There are a number of administrative necessities which must be observed for the successful running of a Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat. Your cooperation is deeply appreciated.
1. Retreat Coordinator
The Retreat Coordinator is the Hridaya Yoga staff person who is designated to watch over all the administrative retreat details and to solve any problems that arise during the retreat. This person is an assistant to the Retreat Leader and may at times receive whispered instructions from the Retreat Leader. The Retreat Coordinator introduces himself or herself during the retreat registration session, and will be the one who announces the rules and guidelines during this session. Please do not approach the Retreat Leader with any issues other than those involving a spiritual crisis or emergency for you; he must use his time and energy to remain focused on the spiritual leadership of the retreat for the sake of the retreat itself and all participants. If you have unresolvable administrative or other problems during the retreat, please detail your issues in writing and alert the Coordinator, who will do his or her best to assist you in a timely and appropriate manner.
A Registration and Orientation Session is held on the day prior to each retreat. Check the monthly calendar for the time and location of the meeting. During this session, the retreat rules and any special guidelines will be explained to participants and a forum will be provided for any questions. Participants will need to register themselves with their name and contact information, sign a medical release/liability waiver, and provide emergency contact information.
In addition to administrative details, the Registration and Orientation Session will feature a lecture that explores some of the definitions and esoteric aspects of the retreat methods, and will end with a meditation. This session is an opportunity for the Retreat Leader to evaluate the potential attendees and to ensure that each person present is fit, both mentally and emotionally, to attend. In rare cases, the Retreat Leader may recommend that a hopeful participant not join the retreat or postpone participation. In total, this retreat session may last three and a half hours; please plan accordingly.
Attending the Registration and Orientation Session is mandatory for all participants, including those who have attended the retreat previously. Registration is held on the day prior to the retreat’s commencement so that the retreat itself may begin in silence. Mauna (silence) will start from the first consecration to the Absolute Reality of the Heart on the morning of the retreat’s first day.
3. Retreat Fees and Discounts
Retreat fees are due at registration. Please come prepared with your payment. A discount is offered on multiple retreat attendance for all Hridaya Yoga retreats attended in the same calendar year. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on fees and payment options.
As with other Hridaya Yoga events, there are no refunds for event participation. If a person makes the decision to leave a retreat, he or she does so with the knowledge that the fees are forfeited. The only exception to this scenario is for cases of medical emergency, in which case – following substantiation of a refund request – Hridaya Yoga will return fees for the unattended portion of the retreat (on a per diem basis, according to the rate of fees paid). Due to this policy, we encourage participants to carefully consider their participation prior to registration if they are suffering from acute or chronic conditions, diseases, or pain, if they are in recovery from a serious injury, have unhealed wounds, etc. Hopeful participants should, by their intent to register, have evaluated their readiness to participate in the retreat fully.
Hridaya Yoga does not offer its retreats on a “drop-in” basis, therefore attendance of all meditation sessions is compulsory. The only exceptions will be made are for people who are sick and cannot attend sessions, teachers who are teaching classes which may overlap retreat sessions, and members of the Hridaya staff who are working during the retreat.
During this retreat, a number marks the place of each participant; when a number marks an empty place, that participant’s absence is noted by Retreat Monitors.
6. Partial Attendance of Retreats
Partial attendance of retreats is generally not allowed and is not encouraged by Hridaya Yoga. We intend these retreats to be a complete experience of 10 days, with the energy built and sustained over this period of time for each participant. We feel that the effects of the retreat cannot be evaluated properly by only a few days’ participation.
That said, on some occasions, hopeful participants need to leave Mazunte during the middle of a retreat period and would like to join anyway several days or half of this special event. In such cases, we agree to partial participation, but there will be no discount and full retreat fees must be paid. This option is only approved in cases in which a participant starts the retreat with the group and then leaves Mazunte. This option is not approved for those arriving to Mazunte during the retreat who may wish to join mid-event. Such people will need to wait until the following course cycle to join the next retreat.
Hridaya Yoga does everything within its power to provide retreat attendees with a peaceful and undisturbed meditation environment during events. We appreciate your help and cooperation to achieve an ideally supportive atmosphere. Participants are asked not to disturb in any way the peace of mind of their colleagues during the retreat. We ask that participants not make sudden movements, produce sharp noises, hyperventilate, or perform other disturbing bodily actions. Participants are asked not to stand up, move about, or conduct any other activities during meditation sessions with the exception of the discreet rearrangement of the position of one’s limbs. Stretching, using the toilet, etc. should be reserved for break times.
Please be considerate about the use of products with strong odors (perfumes, tiger balm, etc.). A retreat atmosphere is one in which people are in close proximity for long periods. Some people have sensitivities to fragrances or find strong odors intolerable and very distracting. Please make fair use of the mats, pillows, and benches during the retreat. If you feel like creating special conditions of comfort for yourself, use your own resources (for example, by bringing extra pillows from home).
This retreat experience aims to create an atmosphere resembling solitude as much as possible – a cave retreat of your own – where there is no one but yourself to answer your questions. Try to persevere through the process of the retreat, quieting the mind and allowing the meditations themselves to give you answers.
However, you may ask questions directly related to the practice by placing your written questions on the Retreat Leader’s bench. The answers will be given at the beginning of lectures. Apart from this, a formal Q&A session will be held on the last day of the retreat, at which time participants are also invited to share their experiences.
9. Food and Meal Catering
Food may not be eaten in the hall or around it (within visible range) and no food items should be brought with participants to the meditation hall. Sealed receptacles for water, tea, etc. (bottles, thermoses) are permitted, but they may be used strictly and only during break times.
Meal catering is arranged by Hridaya Yoga to support the retreat experience, rest periods, and mauna of participants. The meals are simple vegan food, without excessive spice (no onion or garlic is used) and without extensive, especially Western-style, condiments. The meal catering cannot accommodate food allergies and other special requests.
In order to join the meal plan during the retreat, it is necessary to register and pay for the food plan during the Registration and Orientation Session. Mealtimes are scheduled into the retreat, and the food will be ready as soon as the retreat sessions end.
Please carefully consider whether you are willing and able to eat simple vegan food for 10 days. If you generally are a very selective eater with many special preferences, etc. you may prefer to make other arrangements. No meal refunds will be given once the retreat begins.
10. Use of Toilets
Please use the toilets only during breaks, except in cases of emergency. The toilets are cleaned daily, but if you notice any urgent needs, please inform the Retreat Coordinator in writing of the problem. In addition to the morning cleaning, the Retreat Coordinator will inspect the toilets twice daily so as to minimize any problems for participants.
11. Supply Runs
During the retreat, we strongly advise you not to go into the city, do shopping, etc. We promote the retreat guidelines well in advance of the retreat in order to give you ample opportunity to be fully prepared.
We remind you to shop in advance for the following items:
- Food, fruit, snacks, etc.
- Batteries for your flashlight
- Medical supplies
- Feminine hygiene products
If you realize during the retreat that you did not prepare adequately and need something essential urgently, the Hridaya Retreat Coordinator can arrange to buy something for you. You should give the Coordinator an envelope containing more than enough money for the item you need, plus a written description of it. The envelope will be sealed with your change and a receipt and returned with the item at the next opportunity. No extensive searches will be done for rare items. We will shop only in the area neighboring the school. This service is meant to be a support for the retreat experience and mauna of participants. However, we reiterate, please make every effort to predict your needs prior to the start of the retreat.
Retreat participants are encouraged to keep their valuables (passport, money) with them, if their accommodations are not secure. Alternately, participants who don’t wish to be worried about or distracted by the safety of such valuables may feel welcome to leave these items with the Hridaya Finance Department, in our safe. Contact the Retreat Coordinator at the Registration and Orientation Session for more information and the stipulations surrounding this option.
13. Retreat Day Bag
During the retreat, we recommend that you carry a bag with you to and from the meditation hall that contains the following useful items:
Mosquito spray (please apply sprays only outside of the hall and during breaks)
Pen and notebook
Yoga mat or sarong
Mexico is located in a tropical climate, which is host to many types of wildlife. Most insects and animals that you will encounter are harmless. Some, such as scorpions, centipedes, and some snakes, can sting or bite and should be approached cautiously. If you find such creatures in the meditation hall or its immediate vicinity, try first to remove them peacefully and without harming them. If this is not possible or you prefer not to be involved, please alert the Retreat Coordinator who will step in to resolve the situation.