As always mornings at Meet Your Maker yoga retreat are silent until lunch time. That is, from 4.45am when pranayama practise starts, until 12pm when our asana session wraps up. As an avid chatter box, I was thinking this could be difficult, but manageable. I then found out that this year, Remy decided to step it up a notch and introduce an additional full day of silence. So I went from contemplating 7 hours of silence, to 36! I naively convinced myself that this was going be a very challenging and uncomfortable part of the retreat, and swiftly proceeded to plug my home phone number into speed dial in case of emergency. Little did I know how blissful the experience turned out to be, and I share with you 5 discoveries my fellow yogis, yoginis & I discovered from sitting in silence…
1) Life slows down
We found ourselves taking notice of our every action and cultivating mindfulness in doing so. Walking turned into a leisurely dawdle, eating became a mesmerising explosion of flavours and textures that we savoured and took the time to enjoy. It created an environment whereby it was easier to completely surrender to living in the moment which felt as if we were expanding the dimensions of time. And of course in not using as much energy talking or interacting, we got to recharge ourselves.
2) Connecting to self
Instead of externalising thoughts and emotions, your focus shifts inwards and you start to have an inner dialog with yourself. The pendulum can swing either way here from frustrating negative thoughts to blissful positive thoughts, both of which are totally valid and a revealing insight into our mind’s psyche, but upon acknowledging these, finding peace with them and moving beyond. It empowers you to realise that we all possess the ability to shift our perspective and in turn our mind’s narrative to a more positive outlook- eventually even eradicating the mind’s narrative all together- perhaps this is true silence? This introspection was a great opportunity for reflection, and inspired great amounts of gratitude and clarity. In silence, you no longer have to apologise for your actions, nor seek validation from others. Sensations in the physical body became more evident, as did emotions and it became easier to tap into the spiritual aspect in morning meditation, which all helped cultivate a more mindful and complete yoga practise.
3) Finding peace
In connecting to yourself and accepting what is, you start to find inner peace. The silence also heightened the senses and created peace within our environment. Everything was so quiet and tranquil- the sounds of nature became very obvious, you take the time to admire the beauty of the surroundings (I swear the law of attraction was at play, because I saw at least 3 shooting stars almost every morning), as cliché as it sounds, you really do feel at one with nature. I was even at peace with the little ants that kept running amuck on my yoga mat!
4) Connecting with people
This was unexpected without the verbal communication, and on our full silent day, eye contact was also out of the equation. However, coming to the end of the day, we experimented with a very interesting eye gazing exercise where we stared directly into the person’s eyes opposite us for one minute and then proceeded to rotate around the whole group. It was amazing how powerful this was, and the realisation that we very rarely actually do this. We all felt a deepened personal connection with each other after the exercise that developed well beyond our initial meet and greet and conversations proceeding the silence evolved to a much more open and personal level.
5) You learn to enjoy being alone
Enjoying your own company is a wonderful thing. You no longer need words, people or things to fill space, you are complete within yourself. You start to feel an increased independence, and begin to embrace silence. After enjoying your own solitude, you lose the burning desire for constant interaction. I found it allowed me to trust my own instincts and listen to my heart’s desires.
Blog & photography by Georgia Brownlee
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