The vast majority of yoga instruction today focuses on the physical practice of yoga asana while providing little if any philosophical or spiritual context for that practice. At the same time, books and workshops on yoga philosophy are often quite abstract and academic, and don’t usually have much if anything to say about the applied yoga practices of asana, pranayama, and meditation.
The intent of this retreat is to bridge that gap between yoga philosophy and modern day yoga practice. In this retreat, we will integrate asana, pranayama, meditation, and philosophy in the context of karma yoga, in order to expand the benefits of your daily physical yoga practices by understanding the spiritual reasons for them.
The morning asana and pranayama practices will be lead by Gernot Huber. The afternoon meditation and philosophy sessions will be lead by Geoffrey Blaisdell, focusing on a non-dual (advaita) reading of the treatment of karma yoga in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Vyasa’s Bhagavad Gita. In both morning and afternoon sessions, the emphasis will be on how to infuse your daily yoga practices with presence, clarity, and intention, and on how this infusion can turn your practice into the spiritual practice of karma yoga.
Gernot Huber has been studying yoga since 1998, and has been teaching yoga full-time since 2009, teaching yoga retreats and workshops worldwide, as well as yoga teacher trainings in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Gernot has developed an integrated approach to yoga that incorporates insights from many schools of yoga, from yogic and Buddhist philosophy, and from anatomy, physiology, and neuroscience. He skillfully integrates down-to-earth discussions of breath, alignment, anatomy, and awareness to convey the key concepts of yogic philosophy with clarity and humor to practitioners of all levels. Gernot helps his students maximize the benefits of their practice by emphasizing the mental dimensions of yoga as well as the physical, and the intricate connections between both.
Geoffrey Blaisdell began his studies of both hatha yoga and advaita vedanta in Bali in 1992. He studied Sanskrit for two years in the USA, Bali and India. He has studied Krsna Yajur vedic chanting with pandits in Bali and India. While living in Bali, he became a regular guest lecturer on Vedic philosophy, Advaita Vedanta and introductory Sanskrit with the School of Sacred Arts (2010-14); a bi-annual yoga teacher training held in the environs of Ubud. He currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand with his make-believe cat Rudolph.
“After teaching yoga for close to 15 years — and having had the privilege of studying with scores of master teachers — this week…with Gernot was by far the single most potent, information-packed, and insight-rich workshop experience to give me what I’ve needed as a teacher. While I savor my own practice, I am always looking for fresh, simple ways to convey the essence of yoga to my students – and this week with Gernot was pure gold on that front.”
—Anne Jablonski, yoga teacher, Arlington, VA
“Geoffrey is a highly intelligent communicator, with a great command of the language, the subject matter, and the art of presentation, skillfully engaging students and inspiring them to learn by bringing a sense of joy and playfulness into the process.”
—Troy McFadden; Co-Founder, School of Sacred Arts (a Yoga Alliance registered yoga school)
Karma yoga encompasses all actions performed by the body-mind complex. These actions include thinking, speaking, and all physical actions performed by the body. In fact, any function performed by the body-mind complex can fall under the jurisdiction of karma yoga. But just because one performs an action does not mean it will take the form of karma yoga. To make it so, one must infuse the action with presence, clarity and intention. Then, and only then, does an action become a spiritual practice (sadhana).
Both Vyasa’s Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras devote much of their teachings to the importance of karma yoga and to the fruits of said practice. In truth, the Yoga Sutras deal with nothing but karma yoga. Yet, to many lay people and yoga practitioners alike, the role of karma yoga is greatly misunderstood.
This course will deal with karma yoga as a spiritual practice in the context of vedic philosophy; specifically, the teachings given to Arjuna by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. We will explore values and why they are important for a spiritual seeker. We will learn about japa meditation and how it can help to ‘relax’ the mind. And we will discuss and put into practice pranayama; seeing why it can be such a powerful tool for mental conditioning.
Choose this option if you want to have your own private cottage. If you are bringing a partner/friend who is not participating in the yoga sessions, your friend will stay for free, but will be charged 300THB per group dinner.
We begin each morning with a 90 minute yoga asana and pranayama practice guided by Gernot Huber, and based on a specific theme related to the previous afternoon's philosophy discussion. Following a short tea break, we take 60 minutes to engage in slower and more interactive, workshop-style explorations of aspects of the day's theme with an emphasis on how to incorporate your understanding of non-dual yoga philosophy into your daily practices.