So far this year, about once a week someone or two came back to a yoga class, who hasn’t been in class for a while/years. It’s interesting; often when people miss for a long period, they are almost embarrassed to come back to a yoga class. There is no need to be embarrassed to return to the yoga class after a long absence. As I hear this excuse a lot, if you wan’t to come back to class come back, no questions asked.
The next excuse I hear from people not coming to a yoga class is: “I’m not flexible”. Well that’s the purpose of yoga to become flexible and allow movement to your own ability. Improve and moving to your own level.
The same counts for the Yoga Retreat, you can be a complete beginner to attend the
Yoga & Meditation Weekend in August, Friday 16/8 – Sunday 18/8/2019.
- We will return to the same venue as last year, Luther Heights Youth Camp in Coolum Beach. The accommodation is very simple, bunk beds, dorm style. But since we occupy only a third or quarter of the beds available, we can spread out nicely. There are separated niches to share with your friends & family. You need to bring your own linen.
- Toilets, showers are basic & clean.
- The vegetarian meals are delicious, and a good variety.
- Even good coffee (a luxury, not following traditional yoga ashram rules).
- So rather than a luxury yoga Retreat, this is more a traditional Yoga & Meditation Camp, as they used to be, when Yoga first arrived in the West. Or more like a Yoga Ashram in India, where the focus is on the practice of yoga, rather than a luxury bed & spa. (which is very nice, but has it’s price).
- This allows me, to keep the price below $450
- The cost the for whole weekend is $420 (including the yoga program, accommodation and meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner).
- We are surrounded by beautiful, peaceful nature, trees and grounds. Views over the ocean and towards Mount Coolum.
- Spectacular sunrise, to start the day with Sun Salutations and Meditation.
- Short walk to the beach and Point Arkwright lookout.
- A good location and opportunity to immerse into the practice of Yoga. Dust of the winter blues, getting ready for Spring.
- My friend Amrita Kamala will mostly likely join us again, to play the harmonium.
- As a new activity this year, we might have a camp fire on Saturday evening. The Camp has the facility for this, but of course this will be weather permitting only. If no fire restrictions.
- For the Retreat Weekend to go ahead, I need a minimum of 15 -18 bookings.
- Please let me know by 31 March 2019, if you are seriously interested to attend the Yoga & Meditation weekend.
- As by then I can cancel the venue without any extra charges, and of course I would refund your deposit as well. Fingers crossed, that will not be the case.
Please contact me for any questions and bookings. I can also send you a detailed pdf file by email , or you find all the important details by following this link:
Looking forward to hearing and seeing you,
Prema MariaSunrise Meditation, Retreat September 2018.
Based on the “Five Points of Yoga” as outlined by Swami Vishnu-Devananda-ji.+
3. Proper Relaxation (Savasana)
Long before the invention of cars, planes, telephones, computers, social media, freeways and other modern triggers of stress, the Rishis (sages or seers) and Yogis of yore devised very powerful techniques of deep relaxation. As a matter of fact, many modern stress-management and relaxation methods borrow heavily from this tradition. By relaxing deeply all the muscles the Yogi can thoroughly rejuvenate his/her nervous system and attain a deep sense of inner peace.
When the body and the mind are constantly overworked, their natural efficiency to perform work diminishes. Modern social life, food, work and even the so-called entertainment, make it difficult for modern people to relax. Many have even forgotten that rest and relaxation are nature’s way of recharging. Even while trying to rest, the average person expends a lot of physical and mental energy through tension. Much of the body’s energy is wasted uselessly.
More of our energy is spent in keeping the muscles in continual readiness for work than in the actual useful work done. In order to regulate and balance the work of the body and mind, it is best to learn to economize the energy produced by our body. This may be done by learning to relax.
It may be remembered that in the course of one day, our body usually produce all the substances and energy necessary for the next day. But it often happens that all these substances and energy may be consumed within a few minutes by bad moods, anger, injury or intense irritation. The process of eruption and repression of violent emotions often grows into a regular habit. The result is disastrous, not only for the body, but also for the mind.
During complete relaxation, there is practically no energy or “Prana” being consumed, although a little is keeping the body in normal condition while the remaining portion is being stored and conserved.
In order to achieve perfect relaxation, three methods are used by yogis: “Physical”, “Mental”, and “Spiritual” relaxation. Relaxation is not complete until the person reaches that stage of spiritual relaxation.
1 – PHYSICAL RELAXATION
We know that every action is the result of thought. Thoughts take form in action, the body reaching to the thought. Just as the mind may send a message to the muscles ordering them to contract, the mind may also send another message to bring the relaxation to the tired muscles.
Physical relaxation first begins with the toes and then moves upward. The autosuggestion passes through the muscles and reaches the eyes and ears at the top. Then, slowly, messages are sent to the kidneys, liver and the other internal organs. This relaxation position is known as Savasana, or the Corpse Pose.
2 – MENTAL RELAXATION
When experiencing mental tension, it is advisable to breathe slowly and rhythmically for a few minutes. Soon the mind will become calm. You may experience a kind of floating sensation.
3 – SPIRITUAL RELAXATION
However one may try to relax the mind, all tensions and worries cannot be completely removed until one reaches spiritual relaxation.
As long as a person identifies with the body and the mind, there will be worries, sorrows, anxieties, fear and anger. These emotions, in turn bring tension. Yogis know that unless a person can withdraw from the body/mind idea and separate himself from the ego-consciousness, there is no way of obtaining complete relaxation.
The yogi identifies himself with the all pervading, all-powerful, all-peaceful and joyful self, or pure consciousness within. He knows that the source of all power, knowledge, peace and strength is in the self, not in the body. We tune to this by asserting the real nature, that is “I am that pure consciousness or self”. This identification with the self completes the process of relaxation.
“The practice of relaxing the muscles of the body will bring rest to the body and to the mind also. The tension of the muscles will be relieved. People who know the science of relaxation do not waste any energy. They can meditate well. Take a few deep breaths and then lie down flat on your back as in Savasana. Roll on to one side and then relax as thoroughly as you can do. Do not strain the muscles. Roll on the other side and relax. This is naturally done by all during sleep. There are various exercises in relaxation, for the particular muscles of a particular part of the body. You can relax the head, the shoulders, the arms, forearms, wrist, etc. Yogins know the science of relaxation thoroughly. When you practise these various relaxation exercises, you must have the mental picture of calmness and strength.”
Sri Swami Sivananda-ji
This year I’m organising and teaching a weekend retreat again, it has been four years since I offered a yoga retreat last time.
It takes place at the Gunnebah Retreat Centre near Murwillumbah, northern NSW. We have been there before and it’s an ideal location for a yoga weekend, surrounded by most beautiful nature. In the past I used to prepare and cook the meals myself, lot’s of work before and during the retreat for just one weekend. This year the Gunnebah catering team, will provide all our vegetarian meals. So less karma yoga for all of us, no chopping, cooking and doing the dishes. Instead kick back a little. Therefore also the higher cost than in the past.
The Retreat is from Friday 28 – Sunday 30 August 2015. It is open to newcomers, beginners, if you need to give your yoga practice a fresh boost and experienced yoga students.
The hatha yoga class will be mostly two hours, instead of the usual 90 minutes like in the weekly classes. So more time to go deeper into postures, explain details, more variations and holding postures longer. We practice the silent japa meditation, maybe Tratak (gazing at the flame of a candle) and chant Kirtan (mantra singing), as I bring my harmonium along.
During the lectures we might also cover other topics, than the classic yoga philosophy Vedanta. Wisdom, knowledge, practices, a holistic approach to life, etc. that interest me and I like to share more with you. For example: How the moon influences our bodies, the way it guides the ocean tides. (Saturday 29/08 will be a full moon). The facts and importance of the fascia. Tapping Solution for EFT (emotional freedom technique). Such interests and similar.
So it will be a very uplifting, inspiring and empowering weekend. Practicing and learning the vast horizon of Yoga, Meditation, Mantras and more. While we are in the middle of beautiful rain forest nature.
For more information please browse through the Retreat section on this website, phone or email me.
Looking forward to hearing and seeing you soon.
Namaste, Maria Prema
© Photography Maria Steiner / Ian Grasmeder
In his book “Messages to Mankind” Swami Chidananda writes:
The true basis of human unity where all beings are at one is the factor that is the essential being within us. Superficial factors express diversity; there is a difference. In form all are different. Diversity, more than unity, seems to be the law of creation. In everything, everywhere upon the face of the earth, we find diversity. No two leaves are alike but even though a tree is full of diversity, and is full of diverse branches, twisting twigs, leaves, flowers, fruits, etc., is rooted in unity. The root is one; the tree springs from oneness. So, if you trace all diversities to their source, the apparent diversity is found to be based upon unity, based upon oneness, having a singleness of source. There could no more be an apt analogy to bring home to us the truth of oneness of mankind than that of the tree with its diverse branches, shoots and twigs being founded upon the one, viz., the root.
“Compassion to all beings is the expression of spirituality.”
“You will be always peaceful if you are able to calmly witness the mental modifications.”
© Photography Maria Steiner
Swami Vishnu-Devananda condensed the whole yoga tradition into a very practical system, aptly named ‘The Five Propers or ‘Five Points of Yoga’:
Our physical body is meant to move and exercise. If our lifestyle does not provide natural motion of muscles and joints, then disease and great discomfort will ensue with time. Proper exercise should be pleasant to the practitioner while beneficial to the body, mind and spiritual life.
Yoga teaches us how to use the lungs to their maximum capacity and how to control the breath. Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmical. This increases vitality and mental clarity.
Long before the invention of cars, planes, telephones, computers, freeways and other modern triggers of stress, the Rishis (sages or seers) and Yogis of yore devised very powerful techniques of deep relaxation. As a matter of fact, many modern stress-management and relaxation methods borrow heavily from this tradition. By relaxing deeply all the muscles the Yogi can thoroughly rejuvenate his nervous system and attain a deep sense of inner peace.
Besides being responsible for building our physical body, the foods we eat profoundly affect our mind. For maximum body-mind efficiency and complete spiritual awareness, Yoga advocates a lacto-vegetarian diet. This is an integral part of the Yogic lifestyle.
Here is the most important point of all, we become what we think. Thus we should exert to entertain positive and creative thoughts as these will contribute to vibrant health and a peaceful, joyful mind. A positive outlook on life can be developed by learning and practicing the teachings of the philosophy of Vedanta. The mind will be brought under perfect control by regular practice of meditation.
” Health is wealth, peace of mind is Happiness. Yoga shows the way.”
– Swami Vishnu-Devananda
The Seven Chakras
Wise words by Swami Sivananda:
Success in Yoga or any other spiritual path requires the annihilation or control of the six enemies, viz., lust, anger, greed, pride, jealousy and hypocrisy.
Sri Swami Sivananda-ji