What to expect on a Silent Yoga Retreat Oct 2023

This is the first of a few articles letting you know what we are going to get up to on our Silent Yoga Retreat  (Fri 22/3/24 – Sun 24/3/24). So why Silence? There were a couple of synchronistic events that made me realise we are all ready for a deeply meditative, yogic, Silent retreat. The first was the badgering I’ve had over the years for a Silent retreat by my more meditative students. I listened, and here it is! 

Secondly, it was an article on the mental health of reality TV stars that caught my eye. How many of these reality TV stars slip into major depression and sometimes worse when the show is over. Now there were multiple reasons, the biggest and most ugly was the trolling on social media. But the phenomena I found fascinating was how these young people, often, for the first time in their lives, had loved the relentless attention from the public and had felt validated, seen and very important from all this media attention for the first time ever. And as soon as it was turned off, there was nothing for them to draw from. They had become addicted to external validation and there was no inside depth, centre, or sense of self they could retreat to and be themselves again. They were untethered in the world, totally vulnerable to external opinion and events, and this is a frightening, lonely place to be. You are open and unguarded to the judgement, cruelty, and criticism of others with no reserves of your own to draw from and resist. It seemed like the majority of these contestants had never taken the time to find out who they really were, go inside and map out their real selves, their integrity and beliefs and their inner wisdom. If they had had built these inner reserves becoming a no one again, after the show had ended, would not have been so devastating. 

The final incident which pulled this chain of events together for me was a conversation I had with a friend who is a Grade 1 teacher. She mentioned how she’s watched the attention span of 6 years olds degenerate over the years until now in a class of say 15 she might be lucky to have 3 or 4 students who can actually focus on a task for a say 10 minutes. Everyone else’s attention is fragmented after 2 or 3 minutes. And those young pupils who could actually focus had parents who encouraged self-play, solitude, nature and periods of silence, because that’s how we grow our inner wisdom selves. The other pupils entertained themselves through distraction: mobile phones, TV and computers games. If these little ones are not encouraged to spend time in self play, in nature, in silence they might never learn to use their imaginations, learn to centre and grow their inner wisdom selves. Joining the ranks of the media/ society vulnerable with no tools to resist outside influences.   

So, what are we going to get up to on a Silent Retreat? Firstly, I will be speaking and guiding the retreat schedule so we won’t all be floating around wondering what comes next! Secondly, my retreats are beautifully structured, with a balance of yoga classes, meditations, nature, creative pursuits and time on your own. You can expect to feel well taken care of as you move through your retreat experience. This is especially important if this is your first retreat. Everything from early morning yoga to how much meditation to do in one session is thoughtfully designed for the best possible outcomes.

I’ll introduce you all to the wisdom from the current greatest meditation teachers in the Western world: Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. Guided meditations will follow this discourse and you will be guided on how to meditate, which can take a myriad different forms. Particularly important if you are one of the millions of people who can’t stop that busy, monkey mind. But best, and most fun of all, you will be introduced to the 3 types of silence. Firstly, no sound, no talking. Secondly, the silence of stillness, deep in us, detached from the noise of the world. And finally, there is the silence of Oneness – Oneness with the entire universe. You’ll catch glimpses of this Oneness and realise you’ve been part of it all along. You just needed to get really quiet and there it was. 

The philosopher, Max Picard stated that: Silence, is the only phenomenon today that is ‘useless.’ It does not fit into the world of profit and usefulness, it simply is. It seems to have no other purpose; it cannot be exploited. Silence makes things whole again, by taking them back from the world of dissipation into the world of wholeness.

So see your commitment to 2 days of silence as a revolutionary act.  For you and the world – the world needs the whole of you, your attention, your integrity, your knowledge of self so when things get rocky the real you can emerge. Centred, wise, un-swayed by the ignorance around you, and Conscious. The world needs more Conscious beings.  Its going to be a fabulous weekend! Love and namaste Margot

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