Mouna is periods of silence where we continue our yoga practice and daily lives without speaking. It is a key part of ashram life.
At the ashram we practice mouna every day from 9pm until breakfast the following morning, for the first half of lunch and supper and for longer periods during some of our courses and residents retreats.
Through the medium of speech, our awareness is directed outwards into the external world. This is fine when interacting with the world around us but just as important in the ashram is interacting with the world within us. The practice of mouna prompts the mind to go inward and to get in touch with our thoughts, emotions, desires and ambitions on a deeper level. Mouna also helps us conserve energy which is normally dissipated through speech. This energy can then be used for other spiritual practices. With continued practice, mouna helps us to sharpen our perceptions and awareness and bring a sence of stillness to the mind and emotions.
It can be strange at first not to speak but many people enjoy the solitude and also the companionship of others on a spiritual path without the need to talk or listen. We discover we can communicate on another level. It creates a peaceful environment from which an inner stillness can grow, allowing our yoga practice to extend into our daily lives and to touch something deeper within us.