• The Wilderness Within: The subtle activism of engaged Buddhists

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 22 February 2019 - Sunday 24 February 2019

    tsunma tsondruAs we travel deeper into the 21st century we experience more and more acutely - if we are awake and aware - the unravelling of the interconnected cycles and systems which make up this miracle of life on this Earth which is our only home. Increasingly, we humans don't seem to care for anything other than ourselves. The chasm that is separating human beings from the natural world and from one another is widening, with society encouraging ever more alienation. Even the very words for wild and natural things - flowers and creatures and landscapes - are being erased from the great dictionaries, to be replaced by technology-speak. And yet the words we choose become the world we live in - so we are diligently engaged in making an un-natural and hyper-me world. It is our connection, our relationship, with something that moves us to take care of it. So the key to our future lies in re-connecting ourselves to the Earth, to one another, to our true nature. We cannot survive independently from the Earth and her natural cycles and systems. No matter which strand we try to isolate, we will always find it hitched to a myriad others. Indeed, we are made of the elements. We are made of the same stuff as the stars. We and they have come from the same singularity. Yet a long time ago, before physicists had ever even theorized about the Big Bang, Dogen, the great Zen master, already knew.  I came to realize that the mind is nothing but the sun and the moon and countless stars. Can we also come to this knowing, like Dogen? How can we come to know that the sun and moon and stars are within, that the wilderness is within, that we are the whole of it? The Buddha showed us how when he awoke to the Truth while sitting under the Bodhi tree. He had found through his practice of meditation that we are the sun and the moon and the stars, that the wilderness is within, and is home. He had seen the great interdependence of all things. Taking advantage of the wilderness around the BRC, we will explore the meeting place of the outer and inner worlds to uncover our connection with ourselves, all beings, the sun and moon and the stars. The retreat will combine meditation practice with silent contemplative walking in the wilderness, as well as some of the spiral practices from Joanna Macy's Work That Reconnects.

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    Tsunma Tsondru is a nun ordained by Tai Situ Rinpoche in the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. She came across Buddhism through Louis van Loon at the BRC. After working as a lawyer and environmental scientist, she left for Spain for a traditional Kagyu three-and-a-half-year retreat, followed by a second retreat of four years. Since returning to Cape Town, she has served on the Board of the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute, a multi-faith NGO, and is now its Executive Director. She spent a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s “Work That Connects”, which she has offered in Cape Town. Her particular interest is eco philosophy and the role that spirituality and ethics play in transforming our economic and social systems in protection of the Earth.

  • Radiant Grace:A yogic journey to self-acceptance Take kundalini yoga off the mat and into your life

    Teacher: Denise (Sohandev Kaur)
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 01 March 2019 - Sunday 03 March 2019
    deniseThere is nothing outside of us, it is all within us - Yogi Bhajan
    Do you constantly have the feeling that you are not good enough and that you need to be more, accomplish more, see more, own more? Do you find yourself looking 'outside' for solutions? You are not alone. Many of us spend our lives feeling that we are not good enough and are in a constant cycle of self-doubt, guilt and often, loathing. Through the practice of kundalini yoga, meditation and other processes, we can take the first steps on this journey towards self-acceptance. Join us on this journey with kundalini yoga, the yoga of awareness, guiding you towards the path of your inner healing: the key to your happiness and well-being. 
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    Denise (Sohandev Kaur) teaches people who face challenges in life and love, to better understand their limiting beliefs and instead embrace their full potential. In 2006, she explored more deeply the tools, habits and mindfulness rituals she had used in her own healing, when she trained to become a yoga teacher in Kerala, India. Having studied extensively over the past decade, she is now a qualified kundalini and Sivananda yoga teacher and has completed the Kundalini Beyond Action Addiction programme. She teaches classes, workshops and retreats to a diverse range of students from corporate executives to artists and homemakers. Her passion is to share the powerful tools of yoga, meditation and mindfulness. 
  • A Neurosurgeon Probes Wellness And Performance

    Teacher: Ian Weinberg
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 08 March 2019 - Sunday 10 March 2019 08:00am - 05:00pm

    ian weinbergIn a series of talks and Mindfulness meditation sessions, we will explore the chemistry which mediates the effects of mind states on the body: psychoneuroimmunology or PNI. The talks and demonstrations will show that we can attain optimal wellness and performance by getting to know our temperament and personality traits; by being more present-minded; and through sensible, informed ways of living and behaving.

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    Ian Weinberg is a consultant neurosurgeon by profession and a pioneer in the science of applied psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). His Triangles Model© became the cornerstone for PNI instruction and intervention. A significant proportion of these interventions reflect traditional Buddhist principles. He is consulted widely both by private and corporate individuals in the implementation of wellness and performance-enhancing strategies. His new book Leading with Conscious Awareness: A narrative of personal insights published by Conscious Companies/South Africa was launched in 2018.

  • Healing Chi Kung - For Health And Vitality Embodying and radiating the chi

    Teacher: Dr Hu Jin-Yun
    Cost: 2 days' accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 15 March 2019 - Sunday 17 March 2019

    dr hu jinyun smlExplore this ancient Chinese practice that boosts one’s health and vitality. Participants will learn the key techniques of how to master chi kung and incorporate it into their daily lives, effortlessly. These techniques are easy to learn, are useful and powerful. The healing power of chi kung works on both the physical and spiritual level - if it is done correctly. These techniques include breathing, timing, warm ups, postures, movement and mind projection. Dr Hu will also introduce Chinese medicine for detoxing, lowering cholesterol, decreasing body fat and relieving water retention. This retreat is designed to suit beginners, as well as those who have practised chi kung previously.

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    Dr Hu Jin-Yun is a certified Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor in China. He is a registered Acupuncture Practitioner at the AHSPCA, as well as the BHF in South Africa. He received his Master’s Degree in medicine from the Heilongjiang Chinese Medicine University in China. Currently, he is finalizing his research for his PhD. Apart from his medical and academic studies, Dr Hu has been practising Tai-Chi Quan, and Qi Kung in Taiwan since 1995. He now lives in Somerset West, in the Cape. He has his own private TCM clinic, the Helderberg Acupuncture And Healing Centre, where he practises this ancient art form of Traditional Chinese healing. He regularly presents seminars to the SAACMA (South African Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture) and has been lecturing at the Juniata College in America since 2013.

  • Open The Heart And Still The Mind: Embracing change and loss

    Teacher: Sue Cooper
    Cost: 4 days’ accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Wednesday 20 March 2019 - Sunday 24 March 2019

    sue cooper 2014This 4-day 'Open the heart and still the mind' retreat facilitated by clinical psychologist, Sue Cooper, offers an integration of body, heart and mind and is held in a contained and nurturing atmosphere of contemplative (Noble) silence. Inspired by the wisdom of Buddhist psychology, with its profound understanding of the truth of Impermanence, we will explore ways to integrate change and loss in our lives, so that we can learn to bear the unbearable. Through sitting and walking meditations, compassion practices, chi kung and short individual sessions, we will strengthen our capacity for courageous presence. This allows us to embrace life and death with an open and compassionate heart, one which can rediscover joy and lightness of being, in the midst of life's challenges. There will be time for restorative rest, as well as for silent walks in the beautiful gardens of the BRC. Beginners as well as experienced meditators are very welcome.

    CPD accreditation for psychologists and other HPCSA registered professionals: 26 General CEUs  are applicable and R175 admin fee is requested to receive the CPD certificate. Please also kindly be aware that as there is no teacher's fee charged, your dana for this retreat replaces the teacher's fee, which is usually R2500-4000 for a non dana-based retreat of this length of time. See: sue.stillmind@gmail.com and www.suecooper.co.za

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    Sue Cooper is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, working in private practice in Cape Town since the early 1990's. She has a long-standing interest in the interface between psychological and spiritual approaches to self-discovery and inner healing, and has attended Buddhist meditation retreats, mainly in the Theravada tradition, for over 30 years, both in South Africa and Gaia House in the UK. She has been inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition as well as the late Godwin Samararatne, Kittisaro and Thanissara, Ajahn Sucitto and Stephen and Martine Batchelor. In 2010, she created and launched her own "Open the heart and still the mind" courses and retreats, which integrate Buddhist meditation and psychotherapy. She has a particular interest in exploring how our practice enables us to embrace our humanness, integrating love and loss in our lives, so that we can live and die with compassionate awareness. She offers weekend and longer retreats throughout South Africa, as well as 6-8 week "Open the heart and still the mind" courses, on-going weekly groups and monthly half-day/day retreats in Cape Town. See: sue.stillmind@gmail.com

  • Yes, You Too Can Sing! A celebration of singing and chanting

    Teacher: Sally Bosch and François Möller
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 29 March 2019 - Sunday 31 March 2019

    sally boschfrancois mollerJoin us for a joyous celebration of chanting and enjoy the wonder of your singing voice. François and Sally will help you uncover your natural voice and lift it to new heights of expression and beauty. By combining correct breathing techniques with chanting and stillness, and discovering the origin of speech, your 'body-mind' and voice will be refined. We will focus on sacred chanting, incantations and mantras which form an integral part of most religions, including Buddhism. The healing power and expressive nature of singing appeals to and affects every aspect of our being, including our intellect and emotions. Such harmonious sound opens the heart to joy and can be transforming. By Sunday, the Ixopo hills will truly be alive with the sound of chanting. Daily sessions of chi kung and meditation will take your experience even deeper.

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    Sally Bosch's studies in comparative religion brought her to a point where she put her past behind her and joined the BRC as a volunteer, and immersed herself fully in the Buddhist experience for half a year. The Centre has provided her with much of her inspiration to write her poetry and short stories.

    François Möller obtained a B.Mus. degree from Wits University in 1995, majoring in voice and composition. During his student years he sang leading roles in many productions and after graduating was a soloist for PACT Opera. In 1998 he left for Germany to take up a position as soloist at the Lüneburg State Theatre. On his return to South Africa, he was a finalist in the Opera Queensland YA Singing Competition, and changed focus from opera to light music, focussing on jazz. He is currently teaching voice at Wits University and other institutions. He recorded a CD in 2007 which includes some jazz standards as well as his own compositions. 

  • Meditation For Beginners

    Teacher: Elizabeth Gaywood
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 05 April 2019 - Sunday 07 April 2019

    elizabeth gaywoodThis is an interactive retreat designed to help the “beginner” to understand and experience the basics of meditation practice. Meditation is a tool to transform the mind so that one’s life and experiences become more meaningful. This is achieved through simple, yet effective Mindfulness techniques as well as analytical meditation practices. Different techniques will be experienced so that retreatants can take with them tools to assist the transformative process in their daily-life. No prior knowledge of meditation is necessary. The retreat will be held in an atmosphere of silence and contemplation.

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    Elizabeth Gaywood has been involved in Buddhism since the 1970’s, and co-founded the Tibet Society of South Africa in 1995. She is the current chairperson and co-ordinator of the TSSA and, over the years, has been involved in the visits of his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and other Tibetan teachers to SA She has travelled to India many times, mainly to receive Teachings and visit monasteries, and to attend Tibet Support Group meetings. She has conducted courses on Meditation for Beginners in Durban for the past 8 years and has completed training in Transformative Mindfulness Methods, which has accreditation from the University of Toronto, Canada.

  • "Seeing The Light" : A photography retreat: Explore your inner light through your camera

    Teacher: Marlene Neumann
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 12 April 2019 - Sunday 14 April 2019

    marlene neumannTune in and allow Nature to flow through your heart and lens. The lens of your camera is an extension of your eye, your eyes are an extension of your heart. This weekend workshop is guided by Master Fine Art photographer, Marlene Neumann. She will take you on a journey deep into the forest where you can explore the light through your camera lens as you listen to the ancient wisdom whispered by the trees. This is not a technical workshop on how to use your camera, but rather an opportunity to learn to follow the light and allow the spirits of Nature to shine through you. Marlene’s contemplative approach will teach you new insights and a new way of seeing. See www.marleneneumann.com.

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    Marlene Neumann is an award-winning Master Fine Art Photographer who has excelled as a leader in her field. She broke the boundaries of Fine Art Photography in South Africa with her intuitive approach and her unique black and white darkroom process. She was head of the Art Department of the Port Elizabeth Technikon for twenty years and achieved her Master’s degree in photography. Her images and her life journey have been featured in many publications. Her Centre For Photography And Light is set in a tranquil art garden, creating a sacred space for her galleries as well as a creative hub for her workshops. Students from across Southern Africa attend her sought-after Creativity Through Photography workshops. Her visual journey is shared in her book: Sky Meets Land where over 100 photographs are showcased. She describes her book as a metaphor for 'mind meets heart'. As an “intuitive photographer” she also engages us with her inspiring DVD series called Capturing what people don’t talk about. Marlene celebrates life through the lens.  See www.marleneneumann.com.

  • Easter In The Hills Of Ixopo: Settle the mind, radiate the chi, heal the body

    Teacher: Louis van Loon, Alex de la Rouviere, Lien Duvenage and Deborah Donal
    Cost: 3 days’ accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 19 April 2019 - Monday 22 April 2019

    cflores 5306This is a largely unstructured self-retreat with meditation, chi kung, walks and healing therapies

    Join us for Easter in the hills of Ixopo where you will be left alone in the beautiful surroundings of the Centre, to meditate in the Buddha Boma  and relax with healing therapies. Wake up to the sound of the gong, followed by meditation and chi kung in the dell. Experience the profundity of Noble Silence in the morning and what it is like to eat your breakfast quietly and really be present in that moment. Tune into the sound of the windchimes and birdsong, and the beat of one’s heart in this tranquil environment. Healing therapies such as aromatherapy, reflexology and sound therapy will be offered during the day. This retreat will allow you to rest, relax and reflect in the Easter tradition. Meals will be their usual delicious “Plentiful” best. We will also offer a Meditation On Tea, the ancient, meditative Chinese Tea Ceremony.

  • Yogis Live Longer: Hatha yoga for health and resilience

    Teacher: Howard Lipschitz and Christine Withiel
    Cost: 2 days' accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 26 April 2019 - Sunday 28 April 2019

    howard_lipschitzchristine_withieleYoga asanas (postures) massage the internal organs, nerves and glands, improving their performance. They enhance energy levels and stamina, flexibility and agility of the body and mind, enabling you to lead a more active and creative life. Sleep and digestion are improved.  Yoga’s focus on the body and correct breathing improves energy levels and the immune system.  As you let go of resistance and allow the muscles and tendons to release into the postures, you also learn to let go of resistance in other areas of life, accepting what is and what cannot be changed, helping you to make better choices. Wear comfortable clothes and bring a yoga mat.

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    Christine Withiel is passionate about yoga and sharing the teachings. She runs 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Courses at the Jivananda Centre in Durban North. She is a member of the 500-hour teacher training team at Anand Prakash ashram in Rishikesh, India. She is a member of the Township Yogi project which trains yoga teachers in the townships and supports the teachers in the community.

    Howard Lipschitz avoided spinal surgery after he was introduced to Iyengar yoga in Israel 35 years ago.  He works as a massage therapist and teaches yoga and chi kung at The Jivananda Centre for Well-being in Durban. He competed internationally in archery and practised karate and fencing for many years.  He brings aspects of these disciplines as well as chi kung to his yoga teaching which is based on his personal experiences, reinforced by regular trips to ashrams in India.