Newsletter August 2013
We are welcoming a new international teacher to Anahata - Swami Neelmani from Australia who will be here from October to December, and ever popular and respected; Swami Gyan Dharma will be returning in January to March for our busy season. Our Japanese group returns for their annual retreat. We also have the regular Explore Your 'Self' and Yoga & Meditation retreats each month, as well as upcoming Navaratri (Yoga and Sound) in October.
We’ve just completed our Yoga Wisdom Series with week-long retreats built around a different theme each week: ‘Purification’, 'Earthcare’, ‘Cooking & Nutrition’, and finishing off with ‘Mindfulness’. These retreats can be done on their own or as a month-long series to really get an in-depth experience. Due to their popularity we have decided to offer Yoga Wisdom Series again in November to December, with new themes based around the Elements and the Chakras.
For more information about these and other events around New Zealand coming up, please visit our website .
It was another eventful and inspiring summer of events at Anahata, with lots of new people and familiar faces coming to recharge and experience the peace and beauty of this special place on the mountain top. We are continuing to receive really positive feedback from the people that come to stay, even hearing it described as “one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets”.
Starting with our annual New Year’s Retreat – Creating Change, Anahata filled with people keen to experience a different type of New Year’s celebration, reconnect with themselves, and welcome 2013 in a positive way.
January included the annual Nurturing Positivity retreat, which included a side-splitting session of laughing yoga as special guest Chakradhyan discovered a new natural talent, and a 5-hour Akhanda Kirtan (continuous singing). New this year, former Anahata resident and now kirtan musician Chakradhyan hosted two kirtan workshops around this weekend. It was great to see all the harmoniums out with people who had never played before giving it a go and singing their first kirtan, with some great tips for the more experienced kirtanists and residents. We also had our second Yoga & Ayurveda retreat with Sannyasin Adhyatma sharing healing tools for different constitutions, as well as hands-on experience making digestive aids such as ginger pills and pachana (a spice and seed mixture to take after eating, which we feature in the
In February we had the first of our Yoga and Meditation weekend retreats, perfect for those looking for a weekend break to refresh and revive. Although short, the weekend retreat proved a great way for participants to get away from it all, come back to their centre, and gain new insights for life.
February saw us out and about at local events and festivals, including a very strong presence at ‘Luminate’. Over the 8 day festival Anahata Yoga Retreat presented over 20 workshops. Each workshop was bursting to the brim with participants, but Yoga Nidra took the prize for the best attended with people having to lie on the outside of the tent to follow the practice! Kirtan was a hot favourite with many people experiencing this uplifting practice for the first time and becoming regular faces every night, and the Hatha Yoga classes had up to 50 people in attendance. On Sunday night we honoured the Sun with a Gayatri Havan that saw over 100 festival goers offering around the sacred fire. Impromptu kirtans started up regularly at the stall and the famous Anahata Bliss Balls flew out the door, only making it half way through the festival before we sold out of 450 balls of bliss!
Anahata was also once again a strong part of the rhythm of the Nelson ‘Evolve’ festival with an inviting stall space, a range of workshops, hosting a kirtan evening and a havan for the festival, and in March participated in the Chandrakirti Music Day at the local Buddhist Centre.
March started afresh with a clean slate (literally), with the Yogic Cleansing retreat including purifying techniques for the body as well as for the mind (mantra practices are a great mind cleaner). This led into the powerful Prana Vidya retreat where participants were led through a series of meditation practices designed to help connect with and increase our vital life energy (prana). Participants left extremely inspired and slightly awed at the depth of the effects of the practices. The Interfaith event with the theme of “Living from the Heart”, saw representatives from the Methodist, Buddhist, Yogic, Judaic, and Maori traditions come together to share perspectives and to see the common ground.
The Easter weekend was busy for the Anahata team, spreading out in three different directions. At Anahata we hosted our second Yoga & Meditation weekend retreat for those looking for a relaxing long weekend. There was a team with Swami Karma Karuna supporting our sister ashram Rocklyn, Australia hosting the Yoga for Transformation event with Swami Satsangi.
With over 400 people in attendance, the event was well-run and a beautiful space was created. It felt like a giant family reunion, seeing old friends and meeting new friends within the Satyananda family and enjoying the depth of wisdom from Swami Satsangi. Anahata also joined the Satyananda team at the International Yoga Conference at Kawai PuraPura, which was once again a great success made possible by the great support of the New Zealand Satyananda Yoga community.
April is also the time of Navaratri (which literally means 9 nights), a very auspicious time for any kind of spiritual practice. At Anahata we hosted the Mantra, Meditation and Reflection retreat led by special guest Swami Muktimurti, along with the Anahata Swamis including the freshly returned from India and inspired Swami Karma Karuna. The retreat featured in particular a significant amount of chanting of mantras as these help to support us in times of transition. And while most of the guests were new to chanting the Sanskrit mantras, as Swami Muktimurti had told us at the beginning, each day was easier and by the end of the retreat everyone was chanting along together and a beautiful harmonized feeling settled over the entire ashram and lingered for several days.
We hosted our second annual Family Yoga retreat, and it was a testament to the success of last year’s retreat that most of the families came back for a second year in a row. It was great to see the familiar and new faces and to enjoy the fresh and fun energy of kids running around again, enjoying the vibrant and inspiring teachings of Sunnie.
In May, all the men were sent down the hill for the weekend to create an all female environment up at Anahata for the annual Sacred Feminine retreat led by Swami Karma Karuna, and supported by Swami Pavitrananda and Rita Scholten. This created a safe space for sharing, nurturing and nourishing, through the practices of yoga, yummy food, sharing circles and massage exchanges. It was amazing to feel the supportive environment and to explore what the term Sacred Feminine means to each of us.
All the participants in the Sacred Feminine Retreat taking part in creating sacred geometry (Yantra) and allowing their creative femininity to be expressed.
The week long Explore Your ‘Self’ retreats we hold each month continue to be a great success. These continue to be a popular retreat – just as we thought things were quieting down for winter we had one of our biggest Explore Your ‘Self’ groups yet! It is wonderful to see such a variety of ages and nationalities coming through Anahata to learn from the yogic lifestyle lived here.
In July and August Swami Karma Karuna travelled to Bali as well as Dunedin to offer some transformational yoga retreats. In Bali she taught two 3 day retreats at the new Yogalaya centre in Ubud, including hatha yoga, meditation, chanting and havan as well as a visit to local temples and experience the magical and unique heritage of Bali. There are plans for another retreat in Bali in early December this year! In Dunedin participants had the opportunity to experience and explore how yoga can transform your life by working with the chakras, mantras and chanting.
At the end of August we had our annual Taupo retreat Awakening the Heart with Yoga with Swami Karma Karuna and Sannyasin Atmabhava. The feedback from those who participated was "how amazing and wonderful the weekend was".