Breath Practicum and Silence Retreat

by Carolyn Hume

23rd March – 6th April 2014

At the November 2013 Kalyana Mitra Retreat, Swami Veda gave us the Breath Practicum and Silence Retreat.  Writing about the event, he anchored article with “One who has mastered the breath has discovered Superconsciousness.”

He went on to write “Often we see a rush to learn advanced pranayamas. This is being done without training the breath, without making it slow, subtle, deep.  In our tradition there are multiple paths and exercises for achieving the full benefits from subtleties of breath… There has been much emphasis on mantra-centred meditation and silence. This retreat is devoted to breath-centred silence. Deeper methods of breath centred silence will be practised intensively, as guided. You will be amazed at the silence depths and other benefits you will achieve. It is a unique offering and a unique opportunity not to be missed.”

The retreat was be taught by faculty under direct guidance by Swamiji. Swami Ritavan Bharati and Dr. Stephen Parker (Stoma) took on the responsibility of hosting the event and were ably assisted by teachers from HYT-TTP and from Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama.

Marilou Hermens, who helped teach, posted a picture on Facebook with Ramprakash, Adhikari, Pramod, Silvia , Geeta, Swami Ma Radha, and Swami Ritavan all sitting together working on the program, and when I saw it, I felt happiness. At my age, it is such a happy feeling to see the younger ones like Ramprakash, Adhikari, Pramod, and Geeta maturing and growing in our tradition and then sharing what they are learning and have learned with the larger sangha. And also, among the younger ones, Chandramani, who helped to increase the understanding of  pranayama as presented in the Yoga Sutras, and Pravin, who helps with lab presentations and studies.

Swami Ritavan shared the news that “It was very successful with over 70 persons taking part.”

Stoma wrote, “To our great surprise Swami Veda joined the first evening session of the Breath and Silence retreat this evening and even lead a five minute meditation with his voice!--He reminded us that silence does not mean not speaking; it means a fullness of mind and awareness that remains undisturbed despite speech. He gave two practices for the retreat and then asked, rhetorically, ‘how long shall we do them?’

‘The answer is how long should Mother Mary love the infant Jesus?’"

And “As I sat this afternoon in the middle my small practice group for the breath and silence retreat, listening to them practicing Ujjayi and Bhramari, it occurred to me that the warp engines are working just fine and when the bell rang to switch practice, rather than say, ‘Begin!’ I was tempted to say, ‘Engage!’”

And, of course, the delightful performance by the youth and children at SRSG was enjoyed by all!  And cultural events.

From 31st March to 8th April, Navaratra, Devi-Puja with akhanda recitation of Lalita-sahasra-nama (Thousand Names of Divine Mother) also took place.

Sadhakas from Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, India, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad, and the USA came together for this event. Some had practiced for years, some were just beginning; some were initiates in our tradition, some were not.

And at least one person who was there has written, “I will probably be there for next year's March breath and silence retreat.”  So if you were at this Breath and Silence Retreat or if you were unable to participate, mark your calendar:

22nd March - 5th April 2015
Breath and Silence 2
Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama
Rishikesh, India.

Some pictures of this event to enjoy. Most were taken by Jay Prakash Bahuguna with a camera that was not working well, but Maryon Maass contributed a few too as well as the one from Marilou Hermens.


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Editor's Note:

Since I had not yet received an article from anyone else, I have written this, so there will be some news to accompany some enjoyable photos about this event. Maybe we will have a more comprehensive article from a participant in the future. I was unable to attend this retreat, so I cannot give first hand descriptions of all the teachings and things that went on. While compiling this article, I have certainly enjoyed getting to know some of the participants through emails, to see the steady work of the teachers, to see the photos, and to read comments made by some in emails and on Facebook.



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