Ebb & Flow -

Why do I encourage a period of silence, reflection, and personal practice before class starts?

Mouna is a sacred yogic practice of limiting one’s speech; of being intentionally silent, a discipline through which spiritual experiences can arise, typically characterised by the quieting of the mind, and an increased receptivity towards sound.

Mouna is a sanskrit word that translates as ‘silence’.

It can also be a practice of measured speech that is referred to as Vak Mouna (words are spoken with intention, sincerity, and/or compassion).

To practise mouna you refrain from talking by taking a vow of silence for a period of time. Mouna can also refer to refraining from non-verbal communication, like eye contact, or physical touch.

Have you ever found yourself feeling exhausted because you have spent your entire day continuously in conversations and interacting with others? Have you noticed how tired you feel?

It is estimated that the average person speaks 16,000 words per day. That’s a lot of talking! That’s a lot of energy!

Not only is this a physical drain, it’s also a mental, emotional, and energetic drain, making it almost impossible to have a focused mind!

It is through the practice of mouna (silence) that we can begin to hear beyond what our ears can perceive. It begins with the external practice of non-speaking and eventually evolves into a deep inner listening; within which we can hear the symphony of the universe; each and every note calling us home.

I always arrive well in advance of the start of class to prepare the room, and myself, for a practice that’s conducive and respectful to the spirit and traditions of yoga (including mouna). I also encourage you to arrive early i.e. gift yourself time to settle into and enjoy your own preparatory practice and ask that all those attending embrace this time dedicated to personal practice, reflection, and/or meditation. I ask that you resist the temptation to engage in conversations and explore the practice of mouna (how many other times during the week are you blessed with an opportunity to simply be?)

For many, the idea of not talking, even for 10 minutes, is daunting: the mind races in with questions like ‘but how will I communicate?’ and ‘what will I do with no conversation?‘ In actuality, so much of how we think about ourselves, others, and the world is created through conversation. Talking about and relating experiences, forming opinions and having others agree and disagree with them creates a strong sense of identity and thus perpetuates a mind-based concept of who we think ourselves to be. Our minds then create thoughts to continue that momentum… and before we know it, who we think we are is dictated by our thoughts and our conversations with others. And we get totally lost within it. 

When we practise mouna our attention draws within, and we begin to see that everything in the world is bursting with life’s creative message. It is so extremely and uncontrollably beautiful because it is the very same creative message which is bursting within ourselves.

It is from this space of knowing that true creativity arises. Everything in existence carries life’s message of loving and living in every way and form possible. When we can shed a bit of our mind-based identity through mouna and rest comfortably in this knowing, then a world which is even fuller and richer than our minds can comprehend is revealed.