We often get asked if we do yoga at the retreat, which in the western world often means the physical, asana posture based yoga but yoga is so much more than that.
At the retreat everything we do is yoga. Our reason to be is to help with the inner journey that an increasing number of people now find themselves without ever choosing it.
We are born into a world with no structure and no ideas confining how we think, speak and act. We are essentially free to live as we please and could in theory think, be and do anything at all without there being a right or wrong, good or bad, should or shouldn't.
Yet for most of us the structure quickly and relentlessly arrives. There appears to be a right and wrong way to be and do this life we are given. The ideas and limitations are thrust upon us quickly and soon we start to live within the confines of what we should and shouldn't be doing as a good human.
In reality however, what we are shown and programmed with is simply a collection of subjective ideas of how to live our lives. The fact that we are all simultaneously programmed with it both at school and through all forms of media, creates an illusion that it's the way humans live.
The creation and submersion in maya
Maya is the subjective, idea based illusion that we build and accept as the structure of life. It is laden with rules, labels, concepts and false truths that in the end appear to be "real". It's as if there is no other way to live and includes the things we take as facts such as breakfast, lunch and dinner, work, money, family and holiday. All are a subjective idea that have become truth for so many humans.
The maya is everywhere and where it fails to exist already we create our own, locking ourselves into chasing and avoiding things outside of ourselves as if they will bring us joy and happiness. We subjectives project our happiness into the people, places and things on the outside giving them responsibility for how we feel now and how we will feel later.
So what is yoga?
Yoga originated over a thousand years ago in Rishikesh at the foot of the indian himalayas and far from being focussed on postures and positions it was the science of self interrogation and the mind. The mind however in this case was far more broad reaching and existential than simply being related to the body and brain etc.
Yoga is the journey to realising the true self, the awareness and experiencer before the ideas are needlessly created. It is the unpeeling of the concepts and subjectivity to reveal the origin of it all.
Yoga is an experiential exploration into the ever present awareness of what appears to be. The core of perception and the peaceful, thoughtless foundation of our being..
It turns out that this exploration is part of the journey of human life. It's inherent and happens to most of us at some point whether we choose it or not. We are born free of ideas and limitation, we build the subjective structure by accepting it and taking it on as a fact of life until the confinement becomes too much to bare. Often called a mid life crisis, we experience the reality that in projecting our happiness and hopes of peace into people places and things in the outer world, we at some point realise that it really doesn't work.
After a lifetime of trying idea after idea, we at some point get tired and start to question the logic of the search. This is the start of yoga and self enquiry.
The journey back
At the retreat we help you to take the journey back to the peace and joy that you had before all the subjective ideas and limitations become a rigid structure that forced you to chase what you needed to be, do and have.
Yoga is part conceptual realisation and part experiential realisation of the awareness and true self that exists before any idea is created. Fist we experience, then we create an idea about the experience, then we think about the idea, then we act believing that it was the experience itself that forced our action.
Of course however, it was never the experience that created our actions and behaviours or even the way we feel. It was the ideas we created about the experience that made us act and those ideas are always polarised and subjective. They tell us there is a good and bad, a right and wrong, a liked and disliked and we believe in the truth of those manufactured stories of polarity.
These polarities and the will to chase and avoide them is the construct of the maya or illusion of our lives. Given the exact same experiences a group of humans will created an individual and unique opinion set that becomes their personal truths, and they will live according to them.
Yoga is the process of seeing this for what it is and ceasing to be submerged in it all as if it were truth and "real". This is a progressive journey with no means of return. Once seen you cannot unsee the maya and you are exiting it moment by moment until it all becomes irrelevant and an obvious condition where balance is lost.
The retreat is a centre for this exploration and to take this irreversible journey out of your subjective truths and into the true, experiencing self where it is peaceful and joyful always. There's no thoughts of bad or good, liked or disliked, in fact there are no thoughts at all. Just connection and peace, intuition and flow.
So in answer to the question "do we do yoga at the retreat?" the answer is yes but if you believe that simply means posture then here's where you learn that it is so much more. Yoga is everything that helps you to realise the self, become permanently present and exit the maya that our life's journey has built so densely around us.