Taking advantage of the Corpus Christi holiday, we held another yoga retreat in Pandavas Paradise. It was a four night event, starting on Wednesday and ending after lunch on Sunday.
About half the people came from distant cities for the retreat, some from Rio de Janeiro, some from São Paulo, and about half of them were new-comers. This is one of the characteristics of these retreats. It’s not that these people are Hare Krishnas going to a retreat, these are people who have had little or no contact with Hare Krishnas. For most of our visitors, this is their first contact with ISKCON devotees. And we make sure it’s a very sweet experience!
We also don’t hold back on the spirituality, or water it down, just to make it more “commercial”. These yoga retreats are really full on bhakti experiences: two aratiks a day, 30 minutes of japa, extra mantra sessions, 90 minutes of Krishna consciousness lectures a day… the works! Even the morning (hatha) yoga classes are infused with a good dose of bhakti thanks to our devotee yoga teacher, Radharani dd. Practically all of our visitors leave with their own japa beads and at least one book, normally 2 and sometimes 3. The yoga retreats serve as springboards for the more spiritually inclined to go on to do weekend Gita courses, more retreats and some to become full on devotees.
One case in point: we had a lady, in her mid-thirties, come to our Carnaval retreat, just 4 months ago. It was her first contact with Krishna devotees. She loved it so much, she started doing our Gita courses and coming to our regular weekly programs in Brasilia. And now, next week, she’s off to New Zealand to join the women’s ashram at Gaura Yoga for 3 or more months of intense training and service!
Now that we have entered the dry season here, the weather for the Corpus Christi retreat was near perfect with shining sun and clear blue skies. As usual we enjoyed the scenic walks, crystal clear waterfalls, and plenty of healthy and tasty prasadam.
You can see more pictures of the retreat here.