfast, Swami Ma Radha presented the first of her lectures on “Internal Dialogue,” that which brings us inward, and prepares us for meditation. Swami Ma Radha guided us on how we can come to know things directly, how to be honest with our self, and how critical internal dialogue is to the practice of meditation.

All lectures throughout the retreat ended with a lively question and answer period.

Lunch followed; Swami Nitya’s lectures resumed; and Kirtan was chanted for two hours.

After supper, Swami Nitya’s The Five Elements lecture was resumed, taking us to guided prayers and the closing of another wonderful day of learning, sharing, and bonding.

Denise Jordan surprised herself and others with her request that we take the remaining Aum stones she brought to the retreat, and to consider making a donation at that time to Swami Nitya’s charity to support the education of girls in India.

Sunday, the final day of retreat upon us, began with Swami Ma Radha leading both the guided prayers and meditation.

Laurine Clark led the restorative yoga practice afterwards; then we broke for breakfast.

Another surprise happened when Denise presented Swami Nitya with an envelope containing over $100 collected last night for her charity!

Returning to the community room we were guided by Swami Ma Radha in a skillful practice of how to conduct our “Internal Dialogue.”  After Swami Ma Radha’s lecture on the 61 Points Blue Star practice, and the Om Kriya practice, Swami Ma Radha guided us into each of them. The 61 Points Blue Star practice uses both sides of the brain; and the Om Kriya syllables and sounds represent all levels of consciousness.

Knowing that leaving this final lecture and sharing lunch, we each would return to our lives, here we were at the inevitable bitter-sweet ending of a sacred weekend. Again, conversations at the lunch table further bonded the participants by exchanging e-mails and business cards, with expressions of staying in touch, working on fund-raising events, and being hopeful to be together at next year’s 10th annual retreat.

Local residents who were familiar with The Cenacle but had never attended a yoga retreat had nothing but compliments for the lecturers and the practices presented, as did the yoga participants. Comments included:

“It was such a remarkably loving and enlightening weekend; the meals were delicious; the Swamis gave insightful presentations, the facility was so peaceful, everyone was helpful and friendly, we walked to the lake and around the community, and the grace received in our internal-journey practices and five element lectures was remarkable.”

“The environment was loving, nurturing and life changing for me. I do feel like I made friends who I hope to see at the center for workshops. In fact, strangely, I feel like I already knew or had met some of the participants before the retreat. Interesting!”

“…an environment where all students, especially beginners, feel comfortable to do yoga. I love your explanations of the postures and their benefits. The laughing yoga was delightful. I felt very good after your class. I want to thank you for explaining the importance of my posture and stance as it relates to my neck.”

“I feel privileged to have been in the presence of Swami Nitya and Swami Ma Radha. They were instrumental in my mind-shift this weekend. I am going to incorporate internal dialogue, meditation, ayurvedic dietary practices into my life as a direct result of their teachings.”

“Please thank your yoga family for taking good care of me. I will not forget their kindness.”

Truly, we had a difficult time leaving.

Editor's Note

Himalayan Yoga and Meditation Center in Palatine, Illinois, USA, is an AHYMSIN affiliate center. We invite you to visit their website at http://www.hymcillinois.com/

To learn more about Swami Nitya’s Children’s Project, please see: http://sncp.org.uk/