I went to a yoga retreat for one week in Yelapa, a small village in Mexico, accessible only by boat from Puerto Vallarta. There are no roads in Yelapa and thus, no large hotels, no nightclubs, no casinos. Cell phone signals are weak. The place I stayed during the retreat had no Internet access.
We did yoga twice a day: three hours in the morning, one and a half hours in the afternoon. After each yoga session, we meditated for 20 minutes. In the morning we observed silence during breakfast, on the way to the Sky Temple yoga studio and back down the hill. In the evenings, all we could hear were the rhythmic pounding of the waves, the calls of the birds and the wind. Above us the stars and the Milky Way revealed themselves so clearly. In the city, we never see the vastness of the universe or feel the extreme insignificance of our being.
Something happens to you when you immerse yourself in solitude, when you stop multi-tasking and cease acting like a machine.
When I was not doing yoga or meditating, I read, wrote in my journal, went on long walks, sat on the beach and listened to the birds. Without the constant disruption of email and social networks, I began to settle into a tremendous feeling of calm. By the fourth day of the retreat, I had no desire to check email or go online.
I thought I would fall right into my old patterns on my return home. But this has not been the case. To my surprise, I find myself emailing and tweeting much less, barely checking the social networks I joined, and hardly reading blogs on my RSS newsreader. My powers of concentration have increased and I came to several profound realizations. Something has shifted.