Life in a Day in Ashram
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Some of you may know I just finished my 9 month Kriya Yoga course in Mandala Ashram in Wales. I have received many questions like; “what is Ashram?”, “what do you there?”, “how was your holiday?” etc.
I hope this little post may give you a little insight…
My first visit was 4 years ago and I felt an immediate sense of belonging and calmness from the moment I stepped foot in the Ashram. You know that feeling of coming home after long time? Well that’s exactly how it was.
I usually feel little anxious when it comes to new things, new groups but suddenly here was something different. From the very first moment you can be who you are and start your little transformation from that place.
The word ‘Ashram’ is derived from the Sanskrit shram which means ‘hard work’. Therefore, an Ashram is a place of hard work = physically, mentally and emotionally.
Ashram is really a place of retreat from the noise and busyness of the world, where we can have the time, energy and inspiration to reflect on what we are doing with our lives; where we are going and who we are. It gives us the opportunity of looking inwards to see how we function on a deeper level. An Ashram is a sacred place where the atmosphere is charged with transformative energy. From this we can gain spiritual nourishment and inner strength to continue with our lives.
The day to day program varies, course depending, but it is really similar in many ways.
5.30 a.m. Rising Bell
There would be someone to ring the bell for everyone at the Ashram. Surprisingly, there was no problem with sharing the bathrooms as there were people already up much earlier and you may even end up having bathroom to yourself. These things always worked out without any frustration, waiting for a shower or toilet.
6 a.m. Personal Yoga practice or a guided Hatha Yoga class
7.30 a.m. Mantra Yoga (chanting) and or guided meditation
Morning energy in the Ashram is charged with serenity. If you are not a morning person, this would be your breaking point .
8.45 a.m. Breakfast
Breakfasts are simple. Porridge, muesli or cereals with the fresh herbal teas. Coffee detox….eeek, as I surely like a good cup of coffee. It is really interesting that if there is no choice and coffee is nowhere near my body/mind I don’t crave it. The choice of milk is wide from dairy to non-dairy and I have learned to bring my own seeds and nuts to spice it up a little…
9.30-11 a.m. Karma Yoga
Day to day task from preparing food for lunch, household tasks (yep- even cleaning toilets, as they are cleaned twice a day they are supper clean!), maintenance or gardening. There is no expectation of any reward, gratitude or recognition and you don’t need to be concerned with the outcome. It is all about doing work in an attitude of service and with Awareness, Presence. You would be surprised how things change when you return home. Your daily activities will change to a sacred and meaningful acts.
11.00 a.m. Tea break
There would always be big bowl of fruit, biscuits or treats from people
11.30 a.m. Lecture or practice session
1 p.m. Lunch & Free time
We would all que up and before the lunch would be served, we chant the food chant in the gratitude what we about to receive. The first 10 minutes is spent in silence. The not talking part would really give you time to appreciate what is on a plate in front of you, tasting all the flavours, seeing all the colours. The mindful experience of eating. This time we were in for a treat as the lady who prepared the food was an Ayurvedic vegan chef. Oh my!!
Each and every one of us would have a little schedule of doing a little bit of washing up after the morning, lunch or dinner meals. I know you think – “dishes time”, but again the power of karma yoga will change this to an act of presence and deeper connection with yourself and the people you share the task with.
You can spend your afternoon doing whatever you wish. From having a nap, walking the Welsh hills, spending time in nature, study or having conversations (if not on Mouna-Silence) with like minded people.
3.30-4.30 p.m. Yoga Nidra
Deep guided relaxation, often accompanied by gongs. Just bliss!
5-6 p.m. Lecture or practice session
6.30 p.m. Supper
Delicious soups, using vegetables from the garden with homemade bread.
7-7.45 p.m. Library
The Ashram has an amazing collection of books!
8-9 p.m. Evening session
Getting together for Satsang (question and answers), Kirtan (collective chanting) or havan (fire ceremony), making mandala (see the picture below)
There will always be Mouna after the evening session through the morning till the breakfast time.
I can write a lot about my experiences in Ashram, but you know what? They are quite personal and sometimes hard or even impossible to describe of what could happen if you let yourself be immersed with these sacred practices of Yoga and Meditation.
So try for yourself and see what it is like….
P.S: I am really aware there are many amazing and supportive places around… I was just letting you know about this one as it is close to my heart.
Yours in Yoga,
Ivana –Tara xxx