Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Art of Shavasana

by Svetlana Breus

Since 2012, when I went to India for the first time and did my first TTP Level 1 at Swami Rama Sadhana Grama Ashram, I am coming back every year again and again.

I know, I feel it, and my heart tells me that this is the right place for me. Here I feel like at my home in Russia where my family loves me, cares about me, and here at SRSG my spiritual family show me the right path, how to grow spiritually and how to live a happy and joyful life.

I went to "The Art of Shavasana Retreat” with an open mind and positive attitude. This was my second time at the “Shavasana Retreat." First time I went for “Shavasana Retreat and Yoga –Nidra” at 2015 with my group from Thailand. And I still remembered that great feeling of peaceful mind and relaxing body. I felt the sense of inner harmony and balance.

In everyday life, we are carrying an enormous amount of stress, which is stored in our bodies, muscles and joints.  And this increases the anxiety level in our bodies, and mind becomes unclear and dull.

Then we got trap in these conditions and have difficulties in dealing with this condition.

“The Art of Shavasana Retreat " attracted about 60 people from different countries. It means everyone in our world is looking for happiness, love, inner harmony, and balance.

The first class was "Introduction to Shavasana Retreat," and we meet our very experienced teachers, Randall Krause, Swami Ma Radha, and Stoma Parker. These are the most experienced teachers with more than 40 years in Himalayan Tradition Yoga and meditation. And we were looking forward to get great experience from our teachers. And we were really curious when our teachers told us, that Shavasana is the most difficult Asana. But we were ready to start our course.

We started from the class “Movement and Stillness," and the teacher Randall guided us with his soft and confident voice. He asked us to bring our awareness to the breathing process and observe this process. For many students it was a very new experience: how to observe your body, your mind, your breathing process, then move some part of your body and the finally experience the stillness. The screen was in our mind!!!! Really interesting to watch and to feel relaxation after the movement.

Teacher Randall is a very experienced teacher, and he shared with us his own story, how he was able to save his life by a relaxation technique during the period of time when he was working as defense lawyer and had a really stressful job. I still remembered this story from the 2015 Retreat, and since that time I used to practise this relaxation technique too before going to work or after I come back home from my work. It takes me only 40-50 minutes, but it's really helped me, not only releasing the stress, but removing the blockages in my body and releasing the joints’ pain, and some relaxation techniques increase my energy level too.

During our other class "Tension and Relaxation" we were able to experience all the body breathing from our head to toe, withdrawing our mind from all other spaces and just being aware only of yourself from head to toe, tensing some part of our body on inhale and completely relaxing on exhale.

Diaphragmatic breathing is the key to the relaxation. It was interesting to watch our breathing and observed how the breath is flow. We were guided to breathe freely, smoothly, evenly and continuously. Our mind and body were connected by breath, and as breath became more and more smooth and even, then our mind became more calm and pleasant, our body relaxed more and more. We were able to sink into the ground, leaving all our tension, our stress, anxiety, thoughts and letting them go from our mind and our body. Completely relax.

Then Swami Ma Radha took the class in her hands and with her soft and beautiful voice guided us through the class “Point to Point Relaxation"(muscles and joints) with the Breath. And we felt completely like we were melting down into the floor. Everyone noticed how they feel relaxed and peaceful after this practice.
"Shitali Karana” is the practise, where we were able to experience relaxation on the more subtle level of our body. I really felt energized and relaxed at the same time after this practice.

And because we were practicing every relaxation technique twice, with our senior teachers and in small group, we got enough time to correct our centering pose and breathing and practise our relaxation technique. We have had enough time to discuss about our experiences during  the practice, and most the people from my small group tell me how they do feel really amazing after practicing the breathing and how the breath helps them to relax the body as well as the mind. And breathing is really the bridge between our mind and our body.

We felt inner peace and tranquility.

We were guided by Swami Ma Radha through the "61 Points Guided Practice” and with teacher Randall we experienced "Descending Sweeping Breath Relaxation" and “Ascending Sweeping Breath Relaxation". Some of the students for the first time were able to experience how the prana flows along with the breath. I really love this practice and the sensation of warmth in my body.

Shavasana practice serves as ways of entering one's own subtle body. The interior exercises are detailed and complex and go far beyond mere relaxation. We were able to start our practise at the level of annomaya kosha, pranamaya kosha, manomaya kosha in logical progression.

And before our last practise "Yoga - Nidra Heart Cave Practise," Swami Ma Radha gave to us a great class on "Steps for OM Kriya Practise." The steps for the practice (organized by Swami Ma Radha Bharati) are based on the OM Kriya Practice as given by Swami Rama in his seminar series on the Mandukya Upanishad at Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, and the book (based on same seminar) OM The Eternal Witness: Secrets of the Mandukya Upanishadby Swami Rama, edited by Prakash Keshaviah.

Then our very experienced teacher Stoma Parker guided us to the more subtle body experience "Yoga Nidra" by entering and opening the Heart Cave.

All these practices bring us to the state of tranquility, love and peace and inner balance.

In the evening Stomaji gave to us a great lecture on "The Art and Science of Relaxation" part one and two, "Pratyahara and Practice," and Swami Ma Radha gave to us a lecture "Preparation for the Silence Practice", which helped me during my trip at Tarkeshwar.

And at the end of our course, Dr. Prabhu showed to us a scientific research "demonstration of the Brain Waves."

5 days of retreat, 5 days of practice, 5 days of entering new dimensions of our body and mind, 5 great days of peaceful mind and relaxing body. Everyone will take at least one thing from this Retreat to home. And I definitely want to bring this peace, love and practice to people who need it the most.

Love you all and God bless you.

Editor’s Note:

When Svetlana was at SRSG, she wrote, “India welcomed us. "NAMASTE". Today is pleasant weather in Rishikesh. I love watching flowers blossoming at Ashram.”

An audio by Dr. Stephen Parker (Stoma) on Yoga Nidra is available for a purchase as a download at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/drstephenparkerstoma.



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