Why is cultivating serenity such a challenge? Evolutionary pressures have shaped our bodies and minds over millions of years to favor survival rather than happiness, but recent investigations in neuroscience confirm that we have an innate predisposition toward serenity. This retreat is designed to teach you how to nurture serenity even under difficult circumstances through mindfulness, awareness, and specific stress-disrupting techniques.

Join me for a 5-day exploration of the qualities of serenity and the movement and thought patterns that foster it. The intention of this retreat is eminently practical: to shape your yoga practice to be as beneficial as possible, using a scientific understanding of body and mind alongside Buddhist and yogic philosophy where it aids our understanding. With clarity, sensitivity, and humor, I seamlessly integrate asana, philosophy, and physiology in my teachings to expand your knowledge of each as well as the interconnections between all three. As a result, you will come to a more profound and accurate understanding of your true nature, characterized by a greater capacity for serenity.

My emphasis on how you practice—rather than what you practice—makes my methods accessible to anyone, regardless of physical condition. However, the emphasis on the mental dimension means that the practices are plenty challenging, especially for people who have previously emphasized a rigorously athletic practice, because doing yoga this way entails adding a whole new dimension to your pracatice. I use creative, fun, and innovative techniques to help my students incorporate my serenity-supporting adjustments — like using real-time iPad photos and videos in class to reveal detrimental movement patterns and to help you make dramatic changes on the spot. If you are convinced that you are not tensing your neck, for example, you cannot begin to relax it, and seeing your neck tension in a photo convinces you like nothing else!

Each day I will lead an asana practice from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, and meditation, pranayama, and dharma talks from 4 to 6 pm, leaving plenty of time to explore the local temples, caves, hot springs, bathing spots, and hiking trails, or simply to relax and make friends with like-minded yogis in the midst of stunning mountain scenery.

Location: Amaravati Ashram, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

Amaravati Ashram is an ayurvedic retreat center nestled in the hills 30 minutes north of Chiang Mai. Built according to the principles of vastu (Indian feng shui), the center exudes an atmosphere that naturally fosters mindfulness. 3 delicious, vegetarian meals are served buffet-style each day. The center features gorgeous mountain views, a large terrace for lounging, and a beautiful pool. You can choose from single or double standard or deluxe rooms.

Getting to Amaravati Ashram

If you are driving, click here for a map and directions.

If you need transportation between Chiang Mai and Amaravati Ashram, please indicate that when you register, or notify me via email no later than Friday, January 12, 2017. A minivan will leave from Central Kad Suan Keaw at 1:30 pm on Tuesday January 16, and will return to Central Kad Suan Keaw Sunday January 21 around 3:30 pm.

Pricing Details

All prices include accommodation for 5 nights, 15 hours of asana practice, and 8 hours of philosophy, meditation, and pranayama practice. Cost of food and beverages is also included.

Early Bird Registration (before December 1, 2017)

Regular Registration (Deecember 1, 2017 to January 2, 2018)

Late Registration (after January 2)

If any of the reserved rooms have not been booked by January 2, I will cancel the unfilled room reservations. So if you want to join after January 2 (assuming there is still space in the retreat), I will have to check first to make sure that a room is still available. To avoid disappointment, I would STRONGLY encourage you to register earlier.

Weather in January

Amaravati Ashram lies at a slight elevation, and winter mornings and evenings can be cool, down to perhaps 15 degrees centigrade (60 degrees Fahrenheit). Please bring some warm clothes like a fleece or down jacket, fleece pants, and a wool hat and wool socks to make sure you are comfortable. If you get cold easily you may even want to bring light gloves and a scarf.

How to Register

Click here to generate an email message to register for the retreat.

Please include the following information: (you can cut and paste the bulleted list and make edits as necessary)


Payment Instructions

Upon receipt of your registration email, I will send you a PayPal invoice if you have indicated PayPal payment. If you are paying by bank transfer, I will send you an email with bank transfer instructions.

The total payment is due within one week of your receipt of the invoice or payment instructions, but no later than December 7. In other words, if you are registering on December 4 for yoga and a room, I still need to receive your payment no later than December 7. If that is not possible, than you can register for the yoga only option and pay me within 7 days, but you will have to make your own room arrangements.

NOTE: If you do not have a Thai bank account or PayPal account, I STRONGLY encourage you to set up a (free) PayPal account to avoid the steep international bank transfer costs, which can easily run $40 or more. Setting up a PayPal account is quick and easy. Once you have set it up, link your bank account to your PayPal account to draw money directly from your bank account without incurring additional fees. You can also fund your PayPal account from a credit card account, but you will have to pay fees (usually 3%).

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Wait List

Space is limited. If the retreat sells out, I will add you to a wait list if you wish. If there are cancellations, I will offer the available spots to people on the wait list in the order in which they were added to the list. If you are on the wait list and are offered a chance to register, the registration fee must be received within 3 days, or the next person on the wait list will be offered the spot.

Deciding between Gernot's retreats at Amaravati Ashram or The Nest, Chiang Dao

Both retreat centers are gorgeous. If you don't have a preference for 3 versus 5 days, or December versus January, Amaravati Ashram will provide a more immersive "ashram-like" experience, as we will take all meals communally, and all food is vegetarian. The Nest is a resort with 2 outstanding restaurants that offer meat and fish options as well. If you want a slightly more posh resort experience, and don't mind paying more for food, chose The Nest.