The Amrita Yoga weekend retreat at Amma’s Swiss Center Ziegelhütte Flaach started on the evening of November 22nd (Friday) and lasted till after lunch on the 24th (Sunday). It was a deeply rewarding experience of Divine love for the 14 participants, as Amma’s tangible grace flowed into the hearts of all those who were present.
This weekend retreat helped us all experience the truth that a spiritual seeker should have the attitude of a witness, since it was indeed Amma who orchestrated and conducted this programme for the upliftment and benefit of all. One could feel Amma’s compassion flow through Her Swiss Center, where the retreat was organized. Both Amrita Yoga instructors, Abheda and Sunanda witnessed Her Divine presence with deep gratitude in their hearts.
The Amrita Yoga retreats integrate the routine daily practices at Amma’s Centers worldwide, starting with the early morning archana (recitation of Divine names in Sanskrit), evening bhajans (devotional singing) and Seva (selfless service). Amrita Yoga aims at cultivating awareness in every action through body movements integrated with the mantras MA and OM.
Three main streams of yoga formed parts of the retreat: jnana (knowledge), bhakti (devotion), karma (selfless service in action). Four asana classes composed of simple yet smooth flowing sequences, along with the “Surya Namaskarah” (Sun Salutation) were taught for daily self practice. Indeed, it was an additional blessing for all those who were involved to be able to listen to “Satsangs” (Spiritual discourses) by Br. Shubamrita and Prabha. These were nicely complemented by a guided MA OM meditation, and a short IAM refresher for those who had attended the IAM course before. The latter was very fruitful for deepening of the experience of silencing the mind.
Brahmachari Shubamrita’s satsang, which was open to public, marked a most auspicious beginning, wherein he expounded the participants with practical, inspiring words about BEING HERE AND NOW, which is what spirituality is really all about! We have only the present moment in our hands, and only through meditation and yoga practices can we gain tranquility of the mind. A deeper meaning of Yoga was given by explaining the restless nature of the mind, its connection with our body, and the importance of silencing the mind. This was a true lighting of the lamp for the weekend retreat!
On the second day, Prabha in her satsang, shared some of her experiences during the early days with Amma. Everyone enjoyed these stories a lot. She spoke about Yoga in general, comparing it with a river. Only if we jump in, would we be able to experience its flow, the energy which streams through every cell of our body, and the calm mind which follows! In the evening, Amma’s videos were shown, and the footage filled our hearts with bliss. This was followed by games and group discussion in which everyone shared their wonderful experiences, thus bringing down the curtains with some light hearted fun and frolic.
Each aspect of the retreat was filled with the fragrance of love – meals were served by the sevites (volunteers practicing selfless service) with so much love and dedication towards the well being of everyone, thus making the whole atmosphere more harmonious. A chimney fire lit up a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the temple and yoga room, especially since it was cold outside on these November days, just before the first flakes of snow came down to cover Mother Earth in these parts of the world!
The participants formed a mature and harmonious bunch, and gave positive feedback about the retreat. They were thankful for the new opportunities that the retreat opened up in their lives and appreciated the still and peaceful atmosphere which pervaded the weekend retreat. Though the asanas were not so hard, they all experienced how positively their bodies responded to the various postures.
Here are some of the comments from the 14 participants (translated into English from German):
- “Amrita Yoga was indeed a new spiritual experience for me, deeper than anything I have experienced before. The stillness of the soul which I experienced through this yoga was like a refreshing source of life on my spiritual journey.” (anonymous)
- “MA OM is a very practical exercise to feel directly connected with Amma (even though it is not easy for me to enter into that much concentrated breathing). It is very fruitful to have such a multifaceted sequence of exercises.” Madhuri from Germany (yoga practitioner for many years)
- “I appreciated the slowing down throughout, as well as demonstrations and the correction of postures by the two instructors present. I was tuned in with MA OM throughout.” (anonymous)
- “Though I felt very exhausted, I could still participate in all the exercises. One main reason for this is that there was no pressure or force put on me, and the course was conceived in a very motivating way. There was so much harmony radiating between both instructors throughout the course. All the instructions were clear and understandable.” Irene Bolt from Germany
- “It is a lot to coordinate – movement, breathing, mantra and the sequences.” (anonymous)
For those interested in participating in the next Amrita Yoga weekend retreats in Europe:
Switzerland: M.A. Center Switzerland for more information, please visit:www.ziegelhuette.ch
Germany: Amrita Yoga courses are held regularly in M.A. Center Germany, please visit:www.amma.de
Author: Sunanda Nathalie Rappoport