BALAM // Adventure ~ Spirit ~ Heart
Sunday 23 Feb - Sunday 1st Mar 2020
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
8 Days of Yoga, Ceremony, Dance + Community with
4 Facilitators and 30 Gay Bi Trans Queer Men
It’s an honour to be supporting amazing Forest Yoga teacher Tom Barber at the glorious Arco Isis Sanctuary overlooking the mystical waters and volcanoes of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, Central America, for a life-affirming, soul-nourishing, spirit-lifting journey of joy, playfulness and community.
A true adventure to open the heart and ignite the spirit - all in the company of up to 30 open hearted, curious, adventurous GBTQ men from all over the world.
You will be well looked after by the divine team at Arco Isis, and guided by 4 wonderfully skilled and uniquely talented facilitators. Your hosts are Tom Barber (Berlin), Craig Nadashakti (London), Darin Volwiler (Washington DC) and Keone (Wales).
BALAM is the Mayan name for Jaguar, a powerful animal representative of ferocity, courage and valour. Jaguar represents the strength to face our own fears, and to confront our demons. Jaguars are also connected to vision and perception. They possess the ability to see during the night and to look into the darkest corners of the human heart, skilfully hunting and tracking our thoughts and fears that lie in the shadows. Along with physical vision, Jaguars are also associated with prescience and the foreknowledge of things to come.
By connecting to nature, stilling the mind, feeling our bodies, we can start to listen to the wisdom of our gut, the whispers of our heart, and the dreams of our spirit. This type of work takes courage, strength, vulnerability. It means looking in to the darker corners of ourselves that are often left neglected and ignored. Nature, Ceremony and Spirit will play an important role in this retreat, with specific focus on the wisdom and teachings of the Jaguar, facing fears, connecting to inner strength and trusting our intuition. Keone has a nurtured a very close relationship to Jaguar medicine over the years, which you can see in his beautiful art work on this page, and Keone will explain more about Spirit Animal medicine and Balam when we arrive at Lake Atitlán.
What to Expect:
Each morning begins with Ceremony + Yoga on the Eagle's Nest deck, as the sun rises over the volcanoes and reflects off the lake below. Tom, Craig and Darin are experienced Forrest Yoga teachers, Darin is a FY Guardian and both Craig and Darin regularly assist Ana Forrest on teacher trainings around the world - you are in excellent hands - with 30 participants and 3 FY teachers expect personal attention and hands on assists to grow and deepen your practice.
Through practices like Yoga, Meditation, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Ecstatic Dance, Massage we will create a space for you to feel your body, to feel your breath, a space for you to rejoice in moving your body and hearing your voice. There will be time for silence, reflection and peace, a time for ecstatic joy, a time for ceremony and intention, and a time for playfulness and fun.
With 4 experienced facilitators there will be a wide variety of offerings, also the chance to explore the local area, swim in the lake, and to volunteer with local community projects. As well as time for yourself, to rest, to be alone. The evenings are for dance and ceremony! Including Cacao Ceremony, Ecstatic Dance and Sweat Lodge Ceremony. Also a very special Kirtan chanting evening with Craig.
You'll sleep deep and peaceful in cosy bell tents in nature under the stars, or with others in a 4 person dormitory. We'll enjoy delicious healthy home cooked meals, and also explore and learn about local Mayan culture and history.
Offerings will include:
And much much more...
Tom Barber (Berlin)
Tom has his own thriving yoga community in Berlin and runs retreats all over Europe. Tom's retreats are always focused on nature, ceremony, yoga, breath, dance and music, creating spaces where we can remember how to connect to spirit, to change our lives, to fall deeply in love with ourselves, and to forge a life of purpose and meaning and joy. Tom originally trained in Power Yoga London, and in the past 3 years has been growing and evolving within the the Forrest Yoga system, completing the 200hr Foundation Training, and Advanced Training.
Keone Wales (UK)
Keone is an energy worker and visionary artist living in London. He is one of the co-founders of Gay Temple, a space for sacred sexuality and healing, where he facilitates men 1:1, in couples and in groups with subtle bodywork and sacred sexual counselling. His training weaves together Ancient Eastern, Polynesian and Indigenous Celtic practices. He was initiated in the Path of Pollen as a Shamanic practitioner by Simon Buxton. He later studied and practiced with Emma Orbach at Tir Ysbrydol over 5 years on the slopes of Carn Ingli in Pembrokeshire, where he continues to work closely with the nature spirits and guardians of place at Arwen Sanctuary and Ty Canol.
Craig Nadashakti (London)
Craig’s joyous and playful character will allow you to deepen your practice by approaching it with humour and open-mindedness. His classes challenge, uplift and heal by enabling you to explore the playing field of your body and mind. Flirting with your limits will allow you to grow in your relationship with yourself. Craig teaches so that people can experience the healing effects of yoga, create change in themselves and live with empowerment and confidence. He has studied numerous styles of meditation, yoga, chanting and other spiritual practices. Trained in various forms of yoga including Ashtanga, Sivananda, Iyengar, Satyananda, and Forrest. He has a great love for the traditional; he continues his study of Sanskrit, as well as, Vedic chanting both in the UK and India.
Darin is a Forrest Yoga Guardian and is one of the regular lead assistants on Forrest Yoga teacher trainings. He runs his own studio, Dragon's Breath in Washington DC and hosts regular classes for the local LGBT community. Bringing a unique magic, humour and courage to his teaching, Darin challenges students to reach their full potential, to dare to dream big, and to manifest the lives they deserve.
Participation and Co-Creation + Giving Back:
This retreat is very much about co-creation, participation and giving back. The 4 of us will guide you through a challenging and inspiring journey in Guatemala, but your contribution to the retreat begins as soon as you commit to taking part. Each participant brings their own intent and deeply personal reasons for undertaking this adventure. As the retreat approaches we nurture and care for these intents so that by the time we come together at Lake Atitlán we are ready to support each other in this unique and magical experience.
Arco Isis Sanctuary supports local community projects. We will be coordinating with the team at Arco Isis so that on at least one of the afternoons we have the chance to volunteer and help out with one of these projects. We will also be donating a portion of the profits from this retreat to these projects. One evening we, as a group, will host a ceremony and ecstatic dance event for locals and friends of Arco Isis. There is space for around 125 people to dance on the outdoor deck! This is for us to invite people in to the magic that we are creating, to share our gifts, to dance together, sing together, to be in ceremony together. When we arrive at Lake Atitlán we will decide as a group how we want this evening to run!
Is this retreat for me?
When deciding to join this retreat - listen to your heart and let your intuition guide you. Joining a retreat, going on a big adventure that involves travelling far away to distant lands, involves a certain amount of surrendering to the unknown and trusting your own intuition and letting your spirit guide you. This is an ambitious retreat! With many participants from around the world, 4 wonderful facilitators, all travelling to a remote lake in Guatemala. We recognise the courage and strength in each person who commits to this adventure. We honour that. And that's why each participant has such a valid and important contribution to make to this retreat.