These 6 benefits of silent retreats can really change your life!
By Amma Aburam
Has it ever hit you? The amount of noise in our lives. Our phones are buzzing with news, conversations and updates on our best friend’s latest holiday pics. In the city, we hear traffic passing by, helicopters and planes overhead and seemingly endless construction noise. At work, there’s a constant stream of conversations, printers whirring, elevators dinging…there’s just so much noise, noise, noise!
Eventually, we all get to a point where we need to take a break – and there’s no better solution than a silent retreat. Heading for one of these restful, restoring holidays was recently cited as one of the top eight wellness trends of 2017 according to the Global Wellness Summit – and no wonder. They offer a rare opportunity to recharge your mind, body and spirit.
And speaking of which, silent retreats are often taken by those following a spiritual path – they’re commonly held at Catholic monasteries or Buddhist centres – but you needn’t be a religious person to attend one. There are many that simply focus on yoga and walking meditations in peaceful and beautiful spaces.
Holidays used to be about leaving your busy self behind to forget the world and your problems. The new trend for silent retreats offers something even more substantial: the possibility to plunge into yourself, to escape the world by finding your inner world. In addition to that, silent retreats like those offered by Shreyas Retreat in India offer a combination of yoga, Ayurvedic therapy and pampering that will put you in the perfect mindset for a few days of silence. Here are six amazing benefits of silent retreats
6 Ways Silent Retreats Can Change Your Life
1. Silencing the “Monkey Brain”
The ‘monkey brain’ is a part of your mind that is triggered when you try to not speak. Basically, you swing from thought to thought like a baboon on a set of monkey bars because sometimes, just by trying to be quiet your thoughts, they can actually spin out of control. It takes about 24 hours of silence for your mind to settle and for the thoughts to grow quieter, but once they do, you will know a peace of mind like never before.
2. Listening to Your Inner Self
With less monkey brain chatter come clearer thoughts and an increased focus on one’s inner being. This is when the journey of self-enquiry truly begins. When you can’t communicate with others verbally, you start to ‘speak’ to your inner self, and most importantly to listen to your inner monologue to understand who you are and how you feel about who you are. That’s one of the biggest benefits of silent retreats.
3. A Cure For Boredom
In a world of endless distractions, most of us have no clue how to simply do nothing. For example, when we have no gadget to play with, we often cry ‘boredom’. However, being able to be still and calm whilst doing nothing is a crucial life skill. And it’s one of the main benefits of silent retreats.
On a silent retreat, you may feel like you are bored at first. But slowly, you’ll become more aware of your emotional state. Believe me, that’s enough to occupy your mind! You’ll realise that being silent pulls out emotions you may have put away, and guess what? You may finally deal with them or even befriend them as a process of self-healing. Your imagination will also come more alive in silence: you’ll develop a curiosity for what’s happening in your mind, body, and surroundings.
4. More Mindful Eating
Your mom was right when she said you shouldn’t speak with your mouth full – being silent at meals improves digestion. Healthy cuisine is a big part of the focus of most Silent Retreats. When you concentrate on your food and chewing it well, you eat more slowly and mindfully. And when you eat more slowly, you tend to eat less, because your stomach has the time to process the food and tell your brain when you’re full.
5. Resting Your Vocal Chords & Ears
Research at the University of California found that women speak an average of 20,000 words a day (compared to only 7,000 for men). Clearly, we talk a lot! And that’s a lot of stress on our throats and vocal chords. And don’t forget what I mentioned at the beginning of this article. We are bombarded by noise so much every day, we don’t seem to realise it until it’s finally gone. But noise is actually a form of pollution that can take a terrible toll on our physical and mental health.
A silent retreat is the perfect occasion to rest these parts of our bodies. You’ll sleep better, think clearer, and your voice will also sound sharper and brighter after days of silence.
6. Gaining Clarity In Your Life
There is no doubt that mindful eating, calmer thoughts, listening to our inner self, learning how to live with boredom and resting will only lead to a new, better you. You’ll gain a bit of insight as to what’s really important in life, and better understand when your body is truly hungry (rather than just craving tasty food), and you’ll feel more comfortable in your own company. Your clearer mind and brand-new sense of grounding will make you more able to take on anything life throws your way.
The benefits of silent retreats are many, and profound. Going on one is an opportunity you should take advantage of at least once in a lifetime!