Buddha & the Yogis: Divine Feminine Retreat

August 17 - August 24, 2018

The Buddha and the Yogis: The Divine Feminine retreat brings together three contemporary Buddhist and yogic masters to serve as guides for participants to actively explore, intellectually and experientially, some of the profound texts and practices from the yogic technologies associated with Tantric Mahayana Buddhism and Vedantic Hinduism, in the pristine hidden mountain valley of Menla, land of the Medicine Buddha.This year’s retreat explores the interface of Buddhism and yoga with the unique perspective we glean by looking through the eyes of the divine feminine. In both Buddhism and Vedantic yoga traditions, the feminine voice—expressed through numerous goddesses—has a strong presence that provides balance and insight into internal yoga involving the central channel and the transmutation of deep emotions.In this course we will explore traditional myths, texts, and practices—such as the Devi Mahatyam on the Yogi/nis’ side of things, and some of the Tara and Vajrayogini literatures as well as Unexcelled Yoga Tantra on the Buddha’s side—that represent the perspective of the feminine, giving voice powerfully to the feminine principal itself. We will look at the fantastical stories and unravel their insights as they shed light on traditional philosophical views as well as on contemporary circumstances and culture. We will practice yoga asana in the Ashtanga yoga tradition daily as well as explore sitting practice, chanting, and pranayama as foundations for embodying the practice more fully in our lives. Each day will include lively explorations and discussions of the merging and differences between Buddhist and yogic teachings and practices, with all classes following the traditional structure for teaching in the Indo-Tibetan traditions:  listening, contemplating, and meditating/practicing, the last of which is the process by which all concepts come to be integrated into personal experience. All lecture-based classes include opportunities for Q&A and dialogue with students, guided meditations, and illuminating investigation of esoteric texts.  Join us for this totally unique, personally transformative, and very inspiring eventall levels welcome!
ScheduleFriday, August 17th
  • 3 - 8pm Check-In
  • 4:15pm Early Arrival Asanas
  • 6 - 7pm Dinner
  • 7:30pm Welcome & Opening Discussion (All Faculty)
Saturday, August 18th – Thursday, August 23rd
  • 5:00 - 7:00am Mysore-style Open Yoga Practice
  • 6:30 - 7:15am Beginner Yoga (Taylor)
  • 7:15 - 9:15am Internal Form Yoga (Freeman)
  • 9:30 - 10:30am Breakfast
  • 10:45am - 12:00pm Chanting, Pranayama, Meditation (Freeman)
  • 12:00 - 4:00pm Free time (Spa, pool, hiking trails)
  • 1:00 - 2:00pm Lunch
  • 4:00 - 5:45pm Afternoon Class (Thurman)
  • 6:00 - 7:15pm Dinner
  • 7:30 - 9:00pm Evening Discussion (Freeman & Thurman)
Friday, August 24th
  • 5:00 - 7:00am Mysore-style Open Yoga Practice
  • 6:30 - 7:15am Beginner Yoga (Taylor)
  • 7:15 - 9:00am Internal Form Yoga (Freeman)
  • 9:15 - 10:15am Breakfast
  • 10:30am - 12:30pm Closing Discussion (All Faculty)
  • 12:30 - 1:30pm Lunch & Check-Out
* Schedule is subject to change at anytime


Richard Freeman

A student of yoga since 1968 and is one of America's foremost teachers of yoga. He has studied various traditions in Asia which he incorporates into the Ashtanga yoga practice as taught by his principal teacher, K. Pattabhi Jois. Richard is an avid student of both Western and Eas...

Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor began studying yoga in 1971 while earning a degree in psychology. In 1988, Mary traveled to India to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and began to see the overlay of yoga with her interests in food, cooking, movement, anatomy and art. Mary has authored three cookbooks ...

Robert A.F. Thurman

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as co-founder and President of Tibet House US and it's Menla Retreat & Spa in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet. A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is...


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