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Detailed List of Retreats

"Doing Your Own Thing" Self Retreats are available throughout the year between the Conducted Retreats (and occasionally on weekends).

These retreats are in Noble Silence.

Retreat
10 November 2019
  • Playing A Lute With No String: A meditation practice retreat

    Teacher: Stephen Coan
    Cost: 4 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Sunday 10 November 2019 - Thursday 14 November 2019

    stephen coanOn a quiet evening in my thatch-roofed hut, I play a lute with no string. Its melody enters the wind and cloud, mingles deeply with a flowing stream, fills out the dark valley, blows through the vast forest, then disappears. Other than those who hear emptiness, who will capture this rare sound? - Ryokan (tr. Kazuaki Tanahashi)

    This will be a simple no-frills, "bare-bones" Zen-style retreat consisting of sitting and walking meditation, including a morning and evening dharma reading, as well as time to experience the beautiful surroundings of the Buddhist Retreat Centre while capturing the rare sound of a lute played with no string. Held in the supportive space of Noble Silence, this retreat presents an ideal opportunity to extend and deepen your meditation practice.

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    Stephen Coan has been involved with Buddhism for three decades. Inspired and informed by the Theravada and Zen Buddhist traditions, his retreats place an emphasis on the centrality of practice in living a skilful and enlightened life while also exploring the interface between poetry and silence and the profound benefits of doing nothing, seriously. In addition, Stephen draws on his own life experience of moving between being and doing as a film and theatre director, writer, journalist, and poet. His collection of poems Chant of the Doves (2008), inspired by time spent at the Buddhist Retreat Centre over the years, is featured in A Literary Guide to Kwazulu-Natal (2017).

15 November 2019
  • An Introduction To Chi Kung: Boost your health and longevity

    Teacher: Paul Dorrian
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 15 November 2019 - Sunday 17 November 2019

    paul dorrianChi kung is an ancient Chinese practice that boosts one’s health and longevity. Through gentle, slow and flowing movements, it integrates and harmonises one’s bodily functions and states of mind by eliminating static and toxic energy patterns. Chi kung also strengthens the internal organs and skeletal structure and encourages good posture. In this retreat, Paul will teach the Healing Sounds Short Form - a set of gentle exercises that incorporates sounds to cleanse and heal our major organs. In addition, it is fun to practise. He will also teach the ancient Taoist Brain Cleansing healing meditation.

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    Paul Dorrian is an international management consultant, author and speaker.  His interest in improving employee wellness in the work place led him to teach chi kung and tai chi chuan. He has studied these disciplines under various teachers in the UK and Spain, and with the late Master Dr Nico Snyman, his current teacher Master Marleen Bilas and with his Grandmaster Dr Lin Feng-Chao.  He teaches tai chi in the Yang style and chi kung in the Pa Tuan Chin, Healing Sounds and Zhan Zhuang styles at his school, the Lin Li School of Tai Chi Chuan, in Pietermaritzburg.

22 November 2019
  • Being Our Own Best Friend In This Crazy World

    Teacher: Chandasara
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 22 November 2019 - Sunday 24 November 2019

    chandasara smlThis is a silent meditation retreat focusing on the relationship we have with ourselves: what does “being our own best friend” really mean? Can we be steady and at ease simply being who we are without needing to be particularly special or better or worse than anyone else? Can we similarly be at peace with others who are different to us without being critical and judgmental? We will explore these questions, using insights from both psychology and the Buddha’s teachings on what keeps us trapped in cycles of negativity and suggest ways of how we can restore ourselves into a more natural state of ease and well-being. During the retreat, there will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, morning and evening talks, and opportunities for dialogue and discussion.

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    Chandasara spent her early adult life in political exile after which she worked as a political analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg. She trained as a Buddhist nun in the Forest School from 2003 to 2011, and, on leaving, completed an Honours degree in psychology while residing at Emoyeni Retreat Centre. Since childhood, she has been deeply interested in all forms of life and nature, intuitive sensitivity, spontaneity, play, creativity and freedom. She currently resides at Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre where she teaches meditation and mindfulness.

29 November 2019
  • Going With The Flow: Integrating yoga into daily life as a mindfulness practice

    Teacher: Bruce van Dongen
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 29 November 2019 - Sunday 01 December 2019

    bruce van dongenThe aim of this workshop is to develop the tools that make us aware of the ebb and flow of our moods and emotions and to learn to be mindful instead of reactive in our interactions with others. Using the techniques presented, we will learn to train our minds to be centred on the present so that we can flow with the river of life. We will explore Kundalini yoga, which is a combination of stationary and dynamic poses that include chanting, yogic breathing and chi kung techniques. These practices develop the ability to be fully present and integrated in our bodies and minds. The workshop will be varied to allow retreatants of all ages and levels of experience to derive great benefit from this very old tradition. Bring comfortable clothing and a sun hat.

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    Bruce van Dongen is a mechanical engineer. He has been practising yoga for many years and is a qualified  teacher  in the Hatha and Kundalini disciplines. He is a Director of The Waterfall Retreat and Environmental Centre and uses both nature and yoga as his soothing systems to balance the pressures of the corporate world.

06 December 2019
  • Quiet Mountain, Clear Sky: Meditating with calmness and clarity

    Teacher: Mervyn Croft
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 06 December 2019 - Sunday 08 December 2019

    mervyn croftThis retreat will provide an opportunity to explore two aspects of Buddhist meditation practice - the gradual development of calmness and peacefulness in our mind; and the practise of awareness, in order to live with more clarity and more centredness in the present moment. This foundation of calmness helps us to meet our confused thoughts and emotions with more acceptance and kindness and leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of our minds. The retreat will create a gentle and relaxed space in which to explore the benefits of spending time quietly with ourselves, to allow the qualities of calmness and clarity to develop in a natural way and to enjoy the nurturing effect of being silent in a beautiful environment.

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    Mervyn Croft has been engaged in Buddhism for over forty years, including a period of 13 years as a member of the resident community at the Buddhist Retreat Centre, Ixopo. He has participated in retreats in the Theravada, Zen and Tibetan traditions, and for many years was a student of Godwin Samararatne from Sri Lanka. In 2000 he co-founded the Emoyeni Retreat Centre where he teaches and lives in a house of stone.

13 December 2019
  • Grounded In Space: A weekend of tai chi and chi kung

    Teacher: Jeremy and Alex Lister-James
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 13 December 2019 - Sunday 15 December 2019

    jeremy lister jamesalex lister jamesBased on the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, tai chi is rooted in balance and flow, stillness within movement, and reflection during action. Just like the shape of the Taijitu - the symbol of yin and yang - every movement is based on circles. Al Huang, in Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain, suggests: “Stop the words and start the doing.” With gentle movements and focused mind, we will teach a short sequence of yang-style tai chi, complemented with simple chi kung exercises and movement-within-stillness meditation. Tai chi has been described as “learning to move with the wind and water in the course of everyday life”.

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    Jeremy Lister-James has been involved in the sustainability sphere for the last 15 years. His vision is the possibility of a world in which humans and other life will flourish on Earth forever. He strives to do no harm, rather than less harm, starting with a range of reflective practices aimed at flourishing. These foster an individual awareness of connectedness and the need for caring - for self, others and the world. One such practice is tai chi-chi kung.

    Alex Lister-James initially studied the Yang Form of tai chi as a form of “moving meditation” before incorporating chi kung in her practice, together with sitting and walking meditation. She has attended retreats at the Buddhist Retreat Centre for 30 years. In her professional life, Alex is a Health Professional in private practice, focusing on the health of women and children.

17 December 2019
  • Shibuie: When Beauty Happens Accidentally: Seeing with deep-seeing eyes - Sumie and Raku: Japanese brush painting and pottery

    Teacher: Fay Keit, Ingrid Adams and Louis van Loon
    Cost: 4 day's accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Tuesday 17 December 2019 - Saturday 21 December 2019

    fay keitingrid adamslouis van loon smlShibuie is the ancient Japanese concept of Accidental Beauty in which the artist is just one ingredient in a number of dynamic interacting natural processes, the outcome of which is delightfully unpredictable, but strangely beautiful - not ego-driven or deliberate. Louis will teach the classical Japanese brush painting techniques (Sumie) as these are applied to traditional subjects, such as landscape, bamboo and flower studies, while Ingrid will introduce contemporary subjects. We will use the genuine, traditional materials: solid pine-soot ink, a hollowed-out slate to liquefy it, a deer-hair bamboo-stemmed brush and absorbent mulberry paper. Tools will be provided, but sets can be purchased (R850) from the BRC. Each retreatant will receive a bisque-fired tea bowl to sumie-decorate and glaze. Fay will then fire up the kiln after which we will watch the magic as the pots emerge from their ordeal of having been subjected to 1000ºC heat, smothered in sawdust and immersed in cold water. We will admire the pots as they emerge triumphantly from the scorching heat, after which they will be used in a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony on the final evening.

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    Fay Keit  is a ceramist living in Howick. After finishing her Honours in Ceramics, she taught at primary schools in Madagascar, and then in South Africa. Wanting to pursue her dream to run a ceramics studio, she enrolled at the University of KwaZulu Natal and completed her MA in ceramics. She currently teaches art at Cowen House and has her own studio, running workshops and selling her work. She makes utilitarian ware as well as sculptural porcelain pieces.

    Ingrid Adams has worked as a clothing and home-wear designer for the last 25 years, and has travelled extensively to India and China sourcing home textiles. A yoga teacher, and an artist, she teaches drawing and art appreciation, and offers weekly Sumie lessons in Durban. She is currently completing her Master’s degree on Sumie, Japanese traditional painting, and its influence on two contemporary painters.

    Louis van Loon lectured in Buddhist philosophy at the Universities of Cape Town and Durban-Westville for 22 years.  He established the Buddhist Retreat Centre in 1980 and, along with his wife, Chrisi, directs its affairs. Both were involved in the compilation of the BRC’s popular recipe books Quiet Food, The Cake The Buddha Ate and Plentiful:The Big Book Of Buddha Food. His interest lies in the psychology of meditation and in the relationship between art, science, religion and philosophy.  He is an architect and consulting civil and structural engineer in private practice in Durban. He teaches Sumie, Japanese brush painting, and sketching in Durban, Cape Town and Ixopo.

24 December 2019
  • Stalking The Moment: Being At Home 24/7: Christmas at the BRC

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 3 day's accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Tuesday 24 December 2019 - Friday 27 December 2019

    tsunma tsondruBe here now. Rest in the moment. Catch the ungraspable moment. How do we do that when life keeps tumbling us along like a sand grain in a river? When all is in dizzying motion, where is 'the moment’, where is ‘here’? Take time out at the BRC over Christmas to slow down into the moment. You can find your true home in the here-now. With sitting and walking meditation, we will stalk the elusive moment. We will discover how to recognise our 'home', and we will see that we are in fact at home always. The retreat will be held in Noble Silence, with time for journaling, reflection, and fireside talks.

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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 molecular biologist, 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 as its Executive Director. Earth. In order to learn The Work That Reconnects, she travelled to San Francisco for a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s Work That Connects. Tsondru offers this work, blending it with teachings on Engaged Buddhism, and traditional meditation practice. 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. Click here to see the blog interview in 2 parts done by Penny Urquhart. 

28 December 2019
  • Welcoming The New Year With Compassion And Joy: New Year at the BRC

    Teacher: Sue Cooper
    Cost: 4 day's accommodation + R600 surcharge
    Dates: Saturday 28 December 2019 - Wednesday 01 January 2020

    sue cooper 2017 9In this 4-night Open the Heart and Still the Mind silent retreat we will reflect with kindness and compassion on the year which is ending, creating a space of possibility for new beginnings and joyful discovery, as we welcome the new year with an open and generous heart and mind at the beautiful BRC.  In a contained and nurturing atmosphere of contemplative (Noble) silence, we will transform the self-critical, judgmental inner voices which keep us stuck in the past, so that we can discover that each breath offers the possibility of a new beginning and greater freedom. As we enter the new year with compassionate simplicity, inspired by Buddhist wisdom teachings and embodied and calming meditation practices which open the heart, we will remember what really matters on this wondrous path of awakening. This retreat includes guided sitting and walking meditations, short individual sessions with Sue and daily sessions of chi kung movement meditation to enhance the healing and integration of body, heart and mind. We will welcome the New Year with a ceremony which includes chanting and a lantern-lit perambulation around the Buddha rupa, and we will usher out the old year with an ancient Chinese temple gong. Please kindly be aware that as there is no teacher's fee for this retreat, your dana replaces the teacher's fee. CPD accreditation for psychologists and other HPCSA registered professionals: 24 General CEUs are applicable and R175 admin fee is requested to receive the CPD certificate. sue.stillmind@gmail.com

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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. Sue 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 "Open the Heart and Still the Mind" courses, on-going weekly groups and monthly half-day/day retreats in Cape Town. See: www.suecooper.co.za and or sue.stillmind@gmail.com

03 January 2020
  • Time To Reminisce, Reflect and Refocus: Gently kickstart the new year with an ashram-style retreat offering sunrise chi kung, yoga, walks, chanting, meditation and healing therapies

    Teacher: Colin Kemery, Bruce van Dongen, Deborah Don and Kerri Martinaglia
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 03 January 2020 - Sunday 05 January 2020

    colin kemerybruce van dongendeborah donkerri martinagliaIt is difficult to make decisions about important issues in your life when you are immersed in them. You need some distance from them, physically and psychologically - to see them clearly for what they are. Only then, can you gain a fresh perspective on them. So, if you feel like you need a gentle, uncluttered space to tune into what lies ahead in 2020, this largely unstructured weekend will prove useful. Experience sunrise chi kung, yoga and evening chanting as well as a gong session for healing relaxation. The centre is yours to enjoy, walking or birdwatching in three hundred acres of rolling hills and indigenous forests. Circumambulate the labyrinth and stupa, meditate in the Zen garden or in the Buddha Boma, and spend solitary time in the deer park and at the dam stalking the light or listening to the windchimes and gazing at clouds. The BRC provides an ideal opportunity to be in a sympathetic space to reflect on the things that crowd one’s life: to just be. Deborah Don, a qualified Self-esteem Coach, and massage therapist, will be offering healing therapies by appointment.

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    Colin Kemery has conducted his popular sunrise chi kung sessions at the BRC for 7 years. He is currently the Estate Manager at the BRC, and has been a Buddhist and yoga practitioner for 40 years. He lived and worked in the UK, France, Denmark and the USA, and is a musician and song-writer, with a passion for cooking and nutrition.

    Bruce van Dongen is a mechanical engineer. He has been practising yoga for many years and is a qualified  teacher  in the Hatha and Kundalini disciplines. He is a Director of The Waterfall Retreat and Environmental Centre and uses both nature and yoga as his soothing systems to balance the pressures of the corporate world.

    Deborah Don, a qualified Self-esteem Coach, and massage therapist, has been involved in the Health and the Easter and New Year retreats offered at the BRC over the last three years.

    Kerri Martinaglia Kerri Martinaglia runs The Waterfall Retreat and Environmental Centre. In 2009 she began facilitating Mindfulness Africa courses in KwaZulu Natal. Her special interests are how the practices of Yoga, Mindfulness and Compassion can help restore our balance and enable us to live more meaningful lives.

06 January 2020
  • Awakening The Writer In You: The art of writing from the heart

    Teacher: Elana Bregin
    Cost: 3 day's accommodation + Course fee.
    Contact Elana Bregin: 0714930791 / elana.bregin@gmail.com
    Dates: Monday 06 January 2020 - Thursday 09 January 2020

    elana breginThe words Listen and Silent have the same letters
    - Michelle McClunan, Creative Therapist, Astrologer and NLP Practitioner

    The creative act of writing involves much more than plotting a good storyline and putting the right words together. It is a process of reflection, mindful observation - an engagement with yourself and the world around you at the deepest and most satisfying levels of awareness. It is also a potent healing tool that can give you the objective distance to detach yourself from your over-familiar internal script and see your life in different and wider perspective. This writing workshop will suit anyone with a creative itch to scratch, even if you don't have an actual story in mind. Whether your intention is to write a personal memoir, fictionalised novel or simply to renew your creative fire, the retreat is designed to offer support and give you the tools and insights to accomplish your writing goal. It will explore both the practical strategies of getting your story written and the inspirational aspects that fuel it. In the beautiful setting of BRC hills, sky, birds, trees, wind chimes and stars, overseen by the untroubled serenity of the Buddha statue, we will open our senses - and heart chakras - and start the conversation with our deeper selves that silent attention enables. We will begin the process of finding, clarifying and shaping the story we really want to tell and learn how to use the different stages of the writing process to our advantage. There will be periods of silent reflection, group sharing, active writing, and individual consultation slots for those who are feeling stuck as well as meditative walks and sensory sitting. For more information and cost of the course contact Elana Bregin: 0714930791 or elana.bregin@gmail.com

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    Elana Bregin is a seasoned author, editor and creative-workshop facilitator whose creative output includes both fiction and non-fiction novels, short stories, radio drama and more. She has been dancing with words since she first learnt how to write. In her 11 years of working as a publishing-house editor she accompanied many authors, both novice and experienced, on her own journey to published success and gained valuable coaching expertise. Her writing journey through the years has given her insight into the intimate processes of story-writing and its ability to reconnect us with both our personal meaning and the wider currents of life in which we are embedded. She has been a BRC attendee for many years and has been privileged to be part of a number of enlightening and enriching retreats.

10 January 2020
  • Getting To Know The Birds And Trees At The BRC: 160 Birds of a feather

    Teacher: Chris Dalzell, Steve Davis
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 10 January 2020 - Sunday 12 January 2020

    chris dalzell psteve davisJoin Chris and Steve for an enjoyable weekend of identifying some of the BRC’s 160 species of birds (including the summer residents, the rare Blue Swallow, Knysna Turaco and Emerald Cuckoo) and getting to know the indigenous trees, wild flowers and butterflies. You will also have a chance to expand the indigenous forests by planting your own tree. The weekend includes learning how to identify the most common trees in KwaZulu Natal, how to plant a tree, how to maintain it, and what butterflies and birds are attracted to these trees for nectar or fruit. Walk the verdant hills and meadows close to where the Blue Swallows nest,  enjoy the rare orchids, tree ferns and yellowwoods and admire the pink watsonias (Watsonia Borbonica) and the orange Christmas bells (Sandersonia Aurantiatica) in their summer bloom. Included will be talks, slide shows, chi kung, meditation and some quiet time communing with nature. Bring your binoculars and a sunhat.

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    Chris Dalzell was Curator of the Durban Botanical Gardens where he was in charge of special collections. He has studied, lectured and travelled internationally, collecting plant specimens from USA, Canada, Brazil, S.E. Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  For many years he guided the South African exhibition at the international Chelsea Flower Show where his stall was consistently awarded Gold and Silver-Gilt Medals. He was appointed Assistant Director for the development of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. He currently runs his own landscaping business Chris Dalzell Landscapes.

    Steve Davis has been watcing birds since moving to South Africa in 1975, and has travelled in most parts of southern Africa and many countries around the world. He has presented numerous talks and courses on birds, served on the BirdLife Port Natal Committee and is a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Rare Birds Committee. He has written two books with his late friend, Roy Cowgill - one on the birds of Durban reserves and one on shorebirds identification. He is a keen wildlife enthusiast, having expanded his interests to butterflies, dragonflies, trees and flowers. He is a Chemical Engineer by profession, having gained a M.Sc.Eng (Chem) at the University of Natal, Durban, and is currently Research and Development Manager at the Sugar Milling Research Institute in Durban.

17 January 2020
  • Vipassana Meditation: How to realise ever-present mindfulness

    Teacher: Jonathan Preboy, Anna Scharfenberg
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 17 January 2020 - Sunday 19 January 2020

    jonathan preboyanna scharfenbergThoughts are about what is not happening - Paul Hedderman

    Vipassana (Insight) meditation is based on mindfulness, which is always available, everywhere, without limit or cost. The challenge is how to realise it. The answer was provided by the Buddha. He taught ways to cultivate mindfulness that lead to insight and awakening. This retreat is an invitation for beginners and experienced meditators to practise Vipassana using the traditional Buddhist method of Ajahn Tong. For beginners it is a simple and direct technique to start meditating and for experienced meditators, it is a skilful method to deepen their insight. Mindfulness is developed by regular walking and sitting practice, by maintaining awareness during normal activities, such as eating, showering, dressing and supported by talks and daily interviews with a teacher. The weekend will be held in silence. Retreatants are welcome to join the subsequent 4-day meditation retreat.

    Sustain awareness at every moment in every posture, whether standing, walking, sitting or lying down. This is the way to establish mindfulness in the heart - Ajahn Chah

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    Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg trained in Vipassana meditation under the great Thai Vipassana master Ajahn Tong Sirimangalo. Jonathan worked as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Durban and Anna holds a Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies. They have taught meditation together at Wat Chom Tong Meditation Centre in Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Spain and South Africa (the BRC, Dharmagiri and Emoyeni) and currently manage and teach at the Tisarana Vipassananusorn Meditation Centre in Prague.

19 January 2020
  • A Vipassana Retreat: The search for truth

    Teacher: Jonathan Preboy, Anna Scharfenberg
    Cost: 4 day's accommodation + R400 surcharge
    Dates: Sunday 19 January 2020 - Thursday 23 January 2020

    jonathan preboyanna scharfenberg

    You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings ... it gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good in you. Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying - Nelson Mandela - Mandela The Authorised Biography by Anthony Sampson

    Vipassana (Insight) meditation uses mindfulness to search for the mental and emotional patterns that cause suffering. The aim is not merely to overcome suffering but to learn how to wake up and be fully alive in the present moment. This four-day retreat is an opportunity to deepen meditation practice using the traditional Buddhist method of Ajahn Tong. Meditators are encouraged to stay for the entire course but may also stay for a shorter time and beginners are welcome to learn how to start Vipassana meditation. Mindfulness is developed by regular walking and sitting practice (both in the meditation hall and outside in the forest), by maintaining awareness during normal activities such as eating, showering, dressing and supported by daily interviews with a teacher. The retreat will be held in silence.

    What is looking is what you are looking for - St. Francis of Assisi

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    Jonathan Preboy and Anna Scharfenberg trained in Vipassana meditation under the great Thai Vipassana master Ajahn Tong Sirimangalo. Jonathan worked as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Durban and Anna holds a Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies. They have taught meditation together at Wat Chom Tong Meditation Centre in Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Spain and South Africa (the BRC, Dharmagiri and Emoyeni) and currently manage and teach at the Tisarana Vipassananusorn Meditation Centre in Prague.

24 January 2020
  • Happy Healthy Yoga: Kickstart the new year with yoga for health and harmony

    Teacher: Margot McMaster
    Cost: 2 days’ accommodation + R200 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 24 January 2020 - Sunday 26 January 2020

    margot mcmaster

    Join Margot for a yoga retreat where we explore our innate strength and vitality in order to deepen and develop serenity in our minds. We will connect them with the flow of breath and mindful awareness. Enjoy a progressive sequence of extended yoga classes, comprising dynamic vinyāsa, yin yoga, yoga nidra, mantra and more. Working in sequence to unlock and expand, we will explore arm balances, hip openers, backbends and twists to challenge your body to release, and then restore vitality, riding the wave of your breath as a way to surrender into postures and cultivating calmness of mind. We will work in Krama (progressive stages). The retreat is suitable for all levels of fitness, but be prepared to be challenged. Please bring a mat, water bottle, blanket and a strap. 

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    Margot McMaster holds both Vinyāsa Flow and Kundalini Yoga teacher certificates. She was guided by Mercedes Sieff, Shiva Rea, Guru Dharam and Darryl O’Kieffe, among others. She worked as the in-house yoga instructor at  BBC Worldwide in London for four years, where she taught in its studios, as well as in Costa Rica, India and Sri Lanka. She currently lives and teaches in Nottingham Road, KZN, where she integrates meditation, pranayama, mantra and Heart yoga into her practice.

27 January 2020
  • The Way Of Ubuntu: Exploring traditional South African healing

    Teacher: John Lockley
    Cost: 3 day's accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Monday 27 January 2020 - Thursday 30 January 2020

    john lockleyParticipants will experience a traditional South African healing ceremony over three days during which they will learn to connect to their Ancestors (bones), Dreams, 'Umoya' (spirit) and one another. 'Ubuntu' means 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. It is a circle of interlinking relationships connecting the seen and unseen worlds. The ceremony will involve a plant cleanse, using medicinal plants to cleanse the spirit and open the heart. Included will be an in-depth discussion on 'African cosmology' and the understanding of ancestors, plant medicine and dreaming. Retreatants will learn one of the most ancient and misunderstood cultures in South Africa today - the Sangoma medicine people, the monks and nuns of Southern Africa. The retreat will focus on educating people about South African traditional spirituality and also lead participants on a spiritual journey to rediscover their own ‘soul’ or what is termed ‘umoya’ in Xhosa/ Zulu culture. This is a unique opportunity as there are very few places in South Africa today where people can learn from this mystical  tradition.  'Ubuntu' in essence represents harmony and is similar to the Zen circle. Linking the past and present, it is an evolving state of co-operation and compassion whereby every human being is linked to their own families and communities as well as the unseen world of ancestors.  John will be assisted by his colleague Makhosi Nomusa who is the resident Zulu Sangoma. Please bring a plastic basin which will be used for medicinal foot healing, a dream journal, pen and paper to take notes, a meditation blanket and an open mind. This retreat is suitable for all therapists, healers and those with a desire to heal South Africa.

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    John Lockley is a traditionally trained sangoma from the Xhosa culture, with over 20 years' experience. He was taught the essence of 'Ubuntu' by his Xhosa elders in the Eastern Cape and has lectured and run retreats all over the world stressing the importance of 'Ubuntu' ('Humanness') and our need to unite as a human race and reconnect to our "blood and bones". The name he was given by his Xhosa teacher MaMngwevu in 1996 was 'Ucingolweendaba' which means "The messenger or bridge between people and cultures". This is an auspicious name and reflects his calling and mission to help bridge African spirituality and western psychology. John also has a background in Zen Buddhism and was a Zen student under the late Zen Master Su Bong from South Korea. His book Leopard Warrior is an account of his pioneering journey in crossing the 'rubicon' or divide between white and black people in South Africa. This will be John's 6th retreat at the BRC and every year there are amazing stories of healing and transformation.

31 January 2020
  • Out To Lunch Where Green Is The New Colour For The Palate: Going vegan with wholesome food

    Teacher: Debbie Rich, Sascha Türk
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 31 January 2020 - Sunday 02 February 2020

    debbie rich 1sascha turkThis retreat is ideal for those who want to make the change-over to a plant-based, healthy lifestyle. Learn how to make nutritious superfood smoothie bowls bursting with fruit flavour, create your own "Buddha" bowls, sunshine salads and simple soups rich with flavour, as well as mouth-watering vegan burgers and vegan healthy-guilt-free chocolate. Included in this retreat will be sunrise yoga and meditation as well as pilates, the yin-yang of health, where "belly strengthening is a perfect balance to belly-nourishing". If you want to learn about wholefoods and veganism, this is an opportunity to find the 'creative foodie' in you.

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    Debbie Rich from Out To Lunch And Wholesome Cafe is not your average vegan. The energetic proponent for healthy living is passionate about plant- based food and living a wholesome life. Her purpose is to help those who want to make the change-over to a vegan lifestyle to do so wisely. She creates art on a plate with every meal and loves to share her recipes and ideas.

    Sascha Türk is a third generation classically trained Pilates teacher in the New York Method and has been teaching Pilates since 2005 from her studio in Durban North. Currently, she is in her final year of Iyengar Yoga Introductory Level Teacher Training. Her love for movement, health, and keen interest in the human body has taken her on a journey towards health and harmony.

07 February 2020
  • Moving Meditation: Cultivating the four energies of tai chi

    Teacher: Brett Vallis
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 07 February 2020 - Sunday 09 February 2020

    brett vallisTai chi is a practice embracing the mind, body and spirit. Originating in ancient China, it is one of the most effective exercises for the health and well-being of our body and mind. The essential principles include integrating the mind with the body; the control of movement and breath; generating internal energy, mindfulness, song (loosening) and jing (serenity). The ultimate purpose of tai chi is to cultivate the chi or life energy within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body like water flowing in a river: beneath the tranquil surface there is a current with immense power - the power for healing and wellness. This retreat is for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike - for many, it starts somewhere and continues as a lifetime journey.

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    Brett Vallis is a qualified tai chi, shaolin and chi kung instructor who has been teaching for 28 years. His interest in Eastern philosophy started at the age of 14 when he attended his first retreat at the Buddhist Retreat Centre. He studied Chinese Martial Arts at the age of 20 under the tutelage of Jacques Bois, To Dei. Thereafter he opened his own school and the late Leslie James Reed, Sifu became his teacher. After emigrating to the UK, he studied under Derek Frearson, Sigong. On returning to South Africa, he opened a school in Cape Town where he received his traditional Sifu title. He now resides and teaches in Margate in KwaZulu Natal.

12 February 2020
  • Firm Centre, Open Heart

    Teacher: Ajahn Sucitto
    Cost: 6 days’ accommodation + surcharge R500
    Dates: Wednesday 12 February 2020 - Tuesday 18 February 2020

    sucittoOne of the principle aims of meditation is to experience greater warm-heartedness - towards others and oneself.  The absence of this is a major source of suffering, linked to anxiety, depression and mistrust. On this retreat, we will be cultivating the inner strength that supports and protects the heart so that its natural kindness and compassion can illuminate our lives. The retreat will include guided meditation, teachings, chanting and devotional practice, qi gong, sharing presence with fellow retreatants, questions and answers. As this is a semi-monastic retreat, all Internet connections should be disabled and phones switched off. Out of respect for the environment, please do not bring or use plastic bottles of water; your portable flask can be filled frequently from the pure local water supply. This retreat will be held in an atmosphere of contemplative silence.

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    Ajahn Sucitto is a British-born Buddhist monk. He has been a monk since 1976 and is based in Cittaviveka Monastery in West Sussex, England. He teaches all over the world and has taught in South Africa on several occasions. He is also the author of many books; these are published for free distribution and can be downloaded from his website www.ajahnsucitto.org.

21 February 2020
  • Reclaim Your Power: A journey to inner balance

    Teacher: Heike Sym
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 21 February 2020 - Sunday 23 February 2020

    heike symWe all have inner guidance and knowledge, but we don't always know how to access it and use it as the incredible gift it is. We are constantly trying to keep up with the ever-increasing pace and demands of our lives which leaves us with high stress levels and exhausted. On this retreat we will fortify our spirit, embrace our personal power, and allow our light to shine brightly again, the way the universe intended. Through talks, meditation, group work, transformational exercises, relaxation and conversation, we will journey back to our centre - to our most natural and balanced state of being. Deepening our connection with our inner self allows us to stand strong in our own personal power in the here and now. We will learn to listen less to the limiting, fear-based voices of our mind, and start aligning with our intuition, to our core that already knows that we are born as an unstoppable and magnificent force.

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    Heike Sym was born in Bavaria, Germany, and fell in love with South Africa when she arrived in 1993 to volunteer as a Child Care Worker. She specialised in behaviour and learning difficulties and as a Montessori therapist, trainer and counsellor. She taught at St Philomena's Children's home in Durban for over 16 years and was involved in social outreach projects associated with it. She has also taught and counselled at primary schools and has continued to develop her spiritual interests over the years. She is now embracing her calling as a medium, energy healer, numerologist, metaphysical profiler and teacher. She gives regular talks, courses and interviews on radio, and offers individual sessions.

23 February 2020
  • Freedom Through Somatic Practices: A 5-day transformational retreat of somasensing™, intuitive yoga, nature and wholefoods

    Teacher: Yasmin Lambat and Nicholas Luqmaan McLean
    Cost: 5 days accommodation
    Dates: Sunday 23 February 2020 - Friday 28 February 2020

    yasmin lambetnicolas mcleanThis will be an immersion into holistic practices that help to awaken more of your potential. You are born with a self-regulating blueprint - an ability to heal ourselves. SomaSensing movement therapies tap into that blueprint in order to restore well-being. Come and explore the wisdom that is innate in your nervous system and why we get inflammation, and learn about interoception as your 'sixthsense'. Psychoneuroimmunology reveals that disease and who we are depends on our experiences and habitual conditioning. Somatic practices help to shift embodied patterns and habits. This is especially good for anyone with pain or inflammation who is ready to take healing into their own hands. You will get to move the way nature intended, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, and maybe even feel a profound sense of oneness. Contact Nicholas for the cost of the course: 0824379776 or email nicholas@guthealthyogi.comwww.somasensing.org www.guthealthyogi.com

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    Yasmin Lambat is the founder of SomaSensing™ and a somatic trauma-informed therapist. She is a registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME), based in the UK. Placing the body at the heart of healing has become her calling. Her early experience with the body began with a “nuts and bolts” approach to her own chronic pain. She first explored a mechanical approach, focusing on postural alignment, core strengthening exercises and yoga for flexibility until she was introduced to Feldenkrais and other somatic practices. Since then she has spent the last 15 years in somatic exploration to find the missing link between pain and emotion: the body/mind connection - what makes us whole - using motion to heal motion.

    Nicholas Luqmaan McLean is a somatic movement therapist and holistic health coach based in Hermanus and Cape Town.With a yoga and science background and a meditator since the age of 18, he is dedicated to help people find inner freedom. Following a few life-changing breakthroughs, he came across SomaSensing and discovered how soma and a sense of self is the key practice to awaken our potential to self-regulate and shift us out of the habit of being on autopilot. His holistic gut healing programs involve eating wholefoods, somatic movement therapy and mindfulness in order to reduce stress, relieve pain and restore well-being.

28 February 2020
  • A Neurosurgeon Probes Wellness And Performance: Psychoneuroimmunology

    Teacher: Ian Weinberg
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 28 February 2020 - Sunday 01 March 2020

    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 book Leading with Conscious Awareness: A narrative of personal insights published by Conscious Companies/South Africa was launched in 2018.

     
06 March 2020
  • The Sacred Feminine : Empowering the feminine with yoga, meditation and your astrological moon

    Teacher: Margarita Celeste
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 06 March 2020 - Sunday 08 March 2020

    margarita celesteIn this empowering weekend for women, gentle Yin-style yoga will be offered as an invitation to expand, open and release tightly-held emotions and stress, focusing on the hips and heart. Evening "Moon" themed meditations will help participants to get in touch with this powerful Lunar Body to connect with your inner Feminine. Included will be talks on the Astrological Moon which will help women to navigate their emotional styles, and that of others. Body and Mind will be nourished over a weekend that promises to be nurturing for women - mothers and daughters, sisters and best friends - in a moment by moment openness to each other and to the beautiful, tranquil surroundings of the BRC.

     

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    Margarita Celeste was intuitively drawn to the starry skies from a young age. In 2013, she enrolled for Rod Suskin's three-year Diploma course, receiving a scholarship for her final year, after which she studied formally with the School of Intuition and Healing. Her passion is to help and guide others towards a more conscious state of being. She has a deep interest in alternative healing such as reiki, crystal therapy, kinesiology, chakra balance, tachyon healing and life alignment.

13 March 2020
  • The Healing Art Of Reiki (Level 1), Yoga And Meditation: Heal the body, relax the mind

    Teacher: Katherine Fillmore
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 13 March 2020 - Sunday 15 March 2020

    katherine fillmore In the beautiful surroundings of Ixopo, enjoy a revitalizing, relaxing weekend of gentle yoga, breath work, meditation and reiki. Reiki is the ancient Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation which promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and uses the "life force energy" that flows through us. The word 'reiki' comprises of 'rei' which means 'God's higher power' and 'ki' which is 'life force energy'. It is a simple, natural and safe method of healing and has great beneficial effects. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to promote recovery. This practice reduces stress, awakens deep relaxation, peace and self-awareness, improves sleep, eliminates depression, enhances your immune system, prompting contentedness and balance in your life. Reiki healing can be extended to all areas of your life, including your children and animals.

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    Katherine Fillmore is a director of  Hennops Blue Horizon which works towards healing our rivers in South Africa and a qualified Hatha yoga, meditation and Reiki teacher. She has been teaching yoga for ten years and has a yoga studio in Pretoria. She conducts Reiki and meditation courses and works as a Reiki healer from home and in hospitals. Before working as a yoga teacher, she was a professional photographer. Currently, she channels her creative energy into painting in water colour and oil.

15 March 2020
  • Deepening The Healing Art Of Reiki : Reiki: Levels 2 and 3

    Teacher: Katherine Fillmore
    Cost: 4 days accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Sunday 15 March 2020 - Thursday 19 March 2020

    katherine fillmore Reiki Level 2
    At this level of reiki practice, you will learn to apply the healing effects of reiki on others. Two more sacred symbols will be passed onto you: the Distance Healing Symbol and the Emotional Healing Symbol. You will learn how to use reiki as a means of empowering others. Students will receive their second attunement in which their vibrations are tuned to a higher level. The use of distant healing will be taught. Students will be shown how to meditate deeply at this stage so that the foundation that you have built for yourself since level 1 comes into play.

    Reiki Level 3
    At this level you will make a commitment to reiki in your life and progress to become a Reiki Master. You will receive the Master Symbol and the Tibetan Fire Serpent Symbol which is used during the Master attunement process. You will learn how to pass this attunement to others, and to take on students of your own. Some Reiki Masters never teach reiki, but they are able to use the Master energy on others and apply it in their own lives.

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    Katherine Fillmore is a director of  Hennops Blue Horizon which works towards healing our rivers in South Africa and a qualified Hatha yoga, meditation and Reiki teacher. She has been teaching yoga for ten years and has a yoga studio in Pretoria. She conducts Reiki and meditation courses and works as a Reiki healer from home and in hospitals. Before working as a yoga teacher, she was a professional photographer. Currently, she channels her creative energy into painting in water colour and oil.

20 March 2020
  • The Wilderness Within: The subtle activism of engaged Buddhists

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 20 March 2020 - Sunday 22 March 2020

    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 molecular biologist, 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 as its Executive Director. Earth. In order to learn the Work That Reconnects, she travelled to San Francisco for a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s Work That Connects. Tsondru offers this work, blending it with teachings on Engaged Buddhism, and traditional meditation practice. 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. Click here to see the blog interview in 2 parts done by Penny Urquhart.

27 March 2020
  • Saying Yes To Life: How we can live wholeheartedly in the midst of a challenging world

    Teacher: Richard-John Chippindall
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 27 March 2020 - Sunday 29 March 2020

    rj chippindallWe have a choice in how we meet the difficulties that life presents us with: we can be defensive and erect barriers to pain, or we can chose to approach discomfort with an attitude of friendliness and curiosity. Being open to what is challenging requires courage and practice as it is not in the nature of the human brain to remain calm in the face of difficulty. In relaxing into what is painful we are making friends with ourselves and our world and developing maitri - the unconditional self-acceptance - that is the basis of compassion and well-being. In this retreat we will have the opportunity to say yes to life in all its forms, delightful and painful. We will draw on the writings of Pema Chodron to inspire us to live fearlessly by giving up control and waking up to everything we experience in and around us. Loving-kindness meditations will support us in our journey, as will the tranquil, containing environment of the BRC. The weekend will include sessions of sitting and moving mindfulness practice, as well as walking the labyrinth and group discussions. Silence will be observed throughout the weekend.

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    Richard-John Chippindall had an academic career in Microbiology until attending Louis van Loon’s retreat in the 1990’s. This introduction to Buddhist philosophy inspired him to study clinical psychology. After qualifying, he spent eleven years working at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London where he gained extensive experience in providing mindfulness-based interventions to patients with emotional and psychological difficulties, as well as chronic health problems. He is now in private practice in Johannesburg.

03 April 2020
  • Vinyāsa Yoga And Meditation: Stilling the mind

    Teacher: Hannelize Robinson
    Cost: 2 day's accommodation + R250 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 03 April 2020 - Sunday 05 April 2020

    hannelize robinsonYoga is the settling of the mind into silence because only when the mind is silent can we realize our true nature. The practice of Vinyāsa yoga unites our mind and body and through conscious movement aligned to the breath constituting a dynamic flow. It stills the mind and allows us to become more internally focused and mindful in everything we do. It supports a healthy lifestyle and results in long-term health and well-being. Yoga is accessible to everyone and it is not about how flexible or strong you are or about mastering a “difficult” pose - though even that will follow with regular practice. It is rather about how mindful and present you are - on and off the mat. It is a practical discipline; a way of looking at the world from a new perspective, allowing one to release old and limiting beliefs and habits in order to experience the truth of who we really are. Some previous yoga practice is recommended; however, beginners are welcome. Please bring your own yoga mat.

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    Hannelize Robinson is a Vinyāsa yoga teacher and Event Producer based in Johannesburg and is a dedicated student of Yoga Philosophy and Buddhism and founder of Conscious-Collab. Her personal journey of discovery has led her towards conscious and mindful living with yoga and meditation which have become an integral part of her life. Her intention is to inspire and assist her students on their own journey of growth and transformation by teaching a mindful asana practice which integrates the other seven limbs of Pantanjali’s eight-limb path.

09 April 2020
  • Open The Heart And Still The Mind: Cultivating kindness and compassion

    Teacher: Sue Cooper
    Cost: 4 days accommodation + R600 surcharge
    Dates: Thursday 09 April 2020 - Monday 13 April 2020

    sue cooper oct2019This 4 day, silent Easter long-weekend Open the Heart and Still the Mind Compassion Retreat will draw on the wisdom of Buddhist psychology and the inspiring teachings and practices of Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of Compassion, who “Listens to the cries of the world at ease." After establishing a calm and grounded body, heart and mind, we will focus on the practice of loving-kindness (metta) meditation and the deepening of compassionate wisdom. These practices connect us with our authentic presence, strengthen our boundaries and provide us with a secure foundation of courage and trust. In a contained and nurturing atmosphere of contemplative (Noble)silence, we will learn how to transform the viciousness of the inner critic, so that we can end the habitual cycle of self-abandonment. As we discover how to internalise the archetypal good-enough mother, represented by Kuan Yin, we will develop the courage and trust which allow us to honour our vulnerability without fear or shame. When we can embrace our humanness with kindness and compassion, we can live more authentically, so that healing and awakening can occur. This retreat includes guided sitting and walking meditations, short individual sessions with Sue and daily sessions of qigong (chi kung) movement meditation to enhance the integration of body, heart and mind. There will be time for silent, mindful walks in nature when you can explore the beauty of the Centre. https://www.suecooper.co.za/event/retreat-cultivating-kindness-and-compassion/

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    Sue Cooper is a Cape Town-based Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, working in private practice 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 at Gaia House in the UK. She has been inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition, and is deeply grateful to her primary teachers: the late Godwin Samararatne, Kittisaro and Thanissara, Ajahn Sucitto and Stephen and Martine Batchelor. 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 at Temenos, Mont Fleur, Blue Butterfly and Somerset Gift in the Western Cape; Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre and the Buddhist Retreat Centre in KwaZulu Natal; and Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the North West Province, 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 at Somersault Studio (Clarement), Reunion Yoga and Meditation (Constantia) and Pranahouse (Gardens).

    Please follow Sue on: https://www.suecooper.co.za/event/retreat-cultivating-kindness-and-compassion/

13 April 2020
  • Beginner's Mind, Quiet Mind: Meditation instruction and practice for meaningful daily living

    Teacher: Tsunma Tsondru
    Cost: 5 days accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Monday 13 April 2020 - Friday 17 April 2020

    tsunma tsondruIt is important for us to take time out from the incessant demands and fast pace of daily life. The BRC gives us a space to step off the wheel and the time to come home to the quiet, strong refuge which lies at our centre. Cultivating the natural state of peace and ease that lies there reveals our true nature - which enables us not to just help ourselves, but to help the world of which we are a part. Then daily living becomes meaningful. This mid-week retreat will bring out our Beginner’s Mind through the practice of meditation. The time will be silent, quiet, and slow. There will be meditation instruction and guidance, formal sitting, and time for walking, writing, or staring into the distance.

    {toggle}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 molecular biologist, 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 as its Executive Director. In order to learn the Work That Reconnects, she travelled to San Francisco for a 10-day intensive retreat with Joanna Macy, engaging with Macy’s Work That Connects.Tsondru offers this work, blending it with teachings on Engaged Buddhism, and traditional meditation practice. 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.

14 April 2020
  • Compassionate Communication: Listening With Your Whole Being. Speaking From Your Deepest Authenticity: Experiencing the Dyad enquiry practice

    Teacher: Nicholas Burnand and Sarah Dekker
    Cost: 3 days accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Tuesday 14 April 2020 - Friday 17 April 2020

    nicholas burnandsarah dekkerWe are inviting you on a journey of direct experiencing, sensing and being - witnessing the mystery of existence reveal itself through the Dyad enquiry practice (meditation in pairs). The mindful awareness of a practice partner increases the ability to stay present and in the moment, allowing the inquiry to go deeper and for moment to moment awareness to be sustained for longer. Many people who struggle with staying focused during conventional meditation practice, have experienced unbroken awareness for periods of five minutes and more when doing the Dyad practice. It is not only a method to strengthen awareness, but also to deepen interpersonal connection, and enjoy more loving, compassionate relationships. In this retreat individual and group processes will be alternated with periods of individual reflection and quiet contemplation. The retreat will be held in partial silence. Click here to view a clip of a similar retreat conducted in Cape Town.

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    Nicholas Burnand lives in Belgium, where he is a certified Nonviolent communication trainer and trauma therapist. His journey has taken him to remote places, spending hundreds of days in retreats, ceremonies, and workshops around the world. He is focused on creating safe spaces which foster transformation and awakening. Along with Nonviolent Communication qigong (chi kung) and meditation, he has found the Dyad method to be a deeply transformative practice.Through it he has discovered that empathy and authentic self-expression are a path to freedom from suffering - as the Buddha did 25 centuries before him.

    Sarah Dekker leads courses and workshops in Nonviolent Communication, one-on-one coaching and retreats, and heads up  in South Africa and Belgium. She is passionate about integrating Nonviolent Communication with embodied spirituality and draws on the work of Robert Gonzales and Robert Krzisnik. Her workshops offer ways to cultivate daily practices for living life fully and authentically and to be deeply grounded in compassion for oneself and others. Her interest in individual and collective trauma healing has led her to explore Dyad meditation practice, Mondo Zen, gender reconciliation training, Biodynamic Breathwork  and Trauma Release Systems, constellation work and other modalities. She is known for creating safe spaces for self-exploration and healing. Her authentic presentation style is refreshing in a world of trends and hype and her calm and warm approach supports participants to slow down and be more at ease.

17 April 2020
  • Healing Qigong (Chi Kung) - For Health And Vitality: Embodying and radiating the chi

    Teacher: Dr Hu Jin-Yun
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R350 surcharge
    Dates: Friday 17 April 2020 - Sunday 19 April 2020

    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 qigong (chi kung) and incorporate it into their daily lives, effortlessly. These techniques are easy to learn, are useful and powerful. The healing power of qigong (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 qigong (chi kung) previously.

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    Dr Hu Jin-Yun is a certified Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor and Acupuncturist  both in South Africa and China. He received his Masters and PhD degrees in medicine from the Heilongjiang Chinese Medicine University in China. He has been practising Tai-Chi Quan and qigong (chi kung) in Taiwan since 1995. He currently lives in Somerset West, Cape Town, and runs his private TCM clinic, the Helderberg Acupuncture And Healing Centre, where he practises this ancient art form of Traditional Chinese healing. He is the current deputy chairman of the SAACMA (South African Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture) where he presents seminars regularly. He has been lecturing at the Juniata College in America since 2013.

19 April 2020
  • Dharma Circle - Mid-Week Meditation: How to remain calm and clear in everything we do and say: The practice of Sati

    Teacher: Louis van Loon and Rudene Gerber
    Cost: 2 days accommodation + R150 surcharge
    Dates: Sunday 19 April 2020 - Tuesday 21 April 2020

    louis van loon smlrudene gerberVisitors to the BRC often like to experience the practice of Mindfulness Meditation (Sati), which is the kernel of the entire spectrum of the teachings of the Buddha. Sati equips us with the capacity to deal calmly and effectively with the many challenging circumstances that inevitably come our way in life. As we all know - often to our cost - when the mind is unsettled and distraught, we tend to make decisions and say and do things we often regret, upon reflection. Sati, therefore, corrects this tendency for the mind to become overwhelmed by negative emotions and enables us to find a space of mental stillness and clarity. Meditation and qigong (chi kung) will be offered over this unstructured retreat, and a chance to simply be present from one moment to the next in a tranquil, natural environment.

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    Louis van Loon lectured in Buddhist philosophy at the Universities of Cape Town and Durban-Westville for 22 years.  He established the Buddhist Retreat Centre in 1980 and, along with his wife, Chrisi, directs its affairs. Both were involved in the compilation of the BRC’s popular recipe booksQuiet FoodThe Cake The Buddha AtePlentiful:The Big Book Of Buddha Food. His interest lies in the psychology of meditation and in the relationship between art, science, religion and philosophy. He is an architect and consulting civil and structural engineer and teaches Sumie, Japanese brush painting, and sketching.

    Rudene Gerber worked for 18 years as the Radiation Protection Officer of the University of Pretoria before ‘semi-retiring’ at age 40. She moved to Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape where she wrote two books and opened a small business. She volunteered at the National Sea Rescue Institute for 6 years and qualified as a deep-sea skipper and as a Ship Captain’s Medical Officer. She is a Level III First Aid instructor. She was invited to become the Chairperson of the local SPCA and managed this organisation for 4 years, qualifying as a SPCA Inspector. In 2012 she returned to Johannesburg where she studied and completed her BA and Honours Degree in Psychology specialising in Psychological Counselling. A resident member at the BRC and an avid student of Buddhism, she is registered for a Masters degree in Buddhist Philosophy and Meditation.

30 December 2020
  • Welcoming The New Year With Compassion And Joy: New Year at the BRC

    Teacher: Sue Cooper
    Cost: 4 days accommodation + R600 surcharge
    Dates: Wednesday 30 December 2020 - Sunday 03 January 2021

    sue cooper oct2019In this 4-day Open the Heart and Still the Mind silent retreat we will reflect with kindness and compassion on the year which is ending, creating a space of possibility for new beginnings and joyful discovery, as we welcome the new year with an open and generous heart and mind at the beautiful BRC. In a contained and nurturing atmosphere of contemplative (Noble) silence, we will transform the self-critical, judgmental inner voices which keep us stuck in the past, so that we can discover that each breath offers the possibility of a new beginning and greater freedom. As we enter the new year with compassionate simplicity, inspired by Buddhist wisdom teachings and embodied and calming meditation practices which open the heart, we will remember what really matters on this wondrous path of awakening. This retreat includes guided sitting and walking meditations, short individual sessions with Sue and daily sessions of qigong (chi kung) movement meditation to enhance the healing and integration of body, heart and mind. We will welcome the New Year with a ceremony which includes chanting and a lantern-lit perambulation around the Buddha rupa, and we will usher out the old year with an ancient Chinese temple gong. Please kindly be aware that as there is no teacher's fee for this retreat, your dana replaces the teacher's fee. CPD accreditation for psychologists and other HPCSA registered professionals: 24 General CEUs are applicable and R175 admin fee is requested to receive the CPD certificate. See: https://www.suecooper.co.za/event/retreat-cultivating-kindness-and-compassion/

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    Sue Cooper is a Cape Town-based Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, working in private practice 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 at Gaia House in the UK. She has been inspired by the teachings of Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition, and is deeply grateful to her primary teachers: the late Godwin Samararatne, Kittisaro and Thanissara, Ajahn Sucitto and Stephen and Martine Batchelor. 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 at Temenos, Mont Fleur, Blue Butterfly and Somerset Gift in the Western Cape; Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre and the Buddhist Retreat Centre in KwaZulu Natal; and Emoyeni Retreat Centre in the North West Province, 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 at Somersault Studio (Clarement), Reunion Yoga and Meditation (Constantia) and Pranahouse (Gardens).