By Carolyn (Karuna) Beaver
“One day can bend your life” is a refrigerator magnet motto that Swami Nirmalananda has referenced in talks recently. It’s true. It can take just a day for something to bend you in a different direction.
Imagine having more than one day dedicated to healing your body and mind. My experience in a Yoga Healing Retreat this spring didn’t merely bend my life. It turned it around. I found both ease and new energy in my body. I discovered my mind was not my enemy, but a pathway to more clarity. After several days, I was not the same person I was when I arrived.
Except that I was. I was more “me.” More in my body. More calm and confident. More steady and able to handle the daily ups and downs of life, yet without letting them drag me up and down. The retreat featured daily yoga classes, private yoga therapy sessions, yoga philosophy talks and vichara sessions (yoga for your mind!).
I signed up for the retreat to deal with some worsening aches and pains. I signed up to totally immerse myself in Svaroopa® yoga’s healing practices. I knew that the poses would get into my tight stuff physically and the vichara would get into the tight spots in my mind. But I didn’t anticipate the experience I had on the last day of the retreat.
I’d already done two vichara sessions. In the third, I was circling around the same material I’d covered previously. All of a sudden, I stopped talking. It was as if a curtain that had been shielding my inner most Beingness suddenly disappeared. Everything was luminous. There was no distinction between what I was experiencing inside my body and mind and what surrounded me outside my body and mind. My eyes were new eyes. My senses were so acute. Everything glowed and vibrated, inside and out.
I was able to finish my vichara session by describing my experience. I was reluctant to use my voice. Yet I know that becoming enlightened is about taking this blissful state into the “real” world. I was able to make my way to the classroom for the next piece of the retreat, an asana class. I was able to stay in this expanded state for quite some time, several hours.
As I went about the rest of the day, my experience dimmed a bit. While the intensity of the luminosity faded, my senses were still heightened. My awareness stayed expanded. And several months later, I still feel the effects. The deep practices over several days etched some new pathways in my body and mind. They took me around ruts I’d been stuck in for a long time. Still, I know that this yogic path is just that. It’s a path, a journey. I’m still traveling, not content to stop with what I received. I know there’s more just down the road. That’s why I intend to sign up for a Yoga Healing Retreat at least once a year, if not more often. One day can bend your life. Several days can turn it around.