This year at our annual Spring retreat we were honoured to have Swami Madhuram as our guest yogi!
10 - 12 October 2014 in the Yarra Valley (near Healesville) 40 participants brought their joyful openness to benefit from a weekend in the nature, practicing yoga in a few of its wonderful forms including asana, pranayam, meditation & yoga nidra, eating well and being with like minded people. Uplifting & nourishing on many levels.
While these few days had many of the aspects you'd expect and want at our retreats the highlights were:
the Nada Yoga sessions lead by Swami Madhuram. A few people commented that his presence was already calming and that peace was tapped into more once he started playing his flute. His music was amazing ...
AND the super delicious vegetarian food freshly prepared by Ilana! Thanks Ilana!
What is Nada Yoga?
A snapshot definition from Wikipedia: Nāda yoga is an ancient Indian metaphysical system. It is both a philosophical system, a medicine, and- as the name suggests- a form of yoga. The system's theoretical and practical aspects are based on the premise that the entire cosmos and all that exists in the cosmos, including human beings, consists of sound vibrations, called nāda. This concept holds that it is the sound energy in motion rather than of matter and particles which form the building blocks of the cosmos.
Nāda yoga is also a way to approach with reverence and respond to sound. Sound and music is in this context, something more than just the sensory properties and sources of sensuous pleasure, sound and music is considered also to play the role as a potential medium to achieve a deeper unity with both the outer and the inner cosmos.
Following is a glimpse of what Swami Madhuram shared with us over the weekend ...
Swami Madhuram introduced Nada Yoga. A yogic path because it uses sound, music and chant to give the busy mind a point of focus that will eventually lead to the mind becoming quiet and allowing us to access the peace that is within us. The sounds used in Nada Yoga bring us to our inner sound, anahada nada, that is the sound of our true Self. He highlighted our shared desire for enlightenment.
We need to let go to create space for receiving. As we are not able to control all aspects of our life and what is going to happen, then thinking too much about the future or the past is taking our attention away from this moment, which is where all the beauty is, all that you need is here now. We come from bliss and our path is to take us back. Sometimes things need to get really hard so we are forced to "let them go" as part of our path back to bliss. It is hard to let go because we identify ourselves as seperate from everything else.
The discussions of Nada Yoga also brought to light some of the other yoga paths, namely Karma & Raja Yoga. Even though the emphasis of the practices are different, they are cultivating similar qualities in us that let us experience inner quiet, to be open and receptive. Swami Madhuram didn't tell us we "should" but reminded us we "already are that" & "when we feel it, we'll want to". Trust / faith in the divine soul / oneness is strengthened through practice of Yoga, which allows us to access more and more the present moment where happiness is experienced.
Before we realise this inner "emptiness", we perceive ourselves from what we learn from the 5 senses. The yogis know the senses are limited to this material world and there is so much more. Meditation is the practice that allows us to access this. Once there, we realise our connectedness and from this true compassion arises. Compassion is not something you think about, you simply do. For example if you hand has a thorn stuck in its thumb, the other hand does not stop to question should I help or should I not, it just does it.
And the music:
The resonance of Swami Madhuram’s flute caught our thoughts and directed them to the ebbs and flows of the music. No longer were our minds wandering in the past and future, instead they became present to the beautiful vibrations of the bansari flute.
"I am writing to thank you for such a great weekend. I’m still on a cloud, even though I’m back at the office! The food was fantastic, the programme worked perfectly and the company was terrific. I was particularly moved by Swami’s amazing music. Hearing about how the ragas are structured yet improvised has opened me up to a new way of ‘seeing’ music. I’m looking forward to playing the CD." http://madhuram-music.com