Seated atop the world’s most ancient meteor impact crater, this hidden valley is a pristine eco-system, an oasis of remarkable spiritual energy residing on land long held sacred to local Native Americans for its extraordinary energy. For centuries before us, and still today, Menla’s stunning land offers a perfect place for sacred ceremonies, spiritual growth, deep healing, contemplation, and prayer – a sacred site where seekers young and old come to bridge the worlds of humanity, nature, and the divine. The local Native American peoples, including the Esopus and Mahicans, regarded this valley and region, with its enormous first-growth hemlock trees, as especially sacred, a place of the spirits. They never settled here and only used the valley for ceremonial purposes.
Menla is the source of the Pantherkill Stream, with numerous springs feeding it throughout our property. The main spring has long been held as an especially sacred spring, though we are not certain exactly why. What is clear is that Panther Mountain, which looks down upon the Menla valley, is a special mountain, with its circular reverse-crater shape, surrounded on all sides by flowing streams – a vortex of ley lines spanning a much larger geographic pattern characterized by natives as a Great Serpent formation.
Interestingly, when the Dalai Lama was here, he recognized the presence of a large Naga residing on our land. Nagas are considered by Himalayan peoples and those in nearby regions as being very real, rather than just mythic creatures. They are dragon-like, shape-shifting, usually invisible creatures who live in mountains, under oceans, or in other watery netherworlds. Nagas are revered for their mighty power as keepers of profound wisdom (they are said to have bestowed the entire body of Mahayana Sutras on the human realm), but also feared, lest they become angered by human misbehavior and inflict water-related natural disasters.
His Holiness said our local Naga is very large and rather peaceful in nature. Her head is somewhere near our pond, and her massive body extends back along the stream up to its rocky sources. The Dalai Lama urged us to make offerings to our Naga and feed it with mantras and prayers for protection and enlightenment, which we invite any guests who feel a connection with this account to help us with. His Holiness asked us to build a small offering shrine for the Naga, which is located in front of the Ahimsa Yoga Studio. Throughout the years, numerous shamans, mystics, and even ordinary people have had visions and dreams of the Naga while here, many of whom had not even previously heard this story before they had their own experience. We leave it up to you to decide for yourself whether you give credence to the existence of Nagas, but you might hear one of our faculty or staff fondly speaking about it, and we do conduct occasional fire-ceremonies with offerings and mantras to appease her and encourage her to support our Dharma activities.
“You know that thing when you think you soul might be finally crushed for good and the nameless, wordless, friendless dread of the city has sucked you dry? Well, this place has the cure. You can help with the grounds and garden, you can yoga and meditate, you can get the best massage in 48 states, you can eat the most delicious vegetarian cuisine, and my favorite, walk the trails and paths through bubbling brooks and over rushing waterfalls and regain your spirit and feel the beat of your heart in time to nature.”
“I loved every minute at Menla. It was as if heaven was delivered to me on earth–the people, the food, the services at the spa, even my walks to the meeting room were infused with magic. I was greeted with so much warmth and caring with every interaction.”
“The property is amazing. The creek running through it is one of the most amazing places to sit and listen that I have ever been to. I work in the forest industry and am constantly exposed to the wonders of the natural world, and I feel like this is one of the most profound natural spaces I have been to in my life.”