What I Heard in Silence : Takeaways from a Silent Yoga and Meditation Retreat with Richard and Mary

  1. “There" is Wherever You Are

We’ve all been there – If I could just X, then I would have Y. If I could finish second series, I’d be satisfied with my practice. If I get that promotion, I’ll be stable financially. If I find a partner, I’ll have everything I want. All I want is to be stronger, more flexible, pregnant, successful, rich, less busy, skinny, strong, enlightened, or whatever in order to be happier. We all do this with everything: work; personal life; health; even our spiritual practices.

Here’s the thing, though: You’re already at the place that you’re trying to get to -  you are there. We all are, in fact. Whenever you reach your current idea of where you’re trying to get to, you’ll always find another “there” in its place.

None of this is to say that you shouldn’t have goals, but rather saying to be happy where you are and what you’re doing now. Let wherever you are now be...

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Top Lessons Learned from Richard and Mary

The journey of yoga begins when we acknowledge our humanity. Yoga should make us feel more ordinary, less extraordinary. It should make us kinder, more tolerant, peaceful, happy and humble. The practice of yoga connects us more deeply to the web of life. And once we realize this the practice begins.

Old patterns die hard – if they die at all. We continue to suffer because we don’t remember correctly. We make the same mistakes, do the same things, repeat the same patterns. Our samskaras, habitual patterns that cause us pain, show up in our actions on and off the mat. The mind works with memory and our minds are tricky – they try to keep us from practicing because when we are practicing well the mind begins to dissolve. So practice slowing down, being present and aware and maybe you’ll be able to break some of your patterns on and off the mat.

You need a solid foundation. Over the course of the intensive we spent more time on sun salutations and standing poses...

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When the Learning Starts

I’m not sure exactly when I stopped obsessing over asana. There’s been a gradual shift over the past couple of years, as I’ve become less hungry for the next pose and more hungry for how to become a better teacher, a more devoted practitioner, a better person. This year has been full of unexpected challenges which have shifted my perspective. I went to India to practice and was stopped there by life circumstances. I went to Encinitas to see my teacher to help me through an injury when I was too scared to practice, and now I’m working on new techniques and at a different pace.

 I’m here in Boulder almost 3/4 of the way through Richard Freeman’s month-long teacher intensive. This has been on my Ashtanga bucket list for years, and it has absolutely been worth the wait. The practice is slow and deliberate, led mostly by Richard. Confession: we haven’t done full primary yet! It’s a different thing for me, to take a month off from...

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