ritual

Tantra Shakti: The Sacred Power of Life Taking Refuge 2024 – Begins in March

Posted by on Dec 26, 2023 in Featured Events, immersion, meditation, Retreats, ritual, sacred, tantra, teacher training, yoga | Comments Off on Tantra Shakti: The Sacred Power of Life Taking Refuge 2024 – Begins in March

Taking Refuge 2024

Tantra Shakti – The Sacred Power of Life

March 2024 – January 2025 w/ Ben Vincent

Taking refuge is a vow to a life of dharma – living in alignment with the ultimate reality and our true nature – on all levels of life. It is a ritual of returning to sanctuary, to what truly nourishes and sustains us, especially during troubled times. The program of Taking Refuge is rooted in the teaching of the three jewels in the yogic wisdom traditions:

  • 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.

Tantra (“to weave, to expand beyond limitation”) is an ancient branch of yogic science for awakening to the sacredness of life. It is a vast spiritual system which has evolved to help humanity realize freedom, fulfillment and empowerment through living in alignment with the sacred.  Tantra is rooted in the understanding that there is a singular, all pervading reality which has two primary aspects:                                     

Consciousness (Shiva, the transcendent aspect of the divine, eternal, illimitable consciousness that is the ground of Being)                                                               Creative Power/Energy (Shakti, the immanent force of the divine, from which the entire universe, in all its diversity and multiplicity manifests)

Tantra is a living tradition – evolving from the diverse spiritual and shamanic traditions native to the Indian Subcontinent to awaken the potential of humanity.  According to the ancient sages and scriptures, it is the most auspicious form of yoga/ spiritual practice for modern era known as the Kali Yuga or “The Long Dark”. As a life-affirming, inclusive and holistic spiritual science, Tantra is a profound antidote to the ongoing delusion, dis-integration and desecration of our world. Tantra sees human life as a profound gift. Our bodies, energies, mind, heart and soul are an expression of the same creative force and consciousness from which the universe was born. We are living temples of shakti + shiva. To make the most of this life, Tantra has evolved a vast body of teachings, practices and rituals for healing, awakening and bringing forth lives of inspiration and empowerment. Taking Refuge will consist of: seasonal retreats, monthly satsangs, guided home study and practice and optional private sessions

Program Structure:

  1. Seasonal Retreats 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.
  • Spring: March 16-17 at the House of Prayer (EHoP) in Collegeville, Mn
  • Summer: June 22-23 at the House of Prayer
  • Fall: October 6-9 at Camp du Nord near Ely, Mn
  • December 14-15 – at the House of Prayer

Spring, Summer and Winter Retreats will be small group (15 people) immersive weekend retreats (two-days, one night – 9 am Saturday – 5 pm Sunday) at the House of Prayer in Collegeville, MN. * Those wishing to lengthen their retreat stays may add extra nights as available (more below) Fall Retreat for Taking Refuge will be at our annual Fall Immersion, Oct 6-9 at beloved Camp du Nord! Retreats will consist of:

  • Two sessions of yoga practice + spiritual teachings daily – rooted in tantra, honoring and integrating diverse traditions.
  • Morning / Evening chanting + meditation
  • In Depth Study and Practice of Tantra
  • Time in solitude, community + nature
  • Sacred rituals for individual and collective healing, awakening and transformation
  • Creative expression (music, poetry, art, etc.)
  • Myths, Stories and Songs
  • Shared meals, laughter and tears

2. Monthly Satsangs :Teachings, practice and community time in Minneapolis Saturdays 10a-1p: April 13, May 18, July 20, Aug 17, Sept 21, Nov 16, Jan 11

Audio recordings of satsangs and retreats will be shared after each session.

3. Guided Home Study and Practice: Readings, journaling, audio recordings and home practice to support your learning and embodiment of the teachings. 

4. Optional Private Sessions – For those interested in more personalized guidance and support, you may add quarterly individual sessions with Ben. See “your investment” below for more info.

Our Study + Practice will include:

  • What is Tantra? Its essence, origin, traditions and evolution
  • Study of Traditional Tantric texts, paths, philosophies and chants
  • Living Tantra in the Kali Yuga
  • Training in Essential Tantric Practices
    • Asana (posture)
    • Shatkarma (cleansing practices)
    • Pranayama (energetic breathwork)
    • Mudra (sacred gesture) + Bandha (energetic seals)
    • Tantric Meditation: Kriya, Laya, Mantra Japa, Bhakti and more
    • Mantra + Chanting (sacred sound + vibration)
    • Yantra (sacred geometry)
    • Yoga Nidra (awakening through deep rest)
  • Teachings and practices for the energetic body
    • Energetic Anatomy: Prana, Nadis, Chakras, Kundalini, Granthis
    • Chakras: The vortexes of Consciousness and Energy
    • Kundalini Shakti: Awakening your life to the power of the infinite
    • The Heart Lotus – The ultimate place of pilgrimage
    • Granthis + Karma: The obstacle is the way
  • Gherand Samhita + The Yoga of Sun, Moon and Fire
  • Nava Rasa Sadhana: Yoga of Nine-Emotions
  • The Tantric Understanding of Divinity and ultimate reality
  • The living mythology of Tantra – Luminous Beings, Gods, Goddesses
  • Embodying the Sacred Masculine (Shiva) and Feminine (Shakti)
  • Exploration of Tantric Texts including Gherand Samhita, Vijnana Bhairav + Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
  • Rituals for Individual and Collective Healing, Awakening + Transformation
  • The Importance of rituals and shakti sadhana in the Kali Yuga
  • Dharma Shakti: Awakening the power of the in Self, Family, Community + World
  • Diksha: Opportunity for Initiation into the Himalayan Tradition through receiving a personal Mantra
  • And much, much more!

Retreat Locations, Accommodations and Meals

Spring, Summer and Winter Retreats will be at the Episcopal House of Prayer in Collegeville, MN – 75 miles NW of Mpls. For 30+ years, they’ve been welcoming groups for retreat and spiritual practice. Renowned for its potent sacred space, natural + architectural beauty, EHoP 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.

Fall retreat of Taking Refuge will be the annual fall immersion at beloved Camp du Nord. Deep in the northwoods on pristine Burntside Lake, near the Boundary Waters, this area has been a place of sanctuary for generations. 3 days of in-depth study + practice. Free time for hiking, paddling, sauna, massage and deep connection.

The retreat house at EHoP 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! Accommodation on the fall retreat at Camp du Nord are in comfortable modern cabins.

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 are inclusive of program tuition and lodging – including accommodation in private or shared rooms at EHoP, and in communal loft spaces at Camp du Nord. You can upgrade to shared or private rooms for fall retreat.

Private Room – $3250                                                                                                    Shared Room – $2950

Early Registration Discount – $150 off the above rates when paid in full by Jan 31. 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 $150 fee for late payments and payment plans. 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.

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Fall Immersion: Karma and the Journey of the Soul, Oct 8-11 ~ Ely, Mn

Posted by on May 24, 2023 in meditation, Retreats, ritual, Travel, Uncategorized, yoga | Comments Off on Fall Immersion: Karma and the Journey of the Soul, Oct 8-11 ~ Ely, Mn

Karma and the Jounrey of the Soul

October 8-11 – Ely, Mn

Our annual Fall Immersion is intended for yogis looking for deeper study and practice of yoga in a communal retreat setting.  This year we will be delving into ” Karma and the Journey of the Soul.” The immersion will explore in-depth teachings and practices individually and collectively through dharma teachings, holistic practice (asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, chanting, yoga nidra, self-reflection, etc.), meditative ritual and time in nature and community.

KARMA. We’ve all heard of it. Widely acknowledged and accepted, It’s preached from pulpits to pop songs. Yet it is also profoundly misunderstood.   Karma is not a doctrine, theory, belief or dogma. It is not so much a system of cosmic or divine justice.  Karma isn’t what happens to us, but what happens within us and what we happen within.

Karma is a universal law.  It’s an essential part of Dharma – the natural order of the cosmos on the individual, collective and universal levels.  Literally meaning “action, its cause and effect”, karma governs that what is happening in the present has been by the past and compels the future.  From celestial bodies to human hearts and minds, this chain of cause and effect influences all things in the web of life.  Together, karma and dharma shape the essential nature, inner workings and interactions of all beings.

On the human level, karma is the reality that all our experiences and actions (deeds, thoughts, speech, feelings, desires) leave impressions on us. These karmic impressions are stored in the subtle and casual bodies.  They compel us into birth, shape our bodies, minds, energies and emotions and are carried with us from death to rebirth.  Our journey through life(times) is inextricably interwoven with karma – through the gifts we are given, the challenges we face, and the lessons we learn.  If we are to find freedom and fulfillment in life, understanding and taking responsibility for karma is an essential key for embodying our dharma and realizing our destiny.

This immersion will explore:

  • What is karma and how does it work? 
  • Karma Chakra: The wheel of cause and effect
  • Three types of karma and the three bodies
  • Karma, Chakras and the subconscious mind
  • Karma, Reincarnation and Samsara: Life’s journey to freedom and fulfillment
  • Ancestral Karma: Family and Fate
  • Our personal, familial and collective patterns as rites of passage
  • Learning from and healing the karma of relationships
  • Karma, Dharma + Destiny : The obstacle is the way
  • Holistic Yogic practices for taking responsibility for, healing and transforming karma
  • Stories, myths, song and rituals for karmic healing, purification and transformation
  • Different perspectives and approaches for working with karma
  • Common misconceptions about karma

The Place: Up the Echo Trail from Ely, MN, and a stones throw from the Boundary Waters – Camp du Nord is nestled among birch, maple and pine forest alongside Lake Burntside.  This Northwoods sanctuary has been a place of retreat, relaxation and reflection for generations.

Lodging & Meals: Our lodging will be communal in modern wooden cabins, beautiful and simple.  Each cabin features a full kitchen, indoor bathroom, fireplace, living & dining room, bedrooms, sleeping loft and wireless internet.  You will be responsible for your breakfast and lunch. Dinners will be communal, each participant will be part of the cooking group for one evening meal. We’ve done this for years, and it works wonderfully. Preference for lodging requests will be given in the order in which registrations are received.  To view one of the cabins, please click here

Activities: 

Hiking, Canoeing + Kayaking,  Sauna + Lake Plunge, Massage, Relaxing lakeside and fireside and the occasional hootenanny singalong ( *massage not included in the price of the retreat)

Daily Session Schedule:                                                                                                      

  • Sunday Oct 8:  6:30-9 pm                                                                                                      
  • Monday Oct 9:  8:30-11:30 am, 2:30-5:30 pm                                                              
  • Tuesday Oct 10:  8:30-11:30 am, 2:30-5 pm,  7-9 pm                                                
  • Wednesday Oct 11:  8-11am – Option to stay to Oct 12 (more info below)

Chanting and Silent Meditation M-W from 6-7 am (recommended, but optional)

Transportation, Arrival & Departure                                                             

It is about a 4.5 hour drive from the Twin Cities.  You are responsible for your own transportation.  We encourage carpooling, and will assist in finding you a carpool if you like.  For Directions, click here

Arrival time is anytime after 4pm On Sunday October 8. We’ll have a group meal Sunday at 5pm, and the immersion will begin officially at 6:30p. Teaching and group practice will end Wednesday Oct 11 around 12. Based on the feedback of past participants, I highly recommend staying until Oct 12. The extra day will allow for processing and integration of the immersion through time in nature, community, shared meals, sauna, massage, etc. The prices below are for the nights of Oct 8-11. If you wish to stay til Oct 12., please add an additional $40 for a loft space, $60 for a shared room and $80 for a private room.

Your Investment: 

  • $645 – Twin bed in a communal Loft Space
  • $725 – Shared bedroom space (2 people/room, twin beds or queen bed for couples)
  • $850 – Private bedroom space (queen bed)

Early Registration Discount- Receive $30 off the shared bedroom or loft rates when you register and pay in full by August 7.  Yoga Studies grads receive $50 off with early registration. Early registration discount does not apply to private rooms or cabins.

All rates are per person. This is a small group immersion and space will be allotted in the order in which registrations are received.

Rates are inclusive of:

  • Lodging: For more information on accommodations and activities, visit the fall retreat page.
  • Immersion Tuition
  • Use of Camp du Nord facilities (sauna, hiking trails, canoes + kayaks, etc.)

Massage will be available during breaks.  Please note meals are not provided. Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen for all your cooking needs. We will plan to eat dinners communally, with groups taking turns preparing food if the group size accommodates eating/cooking together.  

To reserve your space: please submit all registrations materials + deposit at the same time, via email to [email protected], with a copy of:

  1. Fall Immersion Registration + Waiver
  2. Submit a $250 deposit per-person (non-refundable). Payment are preferred through Venmo (@vincent-yoga), and can also be made through PayPal ([email protected]), check (see directions below), or CC. Venmo is free when paying as a friend.. There is a 3.5% fee for paypal, CC or when paying for “goods and services” through Venmo to cover costs.  Contact us directly to pay via CC or paypal.

All payments are due by Sept 10. There will be a $50 fee for payments, payment plans and registrations received after Sept 10.  For those unable to pay-in-full before Sept 3, payment plans are available through paypal credit. All payments are final. The non-refundable $250 deposit covers the costs to camp du Nord in the event that the retreat should have to be cancelled for unforeseen reasons  If you’re unable to attend the immersion due to serious illness or emergency, you may receive a 30% credit to future Vincent Yoga events good for 1 year.  Other discounts and scholarships are not available.

Ben Vincent (not Vincent Yoga)

5354 40th Ave S.

Minneapolis, MN, 55417

Please contact us with any questions or inqu

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

Posted by on Jan 12, 2023 in 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.

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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.

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