Testimonials for Silent Retreat

July 2018

I hoped to find inner calmness and to gain insight into serious personal issues by gaining mindfulness and getting off the “mind train.” I did very much achieve my goals and more! The most useful ideas I will take are a good sitting posture and the walking meditation technique. My back injury impedes my meditation, so these ideas really, really helped me! The yoga sessions were all very good for me. I liked the musical component of chanting. I am a professional classical pianist and composer and the singing connected my musical self to meditation in a deep way. They [Miriam and David] were both wonderful as teachers and leaders! Steve L., Portland,OR

I actually didn’t have any “big” goals except to get off the “merry-go-round” of my life. I feel I did achieve that. The peace and calmness were wonderful. The chanting is a good method for me to begin my meditation. I enjoyed learning how to “wake up” my body. I enjoyed you both [David and Miriam] and appreciate what you have shared with me. Adele G., Longview, WA

All these experiences [yoga sessions, chanting, walking meditation] vastly helped me. The chanting put me in touch with something very deep within me. Yoga sessions were great but sometimes instructions were too fast! [David and Miriam] your strengths are many – genuine warmth, as Yogananda’s love emanated to us all. Basic things like being on time, giving us schedules, stability – all helped me to sit feel safe and to go deeper. Judi B., Longview, WA

I had hoped to find some peace. My expectations were far exceeded. I’ve been meditating to focus my mind, now I’m interested in connecting with my Self and Awareness. I loved the walking meditations. The chanting was fine. My favorite yoga session was with Miriam who did some more intense asanas. I suggest a quick ceremony that first night that acknowledges the transition into silence. Then reenter the world of spoken words on the last day with a reverse ceremony. Kaye S., Portland, OR

Learning to focus on the third eye was useful to me. I would have enjoyed some Dharma talk, but that may not be in the spirit of Ananda. I do power yoga, so the yoga was slow for me, but I understand the crowd. The walking meditations were great to break up fatigue. I’d love to hear more from Miriam. I get a very positive vibe and sense that there is so much to share. Brad A., San Francisco, CA

My goals for the retreat were silence, calm, and introspection. The yoga was new and interesting. The chanting was excellent. David is very informative and approachable. Miriam is remarkably warm in spirit. Anthony, Bend, OR

March 2018

My goal was to come into greater peace and clarity with things going on in my life right now and to deepen my commitment to my meditation practice. My goals were met! I found Hong Sau to be most helpful. I loved the yoga. I love the affirmations with the asanas. In general, I think the chanting help set the stage for deep meditation. Love both of you (Miriam and David) so much, your calm center, gentle energy. The way you hold space for us. I think the only thing I would say, and I hope I’m not being too bold or projecting, but have confidence in what you are providing and do it boldly! People desperately need what you have to offer. Teach from the way you have chosen to live your lives. The lodgings are very clean and peaceful! I thought the food was delicious and abundant. I would like it to be one more day! Or maybe you can offer this beginner session and then the next level for those of us who want to do it again! I do. Mollie H., Portland, OR

I wanted to get in better touch with myself and my thoughts. Also to get in touch with my body and shut off the analytical mind for a bit. I did get a chance to be in touch with my body. One thing I’d suggest is perhaps longer meditation blocks. The hour seemed to fly by. The yoga I enjoyed but it was a bit too easy. The chanting at the beginning was nice too, it created a nice energy. The guidance (of the meditations) was great. I was pleasantly surprised (about the food/lodging). The food was great, and I slept fantastically. Again, I would suggest at least one longer meditation per day. Julian D., Portland, OR

Coming here, I thought I would have the chance to find answers (which I did!). But the experience took me a bit deeper…. It allowed me to stay calm and fight all of the thoughts. This was my first time doing yoga so it was pretty cool. I’m not vegetarian, but I felt we needed more variety of food. I liked the 24 hour tea service. Mohammed B., Eugene, OR

I wanted to deepen my practice, work on inner stillness and calm. I found the breathing techniques and the guidance were the best thing I gained from the retreat. The yoga sessions and chanting were all excellent! (Miriam and David) did excellent job! Supportive, inclusive and informative! Maybe a little more Chi gong next time? The food and lodging are excellent! The program schedule was perfect! Jane, Portland, OR

I feel more of a sense of inner peace and stillness. I wanted to connect again with my spiritual side. The best technique – I am love radiating out and filling my being. All the yoga sessions were excellent. The combination of energization, chanting, yoga, and meditation really worked for me. The facilitators were really good. I liked David’s calm, guiding voice. Music was beautiful. I liked being out in the country. The hiking, having everything in one location. Lodging was good. Would like to have the granola for breakfast. Last time I was here there was a bookshelf of spiritual books, I would like some spiritual reading next time. The schedule had a good balance. I know you’re not trying to sell your religion here, but I’d welcome evening talks of a spiritual nature. The schedule allowed enough time to go deeper. Alaine W., Sherwood, OR

My goal was to learn how to build a foundation of meditation. I feel that my goal has been met honestly. I gained the best understanding with my relationship to God as I’ve had in my life. Silence gave me the time and space to be comfortable with myself. The yoga was different than any I have done before. I didn’t really care for the chants. Really liked the affirmations. I think the instruction (from Miriam and David) was well paced and informative. I could have used more understanding and compassion for how hard this is! I most like the hiking options. Scenery is amazing. I thought the food and lodging was great. Varied and healthy. I felt like it was a lot of meditation. That’s why I came though, so I was okay with it. Dan F., Portland, OR

I came here to seek healing and wisdom, to have calm solace before going into labor for the first time in parenthood. My expectations were absolutely met, although in part, the weekend itself led me to more deeply understand this is a journey, not solvable in a weekend. I hope to use the Hong Sau breathing technique in labor. I enjoyed the yoga sessions although I felt like the energizing exercise were a little silly. It helps me to evaluate what is the purpose of yoga. I loved the affirmations! Perhaps building up to an hour of meditation for those of us out of practice would be helpful. I found my willpower was lowest at the end of the day and was most difficult to still my mind then. Everything in one place with walking opportunities to the shrine in the Cob house were the best! I cannot speak highly enough of how delicious and satisfying the food was! Our room was also wonderful. There was a good balance in the schedule even if the meditation was difficult. Perhaps options for fully guided/visiualization/meditation? Jesse F., Portland, OR

My goals were to connect myself and to relax. I think those were achieved. The suggestions for sitting were helpful. I could have used more guidance (especially practice sitting and feedback on that.) It was fun to try a new yoga style. It was way too low-key for me and the muscle tensing was uncomfortable. I enjoyed the chanting and prayers. I would like to have join in more, so in other retreats I’ve done they walked slowly through the words and sounds so that we get them individually before hand which helped. I really appreciated how welcoming everyone was. I really love the building and the map. I also really appreciated your saying that it was okay to move or go to the bathroom. That helped take the pressure off. Also I really liked the lots of free time and that the first scheduled thing wasn’t until 10 AM. The food was awesome. Loved it. Loved the availability of the tea. Wish there were more snack options (with fewer carbs). The showers were cold and not as clean as I would have liked. Wished I brought shower shoes. The schedule was great. Best of all the retreats I’ve been to. Sarah M., Redman, OR

My goal was just to experience the silence and what comes from that. I came in with no expectation than to be what the experience brought. And the experience was beautiful. It was useful to learn the breathing options. I preferred when you chanted and we were allowed to just listen. I appreciate being exposed to the ritual. The facilitators were very open and encouraging! You are both great! Location is gorgeous – nice and quiet with great views. I struggle more with the food than I expected, even though I knew it would be vegetarian. Maybe offering a bit more selection or variety on the salad bar would help. Lodging is minimal but that was expected and it was great. Maybe a bit cold. The program schedule was very good! I want to come back in the summer to spend more time outdoors. Amanda, Sioux Falls, SD

I was looking for peace and stillness to reflect on changes in my life. This retreat really did facilitate that and I feel like the Hong Sau techniques for meditating on being really helped. Also the walking meditation. I will definitely practice on hikes. It may be nice to ease into longer meditations – one hour was hard right away. I enjoyed the yoga a lot – it was challenging enough to move my blood and energize me, but not frustrating. I didn’t participate in the chants because it was odd going in and out of making noise during silence. I really enjoyed the amount of guidance (from David) especially getting started (in meditation). The hiking trails are beautiful and helped me relax a lot. Also having tea and snacks available put my always hungry self at ease. The food was very good and it was awesome that so many people on campus help join us in our silence. It would be nice if you offered a gender neutral bathroom/housing option – maybe you do and I missed it? The program schedule rhythm definitely helped put me at ease. There was plenty of time for myself and a good pace. Oliver W., Portland, OR


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