How and why bring more silence into our daily lives

Hello fellow health aficionados,

Thank you for reading this blog and following my Indian journey on gojifitness FB and Instagram. I hope it is inspiring you. I just got out of a yoga methodology class that blew me away and wanted to share what I learned with you immediately. Each class we take in my yoga teacher training is earth chattering but today, even more so. Some classes are physical yoga while others are lecture or meditation and breathing practices.

Over the past week of this training the 25 students that we are have been feeling very emotional, several even thought about quitting and going home. It was my turn yesterday and today to feel that despair and wonder if I should pack my bags and go back to NYC. Seriously.

It is not that the asanas are difficult (although they are), it is all the mental and spiritual work that we do and that is really shaking our internal world. You see, Yoga is about self-realization. So all the work that we do has this objective of leading us on the journey of discovering who we are. And there is no escape in front of the self when in India. No alcohol, chocolate, cakes, french fries, to sedate one's senses with!

Yoga we were told is a set of scientific methods which if applied by the letter daily will produce results. And you will realize that powerful science because you will experience these results yourself.
The Ganges River with friends
Yoga school friends from Iceland, Russia/China, and Argentina I am growing and changing with. It is good to have each others' support and friendship.

Today our Teacher started class asking us " Why are you in India? What are you escaping from?". Pause, my mouth feels dry. I came to study yoga so I can teach better and find myself and what I want out of my life.

Then he said "People escape their daily lives and come here but once here they realize that they cannot escape themselves. On the contrary, the meeting with the self is accentuated, way stronger and it is the same self from back home".

Today, I connected with a self that I did not like. You see when we started the yoga course I was not very good at pranayama, meditation, sitting still for long periods of time so the self I connected with was the good easy to access self. But after a week, I got better using the tools and my introspection went deeper and with it many difficult, repressed emotions and feelings bubbling up to the surface about things I had done in my life that I was not proud of and link to old grudges, guilt, fear, regrets, restlessness, no peace of mind, etc. I was stifling and still am until I rest these demons for good! And here is the power of yoga, until I take action, my yoga and meditation practice will suffer. What a powerful mind-body system. It keeps you honest. Our Teacher also said something last week I found very true "Yoga is helping us undo all the layers of conditioning and wrong doing accumulated throughout life until we go back to our original self.

Today, Teacher then said, "If you cannot love yourself the way you are, with all your faults too, how can you expect someone else to love you". And he also joked when we struggled to execute an asana: "if your body does not listen to you (your brain command to the limb), how can you expect others to listen to you?" That really makes you think.

Yesterday, we practice an hour meditation, cross-legged, with open eyes, facing a person sitting in front of us, watching into each other eyes and holding perfect eye contact and stillness. It was so hard to see someone look into you and you into her/him for one hour, trying not to blink an eye. It started stirring things for me.


And today, Teacher taught us about one of the most important yoga practice: The Absolute Silence (also known in sanskrit as "Mauna"). As the yoga journal puts it so eloquently: Rather than straining to quiet the mind in meditation, simply relax into the quiet that contains the mind. In this blog, I will share with you how this practice can enhance your comfort in a super busy life, and benefit your health and spiritual practice (or help you start one), without taking more time out of your day. It is about doing the things you do a little more peacefully.

The yoga texts say need to be observed for 3 hours a day. I hear you say out loud "WHAT? I don't even have 10 minutes for myself". Well let me help you find these 3hours as it may transform you. Read on.
Ganges building
The Ganges River

Observing 3hours of absolute silence will:
  1. Reduce the frequency of your thoughts (when trying to get closer to your consciousness, thoughts are an obstacle, you need to trick your mind into thinking of nothing)
  2. If the thought comes, it reduces its intensity
  3. It increases your recovery period, which improves your intellectual capacity

Unlike meditation where you have to sit still, in Absolute silence, all you need to do is go about your activity effortlessly. You are practicing effortlessness, doing nothing special, not knowing anything and you don't speak. So you could be writing, journaling, playing music, cooking, cleaning the house, cycling, running, surfing or any other sports that empty your mind and make you feel your consciousness.

When we speak, we use our mind, which is not our consciousness. But when we're observing nature in silence, the way things are in silence, we come to the logical conclusion of things. Our intellectual capacity improves. The more I talk less inside, the closer I come to know who I am. If you practice silence you will have the strength to be in your consciousness.

Have you ever heard the saying "Silence is worth a thousands words?" Another reason why this is an important practice. Silence is the best communication when we experience consciousness. A mother shows her love to her child in her everyday life, no need to say I love you. Two lovers share their intimacy and connection in silence. If another person can enjoy being with you in complete silence, you know they love you, etc.

So if you are up to it, I would like to ask you to try this week to observe Mauna. You can find the 3hours now that you understand what it entails. You don't have to believe me, just practice to see for yourself the effects of this practice and how it slows you down, reduces stress and helps you feel your consciousness. Try to do exercise without speaking, in silence, by yourself in a repetitive "doing nothing" motion. Then go about doing your house chore without distraction, without speaking, by yourself, following the flow.

What you will find will be awesome. You'll find you. It is not always a pretty picture and right now, I am facing a really ugly one and I am trying to love that gal the way she is now and look to further improve her character and virtue. I came to India knowing I would come out differently. I did not expect a complete meltdown and experience that is so life changing.

When I get back to the US I will be cancelling my Cable TV subscription to gain back my evenings to myself, doing stuff around the house, cooking, yoga, writing, reading, or just sitting still. I'll actually have you practice a little bit of this during my October Gourmet Detox.

Stay tuned and ask me any questions or leave comments below. Have you ever observed Absolute Silence? How was it for you? What happened?

Emma black and white