What: Residential retreat exploring the whole of the Five Yogas as a path.
Where: Dharmalaya Institute in Bir, HP, India
When: 15-19 November 2014 (It is suggested to attend the whole course, but it is also possible to attend only part if your time is limited.)
Language: English (and Hindi also if requested)
Facilitators: Roshan Palat (yoga instructor who has trained in multiple traditions) et al.
Description: A four-and-a-half-day residential retreat exploring the whole of yoga as a path, including not only hatha yoga (asanas and pranayama) but also jnana yoga (philosophy), bhakti yoga and mantra yoga, as well as karma yoga in the form of work related to sustainable living, including earthen building, organic gardening, and more.
The hatha yoga aspect of the retreat-course will include:
- An overview of the paths of yoga
- In-depth exploration of hatha yoga
- Training and practice in pranayama, asanas, meditation, and more
(See below for additional details.)
The karma yoga aspect of the retreat-course will include various activities related to sustainable living, such as:
- Hand-on work with traditional, natural building methods of the Himalayas, such as adobe, bamboo, etc.
- Opportunities for organic gardening and natural landscaping
- Explorations of the relationship between outer and inner sustainability
Accommodation options: Simple, comfortable accommodation in tents/dormitory/rooms in a beautiful Himalayan setting.
The base cost for the course is Rs 750 per day (a total of Rs 3000), including accommodation and three healthy (plant-based vegetarian and mostly organic) meals per day, and participants will also have the opportunity to give dana (donations) to support the yoga instructor and Dharmalaya.
Space is limited, so advance registration and 50% nonrefundable deposit are required. To request registration, use this form.
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Additional Information on the Yoga Aspects of the Retreat
The yoga components of the retreat will be conducted by Yogacarya Roshan Palat. There will be three aspects taught in the yoga module:
- The twelve most important physical asanas of Hatha Yoga (solar and lunar energy balance)
- Four primary types of breathing exercises or Pranayama (life-force control)
- The philosophy or the view of Vedanta as enshrined in the Yogavaasishtha, one of the four most important ancient texts expounding the yogic path.
Long ago, before the legendary battle of the Mahabharata (circa 3590-3600 B.C.E.), there was a great sage and seer called Vyasa. He was responsible for dividing the great Veda (one of humanity’s oldest written spiritual texts) into four parts. The resulting works are now regarded worldwide as great treasuries of wisdom on spiritual development and much more. In memory of his great undertaking, Vyasa was to be known evermore as Veda Vyasa. But the immense complexity of the Vedas hid their truth from most seekers. Knowing how difficult it would be for future generations to understand the perspective contained in the vedas, Veda Vyasa out of compassion wrote the great work of gnosis and non-dualism called the Yogavaasishtha. The Yogavaasishtha explains the universal truths contained in the Vedas through stories and allegory. It is in the form of a teaching given by Valmiki, another of India’s greatest sages, to Raama, considered to be the greatest king who ruled ancient India.
About the Practice of Yoga
In order to prepare the body and the mind to receive the realisations contained in the Vedas and the Yogavaasishtha, the channels of energy (naadis) in the mind-body must be prepared. In order to do this, the great sages of ancient India devised an eight-step process called Raja (royal) yoga. The third of these eight steps is known as Hatha yoga. The word Hatha has two meanings: the first is sun and moon; the second is forceful. Taken together, these two meanings indicate that Hatha yoga is the forceful balancing of the solar and lunar energies within our body. This balancing is achieved through the correct application of three things: physical postures, certain techniques of breathing, and techniques of mental visualisation.
Another essential aspect of yoga is karma yoga, which, during this retreat, will take the form of various activities related to traditional earthen building, organic gardening, and general care and beautification of Dharmalaya’s spectacular Himalayan campus.
Tentative Daily Schedule
5:30 AM: Wake up
6:00-6:30 AM: Bhakti Yoga
6:30-7:30 AM: Hatha Yoga
7:30-8:00 AM: Pranayama
8:00-9:00 AM: Breakfast and karma yoga
9:00-10:00 AM: Jnana Yoga
10:00-10:30 AM: Break
10:30-11:30 AM: Jnana Yoga
11:30 AM-12:30 PM: Karma yoga: help with what’s needed
12:30-1:30 PM: Lunch and free time
1:30-3:30 PM: Karma yoga: afternoon work session
3:30-4:00 PM: Tea break
4:00-5:00 PM: Various: Hatha/jnana/karma yoga
5:00-6:00 PM: Free time (wash up, clean up, karma yoga, etc.)
6:00-7:00 PM: Dinner
7:20-8:30 PM: Bhakti yoga and meditation
8:30-9:00 PM: Quiet free time (e.g. read, write, or go to sleep early)
9:00PM: Lights out (silent until 5:30 AM)
Note: The schedule is subject to change depending on circumstances, but this should give you a general idea of what to expect.
About the Yoga Instructor
The philosophical view of Yogavaasishtha, along with the techniques of Pranayama and the physical postures of Hatha Yoga, will be taught by Yogacarya Roshan Palat. Roshan trained in Raja yoga and Laya yoga under the guidance of Swami Ganeswara Giri of Uttarkashi. He then underwent training in Hatha Yoga from the lineage of Swami Sivananda Saraswati. After a decade of yoga training, Roshan began studies of Buddhism, which led him to Himachal Pradesh in 2012.