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May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Want to join a yoga retreat?

What does the 'retreat' in yoga retreat mean?

Many people think yoga retreats are for people to enjoy a yoga 'treat' or 're-treat' for oneself, where a group of people who like to do some yoga exercises come together to engage in a social 'yoga' meeting and interaction with some other people, and pampering their body and mind in pleasurable enjoyments.

It's normal for people to think like that as there are many yoga retreats in the world that are not about retreating from worldly social interactions and activities, to turn the outgoing mind inward for self-inquiry. These yoga retreats are not about retreating from the social world to allow the participants to focus on their yoga and meditation practice to quiet the mind, but they are more into engaging in social activities and interactions getting to know some other people, and getting a nice 'treat' to pamper oneself in some pleasurable physical and mental indulgence.

But, retreat is about retreating or renouncing from worldly affairs, objects, ideas, habits, social activities and sensual enjoyments, to quiet the mind, to restrict the mind from going out chasing after the object of the senses, to have a period of time and space to focus on one's yoga and meditation practice, to be with oneself, to observe one's mind, to deal with one's mind impurities, to limit mind inputs and outputs, even when there are some other people might be participating in the same retreat. Everyone should minimize social talking or interactions as much as possible, to turn the outgoing mind inward, and allow the mind to have the opportunity to move away from restlessness and its usual habits of actions and reactions, to calm and quiet the mind to know oneself. It makes no difference whether it is a personal private retreat or it's a group retreat with other participants.

If people are more interested in worldly affairs, objects, activities, ideas, social meeting and interactions than their own personal yoga and meditation practice to conquer their minds through quieting the mind and the elimination of ignorance and egoism, and they expect to be meeting with other people in the 'retreat' to be socializing with one another, they can participate in many other kinds of social activities organized by many different people and organizations around the world. As those who expect to have social interactions in a yoga retreat, they might be disturbing other retreat participants who join the retreat for retreat.

Although yoga retreats are not necessarily including the observation of complete silence, but all participants should try to minimize and restrict their speech, mental and physical activities, to conserve energy for yoga and meditation practice, and allowing the mind to have some moments of quietness to contemplate upon the truth of all the teachings of yoga.

Om shanti.

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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Om shanti

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