My First Yoga Retreat

Post by Liliya Rudakova,  21 July 2014 ,  News
“I'm lying on the floor with my eyes closed, pressing my legs against my chest, breathing deeply. The rain is falling on the roof and its sound joins the percussion of Indian music that is slowly filling the hall like an exotic perfume. I try to think about nothing, focus on my breath, my body, but most importantly on my soul. Anne Haack, my yoga teacher for the next 2 hours, is slowly repeating a short mantra connected to the throat chakra: My truth and creativity are within.”

blue sky, breathe, quote

Z. Friday, who just recently discovered the power of yoga and meditation took part in a one-day Yoga Asana and Meditation retreat and will share her impressions in this blog post.

On Saturday 14. 6., a special one-day yoga asana and mediation retreat took place in Stolzenhagen. Stolzenhagen is a village not far from Berlin, where villagers live without any fences and where the numerous small cottages and gardens are so many and located so close to one another without the slightest hint of separation, that to an outsider the area looks like a single epic garden. The scenery nicely describes the atmosphere of the retreat: sharing is caring and being with yourself, but feeling the unity with the others.

Anne, a Berlin-born and based yoga teacher, artist, mentor and DJ organised the retreat and invited Maitreya from the desert of Rajastan, India, to lead the meditation sessions. Maitreya has been developing and refining his meditation practice, both active and passive, for the past 17 years. Having spent many years in Indian ashrams, he has traveled the world sharing his love and humour meditation techniques. It was his very first visit to Berlin though!

Asana class with Anne Haack

We started with Anne's yoga class. The goal was to address and stimulate all 7 chakras by practicing respective yoga postures. Prior to this retreat I had taken part in a month-long Chakra Vinyasa course by Anne and was really curious about how she would now fit everything into a 2 hours session. The complexity of the yoga sequence and the ease with which she led the class were outstanding. We started off with slow, easy movements, so as to ensure a natural transition into the practice. The not so physically demanding intro was followed by a series of asanas that addressed the chakras one by one. A relaxing meditation was saved for the class closure.

At the beginning of the yoga session the sun was shining through the big windows and it felt very pleasant to slowly move into the postures. As we continued with each movement dedicated to one of the 7 chakras, the sky got grey and it started to rain. In the end, when we were in Savasana, relaxing and letting go off the tensions in our body and mind, the sun showed up from behind the clouds again. This way the yoga class felt like a natural continuity, ing and yang, which gave me a very pleasant sensation of true relaxation.

yoga asana and mediation retreat

Meditation with Maitreya

Maitreya started off with some unusual techniques to clear our minds, the goal was to find the balance between accepting and giving. Then there was a little tea break in a complete silence. After he led us to various types of active meditation, including dance and breathing. I had been to other workshops with Maitreya too and found them extremely amusing and effective — the key is to surrender your body to the music completely with your eyes closed. As we produced and generates a lot of energy, we used it for another meditation technique — chakra breathing. In the very end, we were nourishing our hearts. I enjoyed Maitreya's meditations a lot, as he seems to be really aware of what he is doing and has a deep knowledge in his field. Apart form that he has a great sense of humour and one of the most contagious laughs I've ever heard.

yoga asana and mediation retreat

On the way back reflections

A few hours later I was on a train talking with other retreat participants. There were 10 of us, all with different backgrounds — gastro coach, student, gardener, journalist... And almost none of us had any previous experience with similar events. We had signed up out of curiosity. And were happy we did! Being the beginners, we still managed to practice most of the yoga asanas and enjoy the experience to the full. On my way home, it felt like I spent the whole weekend there, although I was coming back on the same day. 

I can't say this one day made me a different person or opened the door to another world. But I feel like every piece of information and realisation I get from yoga and meditation somehow opens a small window I can look through to see a bit more about myself and universal principles. I found out that once you break that wall of prejudice or bias and dare to open up, you can't harm yourself, only the opposite.

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