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Home Meditation & Yoga Retreat

July 8-12, 2020
Home Retreat
“Living the Dhamma”

Get up! Don't be heedless.
Live the Dhamma well.
One who lives the Dhamma
sleeps with ease
in this world & the next.

Live the Dhamma well.
Don't live it badly.
One who lives the Dhamma
sleeps with ease
in this world and the next.

(Dhammapāda 168-69, tr. Ṭhānissaro)

Living the Dhamma

As the Coronavirus continues to define the contours of life in most parts of the world, learning to deepen in contemplative and spiritual practices without the nourishment of in-person gathering is imperative. Many of us are learning to tolerate, or even enjoy (I see you, introverts!), the new format of the group Zoom call, and though it has many down sides, the new reality also has some valuable silver linings.

One of the most difficult transitions as we grow in contemplative practice is to be able to maintain continuity and depth of practice on our own. If we’ve found group yoga classes, meditation groups, or retreats the best settings for our practice, we may also have a history of finding home practice less compelling, and not easy to make into a regular part of our day. “Shelter-in-Place” is now forcing the issue for many practitioners, and that’s a good thing. It’s imperative to have a strong home practice if you want to deepen on the path, unless you have the rare privilege of spending a lot of time on retreat. Virtual home gatherings — like yoga classes and meditation groups on Zoom and live stream — are making a bridge for many people to be supported by communal practice with a teacher while also being on their own at home. This is also increasing accessibility as many people who otherwise could not join a public class for whatever reason can now do so.

Living the Dhamma will be our second “home retreat” conducted entirely online. The retreat will be mostly self-paced, with meditations and practice instructions to work with on your own, plus 3 daily group calls on the Zoom video platform. It will be structured as an online course through our website, and you’ll receive full details on how to participate when you register.

The retreat will work best for experienced practitioners of Yoga and meditation, meaning that students should be able to take themselves through simple practices of both meditation and postural Yoga without external guidance. Students will be encouraged to make as much space for being on retreat as possible, given the conditions, but everyone’s situation is different, and the various elements of the retreat can be done in any schedule that works for you. There will be a mix of live sessions on Zoom and pre-recorded audio practices, so you’re not on your screen all day.

The focus of this retreat will be on embodied practice, working toward continuous somatic awareness as the foundation of daily life practice. We will work with proprioception (posture and gesture awareness), interoception (sensation awareness), and orientation (environment awareness), and maintaining embodied awareness throughout the day.

As always, we will ground our practice in the method of mindfulness of breathing known as the full-body breath, supported by somatic movement practice and gentle energy work with the Haṭha Yoga disciplines of prānāyāma and bandha. As we’ve been doing lately, we’ll also ground our practice of orientation in the felt sense of place and time as both somatic (individual) and ancestral (transpersonal) action. In order to be fully where we are, we must be present with the history of the land we live on and the bodies we live in, and that means reckoning with our colonial legacy both internally and externally.

It seems pretty clear that we’re looking at an intense summer for many communities, both here in the US and around the world. The pandemic is not retreating, the political situation in the US is heating up as we approach what is already a very strange and dirty election, and the horrific inequities that are at the very heart of modern culture are being made visible, inspiring a wave of uprisings as people demand a more just and sustainable world. All of this is unfolding as the momentum of the climate apocalypse only increases.

I believe that effective and sustainable action in service of justice and equity must be rooted in spirit. In the Buddhist tradition, the cultivation of embodiment and stability of mind are the prerequisites for any effective course of action. In these demanding times, and particularly in a time when so much of our action unfolds in virtual space, the cultivation of embodied awareness and communal support for healing and insight feels more imperative than ever.

Join us for a long weekend in spiritual community!

For details on the retreat structure we’ll use, including how we work with silence, self-guided practice, chanting, and movement, see below. And please reach out if you have questions about any aspect of the retreat or practice.

Blessings,
Sean

Retreat Schedule

The retreat runs Wed-Sun, July 8-12, 2020, beginning with an opening call on Wednesday night, and ending with a closing call Sunday morning. Group live calls are in the morning (7-8am and 9-10:30am) and evening (7-9pm), with prerecorded audio and self-guided practice in between. All sessions are optional, but strongly encouraged, as we cultivate the support of community across physical distance.

Your access to the practices and recordings will last for 30 days, so you are welcome to repeat and replay the content well after our schedule closes. 

All times are Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7). Live calls in bold.

Opening evening (Wed, July 8)

7-9pm — opening session on Zoom

Daily schedule (Thu-Sat, July 9-11)

early morning — meditation & yoga (audio)

7-8am — morning chanting & brahmavihāra practice (Zoom)

9-10:30am — meditation with instructions, Q & A (Zoom)

mid-morning — somatic movement & yoga (audio)

late morning — meditation (audio)

afternoon — self-guided practice (including doing whatever else you need to do)

7-9pm — evening chanting, talk, & discussion (Zoom)

late night — meditation (self-guided)

Closing morning (Sun, July 12)

early morning — meditation & yoga (audio)

7-8am — morning chanting & brahmavihāra practice (Zoom)

9-11am — closing session on Zoom

Registration & Cost

Sliding scale: $100 – $500, with scholarships available

The retreat is priced on a wide sliding scale based on self-assessment of your income and ability to offer your resources in a way that supports those with lesser resources to participate. Please offer the highest level you can on the sliding scale (or beyond it). Your sincerity and generosity in this process directly enable us to offer the teachings of the Buddha and these beautiful traditions to everyone who might benefit from them regardless of access to wealth. If you need a scholarship or payment plan, see below.

$100 (base price): this is our break even cost
$200-500: supports others to participate
over $500: supports our sustainability in this precarious time
Payment Plans

Here you can register with a 3 month payment plan. You will be charged 3 times total, once monthly, with the first charge taking place at check-out. Please enter the amount you wish to be charged per month, do not enter the grand total.

Scholarships

No one turned anyone away for lack of resources, both for this retreat and future retreats. Please complete the application below to request a scholarship. 

Cancellation

Email us here if you register then need to cancel.

Testimonials from past retreats

Scholarship Support for the 2020 Retreats

We’re grateful to be able to offer all of our teaching events in a full Gift Economy model, with scholarships available for all who need them. The Gift Economy structure, which you can read more about here, depends completely on the generosity of the community to be sustainable. And when community comes together, it works! The system of  giving called dāna has sustained the Buddhist monastic community known as the Saṅgha for millenia.

We need your help to continue offering teachings in this radically open way, particularly to be able to offer scholarships for retreat practice. Click the link below (or here) to offer your support, and to build a strong and sustainable foundation as we grow into a vibrant community of engaged practitioners.

Gifts from students and community members in 2019 made it possible for us to plan two retreats this year, and continue to build an online resource for dedicated students around the world. Practitioners on every continent except Antarctica (as far as I know) have joined our Tuesday night Satsang livestreams, listened to talks and meditations, and taken the History of Yoga course. It’s been such a pleasure to make connections with dedicated students in all these places, and discuss together the teachings of the Buddha around how to meet our communal moment with wisdom and grace.

Supporting students to attend retreat affordably can be deeply satisfying and an integral part of your own practice. As the Buddha said in the Dhammapada, “The gift of dhamma exceeds all other gifts” (Dhp 354). Generosity is a transformative discipline in our own practice which bears fruit even more powerfully when it supports practice for others.

You are invited to offer either one-time or ongoing monthly gifts, which help tremendously in guaranteeing a base of support through the year. Thank you so much for your practice, and for your generosity that makes teaching in this way possible.

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