Teaching Schedule

Trauma and Spiritual Practice: Mindfulness and Embodied Healing

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Online Daylong

Many people come to meditation and yoga to help heal old wounds, both physical and emotional. Trauma is a nervous system injury, caused by shocking or dangerous events as well as ongoing relational and systemic threat. Meditation and yoga, as nervous system interventions, can be helpful in healing, but like all interventions must be used with sensitivity.

In this class, we will explore current trauma resolution theory, and learn gentle embodiment practices that can support healing and resilience for everyone. The first half of the day will be focused on practice, and on working gently and skillfully with our own nervous systems. In the afternoon we’ll look in more detail at nervous system physiology and the relationship between the Buddhist teachings on liberation from suffering and the resolution of trauma, both individual and collective.

Hosted by Insight Santa Cruz.
Learn more & register.

Home Retreat

Wednesday-Sunday, Sept 9-13, 2020


Our home retreat experiences have been really lovely so far this year, so we’ll continue to offer them. These retreats are conducted entirely online and are mostly self-paced, with meditations and practice instructions to work with on your own, plus 3 daily group calls on the Zoom video platform. The content is structured as an online course through our website, so that you can easily flow through the material and keep track of your progress.

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. 

Details and registration coming soon.

A note as we meet the unfolding Coronavirus crisis

Blessings & mettā to everyone, and prayers that all of our families and communities are as safe as possible.

Like many teachers, I’m happy to offer support whatever I can in service of inner well-being and resilience through what may be a long emergency. While our hyper-connected modern society is startled out of complacency by the pandemic, practitioners in many contemplative traditions may find ourselves with skills and a perspective that can be helpful in this time. If you’ve been practicing with Buddhist or Yogic material for some time, you may be better equipped to deal with this — emotionally, spiritually, or existentially — than you think.
The teachings of the Buddha remind us again and again of the impermanence of conditions, including the seductive conditions of comfort, health, wealth, and power. And they remind us of the death of interconnection we are immersed in, which we may often forget, or take for granted.
Here’s some writing I did recently, suggesting a shift in perspective that I hope may be helpful in this moment:
I take this moment as an invitation for our human cultures to learn something that is hard to admit, and even harder to stabilize and truly begin to act from: our way of life, globally, is not only unsustainable but dangerous, and the root causes of our current moment are obvious to anyone willing to look. Greed is praised as a virtue in the worlds of commerce and neoliberal Capitalism; hatred is praised as a virtue in the forms of nationalism, racism, and the many forms of systemic oppression; and delusion is praised as a virtue in the growing distrust of public norms, information, science, and material truth itself. When greed, hatred, and delusion are not universally acknowledged as defilements, but even praised as appropriate responses to the world, crises like this will be far worse than they might otherwise have been.
Blessings to everyone reading this, for your own safety and peace of heart, and that of your families, communities, culture, and the beloved Earth we all share.
With love & mettā,
Dr. Sean Oakes
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