Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1.12. ( Translation by Brian Dana Akers ) states “the hatha yogi should live in a secluded hut…”. In 1.15. one of the reasons for failing in yoga is socializing, which by the standards of every society means talking and noise (apart from the one Jules Verne imagined where people in conversation thought about their replies for hours).
Recent findings in neurobiology suggest that regenerated brain cells may just be a matter of silence. If our brains act similar to mices’, two hours of silence would be enough to boost the growth of new cells in hippocampus, region of brain associated with memory, learning and emotion.
In a resting state brain is integrating new experiences and information. This is called “default state”. Quote from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience : “the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem”.
Which could mean that without a quite place and time we lose the ability of reflecting upon ourselves, left to worries about self-concept, self-esteem, problems so visible and amplified on social networks. Which filter should I choose to look the best? Which pose to perform? Wonder if this will be my most liked post?
If we compare noise pollution of 15th century India with today’s city rumble, we can ask ourselves, how many benefits of solitary practice in a secluded, quiet place are we missing, even if yoga studio or our home are somewhat silent?
If you read to here, I recommend you search for other benefits of silence. I have no time to list them all and I guess you will remember them better if you invest some time in discovering.
What can we do?
I find relief in long silent nature walks. In woods, there is more than silence: Japanese scientists have coined the term forest baths, shinrin-yoku. Special chemicals released by flora fight off bacteria and lift the mood. Supposably three hours in the woods will keep the mood elevated for six to seven days.
Even if going with friends refrain from talking. Choose roads less walked. In most countries hikers greet each other. Hundreds of years ago woods were more dangerous, even a simple fall might have endanger life, so there was good logic in greeting everyone. Today, on popular track to Puntijarka which I visit less and less, come Saturday or Sunday at least 50 passers-by will greet you if you start early, over 100 otherwise. Would be rude not to say anything back, plus with their greeting silence is already gone.