Yantra Yoga and Pranayama in Lajoux, France

July 22-29, 2018


This summer, for the third consecutive year, a joyful bunch of Yantra Yoga practitioners coming from the four corners of France, gathered in the green, quiet and peaceful surroundings of French Jura for a week retreat guided by Jesus Martinez and Patrizia Pearl. Our purpose was to discover and practice the fourth Pranayama. Rather challenging!

Our instructors, Patrizia Pearl and Jesus Martinez, endowed with patience, listening and kindness, have adapted their teaching to the physical conditions of each participant as well as the group practice and they devised a program on the whole week to come to that. First, a lot of stretching exercises and harmonious breathing. Although the level of Yoga practice was heterogeneous, everyone was able to develop and deepen the rhythmic breathing abilities and the pranayama experiences.

Everyday, Jesus would lead us with gentleness and subtlety through different exercises to loosen the body. There were the Preliminaries of Yantra Yoga. Of course, we all knew this essential pranayama of the Nine Breathings, so often shown by Chôgyal Namkhai Norbu, didn’t we? But Patrizia found many corrections to do, counseling each of us on the posture of Vairocana and the gestures, until we did them … almost perfectly.

We did the Tsigjong, for warming up the joints, Lunsang, to purify the prana and Tsadul to open and control the channels. While people usually enjoy the Tsadul, some Lunsang are not very easy, so Patrizia and Jesus made us try a soft style – for pregnant women ! Anyhow, the main rule was to make an effort, but never to force or hurt oneself. We were also doing a lot of rhythmic breathing, each of us according to his or her level of practice.

To lead us to the fourth pranayama, Patrizia first split the training. Sometimes we would work on the posture, sometimes on the visualisation, sometimes on the breathing, before putting all three together in a relaxed manner. Now, it is up to us to practice from where we are! We are already planning for our next summer retreat.

But a retreat it is not only the training sessions. There is the life around, relationships inside the group, and with the environment – sometimes challenging! And all of that went wonderfully. Although the practice was so profound, inducing purifications, everyone was relaxed. We enjoyed joyful meals around a long table, long talks, sharing of skills. Our teachers were so pleased to watch the group staying homogeneous, all way long – certainly due to the incredible energy they put in their teachings. Over the days, the conviviality of our exchanges allowed the group to discover each other and to forge close links.

We had a picnic lunch in the forest with potatoes and pork sausages baked in ashes. We were joined by Antoine Musitelli, a great mathematician and Raja Yoga teacher, who introduced us to his revolutionary method for young children to discover the joys of mathematics.

On July 27th, we went into the forest in order to celebrate a Ganapuja while the lunar eclipse that displayed its cosmic splendor above our heads. We felt that many Nature’s spirits welcomed us and attended the ritual. When we walked back, there were glow worms lightening our path …

Everyone left with the desire to meet again next year.

Homage to our Master! May He live long! 

Thilda Lehacque and Sonia Millard

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