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YOGANONYMOUS is an open platform that allows teachers, studios, event promoters, and bloggers a place to interact with the community at large - we'd love to have you in the crew. At the end of last year and beginning of this year the annual Meditation Retreat in Paradise Retreat Centre took place. This year was a wonderful confirmation for me of the fact that the systematic guidance that is provided for the participants allows many of them to achieve amazing levels of profoundness in meditation, spiritual revelations and peak experiences that would otherwise take them many months of solitary practice. The entire retreat was structured as a step-by-step trip within one’s own being, a deepening of the most important aspect of the person until the practitioner is able to peel off the personality and remain only with the Self.
In another post I will gather all the pictures together with some very beautiful statements that came from the participants. Following this recently finished retreat that I was coordinating, one of the participants wrote this article about his experiences. This year I decided for the first time ever to go on a silent retreat – The self-revelation camp run by Natha Yoga Centre (sister of Tara Yoga Centre) in Denmark. I was really sure what to expect but I one thing I wasn’t expecting was to reveal myself in 7 days. It sounds a bit mundane but the routine actually helped a lot because you didn’t have to think or plan so much. A large part of me not liking meditations was because other people always had profound states or experiences in the same meditation where I spent 80% of the time asleep or thinking about tomorrow, or yesterday.
On top of all that, the information came in such a way that each piece fitted nicely on top of the last. I think the most wonderful thing about this retreat was that it wasn’t a beginner’s course. Well, it needs quite a determination to set yourself on the stream of meditation and even to do all the small steps it requires. A retreat in this case meant that we had no more Buddhist teachings and just focused on different types of meditations. With a group of people we actually decided to observe the “Noble Silence” for the remaining two days. The meditation sessions inside the Gompa were more or less good, depending on the topic and teacher and only on the last day I had enough guiding from the western nun and I had to escape. Also I realized that Kopan was a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and I felt quite curious to also learn about other branches like Hinayana, Theravada and Vajrayana. The second documentary we watched during the retreat was about the life of the Dalai Lama and the invasion of Tibet. Like your honesty about what you didn’t like and what are your preferred views on Buddhism. By the way, I just stayed in a Theravada monastery in Thailand and it was quite a different experience and a very different approach of Buddhism.
What appears to be an endlessly long piece of fabric wraps a countless number of times around the head of a Rajasthani man to form a massive turban.
Stay tuned for the announcement of Vedic Odyssey’s latest spiritual adventure to take place in October-November 2011. Certainly one of the most beautiful drives in south western India is the drive from Kochi to Periyar in the Western Ghats.
During our upcoming 2-week spiritual adventure to Kerala, South India we will be making our way up to the Western Ghats.
The drive up to Periyar or Thekkady (names of the same area) in the Western Ghats is especially scenic. As we make our way up the western ghats or Sahyadri Mountains, we’ll come across the pretty Pattumala Matha pilgrim shrine. Once the sorting is complete, they pack the tea leaves into large sacks which are then loaded on to trucks as seen below. Vedic Odyssey’s 2-week meditation retreat in South India begins in Kochi marked by the blue plane in the upper left corner of the map. From Periyar we travel towards Alleppey (spelt Alappuzha) by Lake Vembanad and from Alleppey a train ride takes us south to the beach town of Kovalam marked by the pink pin at the bottom of the map. Disconnect from your daily life and reconnect with yourself again, with your true self and with nature.
Of course these are the seeds that are planted within their being and in the extent to which they practice afterwards they will grow these seeds into big spiritual realizations. Many people that considered themselves advanced in meditation were afterwards confessing that this way of presenting meditation is revolutionizing their practice, making it effective and transformative. It is a very articulate account which expresses with much honesty and candor the trials and tribulations of embarking on such a retreat, and as such speaks to the hearts and aspirations of many spiritual seekers today.
You knew what was happening when after the first few days and this allowed for more inner silence.


From the second I get up to… well it actually continues through the night and is already going when I wake up.
When you have a state or experience in a meditation we immediately want to “share” with others. In the camp meditation was reframed; “it’s not about states or state hunting – it’s about building consciousness”. I have never felt such calmness, inner peace and centring in myself as I felt in the following 2 days. We had 6 guided meditation sessions per day and in-between we were told to practice short segments of 15 min walking meditations.
Noble Silence in this case meant not to interact at all, no nodding or eye contact was possible and we had to move around the monastery as complete strangers, totally blending out all other people. I guess I just reached a point were I didn’t like any more to be told what to think in my meditations.
But in any case, the last two days were still quite an interesting experience and one night we even got to see the documentary “Unmistaken Child”, which portrayed the death of a high lama from Kopan Gompa and the mission to find his reincarnation. It was not only very interesting as well, but also quite shocking when we got to see original footage of Chinese police and Chinese military beating up Tibetan monks with sticks and even shooting at them in the streets of Lhasa. It really is a special place and joining the retreats truly marks the beginning of a transformation.
The turban known as Pagadis in the local language denotes a persons’ caste, culture and profession.
Everyone loves it and are happy settle down here for the next few days and dive into their study and practice of meditation. The journey begins in Fort Kochi, Kerala where we will be for 2 nights before heading up to Periyar in the western ghats or Sahyadri Mountains where we will stay for 4-nights.
The closest international airport to Kovalam is in Trivandrum where most of our travelers will depart from.
These modules differ in their level of difficulty, therefore participants can choose which one to join according to their level. The author speaks from his current level of experience and practice without any pretenses, which is an extremely important aspect for anyone attempting to walk today’s perilous path of spiritual transformation where the ego lurks in the shadows, playing games with the untamed mind and tricking us into seeing things as they aren’t. After a day you get used to it and when everyone and everywhere is silent (apart from the lectures) it quickly becomes the norm. Sometimes it’s for the benefit of others indeed but many times its for ourselves – to validate our experience, make it real, show it off. But I must say the course itself (I will call it a course because it was) was fantastic – in content and in structure. But using what I learnt and my “revelations” I have been able to retain the essence of the camp. This meant that even in times if we didn’t have an actual meditation class, we still moved around really, really slowly and focused.
It was quite an interesting experience and not even as difficult as I had thought in the beginning.
The second issue of the past few days had been that this nun turned out to be rather a religious teacher and I didn’t like that.
Rolling hills covered with tea plantations enveloped in mist and clouds for miles and miles is what you’ll feast your eyes on. This account however is fresh and inspired and, though inexperienced on the path of meditation, from only one week of retreat the author managed to have genuinely profound experiences and divinely inspired revelations.
I am not the best of meditators and I don’t actually like mediating so this was going to be a challenge. Sim card out of phone to remove temptation, mp3 player stowed away, no books, no laptop, no reading material (apart from the course programme). Half an hour to eat, then some time to take a walk, contemplate, do more yoga practise, read the notes from the morning, sleep… whatever you wish.
And night was usually a lecture followed by an hour long meditation and or exemplifications plus a technique we were thought based on a clock of all things!! I noticed this tendency in myself and I was also able to observe it in others through the questions being asked to the presenter.
I was no longer concerned that god didn’t come down and whisper the meaning of life in my ear – if I increase my ability to focus from 5% to 8% then it was a good meditation. What was very obviously afterwards having listened to the testimonies and spoken with people was that it was an “anyone, anywhere” course.
I was able to see how life actually is very similar to meditation and some of the principles I was practising in meditation I also needed to apply in life. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.


I came to the monastery to learn about the philosophical aspect of Buddhism and not in the quest for a new religion.
Four more nights here before a scenic train journey takes us south to the beach village of Kovalam. I am posting this account to serve as inspiration for others who aspire to spiritually transform themselves, particularly through the path of meditation. Put that with the fact that the camp ran after Christmas and into the new year (normally a very socially active period in my calendar) and I was really wondering why I had signed up for this retreat at all. As it was late night and I needed to sort out sleeping arrangements, payments etc I decided I would begin my Mauna (being silent, not talking, communicating, no books, no music, no distractions at all) in the morning. In the afternoon there was another lecture followed by the “big one” – a 3 hour meditation. It’s quite easy to not talk to strangers but when it’s someone you know and would ordinarily discuss spiritual matters or experiences with it is much harder. Then “catching” yourself more often you begin to see it working – the mind being brought under control. Many were “I felt this state, is that correct?” while some the whole purpose of the question seemed to be to create an opportunity to tell what was experienced.
Before attending the only thing I could think of more boring than a meditation was a lecture about meditation. If I managed to become aware when I was “in the bushes” 10% faster then it was a good meditation.
I became conscious of some negative behavioural patterns, mistakes I made in relationships, my dependency on others for validation.
The lessons from the camp were clear and all the “huge challenges” I faced in the last days dissolved into nothing. I re-invoke the energy of the camp regularly to give fresh impulses to my practise (something we were thought to do). I was happy to find that most people had chosen to remain in Mauna, including everyone in my room. Sometimes you want to speak about something that happened in the meditation, share an experience or even ask a question.
It’s tougher outside the camp but understanding how this works helps and spurs me on to just work harder. Group yoga began at 8.30 each morning and it was always a concern going straight from the dining hall to the yoga hall so portions were moderate.
While it was on the whole not a problem there were a few occasions where I thought I would burst if I didn’t speak to someone – luckily I refrained. Not sure if what I felt was “right” or so excited about my revelation that I felt the whole world should know. I had techniques to elongate my concentration but more than that – I was conscious of the techniques and when to use them also.
People like me who had never meditated for more than 30 minutes before had personal revelations.
Not a day goes by I don’t remember something I learned or experienced and use it in my daily life. I did get a little braver (and greedier) as the week went on and thankfully it was never “au-revoir” for breakfast. If everyone just understood and accepted my revelation I could personally raise the consciousness of the whole planet!!
Nobody to share with, nobody to answer you so you need to answer yourself and have faith you are right.
After a few days I ended up in the most surprising and paradoxical situation: I didn’t want the meditation lectures to end because the information was so engaging and yet I did want them to end so I could practise what I was learning. No matter who you were and where you were with meditation the camp took you from there and moved you along – significantly.
I went deeper and deeper inside as the week went on (thanks to an impulse I got) and as I did things became more challenging. I had managed to create some space in my thinking and my mind attacked that space with ferocity, trying to fill it with as much thoughts as possible, anything but empty space. And my mind almost won the battle until I had remembered some of the teaching and saw exactly what was happening.



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