This year’s Easter retreat at Pandavas Paradise was a dance and yoga retreat with Amber Joy Rava, a dancer and designer from New York who has performed all over the world. It was Amber’s second retreat with us and now that she is spending more time in Alto Paraiso (our nearest town) we will be hosting more dance retreats with her in the future.
15 guests attended the retreat and danced with the wind, fire, water, and earth. They came from all over Brazil and one guest even came all the way from Seatlle (USA).
Each morning they would get up early to dance for the sun as it rose over the distant hills. Then they would enter the temple for kirtan followed by a 30 minute japa session.
After japa was a “yin yoga” class led by Amber, and then a big breakfast before heading out to dance some more.
On the first morning they walked to one of our beautiful, refreshing waterfalls to dance with the water and the rocks. On the second morning they walked up to our scenic lookout point to dance with the wind. On the third morning they danced in the temple.
Each day, the morning activities were followed by a sumptuous lunch.
And after lunch? More dancing! Amber led the group in various dance exercises employing different styles of dance. Amber’s goal is not just to teach people to dance, but to help them to know themselves and express themselves freely through movement and to reveal their divine inner nature.
In the evenings we had our Gaura Arati at the usual time. I led the kirtan and Krishna Mohini dd performed the arati while Amber led the group in a synchronized dance for the pleasure of the Divine.
After the arati I gave a class on the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. Then we served dinner. And then, yes, you guessed it, more dancing! Amber specializes in fire dancing, so one night they danced with fire beneath the full moon and a clear sky of thousands of visible stars.
The guests were very satisfied with their experience. As usual, they spoke of deep transformations and expressed their profound gratitude. Many of them went home with japa beads and books on Krishna consciousness. Here is what some of them wrote about the retreat:
“The step we took towards the Sacred is a miracle, a unique experience. Let’s be aware, brave and open. I’m very grateful to all of you for the inspiration and for sharing. “– Simone, São Paulo – SP
“I carry in me the magic of the sunrise, the full moon’s rays in the starry heavens, the joyful force of the waterfalls, the heat of the rocks, the majestic wind and wild power of the fire. I’ll treasure the smiles and the tears of each one of you. I felt touched by the courageous seeking in all of you, which reflects my own yearnings. I know that life is a dance in the here and now, listening to the music of the Universe. All we have to do now is breathe deep, raise our hands to the sky and soar above our fears, illusions and guilt. We came to honor our own beauty and creative force of GOD! I feel inspired and grateful, and I feel a deep desire to put into practice the teachings each of you confided in me.” – Bellé Flora, São Paulo – SP
“The retreat exceeded my expectations. I never imagined that dance and yoga could be such a strong channel to the Divine and the Inner Self. I thought the retreat would be more about relaxing and physical exercise, but I ended up finding parts of myself that were previously hidden. I thank all of you for having participated in this process. I wish that other people may also enjoy this incredible experience. I totally recommend it! Hare Krishna.”– Sinval Neto, Brasília – DF
You can see more pictures of the retreat here.