Wisdom, compassion, and happiness—these are the characteristics of the enlightened mind. At this retreat, we’ll take a deeper dive into how the mind works, and why it may not be working as easily and happily as we would like. The universal afflictions (kleshas)—limited world view, egoism, attachment, aversion, and fear—are rooted in the instinctive nature we acquire at birth. How we manage these fundamental fountains of the life force and our personal inclinations (vasanas) is the secret to autonomy, resiliency, and a life well-lived.

We’ll explore the neuroscience behind the kleshas and see how a wide range of yoga practices are designed to free us from the limitations of our biological autopilot and acquired tendencies of mind. Experience how meditation, yoga, right worldview, embodied mindful awareness, and the power of intention weave inner stability and psychological freedom into the fabric of life. Understanding how yoga practice trains the brain and nervous system will develop your confidence and strength of purpose, and help you choose the most effective approaches to a balanced and happy life.

Topics for discussion and practice include:
  • Energetic alignment, integration, and awareness with the tantric practice of asana and pranayama
  • Developing present moment awareness: why it’s important and how to begin
  • How yoga affects the motivational systems described by polyvagal theory: fear-based responses, reward systems, and the social engagement system
  • Self-identity, the default mode network of the brain, and how yogic techniques can interrupt self-centered thinking associated with unhappiness
  • The four attitudes and the yamas and niyamas to further manage the sources of fear, anger, and selfishness
  • How and why meditation can integrate experiential awareness and the thinking mind
The course schedule allows time for personal practice, study, and contemplation as well as:
  • Instruction in Himalayan Institute meditation methods if you are new to meditation, or need a refresher
  • Personal appointments with faculty
  • Help in establishing a daily routine during your time at HI and at home