Wishing you could go on a tropical yoga retreat, but have to stay home and work? Join the club. Get more benefit and less food poisoning by joining Jiyu (the teacher) and me (your dedicated fellow practitioner) for one or more 5-weekday morning self-practice retreats at our home in Denver! (Can’t pull off 5 days in a row? Jiyu and I still want you to have a taste of the delicious nectar of this experience, so we have devised drop-in or 5-pack experiences for students we have worked with in the past. We just ask that you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the protocol laid out here so that the flow is not interrupted for those of us already in the groove.)
I was listening to neuroscientist Richie Davidson in an interview lately, and he mentioned how much more potent retreat practice is for making modifications to brain structure and function. I have felt this on my many extended retreats. Although we will not be secluding ourselves for long periods, we will nonetheless propel ourselves into full potential mode with this amazing morning routine, providing a combination of the most potent practices plus a warm and friendly community vibe that we feel is essential for most of us to experience optimal benefit.
The mini-retreats will take place weekdays from Monday June 3rd through Friday July 12th. Start your day with a brief puja and shamanic invocations to sanctify and empower the space for healing, then dedicated time for kriya and asana, tea with friends, 3 kinds of meditation and pranayama! I have developed this schedule based on recommendations from my principal teachers Richard Freeman, Jennifer Hinton & Patrice Bazile as well as my own long-term practice and the scientific literature on healing and neuroplasticity.
I am looking so forward to doing this that I am sure it will be my best summer ever! And Jiyu is sure it will be his best yet as well (after all it is his first)! Be prepared to relish some puppy kisses as Jiyu matures in his teaching role. In that regard, his ideas of trauma-informed adjustments are a little different than mine, and once in a while you might end up with a dog and/or bone on your mat, but he gives paws-on assists (like those in the photos) only with your explicit consent and very careful direction! Usually he aids you by his fantastic demonstrations of care-free relaxation. 🙂
The 6 available self-practice retreats are Monday-Friday (no moon days observed). If you are not able to make it every day that is up to you, though I would encourage you to think of this as a special opportunity to practice more consistently and intensely than you may normally be able to do. You may sign up for any number of weeks:
- June 3-7
- June 10-14
- June 17-21
- June 24-28
- July 1-5
- July 8-12
- 5:45am Morning Puja followed by Kriya & Asana
- 6:00am Ashtanga Invocations
- 7:37am Enter Finishing Poses
- 7:57am 4-minute Quiet Meditation*
- 8:01am Utplutih & Group Savasana*
- 8:15am Closing Chant & Tea with Friends
- 8:35am Zazen Meditation*
- 8:50am Metta Meditation*
- 9:00am Competent Protector Meditation*
- 9:05am Ekam-Dve-Trini or Break
- 9:10am Pranayama
- 10:15am The Rest of Your Amazing Day!
*Please do not come or go during the silent periods (7:55-8:15 and 8:35-9:05).
Morning Puja: We will delineate our sacred space through the invocation of the King of the Nagas, the ultimate support, invite Ganesh to have a seat in our sacred space, and then call in benevolent spirits from the 4 directions and 3 realms to be with us and bring their wisdom, compassion, skillful means, guidance, help, healing and curative energies while we practice together.
Kriya & Asana: You are welcome to arrive or leave anytime between 5:40-7:55am. Kriyas you might want to practice before coming include skin brushing, oil pulling (swishing sesame or coconut oil in the mouth for 5-20min–do NOT swallow!) during your shower (possibly warm with a 30-second cold rinse at the very end to invigorate the nervous system), salt water flush, or while here, kapalabhati and uddiyana bandha kriya… (Need a brush-up or want to learn more? Schedule a lesson with me live or on Skype. For those signed up for a mini-retreat, I am offering a 50% discount on private lessons.)
You will be encouraged to enter finishing postures (following backbending) around 7:37am. These are some of the most detoxing and rejuvenating postures when we take our time with them. If not inverting, you are of course welcome to do restoratives, etc., just as you are welcome to make the rest of the practice your own. I have slings and every prop I’ve ever seen available for your enjoyment. (In case you have to leave for work and cannot stay for additional group activities, go ahead and do pranayama and meditation during the asana period.)
At 7:57am, we will sit for 4 minutes following the yoga mudra/ujjayi postures prior to utplutih. At this point in the practice it feels most natural to sit quietly. We will then reap the benefits of a nice long savasana.
Tea with Friends (20 min): Time for satsang (spiritual company), a light snack if you want to bring one, fun with the puppy, or time to come or go if need be.
Zazen Meditation (15 min): This is seated (or standing if needed) meditation on breath and posture. If you have your own silent meditation practice, you are welcome to do that during this time.
Metta Meditation (10 min): This is compassion meditation, which has the potential to very deeply change our way of relating in the world. If you are familiar with this practice, implement your favorite method. Otherwise a script will be included in the chant download.
Competent Protector Meditation (5 min): This exercise is meant to restore healthy attachment, which is a prerequisite for most all forms of healing. It has been recommended by neuroscientists, trauma therapists and shamanic healers alike. You will visualize a real or imaginary being capable of providing you with protection, support, companionship, wisdom, warmth, and all else that you need. You will bask in the feelings associated with that support in order to retrain the nervous system to feel safe and cared for, which will allow your own innate healing mechanisms and life talents to gain a stronger foothold in this universe.
Pranayama: If you have been given a breathing practice by a competent teacher, please feel free to do it. If not, you can schedule a private lesson with me live or on Skype to develop one, or you could download Richard Freeman’s Yoga Breathing (2 CD/ MP3 set) onto your phone and bring earphones to do CD 1 or 2 with him during that hour. (The first 3 practices take about 30 minutes and would be a great start for anybody who is new to pranayama. You can do them sitting up or laying down.) You may leave if you finish early, but do give yourself at least a couple of minutes of savasana. For those still around at 10:15am, we will do a final chant together before going out into the world. 🙂
INVESTMENT & REGISTRATION–
Each week will cost $50, or if you want to go all-out, you can sign up for all 6 weeks for the discounted price of $250. There will be no refunds for missed days, and if you register but then cancel within 48 hours of your start date, you will still be responsible to pay for the week. You must register by reading and signing this form by Sunday 12-noon prior to the week you intend to practice in order to ensure that there is room. You will then get the exact address (near Water World, 84th & Pecos) and final details from me.
For those unable to book a full week, drop-ins are available for $25/day, 2x/week for $40, or if you plan on coming 5 or more times this summer, you may purchase a 5-pack for $85 upfront, good through July 12th. No refunds. Please follow the protocol above, registering by noon on Sunday before the week you first wish to attend so that I have time to plan and send you the infos.
Jiyu and I are looking forward to practicing with you!!! 🙂