The Yoga Hall where I stayed in India and practised, 121 with my teacher, twice a day.
Silence is a weird concept. Having been meditating on and off for years, I probably should have got very used to perching on my 'sit bones' (yoga term for arse), losing awareness of my feet as the blood is slowly squeezed from them as I try in vain to cross my legs in lotus position and embarking on the magical journey of 'letting go'.
What the hell does 'letting go' mean anyway?
Who invented that phrase?! It's a stupid term, and even though I've probably used it at least 36 times on this blog alone, I still get to say it's stupid, means nothing and should not be allowed in common everyday language.
As you will know by now, because it was a MASSIVE thing in my life and therefore get to continue to go on about it for at least another six months, I went to India recently. What I haven't told you yet is that I came back early.
I came back a week earlier than planned, partly because my dad was unwell and I wanted to be at home with him, and partly because I ended up being the only guest at the retreat, which made it really, really, really, REALLY INTENSE.
Now, for a yoga and Ayurvedic retreat, intense is good. Intense clears the cobwebs, immerses you in the very essence of the culture and the treatments, gets you to 'dig deep' and 'let go'...and also makes you just a little bit crazy.
So instead of spending two weeks making new friends, enjoying the treatment and the relaxation and getting to know myself better in nature and my yoga classes, I spent eight hours a day in silence, on my own...contemplating. When I wasn't doing this, I was eating (in silence), doing yoga or having treatments (again, silence).
For a lot of people, this is their idea of hell. I've got to be honest, I found it very uncomfortable at times as well (which helped the decision to cut my trip short), but ultimately, [Tweet "if you have no choice but to be with yourself, you get to know yourself pretty well"].
If you remove all the distractions from your life, and end up just with you and a pretty view, you have very little other option than to, eventually, give up and listen to what your body, mind and heart are trying to tell you.
Please don't think I'm getting all cook-coo here. I'm not. My brain matter is still very much intact thank you very much. However, I find the world works much better if you work with it rather than against it, and sometimes, you miss where you're supposed to be going because you're so hell-bent on doing what other people have conditioned you in to thinking you should do, or what you think you need to do in order to be successful/happy/rich/fulfilled/[insert own goal here].
So maybe silence it tough. I certainly wouldn't recommend it for extended periods of time.
PEOPLE PLEASE - Do NOT go on a meditation retreat if you've never meditated before. It will hurt your brain. It will hurt your brain so hard you'll think it's trying to give birth to acorns out of your ears and, whilst you could probably make quite a bit of money as a circus act doing that, IT WILL NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY.
Instead, why not take a gradual approach to sanity? Take a minute, stop talking, stop browsing Facebook, switch your phone to silent and watch your thoughts. Notice them, without judgement, let the flow through your head, but watch them instead of getting involved with them. Then go back to your everyday life.
P.S. If you're really interested in getting in touch with your intuition, you have two options (yep, only two options in the whole wide world for doing this, TRUST ME):
1. WORK WITH ME!Obviously, by far the best option. One hour with me we'll have you ignoring the crap that stresses you out and picking up on all the cool stuff your heart is drawn to, and how to make the good stuff happen.
2. Download (and use - it only works if you use it gorgeous) the app - Brain Wave, by Banzailabs.com. It's about £2.50 but contains loads of audio tracks to help you chill out, get focused or meditate. They actually really work, in my experience but I'd love to know what you think.
Have an amazeballs day!!