2016 Events Interview Series - Part 5 - The Art of Beautiful, Happy Groups and Developing Stillness
So Ben, it's been almost a year since we last met. What have you been up to since then, anything exciting?
Yes, I did a lot of Yoga Workshops in Germany, organized my first Zazenkai (a kind of meditation gathering that takes place during a Zen Buddhist retreat). And I went to the Sauna a lot!
Also, since my new book came out (Letters from my Garden), I gave readings in bookstores. You can find information about that on my facebook page here: “RAKI Writer, Poet, Traveler”.
Have you done anything exciting lately that has influenced the way you look at life or teach and share yoga?
I did massages and Contact Improvisation this winter, which helped me gain a new understanding of the body. I was involved in the daily Yoga classes of a new Yoga studio, thought some classes for 22 people, and some Meditation classes for 6 or 7 people. It helped me grow in many ways as a teacher.
Reflect on last year’s event: What are your fondest memories of the retreat week(s) you lead at Suncokret last year?
The beautiful and happy group and sitting in the evenings with some students, sharing life stories.
What are you currently reading, learning, growing from?
I bought a book of Saadi, the rosegarden; a classic from the Persian time. But daily life is still the best field of learning.
Tell us more about your favorite teacher(s) and how they have influenced you most / what you remember most about them / what you appreciated most about their teaching style or their personality, etc..?
I've met a lot of teachers over the years. But still, my first teacher, quite unknown, is in my memory and had the most influence on me. He practiced a clear and creative form of Yoga, every class was different; the base of all was Zazen, Zen Mediation.
Is there any spiritual / yogic literature that you most appreciate and why?
I avoid spiritual literature and prefer the practice. But recently I read an interesting book about Hara, from Dürkheim.
What are you currently reading, learning, doing to improve your practice or understanding of yoga (or holistic well being)?
I sit in meditation daily, in the mornings and evenings, in stillness. I don´t know a better practice.
Reflect on your upcoming retreat event weeks at Suncokret: What inspired you to create the themes this year?
Mainly, my teaching contribution during both event weeks, including "Time for Silence" and the "Yoga Grape Harvest and Autumn Equinox Celebration" is focused on Yoga and Zen Meditation. I believe that Meditation is the heart of all Yoga practice, so I´m happy to offer such teachings at Suncokret.
Is there anything you would like to say (any advice you’d like to give) to returning students from last year or to students who are considering signing up for your event this year?
Yes, to the students from last year: you must come back - It was too much fun! – To new students: don´t think too much, and come as you are.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We are going to do some Contact Improvisation during my first event week. Join us for this beautiful dance experience. Even Augustinus from Hippo, a christian philosopher, sais: ´O human, learn to dance, or the angels don´t know what to do with you.`
We're looking forward, Ben. Thanks for sharing!