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 4-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.
Please arrive no later than 15:00 on Thursday, December 14.
- Thu: 16:00-18:00: Welcome and breath work
- Fri-Sat: 9:30-12:30: Asana practice
16:00-18:00: Pranayama, philosophy, meditation
- Sun: 9:30-12:30: Asana practice
Departure after lunch on Sunday.
Location: The Chiang Dao Nest 1, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
The Nest is an eco mini-resort at the foot of majestic Doi Chiang Dao, with two restaurants that feature some of the best food in Northern Thailand. It is 75km north of Chiang Mai and has been our favorite getaway in Northern Thailand for the last 9 years.
Getting to The Nest
If you are driving, click here for a map and directions.
If you need transportation between The Nest and Chiang Mai, please indicate that when you register, or notify me via email no later than Monday, December 11, 2017. A minivan will leave from Central Kad Suan Keaw at 1:30 pm on Thursday December 14, and will return to Central Kad Suan Keaw Sunday December 17 around 3:30 pm.
All prices include accommodation for 3 nights, 9 hours of asana practice, and 6 hours of philosophy, meditation, and pranayama practice. Cost of food and beverages is not included. Budget between 1000 and 3000THB for food for 3 days and see "Food Options" below for details.
Regular Registration (until December 7, 2017)
- 7,100THB for a shared cottage
- 8,900THB for a private cottage
- 7,550THB for a shared large cottage
- 9,350THB for a private large cottage
(If booking a private cottage, one additional guest stays for free. An extra bed for a third person (child) is 350THB per night.)
Late Registration (after December 7)
If any of the reserved rooms have not been booked by Thursday Dec 7, I will cancel the unfilled room reservations. So if you want to join after Thursday Dec 7 (assuming there is still space in the retreat), you will have to make your own room arrangements. The yoga only cost for late registrations is 5,300THB. However, I would STRONGLY encourage you to register earlier, because you may not be able to get a room at Nest 1 at such a late date, and I will have to absorb the room cancellation fee.
Yoga Only Options
If you have other accommodation options and would like to register only for the yoga, the early bird price (by November 1) is 4,300THB and the regular price is 5,300THB for all 3 days/13 hours of yoga.
The Nest 1 has a highly regarded European restaurant. The Nest 2, a 10 minute walk away, has an equally excellent Thai restaurant. There are several other resorts within easy walking distance that have restaurants, as well as street stalls serving simple Thai food. Both restaurants at The Nest have vegan, vegetarian, seafood, and meat options, though the vegan and vegetarian options at the Thai restaurant are much more extensive. Both restaurants serve breakfast from 8 am until 11 am and start serving lunch at 10:30 am. I strongly recommend eating breakfastat 8 am and eating a light breakfast, so that you can digest your food before the morning practice begins at 9:30 am. Breakfast and lunch entrees at both restaurants are 100-200THB. Dinner entrees at the Thai restaurant are 100-250THB, and dinners at the European restaurant are 300-400THB, so budget 1500-3000THB for food for 3 days. If you are planning on eating at the less fancy Thai restaurants in the village, you can budget much less. Each day I will reserve a group table for lunch at one restaurant, and for dinner at the other, alternating restaurants each day, for those folks who want to eat as a group.
Weather in December
The Nest lies at elevation, and winter mornings and evenings can be chilly, down to perhaps 10-15 degrees centigrade (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit). Please bring some warm clothes like a fleece or down jacket, fleece pants, and a wool hat and thick 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)
- Number of people registering and their name(s):
- Accommodation: Shared or private
- If sharing accommodations with a friend: prefer two twin beds or one large bed
- Payment method: bank transfer or PayPal
- If paying by PayPal provide your PayPal-registered email address:
- I/we require transportation between Chiang Mai and the Nest: Yes/No
(We will arrange transportation in mini-vans, leaving from Central Kad Suan Keaw. Transportation will be at cost, shared by all who use it. Expect to pay about 200-500THB each way depending on the number of passengers.)
- I/we are bringing our own yoga mats: Yes/No
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
- If you cancel before November 1, 2017, your full payment will be refunded, minus potential bank fees.
- If you cancel after October 31, 2017, but before December 1, 2017, your payment will be refunded minus a 20% cancellation fee.
- No refunds will be issued for cancellations after December 1, 2017.
- Should the retreat be cancelled for any reason, any payments you have made will be refunded in full.
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 2 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 4 versus 6 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.