ritual

Taking Refuge: The Ritual of Retreat as Sanctuary for the Soul – Begins March 2023

Posted by on Jan 12, 2023 in Featured Events, Retreats, ritual, Travel, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Taking Refuge: The Ritual of Retreat as Sanctuary for the Soul – Begins March 2023

Taking Refuge

The Ritual of Retreat as Sanctuary for the Soul

March 2023 – January 2024 w/ Ben Vincent

It has been a joy, calling and honor to lead yoga retreats for more than 15 years. Retreat is a sacred space from which to see ourselves and life clearly. A time to re-commune with the timeless. Retreat is a ritual of honoring our inner call: to slow down, find rest, reflect upon, reconnect with and recommit to what is most important in life. For many years, I’ve had a slowly gestating vision for a year long program of quarterly retreats set around the solstices and equinoxes. Like a seed buried deep in the snow, while the vision seemed dormant, slow and meaningful changes were unfolding. Leading retreats during the pandemic and upheaval of our world over the last 3 years has been rite of passage and preparation for this program. We’ve explored challenging and relevant topics to find healing, meaningful connection and dharmic response amidst troubled times. Our retreats have evolved organically to integrate many essential elements or “primary satisfactions” that have sustained the human spirit and culture over the ages:

  • Spiritual practice + study, rooted in Yoga ~ integrating many traditions
  • Time in solitude, community + nature
  • Creative expression (music, poetry, art, etc.)
  • Sacred ritual for healing and awakening
  • Myths and stories
  • Shared meals, conversations, laughter and tears

Upon returning from fall retreat and immersion in October, the seed of vision sprouted during a morning meditation practice. I was transported back to the Oratory (pictured at the top) at the Episcopal House of Prayer where my yoga journey began (this time around) 25 years ago. Immediately, there was a flash of inner knowing: this is the place and now is the time.

I was reminded of Krishna’s teaching in the Bhagavad Gita (4.7):
When Dharma falters and chaos rises up, then I manifest and give forth of mySelf.

What is taking refuge?

Taking refuge is a vow to a life of dharma – living in alignment with our true nature – through all the phases of life. It is a ritual of returning to sanctuary, to what truly nourishes us, especially during troubled times. We are living through a period unprecedented change and challenge in our lifetimes. From the natural world to human culture, the layers of life are being overwhelmed by overlapping crises. Old wounds and ways of being that cause suffering are surfacing, individually and collectively. This is not the first time humanity has gone through a collective dark night of the soul. Many ancient cultures and spiritual traditions understood that periods darkness are an essential part of the cycles of worldly life (samsara). When faced consciously, they can be an initiatory rite of passage in the life of the soul, the awakening the world and the re-creation of dharma. In this painful, yet necessary time of dis-integration, lies the hidden potential for healing, meaningful transformation and life coming forth a new – if each of us do our part. The wisdom traditions of ancient India (yogic/ buddhist/ tantric) venerate Three Jewels for taking refuge amidst samsara:

  • Teacher (inner and outer)
  • Teachings + Practice (dharma)
  • Sacred community (sangha)

Each of these plays an essential role in sustaining us. When interwoven, they form the fabric of our spiritual lives: supporting our healing journeys, helping us return to our essential nature, and bringing forth our unique dharma for the healing and awakening of ourselves and the world. Taking Refuge will be rooted in:

  • Cultivating deep connection thru teachings/ practice, teacher (inner) and sacred community.
  • Practices + tools from Yoga, Tantra and Ayurveda for balance through life’s seasons
  • Re-investing in “primary satisfactions” of life
  • Spiritual texts, myths and stories for understanding these times
  • Times of crisis as initiatory rites of passage
  • The sacred power of ritual for healing and awakening
  • Answering the call of our Soul’s dharma to heal, awaken and contribute

Structure of the Program

  1. Seasonal Weekend Retreats
  • March 25-26 – Spring Equinox
  • June 24-25 – Summer Solstice
  • September 16-17 – Autumnal Equinox
  • December 9-10 – Winter Solstice

These small group (15 people) immersive weekend retreats (two-days, one night* – 9 am Saturday – 5 pm Sunday) will consist of:

  • Two sessions of yoga practice + spiritual teachings daily
  • Morning / Evening chanting + meditation
  • Time in solitude, community + nature
  • Seasonal sacred rituals
  • Seasonal Yoga + Ayurveda Practices for balance and well-being
  • Shared meals, stories/myths, songs, tears and laughter
  • * Those wishing to lengthen their retreat stays may add extra nights as available (more below)

2. Quarterly Satsangs in Minneapolis: Teachings, practice and community time.

  • Spring Satsang, Saturday, May 13
  • Summer Satsang, Saturday, August 12
  • Fall Satsang, Saturday November 4
  • Winter Satsang, Saturday January 6, 2024

Satsangs will be recorded if you are unable to attend in person.

Retreats will be held at the Episcopal House of Prayer, in Collegeville, MN – 75 miles NW of Minneapolis. For over 30 years, they’ve been welcoming groups for retreat and spiritual practice. Recognized for it’s potent sacred space, natural and architectural beauty, it is a sanctuary designed to support deep connection.

The House of Prayer is nestled on the edge of Saint John’s Abbey and University – amidst the remarkable beauty and sanctuary of 2,700 acres of extensive pine and hardwood forest, wetlands, lakes, oak savanna, restored prairie, and hiking trails.  Its been a place of learning and spiritual refuge for over 165 years.

Accommodations and Meals

The retreat house is designed to support both community and solitude. There are single and double rooms with twin beds, individual sinks, desks, chairs and reading lamps. The larger living/ dining spaces and restrooms are shared. The oratory and prayer room are available as quiet, contemplative spaces. In the spirit of community, we will eat meals communally. Each person will be assigned to a group responsible for planning and bringing/ preparing one meal per retreat. Meals will be vegetarian and we’ll do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. We’ve done meals this way for years on fall immersion, and they are always wonderful!

Your investment

This small group program is limited to 15 people. Spaces + accommodation preferences will be allotted in the order in which payment and registration are received. Rates for the program are as follows (inclusive of program tuition and lodging):

Private Room – $2750                                                                                                           Shared Room – $2450

Early Registration Discount – $150 off the above rates when paid in full by Feb 7. Payment Plans may be available on an individual basis for those unable to pay in full by March 7.

Optional Add-ons

Quarterly Private Session w/ Ben: $400 for the year ($100 x 4, a $40 discount/ session) *Extra night stay: $75/night (paid separately as available), for those wishing to add Friday or Sunday night to any retreat weekends,

To reserve your space:

  1. Please email the completed the registration form to [email protected]
  2. Submit a $500 deposit (non-refundable). Payment is preferred through Venmo (@vincent-yoga). Payment can also be made through cash, check, PayPal ([email protected]), CC. There is a 3.5% fee for paypal or CC to cover costs. Please contact Ben directly to pay via cash, check or CC.

All payments are due in full by March 7. There will be a $75 fee for late payments. All payments are final and non-refundable, unless your reserved space in the program is filled. If you choose to withdraw from the program, your payment will be forfeited.  Other discounts and scholarships are not available.

Please contact [email protected] with any inquiries about the program, registration or payment plans.

Read More

Honoring the Spirit of the Season: A Winter Ritual – December 17, 3-6 pm

Posted by on Nov 29, 2022 in ritual, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Honoring the Spirit of the Season: A Winter Ritual – December 17, 3-6 pm

Honoring the Spirit of the Season

A winter ritual of reflection, reconnection and reverence

Dec. 17, 3-6 pm in-person event in Minneapolis

Amidst the cycles of life, the stillness, cold and dark of winter draw us inward. Winter invites us to rest and reflect deeply, reconnect with the sacred, and remember and recommit to what is most important. For as long as there have been human cultures, we have gathered in community to share stories, meals and creative expression. We gather in ritual to honor our place in the web of life, our loves and losses, and the presence of the sacred. Traditionally, these ritual gatherings venerate significant times in the rhythms of nature and events in the life of cultures. This is certainly true around the winter solstice, holidays and new year. While much of this has been lost amidst the busy-ness and commercialization of the holidays, in these darkened times we need rituals of reconnection now as much as ever.

This gathering will consist of teachings + stories, yoga practice, self-reflection, chanting and communal ritual honoring the year that has passed and the spirit of the season. We will explore themes of love, loss, forgiveness, healing and gratitude in these challenging times.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required. As of Dec. 14, there are still 3 spaces available.

To reserve your space, please email [email protected] and send payment ($50-150 sliding scale) via venmo to @vincent-yoga, or via paypal to [email protected]

Once your email and payment are received, Ben will send confirmation and preparatory information via email.

Read More

Spring Cleanse for Renewal + Vitality: April 29 – May 13, In-Person or Virtual

Posted by on Mar 23, 2022 in Featured Events, ritual, Spring Cleanse : Purifying the Vessel May 5 + 12, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spring Cleanse for Renewal + Vitality: April 29 – May 13, In-Person or Virtual

Yogic Spring Cleanse for Renewal + Vitality with Ben + Angela

April 29-May 13, 2023 – In Person (Minneapolis) or Virtual

Spring is a time of rejuvenation and rebirth, a natural time of cleansing to cast off the dregs of winter. From the melting of snow and emergence of tulips, to cleaning our homes and gardens, to the holidays of Easter and the Spring Equinox, everything is casting off the remnants of the past so life may renew. In Yoga and Ayurveda, spring is considered one of the best times to purify the body, mind and heart and restore vitality.  After all that has transpired in over the last three years, we’ve never been more in need of an opportunity to cleanse and renew.   Our annual cleanse is offered in-person (in Minneapolis) or virtually, and can be adapted to meet your individual needs. We invite you to join us and see how good a spring cleanse feels!

The Cleanse Will Include:

  • Opening + Closing Workshops (April 29 and May 13, from 1-3:30) consisting of teachings, holistic yoga practice, personal reflection and group discussion.           
  • Recordings of the workshops.  If you are unable to attend either of the workshops, you can still receive the audio and video recordings to participate in the cleanse.
  • Structured cleanse guidance including diet, lifestyle, yoga and self-care practices, which can be adapted to meet your individual needs.
  • Yoga practices for physical, mental, emotional and energetic purification and rejuvenation.
  • Daily inspirations and practices to to support your cleanse.
  • Virtual support through readings, A/V files, practices and recipes for cleansing the body, mind and heart.
  • Weekly check-ins for support and personal guidance.

Give yourself the gift of clarity, vitality and a renewed well-being this Spring!

Your Investment:

The Spring Cleanse is offered on a sliding scale of $75-250 per person. If you are doing the cleanse with someone else in your household, please register individually.

To register, please email Ben and submit payment:

Payment via venmo (@vincent-yoga) or PayPal ([email protected])

Email [email protected] and let us know whether you will participate in the workshops in-person or virtually.

If you’re interested and have any questions or are financially unable, please reach out to [email protected]

 

Read More