In October this year I decided I would join a group led by Vani Shukla from Himalayan yogis, to experience life in an ashram in India.
We arrived at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram on 7 November all excited about our 10-day stay. On arrival I was a little taken aback especially as I realised that all meals were to be taken in silence. My mind suddenly went into overdrive and I thought I could not handle this!! Our mornings would start with a bell ringing at 4.45am. From here our day would begin and not end until 9.00pm at night. I have to be truthful and say I really thought that the whole experience was going to be too much for me to handle, but then I decided to take a deep breath and see what the days would unfold. I am so glad I did this, as it all became so beautiful and calming and enlightening.
Everyone at the Ashram was calm and helpful and could not do enough to make our stay memorable. They tailored a program specifically for us and I learnt that yoga does not have to be so hard. Yoga in actual fact is all about soft movements that stretch our body and calm the mind. We do not need to do strenuous stretches or impossible poses. From yoga we would then go into silent meditation for an hour – which once again I thought would be impossible – but what an experience this was to mediate with the Guru and his disciples. The aura in the room was amazing and so very calming.
We experienced chanting at night and joined in with cymbals.
We learnt what the Himalayan tradition of meditation and yoga is all about and we learnt how to put this into our everyday practice. We learnt an authentic way of experiencing ashram life and we learnt an authentic way of bringing this into our lives. We learnt all about mantras and how important these are to our meditation and we learnt that life is beautiful no matter how rich or poor we are, and no matter where we live in the world.
Would I have gone had I known the extent of the restrictions in ashram life? Most probably not…
Am I glad I went? Definitely so glad I went, and so glad I was able to experience such authenticity.
I am so grateful to Vani Shukla Himalayan Yogis for allowing me the experience of a lifetime.
Silvana travelled to India with Adelaide-based Vani Shukla’s company Yoga Begins, which arranged the Divya Darshana Yoga Retreat.