2018/19 Retreats

Cool Calmness  • A Vipassana Retreat • June 1-4 • The Hermitage • Denman Island, BC

The restless and distracted nature of the human mind has, without proper training and practice, little to no opportunity to abide in a tranquil state, a prerequisite to developing liberating insight. Along the Buddha’s path leading to the cessation of suffering one encounters various mental factors inherent within the mind, both wholesome and unwholesome. Under the rubric of the wholesome factors resides what is colloquially referred to as the seven factors of enlightenment, in Pāli, the bojjhangas.

The seven factors of enlightenment are causative factors that support the awakening of the mind. One of these seven factors is tranquility or passaddhi. The literal translation of passaddhi is cool calmness, a state of mind in which the heat of mental activity and agitation subsides in exchange for the cool, calm and reflective tendencies of consciousness necessary for the arising of knowledge. Over this retreat period we will apply the time tested vipassana methodology of the revered Burmese master, Mahasi Sayadaw.

Whit, a remarkable teacher particularly of the Burmese Mahasi Sayadaw tradition of meditation, will lead you in a light, clear, knowledgable manner, designed for Western practitioners of meditation. This silent retreat is suitable for both beginners and advanced practitioners.

For more info & registration please visit: https://thehermitage.ca/retreats


Awaken • A Vipassana Retreat • July 13-18 • The Hermitage • Denman Island, BC

The meditative path laid down by the Buddha over 2600 years ago is a contemplative journey into mind and body. Through direct-felt experience practitioners cultivate insight into ultimate reality, giving rise to an awakened state of consciousness free from the fetters of our past conditioning.  The name Buddha itself comes from the Pāli word ‘bodhi’ and its root ‘budh’, meaning to awaken, become aware. In this six-day retreat held in noble silence practitioners will apply the ancient practice of vipassana, awakening experientially to the true nature of the phenomena of mind and matter.

This silent retreat will adhere to the traditional and potent vipassana methodology of the revered Burmese master Mahasi Sayadaw, passed down to Whit over his many years of study and practice, including intensive monastic experience in Mahasi Sayadaw’s monastery in Rangoon, Burma. 

For more info & registration please visit: https://thehermitage.ca/retreats


Thinking, Thinking • A Vipassana Retreat • September 7-9 • The Hermitage • Denman Island, BC

A commonly held misperception about meditation is that meditation is about stopping our thoughts. Not only is this an unrealistic endeavour but as any practitioner will attest, a futile one as well.  As Jack Kornfield (a teacher and former student under the tutelage of Mahāsi Sayadaw) taught Whit on retreat many years ago: 

“Just as it is the nature of the salivary glads to secrete saliva, so too it is the nature of the mind to secrete thoughts.” 

Over the course of this three-day weekend retreat practitioners will receive instruction in the vipassana methodology of revered Burmese meditation master, Mahāsi Sayadaw, and as passed down to Whit by various teachers in the Mahāsi lineage. Although shorter in duration, this retreat is a wonderful and accessible opportunity for those new to silent practice as well as for those with experience, particularly in the Mahāsi method, to amplify their practice with a weekend intensive. 

For more info & registration please visit: https://thehermitage.ca/retreats


The Equanimous Heart • A Vipassana Retreat • October 19-26 • Re-Green EcoCulture Centre • Seliana, Greece

The mindful practice of insight meditation (vipassana) is considered to be the direct path laid down by the Buddha himself for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief and for the complete cessation of all forms and levels of physical and mental suffering (dukkha). 

Through patient endurance and ardent effort practitioners begin to find refuge within the ever increasing equanimity of the heart-mind, a spacious, unshakable vantage point from which to see into the ultimate reality of our psycho-physical embodiment. Through direct-felt experience insights arise, propelling the practitioner to a compassionate understanding of the laws that govern life and subsequent wisdom capable of freeing each of us from the self-generated suffering of mind. 

In this eight day silent retreat we will apply the systematic methodology of the revered Burmese meditation master, Mahasi Sayadaw. Mahasi’s accessible, yet potent, scientific approach to the study of consciousness gives rise to transformative insight into the true nature of the mental (nāma) and physical (rūpa) phenomena, that which forms the bedrock of our human experience.

For more info & registration please visit: http://re-green.gr/


Be Here Now •A Presence Retreat • November 9-12 • Bodega Ridge • Galiano Island, BC

In this four day non-silent, residential retreat we will apply and then expand the parameters of our mindfulness based practices upon the mat and cushion, embracing the reality that we live 'in the world', amongst other beings, jobs, technology, relationships and responsibilities. This retreat is dedicated to finding presence and wisdom in every day experiences, realizing the truth that our practice and our life are one and the same and that each and every moment provides us the opportunity to be mindful for the purpose of understanding and personal transformation.  

Dedicated to the art of living mindfully this retreat will include daily practices of vinyasa yoga, yin yoga, Buddhist mindfulness, yogic breathwork (pranayama) as well as hikes with Nicole, Whit and their dog Naaya, to their favourite beaches, forests and vistas of their home island.  We are incredibly excited that our dear friend, island neighbour and exceptionally gifted musician Craig Paterson (https://craigpaterson.bandcamp.com/) of Saltspring Island, BC will be accompanying the retreat with live music. Whit and Craig used to offer a live music class in Victoria, BC many years ago. This is a collaboration many years in the making and we could not be more inspired to have the wisdom of Craig's musical teachings a part of this retreat. 

The Soul Arch team is honoured to be receiving you on their island home and look forward to sharing with you the natural beauty and healing energy of the Gulf Islands. 

We invite you to join us for this incredible long weekend at the beautiful Bodega Ridge Resort (http://www.bodegaridge.com/) on Galiano Island, British Columbia.

For more info & registration please email us: awaken@soularchyoga.ca 


 Sol Sojourn •A Presence Retreat • January 13-19, 2019 • Hotelito Los Suenos •Sayulita, Mexico

There is no denying that the sun is an essential aspect of life on our planet and of critical importance to our embodied well-being. The sun has always been a driving force behind our own journey through this life, chasing warm water waves and sandy feet for as long as we can remember. We invite you to join us in Mexico this coming January for a week of yoga and meditation, set against the backdrop of palms, rich Latin American culture, beautiful beaches, vitamin sea and the inspiring power of the sun. 

Practices will include morning vinyasa, pranayama and meditation and late afternoon yin yoga and Buddhist mindfulness. 

This is a non-silent, residential retreat. 

For more information & registration please email us: awaken@soularchyoga.ca