My mom’s definition of a retreat is to “get away from your ordinary life and seek the importance of things of the soul.”
She used to take us to retreats when we were kids. They always included “hootenannies,” enthusiastic group singing, and guitar playing. Of course, I thought they were goofy, but there were often other kids my age, n-14, that thought the same thing so we could stand around outside and hang out. The retreats were usually in conjunction with the Catholic Church.
Mom had many other fun-filled ideas for our entertainment. She coined the word “hootabanny,” which referred to a hootenanny plus making banners in a group for the church.
My mom has been going to retreats most of my life. Now, she goes more than ever, traveling at the drop of a hat to attend weekend retreats from God-Mind Connection to Native American prophesy retreats where non-Native Americans are welcome.
My retreat experience—Shoshoni Yoga Retreat
Living in Colorado so close to Boulder makes going to retreats an easy affair. However, I have only been on one real retreat. It was at the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat Center in Rollinsville, Colorado, near Nederland, which is just above Boulder.
The Shoshoni Center is very comfortable, although the housing is in log cabins. It has 210 acres of beautiful, tree-covered mountain land. There is a meditation hall, a main lodge that includes a family-style dining room, a sauna, and a wonderful large deck with a hot tub.
I went up in the middle of winter when the entire ground was covered in snow. Once there, I was welcomed by a hospitable and kind woman. The first thing I noticed after she showed me my quarters was how quiet it was. There is absolutely no sound. That in itself is refreshing; along with the cold, clean, crisp mountain air, it was heavenly.
I was only there 24 hours attending yoga and meditation classes, but I was completely relaxed afterward. Shoshoni has a daily schedule of meditation and yoga classes, but you can go to as many or as few as you want. Also, it serves gourmet vegetarian food that is truly a delight to the palate.
On Sunday afternoons from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., you can go to Shoshoni for a free afternoon program that includes chanting and meditation followed by refreshments and a question and answer period.
Shambhava School of Yoga
The same group that runs Shoshoni runs the Shambhava School of Yoga, which offers a teacher training program and the Eldorado Mountain Yoga Ashram, and also has yoga and meditation classes. The ashram has a Community Night every Monday that includes chanting, meditation, satsang (a spiritual lecture), and dinner from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It also offers a Saturday retreat that includes yoga, meditation, devotional chanting, and a delicious vegetarian lunch for $20. The guru writes a newsletter and has written many books. You can reach these ashrams by contacting:
Shoshoni Retreat Center
PO. Box 410
Rollinsville, CO 80474
Eldorado Mountain Yoga Ashram
PO. Box 306
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center
The Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center—which is part of the Shambhala Center in Boulder, founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and is now run by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche—is located near Fort Collins, Colorado.
It has a more individualistic approach to retreats “in which you individually conduct your practice according to techniques you have already learned.” It also hosts many meditation teachers for specific programs.
There are isolated cabins where you bring and cook your own food, or the retreat has what it calls “in-house” retreats where you eat meals in the main dining room with the rest of the guests and staff. The cost is only $25 to $30 a day. The Shambhala requires that you practice meditation at least six hours a day. Contact:
Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center
4921 County Road 68C
Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545-9505
fax (970) 881-2909
Denver/Boulder Metro line (303) 466-1897
email [email protected]
Sivananda Yoga Retreat
One of the retreats I have wanted to do for a long time is the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas. It is on the beach, has a strict schedule beginning at 4:30 a.m., and includes two meditations, chanting, yoga, and breathing classes per day, plus a lecture, free time, and three vegetarian meals—all for about $35 each day.
Some other interesting retreats I have heard about include:
Mind/Body Caribbean Cruise. They have lectures on board and gourmet vegan cuisine. Call the Inner Voyage at (800) 546-7871.
Plum Village, Meyrac, Loubes-Bernac
47120 Duras, France
Tel: 010 33 53 947540
San Francisco Zen Center
300 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
The following places offer many classes, workshops and retreats. To get their catalogs contact them directly:
260 Lake Drive
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
P.O. Box 240
San Cristobal, NM 87564
Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat Center
P.O. Box 578
Detroit, OR 97342
Harbin Hot Springs
P.O. Box 782
Middletown, CA 95461
The best book I have found on the subject is Retreat: Time Apart for Silence and Solitude by Roger Housden. It gives clear descriptions of many different kinds of retreats divided into categories from Buddhist to Christian to wilderness to art retreats. It’s wonderful, complete with photographs.
Another reference is:
Jean K. Foster
Team Up (The God-Mind Connection)
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Ask for information on retreats and her several books.