Moving Beyond Our Limitations At The Sattva Summit!
Cover Photo by DJ Pierce
“Lift yourself up, so you can lift up those around you!” - Anand Mehrotra
By Jennifer Goodman
My first visit to the Sattva Retreat Center was in 2015 when I came for a 200 hour teacher training with Kia Miller. It was also my first time to India and my first introduction to Anand Mehrotra, the creator of the Sattva Retreat Center and the Sattva Summit.
Sattva is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas about 45 min from Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh. It is a magical place full of lush trees and mountains, a softly flowing river (where I spend much of my time), over 20 different varieties of birds that sing us beautiful songs, and monkeys that like to try and steal our food on occasion, sit for Puja, and jump on the roof of the studios. Occasionally a group of cows or donkeys will stroll down the river. It is a very peaceful and serene environment. You can't help but become still when you are there. By the end of my training with Kia I knew I wanted to return to Sattva, and study with Anand…someday I thought.
Two years later I heard about the Sattva Summit. Not only would Anand be teaching but also my teacher Kia Miller, as well as Tommy Rosen and Gurmukh, both world renowned Kundalini Yoga teachers. It was the first Summit for the retreat center and it was magical! I took my first class or "journey" with Anand and it felt like years of transformation for me. Practicing with Kia, Tommy, and Gurmukh were all equally transformative, in their beautiful and unique teaching styles.
I had heard that once you go to Sattva you keep getting called to come back, this was very true for me. At the end of the Summit I decided to return in May of 2018 for the 300 hour teacher training with Anand. I cannot put into words the experience of spending a month immersed at Sattva, with Anand, and the teachings. Upon leaving the training I was already anticipating my return to the Sattva Summit happening in November, which just finished a week ago.
Each time I return to Sattva it feels more like home, like family. A sangha, or community has been created and I am so grateful to be a part of it. Upon arriving to Sattva this November for the Summit, I was amazed at how much had been developed in the 5 months since I was there. There was a new larger yoga hall, a new larger boutique, a beautiful labyrinth and more housing was built. Just as we continue to expand at Sattva, Sattva expands as well. Mornings at the Summit consisted of Puja, followed by meditation and some mornings even offered 4:30 am Sadhana practice with Gurushabd Singh Khalsa or a Havan ceremony with Rachel Hunter. After our practices we had a tea break followed by a journey alternating between Anand, Kia & Tommy, or Gurmukh. The classes are called a journey for a reason. You go on a journey within yourself — challenged, provoked, revealed, loved, and each time a bit more transformed. Pushing you beyond your own resistance and limits and ending feeling expansive and blissful. Each teacher delivered this experience at a very high level.
A delicious Indian buffet breakfast followed the journeys which offered community time to connect with familiar and new faces or some chose time alone, reflecting on the journey. Each afternoon we were blessed with Satsang (a wisdom talk) with Anand. No matter what the topic was, we were always blown away by his wisdom, knowledge, depth, and his perspective that could only be developed through a level of consciousness that Anand attains. He is so connected it felt as though he was in our minds at all times. It was as though each talk was exactly what we needed to hear, the lesson we needed to learn in that moment. The afternoons offered a plethora of options such as workshops and classes with Kia, Tommy, Gurmukh, Gina Sala and Sattva trained teachers, hikes in the Himalayas, workshops on Ayurveda, mandala painting, and so much more. One of the highlights for me was creating an Earth painting guided by Marianne Cordier. We were led through a guided meditation to connect to Mother Earth and invoke her beauty and presence, then we all collectively painted a giant canvas laid on the Earth using the natural elements of the Earth, such as plants, twigs, spices, berries, etc. We used our hands and feet to create our unique design on the canvas. She encouraged us to get creative, move our bodies with the music to organically create our design. Once we finished we sat and held hands closing this beautiful ceremony as one.
After the afternoon sessions we had a scrumptious buffet dinner. I tend to eat much more here because the food is delicious, and authentic Indian food, which I love. We are releasing so much within the practices, we are needing the nourishment to refuel. Evening time offered classical Indian performances and music, yin yoga, evening puja and arti, Havan cermonies, meditation, wisdom talk, KundaDance with Maya Fienes, kirtan with Gina Sala and so much more. Another highlight for me was enjoying a performance of Punjabi musicians. We were encouraged to wear our best Indian attire. I saw many of the ladies getting fit in Saris at the Sattva boutique, I couldn't resist and got one as well. They provided us with bangles and bindis, we put on bright red lipstick, and everyone looked and felt beautiful and a part of the culture. All dressed up we watched the performance, and what a show it was! The musicians and dancers had so much energy and infectious smiles. I couldn't help but smile and bounce while I watched. The performance ended with them inviting us to dance together. Everyone, and I mean everyone, joined in and the energy and joy in the room was ecstatic! About 150 people came from all over the world to partake in the Summit. Many had been to Sattva and the Summit before and were familiar with the teachings and the experience but many were new to it all which created a nice balance and exchange to uplift and support one another It was beautiful to experience the power of the group.
So why choose the Sattva Summit when there are so many festivals around the world these days? Because only India, Sattva, and Anand can give you the experience you will have at the Summit. Being at Sattva has given me the greatest growth and transformation in myself than anywhere else, and each time I return I learn something new. I open and free myself more to living my highest potential. Being at Sattva has a way of bringing up all that you need to work on in yourself in order let go of what holds you back. You will be triggered and challenged for sure but you will also experience such love and bliss, and a level of consciousness you haven't felt before.
One of the many insights offered from Anand that I take with me from this Summit is "Entertain the idea of not giving up. When you give up, you know the result and you remain the same. Not giving up offers you an opportunity to grow and free yourself from the patterns and conditioning, to change." What draws me back to the Sattva Summit is exactly this. Knowing that I will not leave the same as when I arrived but changed, transformed, and with the tools to continue this practice once I leave. So here I am, planning my return to Sattva again next year.
Hope to see you at Sattva Summit 2019! To learn more visit sattvasummit.com.