Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Youth & Children’s Retreat

by Namita Sinha and Divya Gupta

The Youth Children’s Retreat is always a special time at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) as it provides us an opportunity to come in contact with the child within us.

We began the retreat with 46 children and resident Swamis by invoking the blessings of the Guru Lineage. One could hear the beautiful recitations of the Vedic chantings and the Gayatri Mantra every morning as they performed the Yajna with our Ashram priest – Pandit Deepak.

The children really loved the time they spent in the Initiation Room with Swami Ritavan and Swami Radha every day as they learned the four basic steps of meditation from Swami Ji – “1) close the lips, 2) close the eyes, 3) sit up, so that your spine is straight, and 4) breathing with your special name - hamsa or soham.”

As the retreat began on Christmas Eve, there was a heightened enthusiasm for the Christmas decorations and celebrations!


As part of their regular classes, they learnt the importance of proper breathing and proper sitting, hatha yoga, pranayama, Surya Namaskar (with Mantras). They also spent a lot of time outdoors while playing with our ashram teachers and volunteers interesting games that encouraged them to be more focused, balanced, and to work in harmony. Every day they were eagerly waiting to do the ashram karma yoga activities.

We went to Sadhana Mandir on a contemplative nature walk, and children made beautiful mandalas on the riverside, using nothing but leaves, flowers, twigs, and stones, that they gathered on their way.

On our outing to Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT) and Swami Rama Himalayan University (SRHU), Maithili Ji and her team at Rural Development Institute (RDI) graciously hosted the children and pampered them with lots of playtime in the children’s park. The older children even enjoyed the games of basketball and volleyball. We all received delicious snacks at RDI and more gifts! We were so moved to see the depth of silence and serenity on the faces of the young children, when they sat down for meditation at the Swami Rama Centre.

The children shared what were their goals in life and reflected upon their strengths and the obstacles they face during a session on self-reflection and contemplation led by Rabindra Sahu. Most of the children spoke of a wandering mind, lack of concentration, and laziness as the main obstacles. Two music workshops in classical Indian vocal music were conducted by Sivananda Sharma Ji and noted Dhrupad singer Aditi Sharma. Children learned the importance of concentration through art and the practice of trataka. In the Calligraphy workshop lead by Yuko Metsugi from Japan, children practiced writing “仲間 or Kalyana Mitra” [Editor: Japanese pron: Nakama, Traditional Chinese pron: zhòng jiān, Simplified: 仲间, 'like-minded friend'] and also learned how to make Origami Ganesha and a crane (symbol of peace).

Cultural Programs and Talent Show

We witnessed many beautiful performances in an evening of Talent Show managed and anchored by children. The yellow-clad children from Navprabhat Ashram, Odisha, gave performances in advanced hatha yoga postures, acrobatics, and Vedic Chanting. We were fortunate to attend mesmerizing music performances by Sivananda Ji’s music school and Aditi Ji.

The Last Day

On the last day, we had the Purnahuti for the yajna with Swami Ritavan Bharati. The children shared their experiences in the feedback session—how they cherished the time they spent with Swami Ji learning meditation, how they loved playing the various games at SRHU and in the ashram, and how they felt loved. As the retreat settled, children had learned the foundational practices in Himalayan Tradition, made new friends and wanted to come back to SRSG soon.


The children’s retreat has been lovingly envisioned by our beloved Swami Veda: “So that the grace and the practices and the teachings of meditation in our lineage may continue into next generations and meditation may become a family centered experience.”

It is organised by the Veda Youth group, the youth wing of AHYMSIN, a group of “Future Leaders”, Swami Veda formed in 2012 to serve the mission of AHYMSIN and spread the teachings of the Tradition.

Most pictures by Jay Prakash Bahuguna. Pictures of children in the crocodile pose, in hatha class, picking up litter, and at the yajna from Yuko Metsugi. Picture of walking on a board by Pat Layton.

Editor’s Notes:

To read more about the retreat, please read the article that follows this one: “Holiday Celebrations at SRSG.”

The next children’s and youth retreat is scheduled for 24th - 30th December 2018 at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG), Rishikesh, India. Contact: [email protected]



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