Returning To Our True Nature ~ with Brian Dean Williams & Melissa Berry Appleton
A Meditation & Yoga Retreat
Ahki Retreat Center, Nosara, Costa Rica
with Melissa Berry Appleton and Brian Dean Williams
Living in the modern world, in the busyness of our lives, it's easy to forget our intimate connection with nature. We also forget, from a Buddhist perspective how, being aware and at ease is also our true nature. We invite you to return to both.
In this retreat, we will be explore both Yoga and Buddhist meditative techniques to uncover our relationship with our inner and outer landscapes in a beautiful setting, with access to jungle and beach. Our days together as a community will consist of periods of yoga and movement practices, silent seated meditation, mindful walks in the jungle, therapeutic dialogue, writing practice, and long afternoons of free time.
This retreat will be drug and alcohol-free, and is intended to be inclusive of diverse genders, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, and belief systems.
AHKí RETREAT is a tranquil and enchanting facility nestled in 5.5 mountain acres, located near the Pacific coast, in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica and has been named one of five ‘Blue Zones’—where people are said to be healthiest and happiest. Imbued with lush green mountainsides, blue ocean waters and plentiful sunshine. As remote as AHKí feels, it is only minutes away from beaches, kayaking, horseback riding, surfing, zip-lining, nature hikes, shopping, restaurants and more.
AHKí is a truly sacred space - built specifically according to the ancient science of Vastu Shastra, “the yoga of space”, invoking peace, wellness and harmony - with the environment as well as within one’s self. All the structures are built oriented in conjunction with the 9 directions, 5 elements, the earth’s vibrational grid, and the planetary energies. Nestled amongst the trees along a mountain ridge, are two beautiful and spacious cabinas with a total of 6 large guest rooms. The heads of all the beds are positioned to the south or east, a Vastu principle that helps to induce a restful night’s sleep. All rooms are decorated with handcrafted Costa Rican hardwood furniture made by local artisans. Rooms have large ceiling fans, large windows and doors, and plenty of overhead ventilation for optimal airflow. Each room has a private bath with a large unique, indoor/outdoor hot water shower, and patio decks that command stellar views of the mountains and valleys. Triple, double, and single occupancy are available.
7AM Morning Hike.
9AM-12 Yoga & Meditation
5 PM Optional Meditation
1-6PM Free time for excursions, beach, hiking, solitude, etc.
7:30-8:30PM Dharma Talk & Discussion
Things to Bring
All payments are final; there are no refunds available. You may find another participant to take your place in the retreat or if there is a wait list and your spot can be filled, then reimbursement may be possible.
"This was an amazing experience. I cannot speak highly enough about this retreat that Melissa and Bill created. The setting is breathtaking (Ahki Retreat Centre), the effort and care taken with each and every delicious and nourishing meal was inspiring and the teachings offered resulted in a week in paradise that I will never forget. Melissa and Bill exceeded my expectations on every level. The days were laid out in a way that afforded participants a balanced experience of rest, challenge, quiet and connection with others. The meditation and yoga practices introduced me to many new concepts and deepened my practice. I have come away from this experience rejuvenated, re-aligned and excited to take this experience into 2018 and beyond. Thank you so much for the preparation and energy you both put into this retreat. I have been blessed by it." Gratefully,
Terry-Lynn Hammering, BC
'As a yoga teacher who has been teaching for 20+ years, I attended the Pause Yoga & Meditation Retreat with a beginner's mind. It felt relaxing to be a student and not only did I learn new movements but I was able to take my practice to a deeper level with the meditations and thought provoking topics. Melissa and Bill are fabulous leaders and we're a nice balance of masculine & feminine energies. They really excelled in teaching to a group of students with varying abilities and experience! A bow of gratitude for a memorable experience. ? Namaste,
'I could not have stumbled upon a more perfect retreat experience. AHKI centre is a stunning retreat nestled in the middle of the forest with delicious healthy food and beautiful rooms. The balanced combination of meditation, Dharma talks and Yoga led by our incredibly knowledgeable teachers was perfect, and left me feeling completely fulfilled and energized to move forward in my life. It was the exact reset button that I needed.'
Robin Duncan, San Diego, California.
Melissa & Brian met through their good friend Michael Stone. The first time they met, they all shared a great meal together in Vancouver at Nuba Cafe. At the next meeting they stepped onto the hiking trails of the Okanagan BC and began a path of Dharma friendship. Brian and Melissa have led Dharma Inspired Wilderness Expeditions for Teens, Mindfulness Meditation for Clinicians, Educators and Front-Line Workers, and Reconnection - Recovery Retreats. They take family vacations together, are children of the 70's, and deeply love the wilderness, dharma and community life.
Melissa Berry Appleton
The Practice of Yoga and Meditation provide an opportunity to slow down, notice that time is precious, expression of love matters, and experience how all of life is truly interwoven. Through movement and stillness, we work beyond language to shift our own habits and support the outer world in endless ways. Melissa's classes invite people to explore inner landscapes of the body, outer landscapes of the world, compassion, creativity, wise alignment, and breath. Both yoga and meditation practices are strong, gentle, and accessible in the same way we might want our lives to be ~
Currently, Melissa is in Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at Upaya Zen Centre, New Mexico under the study of Roshi Joan Halifax. Her current work explores a woman's aspect in family life, 21st-century feminist perspective, cultural anxiety, addiction, consumption of information technology, time, and the greater impact on the future of our world. How does self-care and spiritual formation serve as a collective 'we care' ultimately unfolding our greatest aspirations for parenting, partnership, human flourishing, community engagement, meaningful work, and influence on generations moving forward ~
Melissa teaches yoga at Moksha Yoga, leads workshops, retreats, and is Executive Director of ENSO society (registered charity) in collaboration with amazing Buddhist Practitioners, Clinical Counsellors, Movement Specialist, and Wilderness Guides. Her current passionate work projects include ~
Brian Dean Williams
With a background in social activism, cultural anthropology, and community organizing, I bring with me a commitment to social justice, and collaborative, non-judgmental, ethical, and compassionate treatment.
I have worked in numerous programs – including a peer-based centre for youth experiencing homelessness, a therapeutic day treatment program for criminally involved youth, and a low-barrier treatment centre for adults.
After graduating with presidential honours from City University of Seattle’s masters in counselling psychology program, I trained in Los Angeles as a meditation facilitator, and co-created a weekly meditation group for service providers in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. I worked as a counsellor on an Assertive Community Treatment team, assisting individuals to exit homelessness and recover from mental health and substance use struggles. I have presented at numerous conferences and workshops about our team and the weekly support group that I co-facilitated. I am a registered member in good standing with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I am a national trainer for the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.
I live with my family in East Van, and when I’m not working I enjoy gardening, cycling, and making music with friends.
Infused with simple elegance and just a short walk down from the main house, our six sizable, guest rooms can accommodate up to 3 people per room. All rooms have ceiling fans, large windows and doors, as well as plenty of overhead ventilation for optimal airflow. All rooms have private baths with large unique and luxurious indoor/outdoor showers, and patios and decks that command stellar views of the mountains and valleys. ALL GROUP ACCOMMODATIONS INCLUDE:
Infused with simple elegance and just a short walk down from the main house, our six sizable, guest rooms can accommodate up to 2 people per room. All rooms have ceiling fans, large windows and doors, as well as plenty of overhead ventilation for optimal airflow. All rooms have private baths with large unique and luxurious indoor/outdoor showers, and patios and decks that command stellar views of the mountains and valleys. ALL GROUP ACCOMMODATIONS INCLUDE: