New Year’s Hridaya Silent Retreat
Saturday, Dec 28, 2019 @1pm to Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020 @2pm
New Year’s Eve is a truly special moment to go inward and get quiet. The transition of one year to the next brings an opportunity to heighten our awareness and create strong openings, life shifts and plant deep-rooted intentions. When we take the time to listen deeply and attentively, we open ourselves to profound insights and a chance to change the consciousness of the world, starting with ourselves.
Shift your relationship to the next year of your life by quieting your mind, rejuvenating your body and opening your heart. The Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat is five days of noble silence, allowing you to drop the everyday acts of doing and sink into just being.
Is life calling you to slow down?
Are you moving too fast to actually experience your life?
Are you ready for deep transformation but something is holding you back (like not knowing how or being afraid of what will happen?)
Then you’re ready for a meditation retreat – a silent meditation retreat.
Ah! Silent? Like not talking? That’s scary. I can’t imagine being silent for any length of time. I can’t even sit still for a few minutes without finding a distraction.
Right – which is why you feel so wound up. It takes time to slow down and learn how to let go – of your past, of your worries, of what the future might look like if you don’t have it all figured out. Trust me, you’re not alone. You’re one of millions of people Google searching how to let go of their worries and how to be more present and accepting.
A silent retreat is a kickstart to deep transformation, to slowing down and to learning how to enjoy every minute of life.
A silent retreat is for anyone who’s craving time to themselves, an inner transformation, and to experience what meditation can bring to their life. It sets you up for a disciplined personal practice and a road map to letting go.
What’s a silent retreat like?
The Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat is structured to give you guidance every step of the way. Everyone is invited to practice noble silence throughout the entire retreat, from our opening circle to our closing circle. Retreat leaders will speak during sessions to offer teachings and guidance in the practices but will also be in silence outside of the sessions. You are encouraged to ask written questions about your experience, the teachings or anything you need during our retreat. You’ll always be able to contact a retreat leader for support.
We begin our morning practice at 7am and end the day around 9pm. Fear not! Our meditation sessions start out shorter and build up during the weekend. There is a 3-hour break after lunch for you to explore nearby trails, journal, take a nap or rest. Three nourishing, vegetarian meals are offered daily by a local chef using seasonal produce that helps you have the best retreat possible, not only in your mind and heart but also in your belly. Vegan and gluten free options are available as well.
A few times a day we practice Hatha Yoga – a gentle but deep meditative physical yoga practice in the style of Hridaya, the Yoga of the Spiritual Heart. Movements and poses are accessible for all bodies and give you even more tools to bring more awareness into your daily life through the body. Hridaya Yoga is distinct from other practices as it engages not only the physical body but the whole being. Postures and practices are performed with a focus on both the physical body and inner experience, turning physical practice into blissful meditation. If flow or vinyasa is your thing, there is also space every day to do your own practice.
What should I expect in a silent retreat?
Every silent meditation retreat is different – even if you attend the exact same retreat multiple times. The most important attitude to have in a silent retreat is to let go of expectations. A spirit of openness to what unfolds is essential to welcoming a retreat experience.
Grace, Dianna and Britt, your Washington-based retreat leaders, have over a decade of experience leading people through the personal transformation of yoga, meditation and silent retreats. We start with the basics of meditation and concentration techniques and build your understanding and experience throughout the weekend. Practices are accessible for beginning meditators and experienced meditators alike. You’ll learn how to listen to deeper parts of yourself – like that voice that’s been trying to be heard for years – through yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, daily life contemplation, spiritual curiosity, compassion and intentional integration.
You’ll leave with a renewed strength and momentum to develop a daily practice which keeps you more calm, centered and present than you’ve been before.
Our meditation retreat atmosphere is a safe space for you to try out different meditation and concentration practices, have a holistic experience, and makes notes of how you want to bring these practices into your life. There’s no expectation that you do anything perfectly or that you can even sit still! We practice together by increasing the length of our meditations day by day and building up our stamina in the practice. Your humanness is welcome – exactly as you are.
You’ll have the space to share your retreat experience on the last day and we highly encourage everyone to witness others’ process and share your experience. This is sometimes the most profound session of the whole retreat after being in silence with fellow seekers for five days.
What do we do in a meditation retreat?
Hridaya Silent Retreats are created to intimately experience what meditation is and to feel the inner transformation it can bring. During our meditation retreat, we offer practices centered on the Spiritual Heart – another name for the essence of our being. Practices come from a variety of traditions, including esoteric Christianity, Sufism, Buddhism, Tantra, Taoism and Yoga. All religious backgrounds, faiths and lifestyles are welcome in the Spiritual Heart! The atmosphere is one of love and strong spiritual support.
No previous meditation or yoga experience is necessary as this silent retreat is designed for beginner and advanced meditators alike.
Using techniques from these vast, mystical traditions and Hridaya Yoga, we’ll learn how to create the best conditions for meditation including cultivating awareness, mental concentration, meditation techniques based on opening to the Spiritual Heart and how to apply these techniques in daily life. The last day will include practical and concrete integration practices like how to create a home practice and maintain an open heart in the challenging moments of life.
Where is the Silent Meditation Retreat?
We are blessed to be hosted by Harmony Hill Retreat Center in Union, Washington on the beautiful Hood Canal. The center features a large, pristine yoga hall, hiking trails, a walking labyrinth and is right across the street from the beach. There is also a beautiful garden where much of our food is grown. Since 1986, Harmony Hill has been hosting deep personal transformation and spiritual growth and you can feel it the moment you arrive. You’ll drop into a quiet space of unwinding and you’ll feel the desire to slow down, breathe more deeply and step into silence. Our home in the woods is surrounded by natural beauty, walking trails, wild deer, and views of the snowy Olympic Mountains.
Accommodation options include private rooms or shared rooms with shared or private bathrooms. You are welcome to choose the room that best suits you, depending on availability. We imagine our private rooms will be reserved quickly! Harmony Hill is an accessible center and people will most accessibility needs will be comfortable here. Please contact us with questions about accommodations or grounds.
What does it mean to be silent?
Silence starts with not talking…but it’s so much more.
We start with the intention to not talk or communicate once we set our container and begin the retreat. You are welcome to write notes to retreat leaders when you have questions or need assistance. Otherwise, we ask there to be no communication between guests, including not looking at other people’s faces, not making eye contact and not touching others. This may seem strict, but it opens the gateway to really focus internally, the whole point of a silent retreat. Once you get into the rhythm, you’ll be grateful for the space away from pleasing people or worrying about how they’ll react to you.
We ask all guests to maintain this noble silence throughout the retreat, which includes: no books, no electronics, no music, no phones or devices or other distractions. Again, this might feel extreme. The point is to not let yourself go to any distraction from what you’re really experiencing in the present moment. If taking a few days away from social media scares you, then you’re very ready for this journey.
We do encourage journaling to assist in the processing of your experience.
If you’ve never experienced the intimacy of silence – especially in today’s fast-paced, notification pinging, constant news driven, social media addicted, instant gratification world – you’ll never forget the spaciousness it brings. You’ll leave with more inner and outer love, tools to calm and center yourself, an understanding of what it means to let go, practices for deeper connection with other people, and the ability to be more present, conscious and to let go.
We hope you’ll join us for this special weekend dedicated to YOU.
What have people experienced in silent retreats?
We’ll let our guests tell you in their own words what they’ve experienced in a silent meditation retreat.
“This was truly one of the most memorable weekends. It left me feeling awake and focused. I am inspired to now have an unplugged time every day.” – Mona, South Korea
“Grace creates an accessible, welcoming and safe environment that is both heart-warming and inspiring. Her energy and passion for what she does is infectious, so much so that a room full of strangers at the beginning of a weekend can feel like family by the end. You will be energized, challenged, comforted and much, much more. I cannot recommend this retreat enough.” – Ben, South Korea
“This retreat has helped me reframe my expectations of myself and my expectations of others. I have been very judgmental of myself and I feel I have learned to let some of that go.” – Matt, Whidbey Island
“After this retreat, I am committed to fear less, love more and to refresh my daily practice.” – Terri, Whidbey Island
“I really benefitted from the meditation times that extended a little every day. I’ve been trying meditation on my own and using phone apps, but I’ve never tried more than 10-20 minutes. It showed me I can find a gap in my thoughts without frustration and I can train my puppy mind. I also feel more connected to what love actually is after this retreat and how to focus on giving love in my life. I know now that if I give love from a selfless, compassionate place, I will also receive love.” – Tracie, Whidbey Island
“During this retreat, I realized how distracted I am by my phone and laptop. I have loved being away from both and plan to have a few times daily when I look at them instead of just responding to every notification and sound.” – Jodi, Whidbey Island
“This retreat helped me to reframe how I live every day! I’ve been wanting to return to the heart, but I’ve lost my way with the big changes and challenges of 2017. I want my heart to lead instead of the reactivity I have indulged in. The practices we did this weekend help me to connect the spiritual and physical and I’m inspired to keep practicing being in the Spiritual Heart.” Chrysalis, Whidbey Island
“This weekend I really got the idea of responding instead of reacting to stress. I’m excited to apply the principles we’ve been using during meditation to my everyday life.” – Janet, Whidbey Island
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is noble silence?
Noble Silence is a common practice in retreats which offers a rare and precious opportunity to simplify one’s daily routine, quiet the mind and cultivate an inward focus of attention. There is the also the opportunity to go deep in our internal world and not be distracted by the social conventions that usually turn the wheels of our mind constantly.
By observing outer silence and temporarily renouncing our usual habits of conversation, we provide a support for the cultivation of a deep inner silence. You will be asked to refrain not only from speaking, but also from using electronic devices. We will explain more and provide an opportunity for asking questions before going into silence. Be assured you will always have the opportunity to communicate by writing messages to Dianna and Grace should the need arise. There will also be a daily Q&A session.
I've never meditated before. Is this retreat right for me?
Absolutely! Many new to meditation begin by attending a retreat. Retreats provide a wonderful opportunity learn skills and to dive directly into the process, building momentum and faith in meditation.
I’m an advanced meditator. Will I get something out of this retreat?
As an experienced meditator, you have the opportunity to go very deep in this retreat and start from your level of practice. The retreat is designed to give you the gift of leaving the busy-ness of life behind and concentrating for an extended period of time. You’ll also gain new meditation techniques and practices focused on the Spiritual Heart and insights to deepen your existing practice.
How long are the meditation sessions?
Sessions will be from 30 minutes to one hour, increasing in duration over the retreat. Guests are welcomed to adjust their position during sessions as needed and to use props to sit comfortably. Chairs are also provided.
Do we have to sit on the floor?
No, sitting on the floor is not required – there will be chairs available as needed. If you do choose the floor there will be cushions and other items for maximum comfort. We will also talk of ways of sitting comfortably.
What is the yoga like? Do I need to be flexible?
Hridaya Yoga is a meditative practice focused on going into the Spiritual Heart through the energy and movements of the body. It is accessible for all bodies and modifiable for any injuries or conditions. Don’t worry about whether you’re experienced at yoga or flexible.
What about the food?
We will serve professionally prepared organic, vegetarian meals. We will do our best to accommodate restricted diets, including vegan and gluten free – you will need to let us know preferences on your registration form. For highly restricted diets you may need to supplement your own meals. A refrigerator will be available to store your personal items. We do ask that everyone bring snacks, as needed.
What should I wear?
Comfortable, layered clothing is best. The Northwest can be surprisingly chilly in the spring. Bring clothes you can sit, move and walk in. Bodies can get chilly during meditation and warm during yoga sessions. There are also hiking trails to explore on your breaks. Bring waterproof clothing so you can go outside.
Where is the retreat located? How do I get there?
The retreat is located on Whidbey Island. You can take a ferry from Mukilteo or Port Angeles, WA. Directions will be provided after registration
What have people experienced in silent retreats?
We’ll let our guests tell you in their own words what they’ve experienced in a silent meditation retreat.
"This was truly one of the most memorable weekends. It left me feeling awake and focused. I am inspired to now have an unplugged time every day."
“Grace creates an accessible, welcoming and safe environment that is both heart-warming and inspiring. Her energy and passion for what she does is infectious, so much so that a room full of strangers at the beginning of a weekend can feel like family by the end. You will be energized, challenged, comforted and much, much more. I cannot recommend this retreat enough.”
“This retreat has helped me reframe my expectations of myself and my expectations of others. I have been very judgmental of myself and I feel I have learned to let some of that go.”
“After this retreat, I am committed to fear less, love more and to refresh my daily practice.”
“I really benefitted from the meditation times that extended a little every day. I’ve been trying meditation on my own and using phone apps, but I’ve never tried more than 10-20 minutes. It showed me I can find a gap in the my thoughts without frustration and I can train my puppy mind. I also feel more connected to what love actually is after this retreat and how to focus on giving love in my life. I know now that if I give love from a selfless, compassionate place, I will also receive love.”
“During this retreat, I realized how distracted I am by my phone and laptop. I have loved being away from both and plan to have a few times daily when I look at them instead of just responding to every notification and sound.”
“This retreat helped me to reframe how I live every day! I’ve been wanting to return to the heart, but I’ve lost my way with the big changes and challenges of 2017. I want my heart to lead instead of the reactivity I have indulged in. The practices we did this weekend help me to connect the spiritual and physical and I’m inspired to keep practicing being in the Spiritual Heart.”
“This weekend I really got the idea of responding instead of reacting to stress. I’m excited to apply the principles we’ve been using during meditation to my everyday life.”
Grace Bryant has been a whole life educator for the past 13 years, integrating drama, music, movement, meditation and yoga, mindful living, creative play, teamwork, conscious collaboration and leadership. Her Yogic path began in 2005 when her sister dragged her to a Yoga class in Federal Way. She fell in love with savasana and came back just for relaxation.
In 2007, she was inspired to start teaching informally and since then has studied and taught in 6 countries and devoted her entire life to the journey of awakening. Grace recently completed the Hridaya Teacher Training in Mexico and is beyond grateful to have received the teachings of Advaita Tantra and the Spiritual Heart. She believes these teachings can transform the consciousness of anyone who practices them sincerely.
Grace’s favorite classes are those which deepen our consciousness and also incorporate how to live with more awareness, trust and compassion. She leads classes, discussion groups, workshops, women’s groups, and retreats in the Pacific Northwest and abroad with a focus on bringing a Yogic approach into every area of life. Through Yoga, she has found a deep sense of peace and trust, and hopes to share this in her teachings. More information can be found at her website, www.bewholebehappy.com.
Dianna Heston has been known to wander about the world, yet calls Portland, Oregon her home. At the age of 50, with her children grown and on their own and acknowledging her corporate career was not fulfilling, she took off to explore the world and, more importantly, herself. She was lucky enough to be able to travel internationally and do nothing but focus her attention on Yoga, meditation, and Eastern philosophies. Her travels took her to Greece, India, Nepal, Mexico and Thailand, where she spent several months in each location studying with some incredible teachers. This was a transforming time in her life.
Dianna’s passion for yoga has primarily been inspired by the ways in which Yoga supports the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being. Her personal practice and teaching utilizes restorative and therapeutic yoga as the cornerstone for a well-rounded healing process. Dianna has both witnessed and personally experienced how emotional and physical well-being are attainable by employing relaxation, meditation and mindfulness, physical asana, and breathwork. Being able to share the ancient wisdom of the Yogi’s for health and healing causes her heart to burst with Love!
Dianna completed her certifications for Yoga Teacher Training in 2012, and for Therapeutic Yoga in 2014. Both at Agama Yoga in Thailand. She continues her studies in Hridaya Meditation, Mindfulness, and other disciplines.
Brittany Servent is known for her authentic, non-judgmental teaching style and heart-centered philosophy. As a certified Hridaya Yoga instructor she is continuously seeking out philosophical education from various spiritual disciplines.
Britt weaves thought-provoking meditations throughout her classes, applying ancient wisdom to our contemporary western world in a useful and playful way. She encourages growth of the physical and spiritual self, citing the interconnectedness to each other, to the world and to the universe at large. She brings her own introspection and contemplation to the mat and holds whatever may unfold to her with a sense of gratitude. This is the same attitude she lives by in daily life as well. Her favorite saying is “Life is a conundrum of esoterica.” And so it is. Yet here we are navigating our life puzzles like there was something to accomplish…
Tentative Schedule (subject to change)
12-1pm Arrival & Check-in
1:00 Welcome & Opening Circle – Silence Begins
7:00 Evening Session
9:15 Break for evening
Sunday, Monday & Tuesday:
7:00 Morning Session
10:30 Mid-Morning Session
1:30 Afternoon Break
3:30 Afternoon session
7:15 Evening Practice
9:00 Break for evening
New Years Eve:
11pm-1am Optional evening New Year’s Meditation
7:00 Morning Session
9:00 Breakfast & Break
10:00 Mid-morning Session
1:00 Silence Ends & Closing Circle
2:00 Retreat ends
*Lectures include: The self-inquiry method, What is the Spiritual Heart, Self-awareness, Witness Consciousness, Compassion, The True Nature of Love, Living with an Open Heart, Integration of Daily Life into Spirituality and techniques for yoga, meditation, pranayama and awareness.