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Refuge in the Nature of the Heart: a Mantra, Meditation, and Yoga Retreat in Nature

March 30 - April 02, 2023

Nina Rao

Claudia Welch

Keli Lalita Reddy

Genevieve Walker

Join Nina Rao, Claudia Welch, Keli Lalita Reddy, and Genevieve Walker for a healing and rejuvenating retreat where we will slow down, take time for ourselves and experience the benefits that mantra, meditation, music, and movement have to offer our body, mind, and soul. By caring for ourselves, we are fortified to care for and simply be with others in a good way.Devotional chantress and recording artist, Nina will share devotional stories of her guru Sri Siddhi Ma, share mantra japa recitation in Veda as well as chanting kirtan with musical accompaniment. Nina explores the complementary wisdom and devotional traditions of Tibet and India and weaving together mystical stories, meditations, mantra, singing chants. Along with gentle yoga led by Keli you will receive an immersive experience of the many pathways available to us as we explore the creative power that underlies our inner and outer nature. We are also honored that Prof Robert A.F. Thurman will join us for a chat/teaching sometime during this program.We will practice in the beautiful home of the Medicine Buddha, Menla, both indoors and outdoors on the sacred land of the nagas calling forth the celestial divine beings within us. Enveloped by the beauty of the Nature that surrounds us, we will walk along the river bed and amongst the trees, take easy/moderate walks to practice in the temple of the trees, and, weather permitting, a bonfire puja under the night skies. In between programs you’ll have an opportunity to experience the beauty and care of onsite Dewa Spa (book your treatments in advance if you can).Nina will share traditional chants from her ancestral home of India, guiding us to release into presence, where we find our inner sanctuary. Just knowing that this sanctuary exists can soften anxiety and clear a more open path as we walk through life. When you enter this practice of devotional chanting intentionally — day after day — the foundations of this sanctuary grow stronger such that your confidence in the practice develops with a clearer mind and an ever-opening heart to carry you through the day, one step at a time, moment-to-moment. We will practice mantras for wellness,  healing, compassion, clarity, courage, wisdom — a sense of well-being.Claudia will weave in stories of saints and pilgrims; ancient wisdom on the heart and of the forest; wisdom from Ayurveda and other Indian knowledge traditions, and visualizations that envelop us in the gossamer tapestry of these divine threads.According to Ayurveda and tantra, our hearts sprout channels of life that link the five archetypal elements--earth, water, fire, air and space-- to each of our five senses which, in turn, nourish our daily thoughts and experiences. Claudia will lead us in visualizations that serve to harmonize us with the five elements. This can serve to refine our senses, free our hearts, calm our spirits, and connect us with that from which we were formed, in which we live and to which we will return.Whatever your spiritual path or meditation experience, you will benefit from finding and resting in the inner sanctuary of your heart, a place we arrive at naturally through releasing into a place of open, grounded presence. Menla is sacred land and being there for the early unfolding of spring is truly a magical experience. All are welcome, no prior experience is required.In this four-day retreat, you will have the opportunity to benefit from the following:
  • Guided visualization and meditation
  • Practice meditation inside and out in nature on the sacred land of Menla
  • Veda mantras in the form of repetition/japa
  • Enjoy live kirtan with Nina, Keli, and Genevieve
  • Sacred stories of deities, saints, rituals associated with the practices
  • While in restorative yoga poses, be serenaded in a sound bath.
  • Learn gentle and accessible therapeutic exercises and movements to bring more comfort and ease to your meditation and your life
  • Opportunities to share and discuss

Schedule
Thursday, March 30
  • 3 -6 pm  Arrival and Check-in
  • 6 - 7 pm  Dinner
  • 7:30 - 9 pm  Welcome, Meet and Greet amongst Participants and Leaders, Kirtan.
Friday, March 31
  • 7 - 8 am  Meditation or Mantra Practice with Nina
  • 8 - 9 am  Breakfast
  • 10 - 12 pm  Yoga with Keli
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm  Lunch
  • 2 - 4 pm  Meditation, Stories, Instruction, Chant/Prayers Practice, Teachings with Claudia & Nina
  • 6 - 7 pm  Dinner
  • 7:30 - 9 pm  Kirtan with Nina
Saturday, April 1
  • 7 - 8 am  Meditation or Mantra Practice with Nina
  • 8 - 9 am  Breakfast
  • 10 - 12 pm  Yoga with Keli
  • 12:30 - 1:30  Lunch
  • 2 - 4 pm  Walk in Nature and Sitting Meditation with Nina & Claudia
  • 6 - 7 pm  Dinner
  • 7:30 - 9 pm  Kirtan with Nina and Restful Sound Bath
Sunday, April 2
  • 7 - 11 am Check-out of Rooms
  • 7 - 8 am  Yoga with Keli
  • 8 - 9 am  Breakfast
  • 10 - 12 pm  Closing Program with Nina and Claudia: Talks, Sharing, Chanting
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch & Departure
*Please note that the schedule is subject to change at any time.

ABOUT THE TEACHERs

Nina Rao

Nina Rao learned traditional chants from her grandfather in a village in south India when she was nine years old. The chants quietly stayed with her until she rediscovered chanting with Krishna Das in New York in 1996. For many years Nina has been Krishna Das business manager and...

Claudia Welch

Dr. Claudia Welch is the author of Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness Through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Western Science and The Four Qualities of Effective Physicians: Practical Ayurvedic Wisdom for Modern Physicians. She is a Doc...

Keli Lalita Reddy

Keli Lalita was first introduced to yoga at age seven by her mother, who studied with the disciples of Sri Rama Krishna in the foothills of the Catskill mountains.  Her formal training to teach came from the Atmananda School of Yoga in NYC and continued with Shiva Rea. She has ...

Genevieve Walker

Violinist and composer Genevieve Walker grew up in a musical household. The sound of a violin tuning was the sound of home. She lived in the classical music world for many years and then as a young adult her interests took her traveling the world. She was influenced by different ...

UPCOMING EVENTS

MENLA

375 Pantherkill Road, P.O. Box 70 Phoenicia, NY 12464
frontdesk@menla.org