It’s summer! My favorite time of year. I am so happy school is out, the sun is shining and the pace of life seems to slow down a bit for us.
This weekend, the day before heading out to Disney World and Universal Studios, as our official family of four, our “Family Moon”, I attended a four-hour silent retreat. Now, I can imagine what is going through your minds, some of you might be thinking that four hours is just tip of the iceberg as far as being silent goes, that I will not reap any benefits in that short amount of time, some of you might think four hours is a very long time to go silent, no electronics, no communication, barely any eye contact, and some of you might be thinking why would you ever want to be quiet! I think I fall somewhere in the middle of all of that. I knew this, four hours should be enough time for my mind to settle and give me the opportunity to retreat from who I think I am.
The time was broken down into half-hour segments starting with guided meditation and then free form silence. We had rules, no electronics, no talking, no distracting ourselves from simply being. I thought this would be the perfect chance for me to continue to study Dr. Stephen Porges polyvagal theory and then write about it for Svadhyaya (self-study) since this is our last week focusing on it. The polyvagal theory is based on the vagus nerve, the 10th of 12 cranial nerves in our brain, the nerve that connects to all of our organs. I am studying this because I know not only will it benefit me greatly, but it supports all that I do as a yoga teacher. I also wanted to continue to research information because my Labor Day Weekend Goddess Getaway Retreat will be focused on this theory and how we can all learn from it. Very exciting content that I know the participants will love.
However, as I embarked on this silence and I picked up my book to read and take notes I realized that is not what the retreat was about and in order for me to really tap into my vagus nerve and this silent retreat, I needed to surrender to relaxation. I needed to surrender my mind. That, in order to embrace the moment, I needed to surrender from working, from doing, from trying and just be. It turns out that while this is very difficult for me, I realized so much during those four hours, I meditated, I moved, I sat in the sun, I realized that this silence might just be the key to surrender, to the divine within all of us, and the biggest realization was that four hours of silence was not enough time for me to settle my ever running mind, that I couldn’t wait to do it again. I thought I would learn more about polyvagal theory by reading, but I wound up connecting more dots to the theory by being. As always, proof that there are so many ways to learn and the answers usually do reside inside of us.
Have you ever attended a silent retreat? What was your experience? Let me know if you know of any wonderful silent opportunities coming up and hopefully, I can attend.