Returning To Our True Nature ~
with Brian Dean Williams & Melissa Berry Appleton
A Meditation & Yoga Retreat
Ahki Retreat Center, Nosara, Costa Rica
Melissa & Brian have been leading retreats together for five years and are excited to return to Ahki Retreat for their second season. Their collaborative process is a great source of joy, supporting the hearts of teachers and students alike. This is Melissa's fourth year leading retreat at Ahki. Each year retreat is fresh and new, mostly because of you!
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.
Melissa and Brian are dedicated to continuously work towards inclusivity. We take care to build safety in the best way possible. This retreat welcomes race, religious and gender diversity. Please reach out to discuss if you have questions.
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.
How the day might unfold ~
What you will receive
This retreat will allow you to unplug from your stresses and responsibilities, from electronics and newsfeeds, and remember what is really important to you. You will get the time you need for introspection so that you can reset and come home to yourself. You’ll go deeper into your yoga and mindfulness practice and learn to create new habits. You will be awe-inspired by experiencing one of the most beautiful places on earth. You’ll also be part of an open and inclusive community of fellow wellness friends.
Things to Bring
AHKí serves fresh (organic, when available) vegan/vegetarian, gluten/dairy-free meals made from scratch. All meals are served in a lovely open air dining room, with a grand vista of the gardens, pool and mountains and sea.Yogurt, milk, butter and locally baked breads are available for those not avoiding gluten or dairy. Meals are carefully planned to be climate appropriate and you will never feel weighed down from food that’s too heavy, but you will leave the table satiated.Three vegetarian meals are included each day (except Thursday dinner). Coffee/tea and fruit are always available. Vegan-friendly and gluten-free options are plentiful. Additional special dietary needs can be accommodated upon advance request. Chicken or fish may also be added to up to three meals at an additional cost.
Travel & Arrival
Days in Costa Rica are warm/hot and evenings are a little cooler, giving you reprieve from the heat, which helps since there is no air conditioning. The retreat happens during the dry season, so it’s highly unlikely that it’ll rain. Since we’ll be staying at a retreat center with indoor/outdoor elements, expect to be somewhat exposed to nature (including winds, cute geckos, and jungle bugs), as well as the sounds of monkeys and tropical birds when the jungle wakes up.
Costs associated with passports (required), airfare, flight changes, airline baggage fees for any and all baggage, medical or travel insurance, vaccinations, gratuities and taxes for personal services, specialty beverages or alcohol, spa services, tours/excursions including a beach night dinner and the $29 country departure fee must be met by the participant.All retreat payments are final, refunds are not available due to the planning and logistics involved.
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. Travel insurance is highly recommended in case of illness or injury before you depart.
"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 Melissa's sessions 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 ~
Melissa is ordained as a Buddhist Chaplain and is a student of Roshi Joan Halifax, Upaya Zen Centre, New Mexico. Her current work explores a person's aspect in family life, 21st-century feminist, and multi-gender 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 at MODO Yoga, leads workshops, retreats, and loves the art of collaboration with amazing Buddhist Practitioners, Clinical Counsellors, Movement Specialist, and Wilderness Guides. She is skilled at weaving Buddhist Dharma, stories, Somatic Movement, and attention to alignment while facilitating safe spaces for inquiry on how we inhabit a body, ethical engagement and social action. She is in the first years of Chaplaincy service, working with her fellow sisters in addiction recovery, individual spiritual formation and officiating weddings.
Melissa is married to her lover, has three teens, a black lab and lives in a cedar house by the creek in Kelowna where the chores are never complete.
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. www.briandeanwilliams.com
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:
USDollars 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: