Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Is Stress Serving You?

By AOLRC
December 7, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center

I like to ask people — is stress really working for you in your life? Some people really believe that if they don’t have stress in their lives, they won’t be motivated.

 

Though sometimes stress might call us to action, if we have too much stress in our system, we’re not able to have the awareness to effectively navigate the ups and downs of our life. When we have tools and techniques that allow us to deal with emotional and physical stress, we are able to live a more dynamic, enthusiastic life.

   

Lower Stress with the Happiness Program

It’s been 25 years since I participated in my first Happiness Program. What really struck me was feeling that the pressure cooker within myself could finally let off some steam. I was a young mother with small children, and sometimes our children can be instrumental to growing in our practice. They are the best button-pushers in the world. Parenthood is challenging at times, but after the Happiness Program, I found I had such inner strength to draw upon, just through my breathing.

 

The most powerful result of this program is inner connection — feeling comfortable and natural in my own skin — feeling at home within. When I felt more at home within, I was able to bring that everywhere with me.

 

You are Enough

So much of society tells us that we’re not enough. That we won’t be complete unless we’re a certain way, unless we purcha

 

se certain things. The Happiness Program says “Guess what? You have it all already.” It’s there. It’s just waiting to be uncovered. You have ‘garbage day’, which is what I like to call it, and you clean your soul out, and find more joy, more peace, more connection, and naturally, more happiness.

Art of Living is living our life more artfully, more in tune with ourselves, and when we’re in tune on the inside, we bring that harmony and that connection to everything that we encounter — people, places, and things.

 

by Denise Richardson


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

 
TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Happiness Program , stress
The Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Annalies Richmond on Confidence and Compassion

By AOLRC
November 13, 2017

The Art of Living Retreat Center

 

There are so many benefits to the practices of meditation and mindfulness. Peace, joy, and wisdom are all natural rewards of the methods and techniques taught in the Art of Living Retreat Center’s weekly Happiness Retreat, but perhaps two of the most powerful, unexpected qualities we foster in meditation are confidence and compassion. We recently sat down with Art of Living instructor Annalies Richmond to speak about her journey to confidence, compassion, and maintaining self-worth in the face of negative interaction. 

 

Confidence & the Happiness Retreat

My first experience with Art of Living and the teachings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar completely blew me away. I was a professional dancer, which is a high-stress and intensely focused career path, and I was always very nervous during auditions and performances. I’d practiced different kinds of meditation before, trying to overcome that nervousness, but it never quite did the trick. A friend recommended the Happiness Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center, and I felt like it brought a new element of mindfulness to my entire life.

 

After the Happiness Retreat, everything came to life. I started noticing the trees when I would walk to the subway. I started feeling more happy at work. Anything bothersome that would happen would just roll off my back, as long as I was practicing the techniques I’d learned. But the most astounding thing for me, and for my career, was that after I started practicing meditation daily, the nervousness just disappeared. Performance felt natural and normal, like I was in my living room. I remember walking on stage at the Metropolitan Opera in front of four thousand people and not feeling nervous at all.

After dealing with nerves for so long, that was an incredible experience that really demonstrated the power of all the techniques I’d learned in the Happiness Retreat. I enjoyed my career so much more after that, and I felt that the knowledge and wisdom I’d gained during the retreat gave me a much bigger perspective on my life. It made me realize that there was even more I could contribute to the world.

 

So I began teaching for Art of Living, and learning about how confidence and compassion are intertwined.

 

How to Navigate Negative Interactions

One of the key insights of yogic wisdom that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar speaks on is how to maintain confidence and compassion when someone treats you poorly. The way someone treats you is a reflection of their character, not yours. You are always worthy and loved, no matter how you are treated. If you have self-respect, no one can ever take that away from you, and when you treat other people with respect and honor, it demonstrates the quality and integrity of your character and actually helps them break their own negative patterns.

 

If you react in a negative way to poor treatment, it’s not helpful to the other person. The way to help people out of their damaging social patterns is to maintain your own center and not get caught up in trying to diagnose or assign intention to their actions. If you approach someone in a calm, serene state, and with an attitude of love and helpfulness, people do pick up on that vibe, and they’re often willing to listen to you.

 

Building Relationships through Compassion

For instance, I’ve taught at youth correctional facilities, and I’ve really had to learn to suspend my own judgement and approach these kids from a place of understanding and compassion. Often times, many of them are in there because they had no choice, due to their upbringing or circumstances. The first day of these courses usually come with a lot of disrespect. The kids aren’t interested in anything I have to say. But I just have to keep reminidng myself that their behaviour has nothing to do with me, and that I can’t take offense to how they’re reacting to me.

 

But over two or three days of me just being willing to listen to them without reacting, without yelling back at them, they begin to actually develop a curiosity as to what I have to say. By the fourth day, I’m able to teach them breathing techniques, and by the last day, they don’t want me to leave. We build real relationships. Teaching these young people has been amazing, and has really reaffirmed in my mind that if you maintain equanimity and peace of mind during conflict, you can help with the healing process.

 

Making the World a More Loving Place

We’re very fortunate to have a teacher like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar alive on this planet. Someone of his enlightened stature, who chooses to share his wisdom with us, who can teach us how to go deeply inwards and get in touch with our true selves. He can show you how to heal yourself and serve the world at the same time. He teaches how to be at peace with ourselves and our surroundings, but also how to be dynamic and make the world more peaceful and loving.

 

The Art of Living is joy and balance. It’s harmony on the inside, and harmony with the outside. And the Art of Living Retreat Center is such a magnificent natural setting to help you along in your jouney. You wake up and look out the window, and you’re above the cloud lines sometimes, which feels completely ethereal. The combination of meditation and community and nature makes you feel like you’re truly in heaven.

 

Join Annalies for YesPlus Art of Silence from Dec 30, 2017 – Jan 2, 2018 and begin the New Year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 


The Happiness Retreat runs weekly. 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , happiness , Happiness Program , knowledge , sri sri ravi shankar , wellness , wisdom
Art of Living Journeys

Art of Living Journeys: How Denise Re-framed Her Life

By AOLRC
October 25, 2017

Art of Living Journeys

 

Before joining us at the Art of Living Retreat Center for our weekly Happiness Retreat, Denise felt as though she was stuck – in an unhappy marriage, in unhealthy patterns, in the darkness. But after a weekend of lessons, love, and light, she found her own light at the end of the tunnel. We recently sat down with Denise to speak about her experiences, what she would tell her former self, and how she is living in her light. 

 

Prioritize Your Wellness

Before Art of Living came into my life, I was in a place of hopelessness. I yearned to find joy and happiness, but I was at the point where I didn’t feel like I was meant to in this lifetime. I was dealing with some emotional trauma, and I was also in an unhappy marriage. It wasn’t only affecting me, but my children as well. My unconditional love and acceptance for this person had turned a corner to enabling. Through Art of Living and the Happiness Retreat, I was able to realize that I could still love this person while prioritizing my own wellness and taking myself out of an unhealthy situation.

 

The tools and techniques taught in the Happiness Retreat took away the guilt of that decision. I was able to move forward and live the life I’d always wanted to live. I found a joy and a peace that I’d never felt before.

 

A Way Out of Darkness

If I could speak to my former self, I would apologize to her, for letting her feel for even one moment that there wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. That she would be unhappy forever. I would tell her that the darkness is not a place she had to stay, that there was a way out. And the Happiness Course is the very essence of the first step towards finding a way out of that place.

 

The Happiness Retreat brought a knowledge and confirmation to me that there was something better out there. It’s not just someone telling you that you can be happy. The tools and techniques of the program transformed all of my negative thoughts and patterns into something positive. It allowed me to move forward, and to find the light, even in my darkest moments.

 

Paying it Forward

The Art of Living Retreat Center is such a wonderful, accepting place. It feels as though you are coming together as a family, connecting with anyone and everyone. We all matter – each person does have something to give to someone else. If I had not come here and seen the people around me, and felt the love and peace and happiness, then I would have never been able to conceive of that happiness being possible within myself.

 

My desire now is to share my story with others. There are women out there who are exactly where I was, and I want to show anyone who’s been where I am how I got through it, and how I ended up in this amazing place of peace and joy. I want women to know that there is hope to live a life of joy, peace, and happiness.

 

Make the choice to truly thrive in life. The Happiness Retreat runs weekly. 

 
 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

 
TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , happiness , Happiness Program , healing , wellness
Art of Living Journeys

Art of Living Journeys: Lillian’s Creative Spirit

By AOLRC
September 18, 2017

Art of Living Journeys

Lillian Bijoux, an artist and singer-songwriter, describes her experience with the Art of Living Happiness Program as something that moves and and inspires her creative spirit.

 

Lillian remembers feeling free and open as a child, unrestricted by her mother’s admonishments to “be like everyone else.” However, with the death of her father, she buried her free and loving spirit, leaving her severely depressed as a single mom of four. Bijoux first opened her heart again with a dear friend’s support, which was a turning point that began her journey towards returning to her naturally passionate, spirited self. Here’s a bit of her account of her experiences with the SKY meditation offered by Art of Living and IAHV:

 

A Newfound Sense of Happiness

Oh, it’s given me so much happiness. It’s washed away all my sorrow and grief and pain. And even my doubts, over time; it’s taken time because I do it every day; it’s an incremental process.

 

I do my Kriya practice everyday. I do it when I feel anxious or angry or whatever. An unpleasant emotion and it washes it away. I am transformed into newness, aliveness and innocence, I guess you’d say, again. I am constantly in awe of the whole process and so thankful, full of gratitude that it’s happening. I feel like I am reaching my potential in life and that I’ll find my purpose in life through this practice.

 

A Clearer, More Creative Mind

The first week I was doing the Sudarshan Kriya, I had 13 new original songs that came spontaneously, the words and music at the same time. And I‘m a painter, and it’s like the spirit calls me to get up in the middle of the night, so I get up and paint. And the writing; you know, God sits on my shoulder when I’m writing.

 

An Accepting Attitude

I like to have new experiences now. I’m just open to whatever happens. And pain doesn’t bother me anymore. Physical pain or emotional pain doesn’t bother me like it used to.  I am able to cast it aside, let it wash through me, and then it’s gone. And then I’m new again.

 

A Contagious Passion for the Practice

I want this for my family and for my dear friends. I’ve tried to convince them but now I’ve decided to be an example, like look at me, look what’s happened to me;  how I am new; I’m different and I am thankful to be alive.

 

I am so in admiration of Sri Sri because he has dedicated his life to healing the world and the other people’s hearts. I think everyone is capable of doing this and radiating love out to others because if you love yourself then you can love others.

 

If you’re interested in learning the practical applications of breathing, meditation and yoga exercises, register for the Happiness Program, which runs every weekend at the Boone Art of Living Center.

 
 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living retreat center , creativity , happiness , Happiness Program , mindfulness , wisdom
Best detox program 2017 at the Art of Living Retreat Center

In the News: 2017 Best Detox Program

By Andrew
August 9, 2017

Top 10 Spa Awards: Best detox program Art of Living Retreat Center
We are delighted to share with you our exciting news…Organic Spa Magazine recently awarded our Shankara Ayurveda Spa the “Best Detox Program” in the United States!

Here’s why:

“…offers traditional Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara, abhyangha and marma therapy, consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor and some of the best and most authentic yoga and meditation teachers anywhere.”

Best Detox Program

“Originally built as a Transcendental Meditation Retreat Center by a follower of the Beatles’ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, this bucolic 381-acre property outside Charlotte, NC, was sold to the nonprofit, The Art of Living, in 2011. With more than 10,000 centers worldwide in 155 countries, this is the centerpiece, where guests will find abundant peace and tranquility.
Commit to an authentic Ayurvedic detox (panchakarma), or the signature Happiness Program, which features breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and shared wisdom, is life-changing. The recently renovated Spa offers traditional Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara, abhyangha and marma therapy, consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor and some of the best and most authentic yoga and meditation teachers anywhere. The cuisine is exclusively vegetarian, much of it from the organic garden on property. artoflivingretreatcenter.org

 

For us, this award is a reminder of the strong legacy we inherit. Ayurveda is an amazing tradition that offers a holistic approach to wellness and self-care, which is time-tested, approachable and all natural. And natural Ayurvedic modes of detox have been helping people rejuvenate for thousands of years. We are proud to be able to offer this type of programming in the US.

Come and stay with us soon!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Organic Spa offers inspired, interesting articles on lifestyles of wellness. You can check out the original announcement here or contact us by email at [email protected] or call 800.392.6870.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

Healing Journeys of Ayurveda: Amy’s Story

By Paige Reist
April 20, 2017
 

Small changes can make a huge difference. Amy, one of our recent Panchakarma and Happiness Program participants, shares how much her life has changed since coming to the Art of Living Retreat Center – she’s happier, healthier, and forty pounds lighter!

Happening Upon Health

I love the program. I happened upon the Art of Living Retreat Center quite by accident – I had been battling some health problems over the past few years, actually.  I had looked for answers and hadn’t really found anything that worked.

The Art of Living Retreat Center happened to be about 2 hours away from my home. I said I can drive there, yay! And then I found a program that sounded like what I have been searching for for a very long time. I felt it could be my hope for health for the future.

Become the Person You Were Meant to Be

It’s been much more than a spa treatment. It was life-changing. It has been getting my health back. It has been getting my spirit back. It has helped me to retrain myself, to center myself and be the person that I really always wanted to be. The staff here works with you, supports you and gives you the tools you need in your toolbox in order to go home and start putting those items in your life. You can then start to implement them into your life for the future.

The staff teaches you how to eat for your body type, and it’s not a diet, but a better way of life. I finally feel healthy and vibrant again! I’ve lost forty pounds to date because of the lifestyle changes recommended, and my family of four has lost over one hundred pounds! It’s not all about the weight, though – the dedicated, caring employees here encourage and inspire you to be a well-rounded person.

I am amazed at the simple changes we can make to become the person we’ve always dreamed of being.

Forming Special Bonds

My favorite part of the program was the people — bonding with our little group and the staff. Everyone here is so gracious and loving and giving. I can’t even start to name people because then I would feel like I was excluding someone from the list. But Dr. Lokesh, Medha, I mean, Mary, everyone… People in our group come from all walks of life, driving in from Iowa, New York, driving from North Carolina. We have come together and we’re a family now. And we always will be, because we helped each other through a journey that no one else in our life could share with us. We help each other get through it and we’re friends and family forever, along with the staff that supported us as well.

It’s amazing to bond with people that you wouldn’t normally get to meet or even think that you would be connected with. The people in our group were just awesome. I love sitting and talking with each one of them. In fact, if I had one wish to be granted this week it would be that we could add a week to the program just to sit and talk with Dr. Lokesh, Medha, and the staff. I’d love to talk more with the people here because all of them have a wealth of knowledge, and it’s just amazing to sit and talk with them. There’s just a feeling here of majesty and connectedness that I’ve never experienced anywhere else I’ve been.

Having the Ability to Feel Calm and Centered

One thing that struck a chord with me was the meditation, definitely. I can look back now and realize that in the past I was trying to find forms of meditating, but they were not exactly the right ways of meditation. And when I would get stressed or frustrated I would want to get away and rethink the situation. But now I have the tools to really meditate, center myself and calm down, whatever the case may be. I can put that into practice every day in my life. And I think that’s going to make the difference.

Body, Mind, and Spirit

I came back and completed the Happiness Program, and I am amazed at the simple changes we can make to become the person we’ve always dreamed of being. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have discovered the Art of Living Center. Each and every person here is dedicated to helping others live better lives, and they truly care. It’s like having an extended family high on the mountaintops of Boone. This place is majestic. I’ve made lifetime friends here, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to live and love more deeply.

I have had the greatest experience and I’m so blessed and grateful that I found this program.

 

Interested in learning more about the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Happiness Program , healing journeys , healthy lifestyle , Panchakarma , weight-loss , wisdom

Shankara Ayurveda Spa: Awarded Best Ayurveda Program in the US

By Andrew
July 29, 2016

Organic-Spa-Award-Logo---Web
We are delighted to share with you our exciting news…

Organic Spa Media Co. recently awarded our Shankara Ayurveda Spa the “Best Ayurveda Program” in the United States!

Here’s why:

You simply will not find a more authentic or effective Ayurvedic program outside of India

“This beautiful retreat center, with gorgeous vistas that overlook the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, NC, is the real deal. You simply will not find a more authentic or effective Ayurvedic program outside of India, where this program-and its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-are renowned. Everything, including the architecture of the prominent Meditation Center, is designed to help guests gain focus, lift their spirits and fulfill their human potential, with the help of loving and attentive staff, therapeutic Ayurvedic spa treatments, yoga and meditation, and amazing workshops and retreats from Panchakarama to the world-famous Happiness Program.”

Come and stay with us soon!

Visit our website or contact us @ [email protected] or call 800.392.6870

Organic-Spa-Award-press---Web

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC