Wat Suan Mokkh
International Dharma Hermitage
|Chaiya - Thailand|
Right from the start it has to be stressed that the
retreats at the International Dharma Hermitage are meditation and not yoga retreats.
The purpose of doing yoga during the retreat is to help the body (and mind) to deal with the challenges
involved in a retreat.
It especially helps people from the West who are not used to sitting in a meditative posture on the floor for long periods. Sooner or later bodily discomfort in knees, hips, back, shoulders, and neck may arise. Yoga aims to help with this situation.
Women and men have separate classes with a female instructor for the women and a male instructor for the men.
The exercises are designed to help the participants get through a 10-day meditation retreat which requires hours of sitting each day. Therefore the focus is on strengthening the abdominal and back muscles and on opening hips and groins to some extent. This will enable the participants to sit with a straight back comfortably. As neck and shoulder pain is a quite common experience during meditation retreats, some exercises to release tensions in this area are implemented as well.
The participants come from all walks of life, aged between 17 and more than 70 years. Some have not done any exercise for years, others are used to doing some kind of bodily training regularly.
The average participant is not very flexible - touching the floor with the fingertips when bending forward with straight legs is beyond the ability of many when they start the class. Therefore the exercises have to be simple, so that nearly everybody can take part without getting injured or frustrated. Age and health problems, like back, heart and blood circulation problems, have to be taken into account.
During the meditation retreat the mind should become calm and peaceful and the participants should become aware what is going on in their bodies and minds. The yoga class is designed to accomplish just that, is designed to prepare body and mind for meditation.
Most participants gain a lot during the 10 days of the yoga class and many continue with the routine or parts of it after the retreat.
A detailed description of the yoga routine (no pictures) Khun Reinhard has taught for a couple of years to the male participants of the retreats can be downloaded as a pdf-file (eleven A4 pages)
at Yoga-Routine.pdf (116 kB)