notes on the yoga retreat experience

notes from Les Gavatxes Yoga & Deep Rest Retreat October 2021

I so valued the way we start with meditation and it (the yoga practice ) being part of the same stream and the movement coming from the stillness

Emma, retreat @ les gavatxes October 2021

Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind ‘chitta vritti nirodhah’

the stillness of the mind when finding words could be said to be as a wide stream of movement with the absence of the disturbance of thought.

deepening into posture we would wish is an experience of arriving into our being , where the mental chatter falls away , and this ‘wide stream’ experience of our vital essence awakens,

rather than taking our habitual conditioning into how we ‘do’ posture , I encourage to to a deep listening of body , finding freedom where we already are , movement happens that we can’t ‘do’, so that the experience of posture has its own timing , mystery and beauty of just being of itself

this spontaneity has it’s deep origin in original movement that comes from underneath and beyond density , one might say from deep dynamic stillness. a present moment freedom , beyond ideas, and within this fluid and energetic moment state , is the potential to wash away density and with that space comes the potential for something else to happen , what else is possible?

when an asana comes about spontaneously as a natural expression of one’s interior state , it will be perfect. That is to say , the position of the legs, hands, arms, head , the gaze… everything will be as it should be… Performance of an asana by an effort of will can never have the same perfection . Asanas are connected with the rhythm of ones breath, and the breath with one’s state of mind at any particular time

Sri Anandamay , MaAnandamy Foundation

a yoga retreat offers a space to slow down. to be attentive to how we are . as we slow down we enable our fluid nature to unfold from sinking underneath the conditioned thinking , body/mind states. in our fluid body and fluid mind is the potential to begin moving out of the density of habit .

have you noticed how often living is an of experience and suddenly we wake up where we aren’t fully here ? after a little time participants often begin to notice what is happening in their mind and body on a habitual basis , that normally they would not . similarly beginning to notice tension or aches or restricted ways of breathing, and realise that this is actually always there but they have not taken notice of it yet.

in these moments of noticing , a doorway opens, to see the ‘trance’ of where we are much of the time. this density where we are stuck in stories and habitual ways of thinking that bind us rather than allow us to see clearly. so there might be a meeting with these habits

a doorway opens in the moments of reconnection to body through an awakening awareness of present time felt sense experience. as we begin noticing habit , we have created a space between the habit and our wider perception, it allows more space to enter between and this witnessing presence begins to establish itself as a deeper ground in our inner experience that has more substantiality underneath the lessening pull or push of habitual reactivity

this is where the practice becomes the students own enquiry , the practice becomes about ‘finding freedom where we already are’ . and perhaps the journey to stepping through to freedom from what is limiting .

with the guidance and presence of the teacher. meeting with compassion and clarity the layers of the habitual trance of the body/mind that do not serve us

deepening into the experience of the body is not a separate experience to the experience of what’s happening in the mind . meeting the body we can go underneath and begin the process of unwinding from the habitual trance that binds us.

this becomes clearer when we understand that our thinking originates from sensation, sensation is first. and the habits held in the body are coupled with the compulsive thinking or beliefs that go along with it . that ache in our hip carries emotion – it is ‘charged’ along the with ‘charged emotion ‘ and its thinking keeping the the emotion rolling . the endless stream of inner dialogue . “neurons that fire together , wire together” is what the modern neuroscientists discovered. and over time rehearsing a looping set of thoughts and emotions , creates deeply grooved patterns of emotional reactivity . in mind and body . this somatics in yoga allows us to discover an inner listening to the internal physical experience , to find out how we really are .

for example the restricted breath suppressing emotions or feelings that for some reason couldn’t be fully allowed or integrated , at some point in our life has served as a very useful mechanism for survival in a life situation . a life situation that is in the past .

as we practice through this deep listening and allowing attentiveness, as the deeper ground of our being becomes our experience , there comes an increasing sensitivity where before was numbness or disassociation , tiny little things may happen , softening, tiny breaths, sensations that speak to us of a softening fluidity and sense of expansion , ease , where tension begins to dissolve, where density begins to unravel

in a retreat space , a space ‘away’ from every day life , is potentially a space to reset , transform . held in the silent wisdom of nature. where there is more space there is the chance for something else to happen within the mind and within the body . without turning away from or getting hooked into , but building the muscle of allowing . in small but powerful ways at the bodies own timing and pacing . intelligent body wisdom chooses.

as the student begins to land in their experience of body , noticing and allowing with compassion and loving awareness, whats ready to fall away , can drop away. and the wide stream of existence begin to take us by the hand and home to wholeness .

Listen to one of my meditations loving awareness – 35 minutes

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