When someone is performing yoga practice or meditation practice (self-practice), one is observing silence as much as possible practically, regardless of whether the mind is still processing some random thought activities, or not. One doesn’t talk, or grumble, or groan, or argue, or debate, or criticize, or inspire, or aspire, or communicate/interact with anyone not even so called ‘spiritual connection’ with ‘God’ or ‘higher spirits’. One doesn’t read any material, or ask questions, or looking at and listening to anyone or anything (teacher/other practitioners/scenery/video/music/podcast/conversation), or expect certain feedback/evaluation towards one’s practice, or expect particular result/effect/benefit/pleasure from the practice.
The senses are being withdrawn/restricted from chasing after the objects of the senses, and the outgoing mind is being channeled inward to be resting in the present moment, or to be aware of the practice/the breath/the pulse/the sensation/the flow of energy/prana/heat in the body, without attachment/identification with the selfless impermanent function of the physical body and the state of the mind, while allowing any result/effect/benefit/pleasantness/unpleasantness/ability/disability to be existing or non-existing, to be what it is, as it is, allowing any existing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts being there as they are, without analyzing/asserting/projecting/craving/aversion, without association with or attachment towards all these names and forms, to be quieting the restless modification of the mind effectively.
This is not really possible in a ‘yoga class’ where there is a teacher giving instructions/explanation teaching/leading a group of people performing the practice, while the group of people have to be looking at the teacher or other people in the group, and listening to while analyzing/understanding/following the teacher’s instructions to perform the practice, and expecting feedback/evaluation from the teacher and/or others towards one’s performance/practice, as well as expecting particular result/effect/benefit from the practice. “How well/correct am I doing the practice?”
Meanwhile some people’s minds are being ‘disturbed’ or ‘offended’ very much by certain teachings of yoga being taught in the ‘yoga class’ that are different from their thinking and belief, or be ‘disturbed’ or ‘intimidated’ by how the teacher teach/conduct the ‘yoga class’, or be ‘dissatisfied’ with the ‘yoga class’ is not being the way that they would like it to be (either too intense, or too gentle, or too crowded, or too quiet, too much or not enough attention, too challenging or not challenging enough, or not the kind of practice that they would enjoy).
For people who don’t know the practice yet, of course they need to learn from someone who knows the practice, such like attending ‘yoga classes’ for some time to be following instructions from a teacher to learn about the practice and how to perform the practice. Attending ‘yoga classes’ is mostly about ‘learning’. After ‘learning’ and ‘knowing’ the practice, one must develop self-discipline to perform self-practice in solitude and silence, truly immersing into the practice.
That’s why ‘yoga practice’ is always more ‘practical’ when performing self-practice in solitude and silence in terms of quieting the restless modification of the mind, where the modification of mind inputs and outputs are being limited to the maximum efficiently. Those who already developed their own regular self-practice don’t need to attend ‘yoga classes’ to be following instructions to be performing their practice, though there’s nothing wrong if they attend ‘yoga classes’ once in a while for some reasons.
There are some ‘silent self-practice yoga classes’ are about providing a specific practice time and space for yoga practitioners to be sharing a practice space at a specific time to be performing their own self-practice. Even though there are other practitioners being in the same space, everyone is observing silence to the maximum, focusing on their own practice. There shouldn’t be any social interactions during the practice.
‘Yoga teachers’ need to teach ‘yoga classes’ in the way that would allow the students to develop the essential understanding of the teaching and practice, as well as self-reliance and self-discipline, and be able to perform self-practice without supervision/instruction from other people, and this will allow the mind be trained to turn inward to be quiet and be able to process and solve most problems in life by itself.
There’s nothing wrong with ‘asking and receiving help and support from others’ when someone encounters ‘problems’ in life, especially in terms of some physical and mental illnesses that require special care and specific medical treatment, or some technical problems where everyone has their own limited knowledge and experience to be doing something, and people need to be helped and supported by other people who have the knowledge and experience that oneself doesn’t have. While for most non-technical and non-medical care/treatment related problems, such like ‘thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problems’, the best solution or the best answer to one’s doubt, is coming from within of a calmed and quiet mind.
One just needs to learn to be by oneself and be quiet, be away from all kinds of advice, opinion or suggestion from different people who ‘would like’ to give ‘advice, suggestion, help and support’ in the way that they think it’s best from their own point of view, and observe/watch what is going on in the mind, seeing the nature and the root cause of what the mind perceives/recognizes as ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’, to allow the mind to go beyond and be undisturbed by these ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’. Once the mind sees the truth, all kinds of ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’ will eventually cease existing. One doesn’t need to talk to anyone about anything to release tension/unhappiness, or hoping someone is there to be listening to and sharing one’s ‘problems’, to be receiving advice, love, care, help or support from other people, to feel better, or to influence oneself making certain decision.
Although there’s nothing wrong when most people would see this thinking and emotional independence of ‘self-reliant thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problem solving’ as ‘unacceptable’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘wrong’ or ‘unhealthy’ social behavior, as most people in the society practice and encourage all human beings need to be ‘reaching out to other people’, ‘talking to other people’ and ‘receiving advice, help, support from other people’, and most people do ‘need’ to reach out to other people to get help and suggestion, as they are being conditioned by the society to be emotionally interdependent, that they don’t know how to deal with ‘the problems’ they have and making decision independently by themselves, or else, when they think and feel that their ‘problems’ are too much for them, when they think they are alone and have no one being there to be helping and supporting them, they might hurt themselves and/or others, whether wittingly or unwittingly. People think and believe that ‘all human beings’ need to hold onto ‘something’ physically/mentally/emotionally to live life, whether it’s family, friends, relationship, children, pets, hobby, interest, work, religion, spirituality, ‘God’, or anything that give/feed the sense of existence and meaningfulness. When something falls apart or during the most difficult moments, at least they think they have something that they can lean or hang onto. And that’s their freedom of choice.
People would think and believe, “Oh, what a pitiful meaningless life without family/friends/somebody being there to share, to talk to, to play with, to support one another, to enjoy life.” This saying doesn’t valid/apply to the minds that practice yoga, that are free from being conditioned by worldly social/cultural/religious/political thinking and belief, that are aware of what is going on in the mind and be unattached towards/undetermined by the selfless impermanent qualities of names and forms, that are free from desire of craving and aversion.
In yoga, this ability of ‘self-reliant thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problem solving’ is true liberation for the mind, being undisturbed or being okay under any difficult moments and challenging condition and situation in life that one has to deal with by oneself, where one has clear thinking and self-control without hurting oneself and/or others. It doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have any family/friends in life, but one doesn’t need to rely on the existence of family/friends/somebody being present as supporter, or receiving help/support from anyone to deal with any difficult moments under challenging condition and situation. When ‘family/friends/somebody’ or external help and support from other people/teacher/Guru/’God’ appear to be absent or not available for some reasons, it’s fine. One doesn’t need to hurt oneself and/or others, as one is peaceful as one is, being undetermined by any ‘difficult moments’ or ‘existing problems’ that one is going through, repairing what can be repaired and letting go what has to be let go, making decisions without doubt/fear/guilt/regret, and taking full responsibility towards one’s actions and the consequences of the actions.
“You came alone and you will go alone.” – Swami Sivananda