Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Intensive Silence Retreat

by Manon van den Berge

From 7 - 11 October 2016 I took part in the Himalayan Silence Retreat at Beukenhof Biezenmortel, The Netherlands for the first time. It was an experience for life into silence. For 5 days we directed our focus inwards to experience our true selves.

At day one, when we arrived on Friday, we settled down by having lunch and dinner. After diner we went into silence and our journey began by having a guided meditation and evening prayers. The next day we again started with morning prayers, a meditation and a very nice hatha yoga exercise guided by Pandit Ashutosh Sharma to warm the body after an 8 hour sleep. Every day we had delicious food and even then we were silent. After breakfast there was time to relax or do some breath exercises to digest the food. Then there was the opportunity to follow a workshop or to ask Pandit Stoma questions. These questions could be written down on a piece of paper every day. Before lunch and dinner there was room to do breath exercises. After lunch again there was the possibility for digestion exercises. In the afternoon there was organized a brisk walking by Ashutosh through the beautiful nature surrounding the accommodation of the Beukenhof. Brisk walking is a really fast walk, very good for your condition. It was also possible to go out by yourself. I really loved walking in the Drunense Duinen and meditating in the sun there. Walking through nature has the positive effect that your thinking quiets. After diner again there was room to do digestion exercises. The day ended with a guided relaxation exercise and evening prayers. Every day this schedule repeated itself.

The second day I underwent my initiation into the Himalayan Tradition. This is a ritual which cannot be described with words. During this initiation you will be gifted your personal mantra. The initiation was guided by Stoma JI. I felt very comfortable in his presence. You enter his room shoes off and make some offerings. I offered some flowers, fruits and money for beautiful projects undertaken by the Himalayan Tradition. You sit down in front of Stoma JI and both go into meditation. He then feels your energy and listens to your personal mantra. For every human being has its own mantra. Then he whispers the mantra into your ear. Then both go into meditation again and the ritual is ended. Stoma JI writes down your personal mantra for you and you leave the room. The experience itself is not to be described with words, you have to undergo it. Once you are initiated you are a member of the Himalayan Tradition family.

The silent mind resulted in deep meditations because you are not attacked by emotions and/or thoughts. For me this was a true challenge because a couple days before the retreat my dad passed away so I was full of emotions and thoughts when arrived at the retreat. I was nervous and stressed. I was really surprised to see at the end of the retreat how silent I was and how much your mind is disturbed by talking.

The retreat was ended on the fifth day on Tuesday after lunch by thanking Stoma JI and Ashutosh for sharing their teaching and their fine energies and all other people who took part in the retreat. Also the first students who took part in the Dutch Himalayan teaching program and who graduated were put in the spotlight. We all had the possibility to give a short talk to end the retreat and it was most wonderful to hear all the loving words from those silent minds.

Even the retreat has ended, my journey into silence continues. There is no way back …

Photos by Stephan Parker [Stoma]

Editor’s Note:

This event was put on by Hymns: Himalayan Yoga Meditation Netherlands Society and Hymin: Himalayan Yoga Meditation Institute Netherlands.

They will be having a workshop Weekend Workshop 28 - 29 January 2017 with Swami Tat Sat Bharati with the theme “The Effects of our Actions - how to live, die and prepare for the future:” http://www.himalaya-yoga.nl/weekend-workshop-28-29-januari-2017-the-effects-of-our-actions/

For more about initiation, please see “Mantra – What and Why” by Swami Veda Bharati at this link: http://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/mantra-what-and-why.html



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