Yoga leads from the physical to the spiritual.
Over the weekend of April 1-4, devotees held their annual Easter Retreat in Pandavas Paradise, a thousand acre bhakti-yoga retreat center in the heart of Brazil.
The attendees were mostly teachers and ecologists, who came there seeking a break from the demands of modern life and to get to know more about spiritual life in the yoga tradition.
One of the participants, in his young university days, had met the first ISKCON devotees to come to Brazil in the early seventies. He had been attracted, trying the chanting, but then he got involved with his career and forgot about Krishna Consciousness. The retreat became was his way of restarting the process, almost 40 years later.
A couple young ladies came all the way from Campinas, Sao Paulo, over a thousand kilometers away. After signing up for the retreat, one of the ladies went to a large bookstore to buy a book on yoga spirituality. Only later did she realized it was a book written by the ISKCON devotees.
Guests were treated to a full schedule, starting at 6 am with kirtan, followed by japa (mantra meditation) and then a yoga class at 7am. After a hearty breakfast (with varied breads, fruits, juices, yogurt, cake, jams, etc.), the group went on hikes to either one of several waterfalls or a natural pool, called Mahavira Kunda.
Following the walks, lunch was served. After lunch, devotees offered cooking classes and a special class on how to wear a sari.
Each day concluded with an evening kirtan and a class on self-realization in yoga.