Participants Interviewed by Varadananda King
I came to the January Yoga Therapy Intensive Retreat in a lot of pain from a recent injury that hadn’t fully healed,” says Eric Gibbons. “What I experienced is nothing short of miraculous. I watched the pain in my back shift, and then disappear altogether. I am very grateful for my time in this immersion, and for the support from the teachers and fellow participants.”
“I am in love with this retreat,” says Kalyani Zavolas-Wallis, who has enrolled “every time it has been offered, except once.” She continues, “I was sad about having to miss the one, as I wanted perfect attendance. This retreat is so incredibly rejuvenating — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. While it is complete and full, yet there is still enough ‘down time’ to make it feel like a true retreat. I was able to nap, and to take a bath.
“I love the daily Vichara, which brings up and unravels whatever my mind is churning. Together, yoga therapy and morning classes open my spine more deeply. The chanting and meditations bring me closer to God. All this along with Swamiji’s talks/lectures create a wonderful retreat for those of us looking for deep healing, a deepening of spiritual practices, knowledge about healing, and REST.”
Kushala (Kat) Conner responds, “When I think about why I chose to come to the yoga therapy intensive this past January, a stanza from William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” comes to mind:
There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,
The earth and every common sight
Did seem to me
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
“Many moments in my life, particularly when practicing yoga, there was a vitality, a freshness and a longing for something more. The longing for something more felt alive — enlivened — ‘light.’ Also resonating with Wordsworth, I have often felt as if I have been living in and playing out a dream:
It is not now as it hath been of yore.
Turn whereso’er I may,
By night or day,
The light which I have seen
I now can see no more.
“I chose the Yoga Therapy Intensive as a gift to myself, to step away from the dream of my life, to be inspired by practices to help me find my way back to that place of aliveness within myself.
“The experience I encountered was a weaving together of chanting, meditation, conversation and practices to help me uncover those places within myself still stuck in the dream — in the deadness. The retreat offered me time to practice and reflect on where I am today with support on practices tailored to my specific needs. I’m very grateful for the time and awareness of Swamiji, Vidyadevi and Kusuma that worked with me to start unlocking those tight spots in my being.”
Feeling honored to have assisted, Tirtha Hale, says, “This retreat occurred during the time when Lokananda was undergoing remodeling with new rooms being added, floors being laid, and apartments being built. Even with construction, hammering and power tools sounding off, I felt enormous Grace flowing. It’s always here! What a lovely way to experience this truth, that deep healing and Grace are always available regardless of what’s happening on the outside.
“Now, all the upgrades are finished! When you come to a future Yoga Therapy Retreat, it will hold you in a blessed cocoon of transformation, and you will emerge shining brightly from this metamorphosis of healing. Every day offers chanting and meditation; a series of Vichara and yoga therapy sessions, asana class and special small group Swami time with discourses on healing. You will be nourished with good food, and you’ll enjoy rest and recovery from all that ails you. After just a few days, the change was splendidly visible in those who participated. Pure radiance!”