Workshops and Retreats

2013 Shamatha Workshop and Retreat, Asheville, NC

“The ability to maintain focused attention on an object of your choice was considered in ancient India to be as important a sustenance of health as food and sleep and both the Yoga and Buddhist traditions developed detailed meditation systems for perfecting vivid and undistracted attention that can be maintained effortlessly for hours.

The world we inhabit today is far different than the world of The Buddha and Patanjali 2500 years ago. Ours is an interdependent ecosystem that includes not only the plants and animals, forests and oceans that they would still recognize, but also freeways, tall buildings, and a mental landscape addicted to incessant media stimulation.

In the ecosystem of our fast paced consumer culture, the sustenance of sustained and focused attention is an endangered species. And if it becomes extinct, will we even be able to recognize what has been lost?”

–Doug Veenhof, at the 2013 Asheville Shamatha weekend workshop and six-day retreat

Asheville  "Shamaticians" at the end of our retreat
Asheville “Shamaticians” at the end of our retreat
Om Sanctuary, Asheville, NC

Thank you to my host, organizers, and all the participants at the May 18-19 Shamatha weekend workshop at West Asheville Yoga and the following six-day retreat at beautiful Om Sancturary.

By Douglas Veenhof

Douglas Veenhof is a former mountain guide, a first place winner in the Society of Professional Journalists’ "Excellence in Journalism Competition" and the author of White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet’s Lost Emissary to the New World (Harmony Books, 2011). He has studied and practiced Buddhism for more than twenty years and graduated with honors from the seven-year program of advanced Buddhist studies at Diamond Mountain, the academy in the Arizona desert founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. He writes and blogs on Yoga philosophy, Buddhist meditation practice, the philosophy of mind, and cultural analysis, and has been interviewed on both radio and television (ABC, New Haven, CT). He teaches workshops and modules for Yoga teacher trainings in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and is currently at work on a memoir.

6 replies on “2013 Shamatha Workshop and Retreat, Asheville, NC”

This retreat provided me the structure and freedom to deepen my meditation practice in six short days. I especially appreciated the instruction on diverse postures and varied meditation objects. I look forward to studying with you again next time you return to Asheville and perhaps another retreat! With maitri, Izzy

I learned so much over the course of the weekend workshop and the following 6-day retreat with Doug. Though I’m very much interested in various paths of dharma, it was refreshing to receive a genuine transmission of meditation instruction that’s practical on its own without any (or at least minimal) religious or spiritual jargon involved. I learned how to stop unconsciously training myself to be dull or distracted in meditation and how to most effectively cultivate stillness of attention. It’s proven to be incredibly beneficial to my practice. Thank you, Doug!

The opportunity to receive instructions on shamatha and to practice daily in retreat with Doug was tremendous. From the practical (how to progress to more and more subtle objects while maintaining stability and clarity) to the profound (the depth of the present moment and the recognition of one’s habituated responses) created a foundation for a lifetime practice.

This retreat was such a meaningful experience for me. It was in a beautiful location, with a master teacher and with dedicated students of meditation. The techniques that Doug taught us worked really well. I found that I was eager for the meditation sessions. I also loved the silence. It was quite amazing what I could do in a 24 minute session, how deep I could get, how still I could become and how bright my mind would become. I loved the feeling when we were all meditating together, a deep stillness seemed to settle in the room and support us all. It is hard to describe, but it was wonderful to experience.

I have been trying to create a meditation practice for almost 20 years and it never quite took. But at this retreat Doug taught me how to do short,meaningful sessions so skillfully that I went incredibly deep within a few days. I’ve taken these skills home and now can say I have a true meditation practice! The retreat was wonderful, and meditating together and sharing our days in silence created a safe, intimate and supporting environment. Doug transmits these teachings perfectly! Happy gratitude for him and my fellow shamaticians.

This was the most transformative retreat I have ever attended. I made more progress, and felt more stillness, in a few days, than I have in many years. I wish every being on the planet could have the opportunity to study with Doug. Endless gratitude!

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