• Heal Your Mind & Body at Dewa Spa

  • Study with World-Class Teachers

  • Practice in One of Our Unique Venues

  • Expand Your Awareness with Meditation

  • Go Hiking in the Catskill Mountains

  • Enjoy Delicious Nourishing Farm-to-Table Cuisine

  • Menla is a Project of Tibet House US,

    the Dalai Lama’s Cultural Center in NYC

  • Deluxe Queen – $1,040.00
  • Deluxe Double (Shared Room) – $898.00
  • Camping – $514.00
  • Commuter – $488.00
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Embodying Buddhism: Somatic Mindfulness

With Aaron 'Water' Piepszny and Michael G. Burbank

August 11 - 13, 2023

Examining and practicing Buddha’s Foundations of Mindfulness, we will find connection and ease within the pristine natural environment of Menla. Exploring the Buddha’s words and teachings from the original source text, the Mahasatipatthana Sutra, we will find our own unique pathway of presence, relaxing in our bodies and with our breath. In the serene setting of the Catskills, we will connect our feeling bodies to the trees, earth, and streams, finding the wisdom and power of these elements illuminating our true nature. Rather than marathon meditation sessions, we will favor short bursts of depth explorations of breathing, relaxation, and awareness. We will then shorten these explorations with the goal of being able to access in body ease with no preparation or planning, just choice, in any moment of our lives. 

Menla’s Executive Director Michael Burbank will share an introduction to mindfulness practice as found in the original sutra Friday evening. Presencing with nature, grounded in Buddha’s Foundations of Mindfulness, we will commune with the powerful energies of the mountains, forest, and streams to explore our whole being. This immersive Gaian experience will foster rejuvenation, inspiration, and ease throughout our time together. We will refine our sensitivity through Chi Gung, awareness of breath, meditative walks, and sitting with the vital, living landscape of the Catskills.


Friday, August 11

  • 3 – 6 pm Arrival & Check-in
  • 6 – 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 – 9 pm Intro to the Mahasatipatthana Sutra with Michael Burbank

Saturday, August 12

  • 7 – 8 am Beginning: Contemplating The Body
  • 8 – 9 am eating in the present moment/ breakfast
  • 9 – 10 am Beginning: Contemplating The Breath
  • 10 – 11 am Beginning: Continuing With ‘Relaxation’ Aspect
  • 11 am- 12 pm Outdoor Walking Meditation: Sitting At The Roots of Trees
  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm Lunch
  • 2 – 2:15 pm Journaling
  • 2:15 – 3 pm Chi Gung
  • 3 – 4 pm Water Contemplation
  • 4 – 5 pm Ecology Walk
  • 6 – 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 – 9:30 pm Bonfire or Evening for Relaxtion

Sunday, August 13

  • 7 – 11 am Check-out of Rooms
  • 7 – 8 am Chi Gung
  • 8 – 9 am Breakfast: Eating in Mindfulness
  • 9:30 – 10 am Walking Meditation
  • 10 am – 12 pm Sitting With The Elements: Journaling & Reflections
  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm Lunch & Departure

*Please note that schedule is subject to change. 


Aaron ‘Water’ Piepszny
Aaron Piepszny teaches Chi Gung, Buddhism, and somatic embodiment studies online as well as at Menla Mountain retreat where he is the head of horticulture. He received his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2016 at the Paititi institute in Peru.  Aaron has studied, supported, and enacted a wide variety of integrative food production methods with locals and First Nations in Spain, California, NY state, Peru, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Germany, and Poland.  He received his BA in Cultural Anthropology from SUNY Buffalo. He started his farming career in 2001. Aaron has been a professional dancer for over 15 years. A naturalist, farmer,…
Learn more about Aaron ‘Water’ Piepszny
Michael G. Burbank
Michael G. Burbank has been a student of Robert Thurman and HH the XIV Dalai Lama for over 25 years, since his undergraduate years studying Eastern religions and cultures at Columbia University in the 90s. In February of 2002, he was invited to help the Thurmans and Tibet House start the newly acquired Menla retreat. Over the years, he worked variously as Menla’s dishwasher, housekeeper, maintenance assistant, Front of House Manager, and Assistant Director, and since 2013 he has served as Menla’s Director. Michael received the Kalachakra Tantra initiation from His Holiness the Dalai Lama twice–in 2003 and 2017–in Bodh…
Learn more about Michael G. Burbank


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375 Pantherkill Road, P.O. Box 70 Phoenicia, NY 12464