Spiritual retreat in ancient Vedic & Jnana Yoga comes to Koke‘e

For those seeking a deeply profound and direct experience in spiritual cleansing and practice, look to Kaua‘i resident and yoga teacher Andrea Lecusay, who plans to host a spiritual retreat at Camp Sloggett in Koke‘e State Park.

Grounded in a Balinese spiritual teaching of harmonizing the mind, body and spirit called Tri Hirta Karana — a combination of fasting, guided meditation — Hatha yoga and instructive talks will give participants practical tools to “learn about and experience the whole-self,” Lecusay said.

The Koke‘e retreat marks the inauguration of a series of classes, workshops and future retreats that will occur on the island under the guidance of Lecusay, who is “blessed to share this sacred knowledge,” with her fellow Kauaians.

Frequent opportunities to travel to Bali and study with Sri Guru Arsana, a Mahatma therapist, healer and spiritual guide, are also offered.

While most Westerners are familiar with the physical practice of Hatha yoga, now popular with Hollywood stars and the fitness club set, it is less known that the spiritual practices of Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and Raja yoga are the most ancient forms of spiritual practice grounded in the Vedic cultures of India and Sri Lanka. The physical postures of Hatha yoga represent only one aspect of what was meant as a transformative and disciplined mental practice.

Lecusay, through a circuitous but fruitful journey, began her education in this integrated form of yoga in 2005 during a trip to Bali. Lecusay claims that she has witnessed and experienced, first-hand, miracles in healing of herself and others, noting, “I am honored to bring Ketut Arsana’s teachings to people here.”

Lecusay summarizes the objective of the upcoming retreat and how it coincides with the broader objective of Tri Hita Karana: “To connect oneself with the universe, the Earth, and divine service to others while truly walking the path of self-realization for a more complete self, and a more complete world.”

“The Mandala Retreat” in Koke‘e will be led by Rosalinda Palumbo, a resident of Spain and a follower of Sri Guru Arsana for the past 12 years. Lecusay met Palumbo in Bali, who first introduced her to Sri Guru.

“Since that day, I have witnessed blessings, knowledge and understanding that is no less than miraculous,” she said.

One of the central ideologies of Sri Guru Arsana is derived from a geographical Mandala in the shape of a lotus “that was revealed through spiritual insight, on the island of Bali. Each of the nine locales now house temples in their geographical place, each representing different directions, colors, attributes and properties,” Lecusay explained.

As part of Sri Guru Arsana’s Jnana yoga, focused and guided meditation using the 800 year-old Balinese Mandala as a point of visual and intellectual departure can affect transformative change and healing.

“Each day,” of the retreat in Koke‘e, “is dedicated to different forms of Balinese teachings,” Lecusay wrote.

“Philosophy, etiquette, and creativity will focus our energies on pure clarity in our quest for Divine Oneness and world peace. The teachings will be based on sacred knowledge, meditation, and questions to keep the retreat personalized and to offer the highest form of progress for individuals.”

The cost of the retreat includes teachings and guided practice in several forms of Jnana yoga, talks on the nine parts of the Balinese Mandala described by Sri Guru Arsana, a sarong, a sash, flowers for the daily offerings, Mantra Books and CD, Plumb’s book “Bali Wail Wail, The Way of the Guru,” and Ayurvedic, organic meals prepared by Larissa Varaday, a local chef.

Describing her own testimony of spiritual transformation and exploration as “a direct experience in the divine,” Lecusay said for her, it’s been “an evolution of my own consciousness, love for myself and others, and wholeness. But I am not unique, I have seen this happen to all of Sri Guru’s students. He is truly an illumined figure, unlocking the door to inner realization for anyone who is willing.”

After Lecusay found this spiritual mentor and practice “a life began where my body became my temple, self-harmonization and insight became real.”

Lecusay hopes that she can share her experience and revered teachers with “seekers on Kaua‘i, giving them the opportunity to tap into the true self.” This multi-faceted approach to influencing mind, body and spirit towards harmony and peace, “in a simple term, adds up to happiness,” she said, “through dance, offerings, meditation, Hatha Yoga, fasting, learning and chanting, we are taught different ways to connect.”

In Sanskrit, the word “yoga” means “to yoke” or “to unite.” Different forms of yoga utilize different methods to join with the “divine oneness” or “God” that in turn, dissolve the ego, supplanting it with compassion and selflessness. It is the Vedic yogic belief that true self-knowledge, or “divine knowledge” releases both the ego and man’s illusion of separation from nature, neighbor and enemy, thereby enlightening the practitioner into their “eternal oneness” with everything in existence, allowing for magnified compassion, forgiveness and understanding.

“We believe that by creating a whole-self, healed and integrated, we will bring great effect to the world… and looking around in these crazy times, it is obviously needed,” Lecusay said.

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