Winter can draw us into silence and song. Explore the varied range of possibilities this month with reflections from the Yasodhara Yoga Ottawa group.


Swami Radhananda leads us through a beautiful meditation on silence, stillness and the mantra. Filmed in the Temple of Light, September 2005.


Swami Radha invites us to rise up to the top of a Himalayan mountain. All of our sense awake as we journey. Coming to rest in Siva’s presence – in silence and breath.


  1. “Silence allows you to watch your mind and become aware of the thoughts that you may be acting on unconsciously. When you see the thoughts, you can make a conscious choice to act on the thought or change your mind, instead of going along with the noise.” (Living the Practice, p. 70) Watch your mind for 5 minutes. Write for 5 minutes. Chant a mantra. Watch your mind again for 5 minutes, and write.
  2. “The teachings reside in silence.” (Living the Practice p. 69). Do a practice (Shower of Light) and reflect on this phrase.
  3. “Between the ingoing and the outgoing breath, there is a centre of stillness. That stillness, when breath is held, allows for unexpected perception. ‘Between two breaths, realize.’ This is the potential of the space between breaths.” (Light and Vibrations, p. 64)
    Practice the Hamsa breath. What arises between the ingoing and the outgoing breath? Write about your experience.
  4. Learn more about your relationship with sound and silence by choosing to do one thing this month in silence – go for a silent walk in the woods, create a silent evening in your household or host a silent meal (either by yourself or with company). Set a specific time to be in silence and see what is revealed. Notice your senses and bring your awareness to the freshness of the experience when talking is stopped (both outward and inward). Afterwards, reflect on these questions: What is being revealed? What is silence teaching me?
  5. “The power of the Mantra sets awareness in motion. Think of the vibration that your words create outside your human body. The sound has been released with the breath: Does it fade, die out or continue the journey? When you chant the mantra, where will the vibrations of the mantra go?” (Light and Vibration, p.73)
    Chant a mantra of your choice – what do you become aware of?
  6. “In the Visuddha Cakra, the emphasis is on hearing. True listening means the ability to surrender; thereby speech, as well as mental talking, must be controlled in order to hear clearly.” (The Devi of Speech, p. 87) Ask yourself: When I listen, what is it that listens? What do I listen to? Possible hurts? Criticisms? Compliments? Can I listen to another without interrupting? Explaining? Putting forward my point of view?
  7. “Asanas are a silent manner of speech and the cells in the body, each with its own consciousness, are the listeners” (Kundalini Yoga for the West, p. 237) Swami Sivananda advises yogis: “Roar like a lion. Don’t bleat like a lamb.” Before going into the Lion pose, chant OM three times, listening to the sound and feeling the vibration fill your body. Feel the OM transforming into a roar as you leap forward. Observe the effects of these two sounds. What is the power of sound? What emotions are expressed in your voice? What can be released? Write your reflections.” (The Inner Life of Asanas, p. 62/63)
  8. Sing ‘Radha oh Radha’ as you go through your day, silently or aloud, concentrating on its meaning. Notice the effect on your mind.

December reflections were prepared by the Yasodhara Yoga Ottawa teachers: Anne Churchill, Erna Herwig, Joan Gamble, Paula Richardson, Robin Macdonald.