An ashram environment encourages insight, which is so important if we are to start accessing deeper layers of the mind and Being. We can define insight as a form of intuition which reveals already existent, yet hidden, aspects of our embodied existence and that which lies beyond.
Insight may happen anywhere at anytime - washing the dishes, walking in nature, talking to a friend - but it is facilitated through practising yoga. It more easily arises as a result of reflection which is an essential ingredient of gyana yoga. By reflection we do not mean constant and excessive thinking because, as we all know, thinking tends to take us in circles and does not generally bring clarity.
We practice yoga so that the mind becomes calm and then we are able to reflect. The reflection can be on some unresolved issue in our lives, or on some philosophical question.
Out of this, insight may arise - like the flash of lightning in a dark night. The insight arises from a deeper sphere of our Being and, in time, frees us of dogma, prejudice, false ideas and misunderstandings, so that we go beyond our conditioning.