An Education in Yoga
It’s 5pm on a balmy, tropical Saturday afternoon at Samahita Retreat. There’s a buzz in the yoga shala as the new group of students greet one another, sharing stories of airports, jet lag and hamstrings. As the session commences Samahita founder Paul Dallaghan has everyone laughing within moments, defining guidelines for a month of learning together. In the peaceful sanctuary of the Ganesh Shala thirty-something men and women from around the world come to understand that this isn’t just any yoga workshop.
As the days turn into weeks and the students immerse themselves in practices they peel layers like onions, shedding fears, attachments, ideas and concepts in return for real experience, understanding and insights. The hardened practitioners soften, finally realizing the grace of connection. Those who felt weak find new muscles to take back to them in their lives – strength, support, courage, and resilience. Those who came without intending to teach find themselves effortlessly encouraging those around them – as only a true teacher can.
Early chanting classes with Elonne have students professing mumbled Sanskrit from shy lips. As days pass the sound of the mantras ring out across the Retreat, the students absorbed in meditation within these ancient sounds. Each day the students practice in new tongues the languages of Sanskrit names and anatomical structures, piecing together the puzzles of body, mind, spirit.
Afternoon philosophy classes reveal eternal truth within the framework of 21st century relationships. Asana study empowers bodies to be healthy, vibrant and alive. Compassion, connection, perseverance and humor come as a by- product of the cleansing practices as every centered yoga graduate discovers.
Time at Samahita is spent in contact with each other, learning from each other, celebrating each other’s differences, helping each other. Friendships arise as students sip coconuts on the beach at sunset and explore local temples. Revision takes place in hammocks as neighboring buffalos wander past. Aching muscles are massaged, green smoothies and energy balls restore and tropical rain showers revive.
Every morning at Samahita students ask for guidance, for forgiveness – rediscovering balance, integration and connection. Mothers miss children, lovers miss partners, life goes on at home and is waiting for all, but for one glorious month there is a moment to find answers, to find even more questions and to build a foundation for the rest of the student’s life.