Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Science of Breath Retreat

by Sam Cook

Science of Breath Retreat 30th October – 5th November 2016 at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG). Course Leader: Marilou Hermens

The breath plays such a vital role in our physical and emotional wellbeing; it is the key to unlocking the door to a peaceful being, in the gross, and in the more subtle aspects of our existence. This is not just a statement that has been regurgitated from an undigested storehouse of intellectual information, but a real feeling from within that I have attained during this retreat.

The genuinely emotional responses and deep sense of gratitude displayed by all of the course participants at the closing discussion, summarised the course perfectly, each of us all taking away something very personal from the retreat, and a sense of self progression that has already begun.

The biggest question of all remains, that why is even just the practical knowledge of the correlation between breath, the physical body and the mind, that provides such great benefits in physical and emotional wellbeing, lacking from such vast quantities of the world’s educational systems?

The course content contained such simple and profound information and instruction that regardless of whether one’s ideal is a healthy, well balanced physical body, to support health and longevity of this life, or that of the realisation of the ultimate reality; the lineage’s teachings presented in this short retreat are of great significance for all. The teachings provide benefits on so many levels, and also explain from a scientific aspect, the correlation between the breath and the impact it has on the different levels of our being, that leaves the practitioner a thirst for more personal experience and discovery.

The course leader, Marilou gave detailed instructions into various specific­ practices of pranayama, with precuations and advice to each individual practitioner, which was always the foremost of all her practice teaching sessions, enabling us to consider new practices, refine others, in order to support and enhance our own sadhana. But it was the explanation and the encouragement into self observation regarding the breath, and it’s correlation to support a healthy body and mind, whilst expanding our awareness, that will ultimately lead the practitioner towards self development physically, emotionally and spiritually, far more than any specific structured practice of pranayama.

Throughout the course, a continuous emphasis was placed on increasing our awareness of our breath and how to comfortably begin to expand the qualities of our breath according to, each our own, individual’s capacity, something which is of such paramount importance within the Himalayan Tradition. The passionate and engaging style of teaching by all who taught, as well as the highly educational, evolved course content, made the programme an absorbing and pleasurable experience from start to finish.

The course leader was outstanding throughout in her assessment and understanding of each student on a personal basis, offering tailored guidance and advice to each individual, as well as to the group as a whole. This ensured we have all come away with a better idea of where we are with our practice, our level of awareness and also our general wellbeing, and what each of us needs to do in order to move forward along our own specific, individual journey. It was clear to see the teachings flowing so smooth and effortlessly through the retreat leader’s, Marilou, radiant smile.

I offer my deepest sense of gratitude to The Tradition, Marilou, All the involved persons teaching, and all of the course participants. Namaste

Editor’s Note:

Upcoming: 29th October - 4th November 2017, Breath Retreat with Marilou Hermens at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG), Rishikesh, India. For more information: [email protected]



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