Yoga retreat for developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity

Many people who are interested in doing regular yoga exercises as a form of health and fitness activity, they might also interested in participating in yoga retreats once in a while. And there are many yoga retreats everywhere in the world that would cater the demands and expectations of those who want to participate in yoga retreats.

Some people are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to learn about yoga and to be focusing and immersed into the traditional yoga practice for a period of time, to develop self-discipline and self-practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is beyond all the qualities of name and form, undetermined by life experiences, condition and situation, physical and mental ability, achievements and enjoyments. While many others are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to gratify the desires of craving and aversion, to be in a comfortable and desirable environment that emphasize on indulgence of the senses, self-pampering and socializing, that makes them feel satisfied, pleased, good, relaxed and peaceful, even though it’s impermanent.

Whether the retreat organizers are aware or unaware of it, most yoga retreats are not really about the yoga practice of guiding the yoga enthusiasts/practitioners into the yoga practice of annihilating ignorance and egoism to free the mind from the root cause of suffering – the desires of craving and aversion, but it’s actually providing the opportunity for empowering ignorance and egoism through gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, giving them momentary satisfaction and good feelings via pleasurable physical, sensual and mental enjoyments, by giving the mind what it wants and not giving the mind what it doesn’t want.

Most people are not really interested in the yoga practice of developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, and the desires of craving and aversion through participating in yoga retreats that allow the participants to learn about the essential teachings of yoga, to focus and immerse into the traditional yoga practice of annihilating ignorance, egoism and impurities, while not pushing away but confronting any impurity, difficulty, discomfort, fear, or blockage that the mind doesn’t like to confront with, that the mind would rather runaway from.

Most people are more interested in yoga retreats with holiday resort facilities that provide many types of pleasurable activities, facilities, services and enjoyments of sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation, and imagination, that emphasize on self-indulgence, self-pampering and socializing, to temporarily escape from what the mind thinks is ‘negative’, ‘unpleasantness’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘difficult’, ‘depressing’, ‘disturbing’ or ‘non-enjoyment’ in everyday life, to be in a relaxing comfortable environment that would gratified the desires of craving and aversion, to be doing activities that they enjoy doing, to be indulging in sensual pleasurable enjoyments, to be pampered physically and mentally, beside attending daily yoga exercise sessions, to feel good, relaxed, satisfied and pleased.

This type of yoga retreats that emphasize on pleasurable physical and mental enjoyments in a comfortable pampering environment are great for those who feel that there is a need to be temporarily moving away from everyday life where they have to carry out their duties and responsibilities, and dealing with all kinds of people whom are not like-minded, and situations and things that are not the way that they like it to be, that make them feel disturbed, frustrated, exhausted, drained, stressed or tensed, that they need to participate in a ‘retreat’ from time to time, to unwind and relaxed, even though it’s just a momentary relief derived from being away from what their mind perceives as undesirable disturbing environment or something that they don’t like, but to be in a desirable pleasant environment, while engaging in some activities that they like to do, the way that they like it to be, that make them feel good.

Though this is not what yoga practice is about, there’s nothing wrong with most yoga retreats in the world are of this kind as they are many people want and need this kind of yoga retreats. And it’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and want. It’s a business, where you give the customers what they like and want, to make them feel satisfied and happy, and to make sure they will continue to come back again and again to support your business.

The yoga retreats that are about yoga, the teachings and the practice, allow the participants to learn about their own mind and the root cause of suffering, and to practically immerse into the yoga practice of freeing the mind from ignorance to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, and freeing the mind from egoism through the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, while developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, simplicity, wisdom and compassion, to become their own teacher to perform self-practice that is beyond time and space, that allow them to live in the world as they are, perform all their duties and responsibilities, without attachment or identification towards the body and mind, the actions and the fruit of actions, without being disturbed or determined by all kinds of life experiences, people, situations and things that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, allowing them to deal with ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ condition and situation with wisdom and compassion, that allow them to be able to let go what the mind used to perceive as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘exhausting’, ‘depressing’, ‘hurtful’, or ‘stressful’, that they know how to partially retreat themselves in everyday life to conserve energy for performing yoga practice and to silent the mind, that they know how to minimize or stop generating and accumulating tension or stress, that there’s no need to participate in a ‘retreat’ to be away from everyday life to unwind or relaxed as there’s minimal or no tension and stress building up, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of condition and situation.

A yoga retreat that allows people to develop correct understanding, awareness, self-practice, self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, simplicity, dispassion, wisdom and compassion, that eventually people don’t need to participate in any ‘retreat’ to retreat from everyday life experiences that are not the way that we like it to be of what the impure mind recognizes as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘difficult’, ‘hurtful’, ‘distressing’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘depressing’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘non-enjoyable’, ‘unpleasant’, or ‘exhausting’. The mind is peaceful as it is and wherever it is, undetermined by the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of life experiences and impermanent changes, conditions and situations. One doesn’t need to go to a special place, or be with special people, or do special activities, or to participate in any kind of ‘retreats’ to find relaxation, calmness and peace that is determined by certain qualities of name and form, experience, activity, condition and situation, that is impermanent.

This type of yoga retreat is great for those who are looking for real peace or unconditional peace being free from ignorance and egoism through persevered discipline and restraint of one’s mind activities, but it’s not favorable for business. As there will be physical, mental and emotional unpleasantness during the purification process under going intensive yoga practice to eliminate ignorance and egoism. There will be rejection and disgust coming from the ignorant egoistic mind that doesn’t like to be disciplined or restrained. There’s disagreement and aversion coming from the egoistic mind towards the teachings of yoga that is different from the thinking and belief in the mind. And hence, this type of retreats are less popular, and are being criticized by those who expect pleasurable enjoyments, comfortable conveniences, customer service and social interactions in ‘yoga retreats’. Those who guide others onto the path of yoga don’t take it as a business, and hence, it doesn’t matter.

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Take good care of the body and mind?

Learning and practicing yoga actually is also about learning how to take good care of the overall well-being of the body and the mind in everyday life, but without attachment and identification towards the impermanent condition of the body and the mind.

It’s not just about doing some yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice for a couple of hours a day regularly as a form of taking good care of the body and the mind, but more importantly in the rest of the time in everyday life, when the body and mind are not performing physical postures, breathing exercises, concentration and meditation practice, we need to know how to live in simplicity, how to conserve energy, when to take rest, when to work more, when to work less, when to eat more, when to eat less, how to relax or let go, how to stop generate unnecessary tension into the body and mind, how to stop pushing the body and mind beyond its limitation, and etc, to truly taking good care of the overall well-being of the body and mind.

Out of laziness, or stinginess, or particular obsessive compulsive disorder, or great ambition, or sociable personality, or caring personality, or lack of self-control and self-discipline, or some other issues, people might not rest well, eat well, work well, or relax properly, and the body and mind are either being in a state of lethargic or agitation due to accumulated strain and stress or restlessness, even though people try to do yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice regularly. It’s like, now we sweep and mop the floor, and then, we bring more dirt and dust onto the floor, and repeat this process again and again.

When the condition of the body and mind be affected by the improper or imbalanced way of living, the mind becomes tired, cloudy, unfocused, short-tempered, depressed, irritated, impatient, aggressive or anxious easily. This will affect the yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice, as well as the ongoing function of all the support systems in the body, the sleep quality, the mood, the thinking faculty, the clarity of the mind, the physical mobility, the health condition, the energy level, and the relationships with everyone and everything.

Learn how to live a simple yet balanced lifestyle is as important as doing the yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice regularly. Simple yet balanced lifestyle has nothing to do with the commercial products of branded and trendy hype of ‘luxurious organic living’, or ‘organic clean eating’, or ‘calorie counting eating’, or ‘precise daily consumption limits of different food intake’, or ‘health and fitness products and supplements’, but it’s about incorporating the teachings of yoga of ‘Do our best’, non-attachment, non-identification, desireless, dispassion, right discrimination, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, renunciation, seclusion, solitude, silence, concentration or one-pointedness, contentment, generosity, forgiveness, patience, determination, perseverance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation into everyday life activities, to stop or minimize accumulation of unnecessary tension into the systems.

If one knows how to live a simple yet balanced lifestyle, if one knows how to conserve energy and doesn’t put unnecessary stress or strain into the body and mind, there’s no tension accumulated, and there’s no need to go anywhere or do anything to release tension, as there’s none.

“I am so busy and so stressed and so tired. I have not enough time to eat or sleep properly. I have so many friends and relatives. I need to care for so many people in my life. I have so many personal and social functions I need to attend. There’s so many things I want to do for myself and for everyone. My mind can’t turn-off. I would love a holiday but I will need time and energy for it, as I would be exhausted after coming back from holiday doing all the holiday activities and eating so much. I know I need complete rest. I need to stop doing things, physically and mentally. But then I will feel so guilty and unhappy if I didn’t manage to do my fitness workout everyday, if I didn’t meet up with my friends to stay connect, if I wasn’t there for my friends who need me to listen to their problems and complaints, if I didn’t achieve all my daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. So how?”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life or how they spend their time and energy.

Be free.

A simple life?

Sometimes when we think we live a simple life, and we like things to be simple, we might not be aware of the desire, or intention, or expectation to live a healthy and good life, clinging onto what we think is good and healthy, and have aversion towards what we think is not good and unhealthy, is not really that simple.

We don’t just live life as it is. We have desires of want and don’t want.

We don’t just appreciate food and eat food as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about what type of food, where they come from, how they were produced and prepared, how does it taste, and etc.

We don’t just live in a place with a roof as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about what type of building, where is the location, how it was built, what are the extras, how is the surrounding environment and neighbourhood, and etc.

We don’t just have a physical body as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about how does it look, what type of body shape and body composition, how is the condition and abilities, and etc.

We don’t just take shower, but we have some demands and conditions about what type or brand of shower products, where they come from, how they were produced, and etc.

We don’t just wear clothes and shoes, but we have some demands and conditions about what is the style, texture and colour, what brand, where they come from, how they were made, what are they made from, what are the compliment accessories, and etc.

We don’t just live life as it is, but we want to have certain type of lifestyle and social life, involve in activities that we like to do, being in relationships that how we would like it to be, and there are some unfulfilled desires or ambitions waiting to be fulfilled, and etc.

Above all,

We don’t just practice yoga as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about what type of yoga or yoga classes, what types of benefits it gives to us, who is the Guru or teacher, what is the level or intensity, what are the qualifications and certifications that the teacher has or we can get, what type and brand of yoga mat and yoga clothing, and etc.

It’s not simple at all.

When the mind is completely free from the desires of want and don’t want, free from craving towards something that we like and aversion towards something that we don’t like; when we know how to live life as it is in the present, free from attachment, fear and worry; when we know how to appreciate when good things are there, but without clinging and craving towards the good things; when we know how to let go when good things changed and disappeared; and we are okay when good things are not there, or when bad things are there, without aversion towards losing the good things, or getting the bad things; then we do live a simple life.

Om shanti.

Why create unnecessary conditions and standards to limit ourselves?

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we create some standards or conditions for ourselves to live up to, for achieving the type of life that we desire, or to be what we want to be.

If we have no attachment towards these standards or conditions that we create for ourselves, then there’s no harm for having these conditions or standards as a guideline to live the type of life that we desire, or try to be what we want to be. We do our best to live up to the standard or quality that we want for our life, and be what we want to be. But we are not determined by any of these conditions or standards of living to be who we are, to be confident, happy, meaningful and peaceful, or not.

If we have attachment towards certain conditions and standard of living that we desire, then this will not just generate unnecessary limitation to ourselves, we might also generate unnecessary inconvenience or tension to other people in order to fulfill our demands towards certain conditions or supports to achieve the life that we desire. We’ll get unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed and frustrated towards certain obstacles that obstruct us to achieve the type of life that we desire (the way that we like it to be), and we’ll have fear and worry towards losing the conditions or supports that provide the type of life that we desire.

When we generate a demand for achieving certain conditions, or standards, or qualities that we like to have, it does not just depending on oneself to make it available or be practical. It requires many other elements or cooperation from many other people to make the condition to be available.

There are many people in the world who don’t have a choice of what type of life and living condition that they would like to have. When we live in an area that is free from war, unrest, violence, hunger, thirst, major natural disasters, and etc, we want to have something more than what the universe has been providing us. We don’t just need food, but we want food the way that we like and want. We don’t just live life, but we want to live life the way that we like it to be. We don’t just wear clothing, we want to wear clothing with particular quality, material, design, colour, style, or brand. We don’t just be as we are, we want to be somebody with certain qualities of names and forms, and we want to have certain image and appearance.

We’ll get upset and frustrated when we don’t get “the type of life” that we desire (the way that we like it to be), if we attached to or are determined by “the type of life” that we desire to be who we are, to be confident, happy, meaningful and peaceful, or not.

Sometimes we think we are simple minded, and we want to live a simple life. But, if we look at ourselves and our behavior, there are many demands about this and that to support “the simple life” that we would like to have. We “desire” a simple lifestyle, but when this simple lifestyle is unavailable the way that we think it should be, we’ll get frustrated, unhappy, dissatisfied and disappointed. As we are restricted by our demand towards certain conditions, or standards, or qualities that we want for our lives (It doesn’t matter whether it is something simple, or yogic, or organic, or exciting, or adventurous, or luxurious, or spiritual, or peaceful, or happy, or healthy, or quiet, or materialistic, or sensual, or compassionate, and etc.)

Real simplicity is not even about “want to live a simple life”, but be free from being conditioned by any desires of wants and don’t wants.

We can just live life the best that we can, as we are, in accordance to the reality in the present moment now, without attachment towards the desire of “must have” particular type of lifestyle or living condition the way that we would like it to be.

Be free.

Om shanti.