Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Initiates’ Retreat

by Sandra de los Reyes Hernández Martínez

This was my fourth visit to the Ashram since I went there, miraculously, for the first time in February 2012. I arrived this time on Sunday the 19th of March to follow the Sadhana Retreat, the celebration of the Navaratri and the Initiates’ Retreat. One whole month in the Ashram with the exception of four days at the Shadana Kendra Ashram with Chandra Swami Udasin, just in between Navaratri and the Initiates’ Retreat.

I have been struggling to write this article. Since I returned from India when people ask me how it was, nothing comes out; it is if this beautiful experience must be kept secret, because believe me it was extraordinary and beautiful but it must be kept in silence……..

So, I am going to try to write about my experience in the Initiates’ Retreat, in an objective way. There are other articles being written in April about the last Shavasana retreat and the Navaratri.

The Retreat was led by:

Savitri Jugdeo as the Head Teacher. She and her husband moved from Canada to India since they retired from work and they are working (Seva) for the Himalayan Tradition. She has been and continues to be guided by Sri Swami Rama and Sri Swami Veda for over 30 years.

Swami Prayag Giri, who was asked through Swami Veda to come to live in the ashram two years before he left his body, she has her own Ashram high in the Himalayas.

Swami Ritavan, headmaster of the SRSG.

John Sellinger, senior student and now teacher from the Gurukulam at SRSG.

Chandramani, senior teacher of the Gurukulam.

There were about 17 people of us following the retreat. Some of us have been initiated for 5 or 6 years, others much more recently, and some had just arrived and were planning to be initiated, which it made it difficult for the teachers to organise the classes.

We had classes from early in the morning (meditating as a special group in the Knowledge Center with Savitri) and the rest of the day with her and the other teachers.

Some of the classes were about meditation posture, breathing, relaxations exercises, mindfulness, philosophy like “The mind in yoga,” and we also listened to very inspiring lectures from Swami Veda.

So, we started again from the basis and built up slowly to the last day.

With basic techniques it can appear as though not much is happening. Sometimes we could even find them boring, as we are repeating over and over again the same things, but at the same time something beautiful is happening, something that you only see when you are not looking.

From sitting posture with breath being the most difficult for the most of us, observing the stillness of the body, observing the awareness of the body, observing the breath and relaxing parts of the body, mantra, and mantra japa.

The last day’s lecture was about the chakras, unfortunately Savitri had to leave one day earlier so Swami Prayag gave it a try, “to be able to teach about this you must have some experience,” she said, and she did not have much, so she used a book where we could see in which yoga postures you are working with the different energy centers, it was a nice lecture.

To me the high point of the retreat was one evening when we got to meditate with Swami Ritavan in the meditation room of Swami Veda; here was the experience of the mantra leading the mind to a much deeper level.

We were assigned as homework the task of counting for one month the breath during sitting meditation posture.

Editor’s Note:

There will an Initiate Retreat 15th - 21st October 2017 at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG), Rishikesh, India.

"You have...received mantra-diksha. Now the question remains: WHAT after mantra? How to refine it; where to go further? There is always need for (a) refreshing, (b) refining to subtler levels and (c) learning the next steps." - Swami Veda Bharati

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