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Bodywork practitioners
meditation retreats
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This three day meditation retreat is specifically designed  to assist bodywork therapists resource, glean subtler felt-sense insight and fine tune contact skills.

Extended meditation practice in this manner is indispensable for sensitively attuned therapists to help recalirate their bodymind, in addition to further developing  sufficient awareness (spirit)  for sensing the subtler embryologic patterns, and meridian-organ associations, a clients system is often wanting, but not knowing how, to share 

Rough overview of schedule

Friday                         

Pm             

 - 4pm Gathering on the land - tea and organic soup      

                         

- Temple gathering -

- Introductions; guide (andy), assistants, and retreat attendee's

- Retreat explanation  

- Fundamental meditation practice

- Short talk        

 

- 8pm rest (either home or camp)​

 

Saturday & Sunday        

Am             

 

** Sat & Sun mornings are designed to enable silent embodied introspection**                              

- 5am Arrive, or if camping - wake and freshen up etc   

               

- 5.30 Silent tea circle gathering - in temple 

       

-  Guided sitting presence meditation (zazen) - in temple 

                 

- Heart sutra chanting (optional to sit and join in, or, lay down and bathe in the sound) 

                                       

* No rites or rituals are required during this retreat  

                     

-  Raja restorative yoga practice - in temple

 

- Breakfast

 

- Guided insight meditation (expanding upon presence meditation) - in temple

 

- Individual zazen/insight meditation practice - in nature (shinrin-yoku). The use of a  provided meditation tent (zapod) is suggested for relative comfort - but not required

 

- One on one guidance with the teacher​

** Shinrin-yoku (Japanese for "forest bathing") is a very important part of meditation practice, but is best not ventured into abruptly. Meditating in nature has been encouraged by many sages and traditions through the ages. Nevertheless, as comfort and conveniences became more prioritised, artificial settings replaced the forests and fields. These constructed meditation zones (buildings set up to maximise isolation and limit sensory distractions) resulted in the mind needing to construct methods that mimicked the biodynamic rhythms of nature to help the body's physiology not lose relationship to the whole (natures rhythms).  If these techniques were not sufficient to synchronise with natures biorhythms then the mind would recruit other strategies to 'tread water' until the rhythms could be re-accessed. These strategies were, and are, survival based responses primed by the dorsal vagus nerves (originating from the brain stem) resulting in a state of somatic dissociation.  

So, to avoid such dissociation responses during meditation, it is extremely useful to progress the initial meditation practices into a natural environment, bugs and all! That said, it is recommended that a meditation pod is used to avoid having the elements and insects disturb your practice too much. 

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Saturday & Sunday Pm    

Afternoons are designed to encourage social engagement & embodied connection

  • 12.30pm - Lunch

  • 2pm Gentle engaged movement 

  • Guided biodynamic craniosacral practice (relational touch)

  • Discussion (Saturday - finish at 5.30pm)

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Saturday only

- 7pm Evening - talk on relevant theme

  • Saturday only - Q+A (finish at 9pm)

  • Sunday only - relational kindness (metta) meditation (finish at 4.30pm) 

 

Pm  (aft)   

 

- Sat & Sun afternoons are designed to encourage social engagement and embodied connection                    

 

- 12.30 Lunch                    

 

- 2pm Gentle (post lunch) engaged body movements

 

- Guided biodynamic craniosacral practice (relational touch)

 

- Discussion (Saturday - finish at 5.30pm)

 

- Relational kindness (metta) meditation (Sunday finish at 4.30pm)

 

Pm  (eve) (Saturday evening only)          

 

 - 7pm Meditation

- Talk on relevant theme

- Q+A          

 

- 9pm Rest (home or camp)​

General practicalities and provisions

Arrive: Friday 4pm 

Depart: Sunday 4pm

Accomodation: Camping area (camping spot provided in price), or, air bnb etc (if not local to the area)

Facilities: Temple; Kitchen; Toilets; Undercover gathering area; Swim hole; Quiet valley; Tranquil bush; Walking tracksProvided: Zabuton (large floor meditation cushion); Zafu (supportive small meditation cushion); Zapod (meditation tent); Zarp (square tarpaulin to protect from damp during outdoor sitting); Yoga mat & props; Treatment table (for hands on practice); Bolster; Head/face mosquito net (for outdoor meditation); Two simple vegetarian meals on Saturday & Sunday (breakfast & lunch)

 

What to bring: Sleeping bag; Tent (if camping); Blanket(s); Wide brimmed hat; Thin sheet and neck scarf; Hottie; Torch; Water bottle; Alarm clock (not phone); Fruits/snacks for end of day (fri/sat) if needed; Curiosity

 

Attire: Wear whatever you feel will be comfortable. Loose and temperature appropriate clothing tends to work best. Good to relinquish slogan based comments printed on the clothes to save others intellectualising/philosophising over what is written.

 

Meditation methodology

Initial relaxed yet attentive zazen meditation (one pointed attention; opening to equipresent perceptive fields and calm abiding stillness)

 

Progressing to raja yoga embodiment practice (restorative postures; embodying breathwork; trauma release exercise; elemental inner-sense)

 

Continuing meditation practice with gentle exposure to the awareness & equanimity of body sensations (Vipassana insight meditation; awareness of the arising and passing nature of thoughts/emotions/feelings and their associated body sensations)

 

Afternoons incorporate biodynamic relational touch:

As subtle felt-sense practitioners you may be aware, the contact used involves non-manipulative, sensitive, respectful touch of another's body. The sensitivity and equanimity of your contact will significantly increase following the mornings meditation and yoga practice. By the afternoon (of both days) your touch will be receptive, supple, nurturing and curious enough to attune and listen to uniquely expressive embryologic potency patterns (extraordinary meridians - qi jing ba mai) and, thereby, encourage the expression of health, especially the ANS, the viscera (zang fu) and their respective meridians (jingmai & luomai). This will involve novel hand holds and perceiving primal potency without pushing it.

 

This kind of touch is free from analysis, judgement or agenda.

It is very rare to be met by someones touch in this way and yet potentially profoundly transformative as far as the body's balance and health is concerned. The fact that this kind of touch is so rare is unfortunate as it is very often a precursor to helping the recipients body (and your own) resource and reintegrate.             

** Such relational contact could be considered the crescendo of meditation practice as it encourages the expression of health in both you and another person - i.e it is no longer just a self improvement pursuit.

**​

This style of meditation, therefore, incorporates and synchronises foundational settling and embodying practices (zazen), which evolve into insight practice (vipassana), which opens to nature synchronisation (shinrin yoko), which then enables the meditator to sense and help settle/reintegrate the body expressions of another when making physical contact (biodynamic craniosacral therapy) and later even when not making physical contact.  

In addition, this meditation approach incorporates yogic and contemporary scientific understanding / felt-sense innerstanding, of the body's settling, release and reorganising processes.

 

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Upcoming retreats

 

Bcst practitioners 3 day meditation retreat

 

Dates: May 26-28 

Friday arrive 4pm; Saturday all day; Sunday finish at 4pm

Location: Cooran, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Accommodation: Camping or bunkbed dormatory on site (2 nights); or - air bnb if outside sunshine coast area; or home if local

Fee: $360 for yoga and biodynamic craniosacral instruction/guidance; and food.

$40 for two nights camping space and facilities (if needed i.e not going home friday and saturday evening)

Meditation teaching is free (any donation in this regard is accepted at the end of the retreat)

Number of attendee's:  Numbers are limited to provide a sense of comfort and safety (anti-fragility)

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Guide (andy)

I (andy) started practicing meditation in 1990, whilst serving as a soldier in the British armed forces. This was during a time when I was working through the paradoxical nature of trying to witness and pacify my overly zealous machismo, whilst being immersed in an environment of both loyal camaraderie and heightened aggression.

As my familiarity of meditation practice developed it became obvious, during moments of recollection, that as a child I had entered into meditational states without knowing it at the time. I feel many people, especially those who feel drawn to practice meditation and subtler therapies, have had early experiences of accessing states of embodied meditation by merely being settled enough to notice the subtler expressions of the body and mind.

Of course this kind of recollection doesn't mean we should deify ourselves, or project halo's on the numerous others who have had similar experiences. Actually, far from it, it just means you, and those others, probably have an inclination to settle ones own mind sufficiently to naturally start meditating.

Often people don't realise this capacity until they have started some kind of formally directed meditation practice.

The kind of meditation I recommend is not the form of numb tranquillisation which occurs when there is an overwhelming aversion to circumstance, which a great many "meditators" develop as an escape strategy, albeit surreptitiously. Interestingly most people reacting with this tendency have absolutely no idea at the time it occurs (and very rarely upon reflection).

Such survival strategies stem from a desire to avoid the unfolding moment, which, inevitably, reduces the capacity for insight and being present. 

Whereas, the approach of meditation I am inspired by is a process of investigation, which encourages and facilitates an embodied 'inner'standing, which, subsequently, develops our felt-sense insight of body sensations arising and passing (the felt-sense of tendencies, impressions, machinations and experiential patterns (T.I.M.E) arising and passing).

Such insight provides an integrated and connected way of sensing oneself and others which, therefore, helps optimise our relationship to the phenomenal world.  

 

Having studied and practiced in the three main branches of Buddhism and two fundamental branches of Yoga (hatha and raja), it has become clear to me that relevant dedicated exposure to experiential meditation practice helps integrate these seemingly disparate branches. Moreover, I have found that a good understanding, and correlated felt-sense innerstanding, of functional anatomy and physiology (the two not being separate), is far more beneficial for meditational insight than any dividing philosophies, beliefs, dogmas or recalcitrant doctrines.

 

Finally, I acknowledge an often forgotten, or frequently avoided, aspect of meditation, namely the felt-sense insight gleaned by practicing the art of non-doing, sensitive and respectful touch with another individual.

It has become very clear to me that safe social engagement is not just about vocally sharing our thoughts and feelings with another, it also involves a specific kind of subtle proximity based interaction - including neutral (non-doing) touch (relational touch), which is actually the first sense we started orienting to the world with in the womb. 

This kind of touch I have found to be a game changer for understanding (innerstanding) meditation practice from a unique and vital angle:

Learning to contact another with presence, free from agenda, judgement or labelling, is often what long term meditation practitioners are missing (in a big way). It is common for such practitioners forget that they are mammals that physiologically thrive from receiving and providing embodied safe touch. Moreover, the insight gleaned by sensitively and respectfully acknowledging the physiologic expressions of another person, is one of promoting a genuine quality of relational kindness.

Such non-doing touch might sound simple, whereas it can be relatively difficult to understand (innerstand) and apply without the afore mentioned meditation practice. 

Yet, by immersing oneself into this format of meditation, the physiologic and psychologic benefits which emerge - for both parties - can be quite literally life changing.

I look forward to meeting you

Warmly

Andy

Enquiries (email link)

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