EOCP #10: Jan Illner and Yannick Klijnsma – Ten-Day Silent Meditation Retreat

December 17, 2017

“Everything we have, everything that is existing, is just right now. Here in this second. Everything else – the future and the past – we are just constructing with our mind.”


Ten days of silence.

No cellphones or electronics. No reading, writing, Netflix, or any other external stimulation.

Ten days of practicing meditation.

Sitting cross-legged on a small cushion, walking slower than a sloth, and chanting unknown phrases in Thai.

Surrounded by strangers but not asking typical questions like, “Where are you from?” or “How are you doing today?”

Not interacting more than a smile, frown, or casual, “What’s up” head nod.

This is the setting Jan Illner and Yannick Klijnsma lived in for ten days at Wat Ram Poeng in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

On today’s episode of the Edge of Comfort Podcast, my co-host Jack Lewis and I talk with Jan and Yannick about their eye-opening meditation retreat despite them having no prior experience, practice or knowledge.


“Why the hell would anyone do this?”

This is what my father texted me when I asked friends, family, and listeners if they had any questions for Jan and Yannick. While it made me laugh, it’s a valid question.

Why would anyone willingly subject themselves to ten days of silence and deep thinking despite never doing something like this before?

With a daily schedule that involves things like…

  • waking up at 4:00am
  • eating two spicy rice-based meals
  • questioning every thought and feeling you have
  • appearing as if you are part of a cult

you’ll probably ask yourself this question again.


I’ll try to answer this without spoiling too much of the podcast.

Thoughts are constantly flowing through our minds day in and day out. Thoughts can distract us from the present moment and people we are with.

They can cause us to suffer in imagination. They can seem like a never ending trail in our minds, like water flowing through a river.

Our thoughts can also be beneficial in our examination and understanding of ourselves.

They help us understand why we feel certain ways, experience different emotions, and recognize when we are unfocused or distant.


Meditation serves to help us better understand these internal and mental feelings. To let the mind relax from the constant flow of thoughts, to regain focus, recharge, and allow us to examine ourselves.

What better way to force this examination then by removing everything that takes us away from ourselves?

Thus, a ten-day silent meditation retreat.

Jan and Yannick expand on this better than I can. Jack and I both walked away from the interview feeling like we’d discovered a whole new realm of possibility in the world.

I hope your mind will open up as well.

Thank you so much Jan and Yannick for sharing, and thank you for listening!


Relax your mind, relax your body, focus on your breath, and enjoy the episode…



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Show Notes and Links



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More photos from the retreat:

via Wat Ram Poeng’s Facebook

Meditation Retreat Meditation Retreat Meditation Retreat Meditation Retreat

From the suburbs of Chicago. Founder of Edge of Comfort. Currently exploring Asia. I don’t need a tuk-tuk or massage.

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