Striking A Pose Toward Inner Freedom: Yoga & the Four Immeasurables
August 14 - 18, 2019
Yoga and Buddhism teach many of the same concepts: both practices invite us to experience the present moment, quiet the mind, reduce our dissatisfaction and suffering, and tap into our authentic wisdom.
This retreat will blend hatha yoga asana with the teachings of the Buddha’s Four Immeasurables: friendliness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Practicing yoga poses with an understanding of these four inter-related qualities can help us experience personal growth, awakening, clarity, and freedom.
Staying present to the body in asana hones our concentration, while the poses themselves build flexibility and endurance. In this way, yoga is a valuable preparation for sitting practice, because it helps us discover a more energetic and sensation-based way of knowing ourselves. Yoga helps us move into our bodies, sit still, and be mindful of our breath. That is essential to Buddhist practice because the four qualities of consciousness we are cultivating are partly experienced through the body—they don’t just arrive through the mind, but need to be felt as part of our living experience.
When you move into a yoga pose, can you find the joy of the asana? Can you move your attention throughout your entire body to discover the places where you hold dissatisfaction? Can you release into friendliness towards self and others? By honing and practicing these qualities on the yoga mat, you learn to transfer them to daily life to become more peaceful and accepting–independent of external circumstances. Each day will include periods of silent and guided meditation, mindfulness exercises, and the practice of yoga postures and breath awareness. Evening group sessions will offer time to discuss the Four Immeasureables and how each was experienced during asana practice.
In mindfulness training and in yoga postures we learn to be present—to show up in every moment of our lives, whether on the yoga mat, on the meditation cushion, or on the road of life.
Southern Dharma Retreat Center provides yoga mats. Participants are asked to bring a yoga strap and block. If possible, also bring three firm blankets.
No previous experience with meditation or yoga is required to benefit from this retreat.