Here at Anahata, we are honored that Swami Anandakumar has returned to stay for some extra weeks unexpectedly. And therefore, we are able to offer another opportunity to take part in the Power of Awareness: Silent Meditation Retreat. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of several previous Silent Meditation retreats with Swami Anandakumar. However, in the past, I’ve been too busy juggling other retreat duties to become fully immersed in the program. Thankfully, earlier this year, I was able to be an almost full-time student in Swami Anandakumar’s Silent Meditation Retreat – and I loved it!
The meditation sessions were interwoven with balancing practices such as Hatha Yoga and Pranayama to prepare for 3 meditation sessions a day, Yoga Nidra Meditation for deep relaxation, mantra chanting as well as Karma Yoga (the yoga of action) in which the group did different activities like gardening and wood chopping to direct some of their energy. We were fed and nurtured by the Anahata team who also held the silence and created a safe container for us to go deeply inward.
We held silence for the majority of the retreat. What a lovely break from the constant input of the world! I turned off the cell phone, the radio, put an auto-response on my email and got the rare chance to delve into myself more deeply and undistracted!
The meditation session with Swami Anandakumar led us gently from a structured guided practice in the first few days to extended sitting in silence with very few instructions. This gradual development felt as if it created a strong foundation for self-practice, with clear building blocks, but plenty of space to find the technique that best suited our individual needs. It also gave a really great map to follow once people left the retreat so that everyone walked away with a solid meditation practice.
We also explored the SWAN technique, doing a self-reflection on our Strengths, Weaknesses, Aims and Needs. Although, I have also done this technique many times and also teach it, I always find new insights and clarity unfolds when I revisit it.
I was inspired by Swami Anandakumar’s depth of personal experience, entertaining stories to demonstrate important points and the progressive way that we were guided into profound meditation states that allowed for self-exploration and the deepening of awareness. I have been part of several of Swami Anandakumar’s Power of Awareness courses over the years and each one follows a similar structure, but I find that my experience is always different, because I am constantly growing. I find that the teaching unfolds according to the group energy and needs. Therefore, certain practices may have more emphasis. In this last course, we explored the chakras and in particular the heart space and emotional states more than in other courses that I have been part of and I found this personally very transformative especially in the challenging times we are all facing as a global community.
The winter environment was surprisingly perfect for this inner exploration, as we followed the energy of the natural internalisation that occurs at this time of year.
If you have the opportunity, I highly encourage you to attend this retreat. In the world’s current circumstances, who knows when we can next get Swami Ananadakumar back to Anahata Yoga Retreat. We are excited to soak up his wisdom and are so inspired to share this transformational retreat with you.
By Swami Karma Karuna
For more information on the upcoming Power of Awareness: Silent Meditation Retreat with Swami Anandakumar, click here