When most people hear the word yoga, they immediately think of stretching the body. While lengthening the muscular system is an aspect of yoga practice, it is a small part of what yoga is about. The ancient yogis developed the practice as a purifying agent to cleanse the nadis (energy channels) and chakras (energy centers) in preparation for the body to receive and hold the light of divine consciousness. To be a ready vessel for this powerful light, it was taught, one must be purified. “And so,” writes Thomas Fortel, “we do the physical postures (asanas), practice expanding the dimensions of breath (pranayama), and engage in the calming and quieting of the mind through meditation (dhyana). These practices increase the flow of vital force (prana) through the physical, mental, and emotional bodies. As this is done over an extended period of consistent and applied effort, the deeper yogic states can be accessed and realized.
“Being conscious of this energy flow deepens our experience as we practice. This will be our focus in the yoga retreat. Each day will begin with meditation and breathing practice, followed by an active morning practice and a more restorative practice in the afternoon. We will also make a study of the natural elements as we experience the beautiful Esalen grounds.”
Participants should have at least three months of recent yoga practice. Please bring a yoga mat.