by Richa from Albany
by Richa from Albany
We gathered in the beautiful landscape of Ananda Vrati for another inspiring and creative Student Yoga Weekend on the weekend of November 9th to the 11th. The retreats have always been enjoyed by the participants since about 10 years ago, when they first started, and this one was no different. However, the one thing that made this retreat different was the feeling of a ‘new generation,’ as Dada Vishvarupananda put it, since the facilitators included not only Dada Vishvarupananda and Dada Viveka, but also a group of new facilitators trained earlier this summer. Everything ran smoothly with a retreat of this size: Ananda Vrati was full with 22 participants and 10 facilitators and Acaryas.
The participants were mostly college students coming from Binghamton, Washington DC, Virginia, Albany, Connecticut, New York City and even from as far as Florida. The retreat program included two morning and one evening yoga classes, meditation and kiirtan before meals, several workshops, an afternoon hike, a creative sharing and drumming circle, and plenty of time to enjoy each others’ company during meals and the spontaneous massage or jamming session. The inspiring and interactive workshops included introducing meditation as a beautiful gift for life by Dada Vishvarupananda, PROUT philosophy as applied to deal with food sustainability by Dinakar and Kalinatha, and using effective communication skills to build a sense of community by Shanti and Richa. We were nurtured with delicious vegetarian food from the kitchen, usually cooked by Dada Gunamaya, Dinakar, Dada Vimaleshananda or Dada Shubhacetananda, with plenty of help from Kailash and other facilitators.
During the closing ceremony, we saw ourselves connected as a web after having shared so much at the retreat, and everyone had a chance to share their experience. With the new group of facilitators, the program that always seems to work, and the accepting environment that is created at these retreats, it is inspiring to think of what can come from this ‘new generation’ of new facilitators as well as participants that have been touched by the retreat.