Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Why Should I Go on a Retreat?

By Sarah McLean
April 1, 2018
 

Art of Living Retreat Center

Reconnect to the deepest part of you at a meditation retreat

Being on a meditation retreat for a day or a week can be a unique opportunity to unplug, spend time exploring your own inner world, and to find more appreciation for your life.

 

A meditation retreat can be a reset button and can even create a new normal: one where you are more present to what matters to you, responsive rather than reactive, and have a deep inner peace.

 

Some of our meditation and mindfulness retreats focus on cultivating creativity, others give you the opportunity to dive deep into your meditation practice, and there are those that offer the opportunity to explore and heal a particular emotional issue.

 

Techniques, not traditions

All of the retreats that Sarah McLean facilitates are secular in nature, yet are deeply spiritual. She says she teaches techniques, not traditions.

 

Sarah creates a safe and open atmosphere designed to encourage participants to find out who they are, what they really want, and be more intimate with their lives. Each retreat includes instruction in meditation and mindfulness, deep meditation practices, interactive exercises, mindfulness experiences, time in nature, and some offer an opportunity to explore gentle yoga.

 

Meditation is an undeniably powerful practice to create more balance in the body, spaciousness in the mind, and a new appreciation for everything and everyone in your life.

 

Each retreat is designed to create a touchstone of feeling whole and good—and a new perspective. It’s a meditation vacation!

 

A sustainable practice of meditation

In a meditation retreat with Sarah McLean, you’ll discover the secrets to how and why meditation works, and whether you are new at it or are a seasoned meditator, you’ll learn a sustainable practice of meditation.

 

When you return home you can bring the practices with you, so you can create a mini-retreat every single day. You also might notice that you are experiencing some subtle changes. Perhaps you order something different on a menu, or have more patience with your children, or you are less concerned about what people think.

 

You might sleep better, feel more balanced and energized, or find more creativity or confidence. With a continued meditation practice, more profound changes might follow as you explore your relationship to your job, or where you live, or you find a renewed purpose or passion in life.

 

The Power of Attention

Join Sarah McLean for her upcoming retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center, The Power of Attention, from May 10th to May 13th. The Power of Attention retreat will take you on a journey into mindfulness and meditation to increase your understanding of the value of attention. A value Sarah calls your superpower: the most important ingredient for living a powerful, purposeful, love-filled life.

   

Sarah McLean considers herself an American Transcendentalist. She’s dedicated her life to exploring meditation: living as a resident of both a Zen Buddhist monastery and a traditional ashram in India, as well as living and working in a Transcendental Meditation center. She headed up the education programs at Deepak Chopra’s center in California and Byron Katie’s School for the Work. Sarah is a best-selling Hay House author of the books Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation and The Power of Attention: Awaken to Love and its Unlimited Potential with Meditation. She’s also a sought-after speaker who is determined to create more peace on this planet by helping people wake up to the wonder and beauty of their lives and the world around them through the practice of meditation.

 

This article first appeared on mcleanmeditation.com.

   

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: attention , in house , knowledge , meditation , presenters , retreat , Sarah McLean , wisdom
Art of Living Retreat Center

Articles We Love: Happiness in March

By Paige Reist
March 19, 2018

Art of Living Retreat Center - Happiness

Spring is here, and what better time to refresh your outlook, brush the dust out of the corners of your mind and heart, and refocus yourself and your goals? The UN’s International Day of Happiness falls on March 20th this year, and we think it’s a perfect opportunity to spend some time in reflection on how to become your happiest, healthiest self.

The articles we love this month focus on digging into that inner well of happiness within yourself, and opening up the windows of the soul and letting in some fresh air.

Spring Cleaning 101: How to be a Tech Minimalist

Monique Serbu for MindBodyGreen

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be limited to your physical environment. Monique Serbu shares four great tips on how to clear out your digital life so you’re feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to leap into the new season.
“Spring is steadily approaching, and that means spring cleaning is on the horizon. While many of us dread this annual ritual, it doesn’t have to be such a pain. Think of it more like an opportunity to clear any excess from your life—an exercise in releasing that which no longer serves you.”

3 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness

Nicola Albini for Sivana Spirit

With the International Day of Happiness on the horizon, you might be inclined to focus on external ways to find satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. In this article, Nicola Albini details a few ways in which happiness actually comes from within, and shares affirmations and strategies for a pursuit of happiness that is drawn from your own mind, body, and spirit.

“[I] could no longer blame my parents, girlfriend, teachers, friends or anyone else for my own unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Underneath my complaints about what others were “doing to me” was a need to accept myself. I needed to take full responsibility for my experience and change my life from the inside out.

 

A Theory About Finding Real Happiness

Dakota Steyn for Thought Catalog

Real happiness is within your grasp. Dakota Steyn shares her thoughts on why happiness is a choice and a result of your actions, not a carrot on a stick to be chased.
“Let me share with you the secret to life: there is no “dummies guide to life,” there’s no one telling what to do or how to feel- at the end of the day life is made up of choices, the choices that you make. How your whole life goes; that’s up to you. You can choose to be negative about everything or you can make the most out of every second of what you do.

 

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 , digital detox , happiness , knowledge , Spring , technology , wellness , wisdom , yoga

The Practice: Sarajean Rudman on the Power of Yoga and Ayurveda

By AOLRC
November 18, 2017

Yoga and Ayurveda, to the new practitioner, might seem complicated, but although both practices are deeply rooted in the traditional spiritual wisdom and practices of India, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life to make room for them. Incorporating even the smallest concepts from yoga and Ayurveda into your routine can have far-reaching effects both your health and your happiness. 

 

We sat down Sarajean Rudman, accomplished yogini and AoLRC host, to discuss how to begin to integrate yoga and Ayurveda into your routine for your healthiest, most vibrant life. 

 

Yoga and Ayurveda: The Sister Sciences

Yoga and Ayurveda are all about self-care and self-love. So much else in life takes us out of ourselves, but yoga and Ayurveda take us back into ourselves. Blending the two practices has given me permission to be kind, to love, to nourish, to rest, to refuel and to listen.

 

At the very seat of the practices of yoga and Ayurveda, there is an element of taking back authority over yourself and listening to the innate, intuitive knowledge you already possess – when you wake up in the morning and feel that something is weird or off in your body, yoga and Ayurveda empower you to know that it’s okay to feel those things, to explore them, and to try to understand why.

 

I like to think of Ayurveda as the science that heals the vessel physically, and yoga as the science that heals the vessel spiritually and emotionally. It might seem like an intimidating system, but at the end of the day, it’s the simple things that have the most profound effect on your life. Even one single element of the practice, something as simple as drinking warm water, can propel propel you into a new world of self-care.

 

So much of our lives are lived as cerebral beings – we can think ourselves into and out of any situation. Yoga connects the body and breath back to the mind, and we stop conceiving of ourselves as a ‘severed head’. We begin to notice things that are out of balance in the way we feel, and Ayurveda is a medicinal practice that we can turn to when we do notice these things.

 

The Basics of Ayurveda

Ayurveda focuses on the five elements and the three doshas, or bodily humors. These are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of these doshas describes everything on earth, and everything on earth has a certain balance of these energies within it. The doshas, each of which encompass different qualities, rule the hours of the day, the seasons of a year, and the different phases of life we go through.

 

For example, the Kapha time of day is around 6AM – 10AM. Qualities associated with Kapha are heaviness, coldness, denseness, so it’s recommended that your practice is mobile and energetic in the morning to balance out that energy.

 

In the Vata time of day, which is anywhere from 2AM – 6AM, you might want to do a more contemplative practice, because Vata is immobile, erratic, rough, expansive, and ethereal. Timing the different elements of your practice to the appropriate hours can really work to balance the different dosha energies within yourself.

A First Step into Ayurveda

One of the most powerful ways to start balancing your own internal dosha energies is to go to bed before 10PM, because after 10PM, those fiery Pitta energies kick back in. The Pitta time of night is when you hit your second wind. It’s easy to work and work and work, when what your body really needs is rest.

 

For most people, this resets your circadian rhythms and balances your hormones, and you begin to feel more energized in the morning. You will experience less lethargy in the middle of the morning, your skin and hair will benefit, and your digestion will improve.

 

All of the cells in our body have been demonstrated to follow our circadian rhythms, even our digestive tract. There are certain times of the day when we should be eating, sleeping, moving, etc, and acting against those rhythms can be detrimental to your health.

Of course, technology and culture have a huge part to play in why we find it difficult to intuit these rhythms. My 94-year-old grandmother wasn’t up at 11PM scrolling through Facebook in 1945! Ayurveda is a great tool to help you get back to the natural cycles of the earth and your body.

 

Get Started Today!

Yoga and Ayurveda are accessible for everybody. You don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel or chant – yoga can be a walk in the woods. Yoga can by lying on your back and breathing. Ayurveda is the same! You don’t have to eat exclusively Indian food or completely give up things that you love to benefit from the principles and practices we teach. You can pick and choose what works best for you and your body.

 

The Art of Living Retreat Center is a great place to begin your journey. The Center has the most beautiful view, and there’s this undeniable spiritual potency here. When I arrived, I immediately wanted to slow down, which was pretty cool for me, because that rarely happens in a physical space.

 

There’s this settled energy here. It’s outrageously beautiful, and I find communing with nature to be epically healing for myself and others. The core of like-minded people at the Center has also been really healing and reaffirming.

 

Ayurveda has taught me to take care of myself. I’m a Vata-Pitta person, who gets very stuck in accomplishments and doing and moving and acheiving, and Ayurveda has really taught me to slow down, check in with myself, and never sacrifice my own well-being at the altar of success.

 


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 , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , Ayurvedic diet , doshas , healthy lifestyle , knowledge , wellness , wisdom , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
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 - Faith in What

Exploring Wisdom: How to Cultivate Faith

By AOLRC
September 25, 2017

Art of Living - Faith in What

Faith. We hear this word so often in a spiritual context that we’ve begun to take the meaning for granted. What is faith, exactly? And on our own individual  journeys, what do we put our faith in? Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spoke about the role of faith in the path of spirituality during his last visit to Boone; what it is, how to develop it, and how to develop trust in yourself and your journey. 

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TAGS: art of living , faith , happiness , healing , knowledge , mindfulness , sri sri ravi shankar , wellness

Healing Journeys of Ayurveda: Peggy’s Story

By AOLRC
June 15, 2017

Part of what we do at the Center is empower you towards a life well-lived. We don’t want your experience to end when you drive away from the mountains – which is why so many of our programs include an educational component so that you can continue to enjoy the transformative effects of Ayurveda at home. Peggy recently joined us at the Art of Living Retreat Center to celebrate the beginning of a new season of her life. What she found was not only a week’s worth of rejuvenation and self-reflection, but a new knowledge base to bring her experiences home. 
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TAGS: art of living Shankara spa , art of living spa , Ayurveda , knowledge , kriya , meditation , spa treatment , transitions
Marma - Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Revathi Raghavan on Marma

By Paige Reist
May 4, 2017

Marma - Art of Living Retreat Center

When combined with panchakarma, the practice of marma can help you find a profound sense of rest and release. We recently spoke with Revathi Raghavan, Marma Chikitsa Trainer, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Art of Living retreat host, about her journey with marma, and why she thinks it’s an essential addition to your panchakarma experience.

AOLRC: Can you explain what, exactly, marma is?
R: The word marma literally means mortal, sensitive or vulnerable. The term comes from the suchi veda, a part of Ayurveda, and it said to have origins in the martial arts and used on the battlefield to defeat enemies. Another theory is that it originated from Dhanur Veda, one of the four “upavedas” along with Ayurveda, Gandharva Veda (Music) and Staapatya Veda (vastu). Warriors wore protective armor to guard their vital points. Marma points are hidden, secret and vital. Hidden because you can’t see them, they are both inside and on the surface of the body. They’re anatomically thought of to be present at the junction of muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, tendons, and nerves. They’re sort of between mind and matter – that’s why they’re hidden. These points are also full of prana, or consciousness, which is why we refer to them as vital. It was also kept secret so that it is not misused – the knowledge was guarded and passed on mainly within families or through teacher-disciple relationship.

Sometimes we hear stories of people who are in accidents, and who may not have sustained any external injuries, but they die. Often, it’s because their vital marma points have been hit. There are points that can cause death or injury. When the same points are used therapeutically they bring enormous healing benefits.

According to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, it is one of the most restorative therapies. The practice of Marma or Marma Chikitsa is through gentle pressure or stimulation of these vital points. This releases any stresses or blocks held in the nadis for a long time and allows for free flow of prana or energy, thereby bringing deep relaxation and rejuvenation. It is one of the most direct ways of harmonizing prana in an individual. I like to think of Marma Vidya (Science of Marma) as the grandfather of acupressure.

AOLRC: And what are the benefits of marma?
R: The practice of marma has benefits on the body, mind and spirit. On the bodily level, it brings about hydration, nourishment, hormonal balance, pain relief, balances doshas, revitalizes organs, balances digestion and elimination, relaxes muscles and is generally cleansing. On the mind level, marma strengthens, balances the gunas, helps the mind be more in the present moment, improves perception, understanding and communication. Of course it helps us clear emotions and release stresses and achieve a deep state of relaxation. It also helps clear out any fogginess thus bringing clarity.

We live in a very stimulated environment today. People are constantly engaging their senses and there is enormous pressure to be someone and achieve something. There is also a overuse and misuse of our senses and we end up spending countless hours on television, ipads, kindles, laptops, and you-name-it gadgets. Everyone has goals, naturally, but there is so much pressure, hurried movement and competition that we’ve begun to live in this “vata” aggravated environment. Marma gives us a break from all of this and helps release some of the stresses brought on by the overuse/misuse of the senses.

AOLRC: What inspired you to learn and teach marma?
R: I had a wonderful experience receiving marma in Bangalore ashram once, and I’ve been fascinated ever since. I’ve been an Ayurvedic practitioner for many years now, and during my training, I delved into many panchakarma therapies, including abhyanga, shirodhara, nasya, swedana, virechana, and bastis. But I felt like my Ayurvedic training wasn’t complete without learning about marma chikitsa. I had the opportunity to learn from Ann Revington, the director of the Sri Sri Ayurveda programs in Canada, in our Texas ashram, which is where my journey with marma began.

AOLRC: In your experience, what is the common experience that participants have with marma?
R: It’s amazing to see how marma affects people. Even just doing a few points, people go into such a deep state of rest or relaxation. It’s wonderful to see the stress and tension just melt away. People have reported and shared healing of all kinds. They are able to sleep better at night, let go of anxiety, relief from body aches/pain, rest like they have never gotten in years, also have a deep meditative experience. Marma is safe for all ages and groups of people. It is beneficial for post-shock and trauma, illnesses (including cancer), injury, surgery, anxiety, insomnia and many other conditions.

It’s important for the practitioner to be on a regular sadhana practice, so that they’re stress-free and centered themselves. Giving someone an experience of marma is a very meditative experience, and both the practitioner and the recipient tend to achieve a profound state of meditation, and a deep sense of intimacy and oneness with each other and the universe.

AOLRC: Why the Art of Living Retreat Center?
R: When I’m here, I feel home. I don’t feel like going back to my real world! Everyone takes such wonderful care of each other here. The kitchen staff, the office, event organizers, the teachers, the participants – so courteous and sincere and go out of there way to make you feel comfortable. You can tell that everyone here is very passionate about what they do. I feel so comfortable here, so welcome. And yes, of course, the food is delicious!!

Experience the deep and restorative practice of marma at one of our many Panchakarma Retreats, and/or join Revathi for our next Marma practitioner training in July or October. You can also join her for a skin and beauty workshop “Beauty From Within” in July or October.

 

Experience the deep and restorative practice of marma at one of our many Panchakarma Retreats, and join Revathi for Beauty From Within in July or October!

 

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

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda detox , exploring wisdom , knowledge , marma , massage , natural lifestyle , Panchakarma , wellness , wisdom

In House: JAC Patrissi on Storytelling for Change

By Paige Reist
April 24, 2017

Storytelling for Change

   

Stories help us connect. They move people to action, get them invested, and create meaningful relationships between ideas and people. JAC Patrissi has dedicated her life to the art of storytelling, and has seen the power that stories have to affect change first-hand. This spring, she will bring her unique and heartfelt approach to storytelling to the Art of Living Retreat Center. Here, JAC touches on what she’ll be sharing this upcoming May.

 

Storytelling for ChangeNo one tells the whole story. Whether we are in an interview for a job or making a toast at a wedding, we all edit; we adapt to the goal at hand, choosing which parts to focus on, which parts to leave out. If our whole life is a tree, the story we tell is a bonsai, carefully pruned and shaped. It is impossible, and not even respectful, to tell everything we know about a thing (though, goodness knows, some of us try).

 

Storytelling for Change is a creative workshop aimed at strengthening your ability to tell the story of the work you do in a way that is brief, natural, and compelling. An idea that is not shared is lost. Your unique insights, the lessons of your life and work, the things that inspire you, are meant to be shared in a way that speaks to others. You can learn to tell moving, funny and essential stories without reading from a script. You can give the toast that comes from the heart and you can move new supporters to join the social causes that give your life its direction.

   

In this workshop, we will explore how audience, character, conflict, and calls to action impact our message and shape the story we choose to tell. We will clarify our own understanding of the kind of change we seek through the work we do and the message we wish to impart. You will learn simple ways to use your voice and body to convey your message naturally.

 

During our three days, we’ll tell our stories to one another in small learning groups in a supportive, safe environment. We will employ a method to giving and receiving feedback that is supported by research on how we learn. Most importantly, you will feel seen and understood as you are coached by others who want you to do well. We will learn tell stories more easily to help people “get” us. Finally, you will leave with two stories ready to tell and the skills to tell many more. This retreat is open to all levels of expertise, all gender expressions, and is appropriate for people in all physical conditions. Please contact us using the form here if you have any special requirements.

 

Come tell us your story

Join JAC Patrissi for a three-day retreat, June 2–4, 2017, in an idyllic setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a relaxing, rewarding, all-inclusive learning experience. You’ll leave rejuvenated and prepared to share your story with the world. Learn more here!

   

Interested in learning more about 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 , creativity , knowledge , wisdom , writing , writing retreat
Chakras - The Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Val Spies on Finding Bliss with Chakras

By Paige Reist
February 22, 2017

Chakras - The Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Many of us begin a yoga practice to improve our physical condition and relieve stress. Then the after-class euphoria becomes more and more noticeable, and we start to ask,Why do I feel so good? What is happening within to generate this feeling of well-being?”  Val Spies shares her thoughts on the chakra and kosha systems of the yogic tradition, and how attuning these systems can help us find bliss. 

The Doorway to Bliss

Through purifying, healing, and strengthening our physical bodies in the postures of Hatha yoga, we start to notice subtle shifts in our ability to connect with inner peace. Through practice, we build a precious relationship between our physical bodies and the mental, emotional, and spiritual layers of our being. As our awareness strengthens, so too does the desire to dive deeper into the studies that bring balance and bliss into our lives, inviting us to explore the subtle aspects of this beautiful yoga practice. This doorway to bliss begins to open when the inner and outer layers of the self start to find balance and equanimity with each other.  

 

Chakras: The Subtle Body Experience of Yoga

For thousands of years, the yogic tradition has understood the subtle layers of reality that exist beyond our physical perceptions. There are two subtle body teachings that help us understand the magnificent possibilities of happiness: the chakras and the koshas. Both the chakra and kosha systems are like maps that help us more effectively navigate our experiences, from the physical to the mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of ourselves and our lives.

 

Chakra is often translated from the Sanksrit as “wheel”: the chakras are the energy centers that emanate from within and around our bodies. In many traditions there are said to be seven primary energy centers that run along the spine. Each center relates to an aspect of our lives. In order to find balance in the mind, body, and spirit, the emotional and physical aspects of the chakras listed below must be clear of blockages.

 
  • Sahasrara – Crown – connection to the infinite / divine
  • Ajna – Third Eye – wisdom / intuition
  • Vishudda – Throat – communication / truth
  • Anahata – Heart – love / compassion
  • Manipura – Solar Plexus – power / strength / leadership
  • Swadhistahana – Sacrum – passion / creativity / intimacy
  • Muladhara Root home / earth / security
 

The chakra system is deeply rich and complex, just like the richness and complexity of our human experience. This brief overview is a glimpse into this remarkable field of study. Through study, practice, and self-reflection, the chakra system offers us a wonderful map to discover so much about our lives, and how to achieve a greater state of harmony.

 

Koshas: The Sheath

The second study focuses on the koshas, the layers of the self. Often translated as >sheathfrom the Sanskrit, the five koshas navigate our human experience from the physical to the spiritual dimensions. We can begin to explore them from the physical body inward, through sheaths of prana (life force, energy), the mind, the witness consciousness, and the spiritual core (universal bliss). Just like the chakras, the koshas are an incredibly rich piece of yogic philosophy. Understanding and harmonizing these sheaths is a study worth exploring!

 

Learning the divine play of inner exploration and the surrender to higher consciousness is our calling.  Once your eyes are opened to this calling, youll find yourself on a fascinating path that leads you through a more elevated experience of life.

 

Deepen Your Experience

Practice yoga, meditate, chant, enjoy nature, and begin your exploration of the subtle body with teachers who devote their lives to being your guide on this magnificent journey.  The Yoga Philosophy and Chakras Retreat is offered at the Art of Living Center in Boone on April 29-May 6th. Join me, Val Spies, and my good friend and celebrated national teacher Roger McKeever. With time for self reflection and inspiration, plus hiking, walking the labyrinth, and outdoor activities to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains, this promises to be a joyful, insightful, and unforgettable week.

 

Lets start here. Atha Yoga Anushasanam. Now the Inquiry of Yoga.

 

Val Spies is the owner and director of the Lotus Pond Center for Yoga Teacher Training. 

Interested in learning more about 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 , chakras , healthy lifestyle , in house , knowledge , koshas , Val Spies , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
Illuminating the World - The Art of Living Retreat Cente

Exploring Wisdom: Illuminating the World With KiMani Divine

By Paige Reist
February 10, 2017

Illuminating the World - The Art of Living Retreat Cente

Self-love is so important, and here at the Art of Living Center, you can cultivate that at the deepest part of your being, and begin to recognize and remember that you are loved. The presence of God lives inside of you, so you are worth your own time, your own attention, and your own devotion. That’s the message of Art of Living Center guest facilitator KiMani Divine’s work; making time for yourself, taking time to go within. We recently spoke with KiMani about the far-reaching effects of self-love. 

 

We have all struggled with learning to love ourselves exactly how we are. The most powerful lesson I’ve learned through self-reflection is that I don’t need any fixing. I am a simply a vessel for the light of the universe. When I deny that light, when I do not honor myself just as I am, I am denying my purpose.

 

The Light That I Am is the Light That You Are

When we all understand that our own light is bright enough, just as we are, then we empower others to find their own light as well. We are all one light. The light that I am is the light that you are. There is only one, and in that oneness, we can illuminate the world.
When you are restless, or feeling negative, or focusing too much on the outside world, the first thing you must do is to become aware. You can’t make any significant changes in your life until you’re aware of your own negative patterns of behavior and thought. This is why self-reflection is a huge part of meditation.

 

The Power of Prayer

Spending time in prayer and meditation is the foundation of my life. It’s like breathing. I can’t get along without it. Every thought, every word becomes a prayer. And when I retreat to the silence of my own mind, I receive answers to those prayers. I receive answers through how I think about myself, how I think about others, how I think about experiences. And when I begin to understand the answers to my prayers, I can put them into context – knowing that when I give out love, I receive love. When I think loving thoughts to myself, when I’m quiet within myself, that is where the love I’m seeking can be found. In this way, I’m truly able to give love without needing anything in return.

You can’t make any significant changes in your life until you’re aware of your own negative patterns of behavior and thought.

I find that it’s helpful to journal about your inner state – I have journals that go back all the way to 1990! When I go back over them, sometimes I’m astounded that I thought the things I did. Journaling is an act of release. It gets the thoughts out of you, out of your mind, and onto paper, where you can begin to understand them from a new perspective.

 

Humanity is a Diamond

We are all on a wonderful and sacred journey, and every single journey on the planet is leading to the One. The one space, the one time, the one journey – the One. Unity. Humanity is like a diamond. There are so many facets, so many peaks and planes, and we tend to conceptualize ourselves as different, separate points of the diamond. We think of ourselves ans individuals, but really, we are part of a whole. If a single peak of the diamond is illuminated, the rest of the diamond is as well. One point of light can echo through the entirety of the diamond. In this way, we are truly one. When we connect, when we show compassion, our level of love, and acceptance through self-love, transforms the whole of humanity.

Learn more about KiMani Divine here.

Interested in learning more about 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 , exploring wisdom , KiMani Divine , knowledge , unity , wisdom