Why is Silence Important in a Yoga Retreat?

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Why is Silence Important in a Yoga Retreat?

In the spiritual tradition there are various tools to be used to gain deeper and more profound results in your practice. One way to take your spiritual self-inquiry to a more intense level is to practice mauna.

Mauna, in the Sanskrit language, means silence of the mind or taking a vow of silence, and the purpose of it is quite simple – to disconnect. In the Hindu tradition, silence has a voice of it’s own. What does that mean practically speaking? Essentially, silence can speak volumes, even more so than the written or spoken word. This is especially true for an individual who practices abstinence of communication for an extended period of time. This profound experience can bring great clarity, inner transformation, self-revelation and self-luminosity.


Liberation through silence

In our day to day normal lives we unconsciously mirror ourselves off others, invariably searching for cues on how to behave and respond appropriately.

We become master chameleons – constantly molding and grafting our behavior according to our perceived expectations of the world around us. This way of life leads us further and further away from our true nature – our inner self.

In brief, when practicing mauna, it does not mean you avoid talking only. It means complete disengagement from everything but the self. There must be no talking, no visual or physical cues between people throughout the event, not even deliberate eye contact. Of course exceptions can be made if there is an emergency or a student needs guidance from a teacher. With strict adherence to the rules and guidelines of mauna, which are described more in detail at a specific meditation or Yoga retreat, a person is thrown into the deep waters of silence and reflection immediately. Perhaps this experience can be a bit intimidating but in time one learns to enjoy a newfound liberation that complete silence brings.


The 4 stages of Mauna

Usually, people can expect to go through 4 stages when mauna is observed at a meditation or Yoga retreat.

  1. Foreignness, awkwardness – this is a good sign and simply signifies you have started to go deeper and your mind is trying to rebel. You might still accidentally greet people, but it is fine for now.
  2. Frustration – you can’t talk or vent to anyone and your mind may be bursting with all these things you’ve had to process. Not to worry – you can get through it.
  3. Learning – self-absorption becomes self-observation. You begin to reflect upon yourself, not outside sources or stimuli.
  4. Calm – you’ve let go of external influences and arrived at a place of acceptance.


As you practice mauna, whether in a meditation or Yoga retreat or otherwise, you begin to realize you are more than your thoughts and there is something else that is the real YOU. Thoughts are mere ripples on a lake, and the ripples do not define the lake. When silence overtakes the mind it becomes still and something extraordinary emerges as a result – the ability to perceive and conceive beyond your conditioned mind. Suddenly your true self, your soul or inner Atman has space and a place to shine through and be acknowledged and recognized by the higher mind.


Read more: How to Ensure a Successful Meditation Retreat?

Somananda is the founder and head teacher of Somananda Tantra School - a spiritual school of Meditation, Yoga and Tantra. He has been practicing and teaching these ancient treasures across the globe for two decades.
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