Seeking silence? Overwhelmed with the constant flurry of talk, and wishing there was a pause button on life? If so, you might be ready for a Silent Retreat. For this month’s Integral Yoga Teacher Feature, three Yogaville teachers—Rukmini Ando, Roy Rodriguez, and Rev. Kumari de Sachy—share the benefits of silence and participating in a Silent Retreat.
Benefits of Silence and Silent Retreats
It feels so good to find silence within. It’s a reset button. The mind fights it at first, but after even a few moments of stillness, the mind sees more clearly. Nothing on the outside needs to change, only how we look at it.
“Like fasting, a silent retreat allows you to process things, such as thoughts, experiences, and emotions that haven’t yet been processed due to so much activity. A lot of the things we carry, that have been unaddressed, will most likely come up in a silent retreat. And that’s the best place to process these things because there’s so much support. Just being among other people in silence is very powerful, for they are all holding a safe space for each other. Additionally, the lectures help to uplift and inspire people to believe that they are 100% capable of making their lives better. The Yoga practices, such as Hatha and pranayama (breathing practices) cleanse the physical body, and therefore the mind and subtle body. All these aspects of the Silent Retreat offer participants the opportunity to start anew once the retreat is finished.”
In silence, distractions are limited and I can more clearly see what is going on in my mind.
“The benefits of a silent retreat, in which others are responsible for daily activities like making meals, is that the retreatants can focus on the silence for longer stretches of time. Also, in my experience, a group silent retreat draws more deeply from the subconscious, than when in silence alone.”
Silence promotes self-inquiry. When one is silent it’s much easier to focus the awareness within. The practice of silence can help us control the senses and, in effect, the mind. Additionally, silence helps preserve prana (energy) because, by speaking, we expend a great deal of energy. Finally, silence is conducive to experiencing the peace within.
“Being part of a group whose members are focused on going within really helps each member to direct the mind inward. As in meditation, lots of thoughts and feelings bubble up from the subconscious. At the beginning of the retreat, the experience can be intensely emotional, because one undergoes a kind of psychic cleansing. After that stage, one normally experiences a state of profound peace, as well as an exhilarating feeling of empathy toward everyone in the group which is often expressed during the sharing at the end of the retreat.”
-Rev. Kumari de Sachy
Silence According to Sri Swami Satchidananda
“Silence is the voice of the Cosmic Consciousness or God. So if you want to communicate yourself directly to that Cosmic Consciousness, or God, silence is the best way. Be silent and then listen to what’s happening within you.”