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Exploring Ecodharma: Experiential Nature Retreat

July 19 @ 4:00 pm - July 28 @ 12:00 pm

LOCATION: Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center
8941 Overland Rd., Ward, CO
START: Friday, July 19th @ 4pm
END: Sunday, July 28th @ 12pM
PRICING: Details coming soon

This ten day retreat (open to all) is a deep dive into abiding in nature silently, joining inner nature with outer nature, and dissolving separation. There is also a two night solo opportunity, which is an incredible highlight (please see much more about the solo below). Each day includes plentiful time for sitting, hiking/walking meditation, as well as nature meditation instruction, nightly dharma talks around a campfire, and small group ecodharma exploration. July is incredible in the mountains, typically with warm sunny days, cool nights, a full creek, abundant animals, and wildflowers everywhere.

The overall intention is to foster the joy and healing that comes with a profound connection in nature, and then integrating that into your life. To that end, we will also begin to investigate and work with the emotions (fear, anger, grief, sadness, guilt, anxiety, etc.) we are all experiencing around the many intertwined ecological, social, political, and economic crises we face today. As these are immense, planet wide problems, essentially created by a sense of separation, facing and dealing with them on our own can be overwhelming. Within a safe and supportive sangha, in small guided groups, we will delve into ecodharma together, with openness, sincerity, and courage. This leads to deep healing, which makes possible more connective, powerful and creative responses to our collective situation. Facing this all together we come back home, to ourselves and the earth, grounded in the truth of our belonging.

All retreat activities will be outdoors as much as the weather allows. Each day there will be instruction in nature meditation and lots of time to practice, in the larger group, smaller groups, and on your own, grounding each of us in non-separation in the natural world. The emphasis is not so much on precise technique, but rather developing a relaxed open awareness that can lead to a new integration of inner and outer experience. Please note while there is ample silent time each day, and of course the solo, the retreat is not totally silent.

There are no prerequisites for this retreat, and beginning meditators or first time retreaters are welcome and will be fully supported, while those with extensive experience will find much opportunity for learning and growth as well. Our large teaching team makes this possible.

This Retreat Includes

  • Guidance and instruction for meditation in nature (both sitting and walking) to deepen our experience of connection with the natural world, while dissolving the sense of a fixed and separate self.
  • Individual attention. Our large teaching team allows us to fully support everyone who attends the retreat, from beginners to those much more experienced.
  • The joy and healing and connection that comes with sitting and walking in beautiful wild settings.
    Exploration of Ecodharma; sharing, healing and empowerment facing it all together. This is mostly done in teacher guided small group sessions.
  • Free time for meditation and/or rest.
  • Evening campfire dharma talks.
  • One on one discussions with the teachers.
  • Three wonderful vegetarian meals, including food for solos.
  • Camp site or indoor lodging.
  • Time for a two day and night solo in a place of your choosing.

If you want to do this retreat and the one after it, please look at the information and register for both. The interim night is included and free.

About Immersion in Nature (Solo Time)

Being alone in nature is a rare opportunity for healing and connection. Abiding in a spot of your choosing for two full days is time to explore and relax: opening deeply to the power and beauty of the environment, with the freedom that solitude provides. Over time, the elements, plants and animals become our teachers, the land our home, and silence our cherished companion.

The solo does not require any intense physical exertion, or even backpacking, you can solo in our campground near the lodge if you prefer not to go far. It is not a survival course or an ordeal, and does not require anything particularly challenging, except to simply be in nature, with one’s self.

There is ample instruction, preparation, support, and flexibility for the solo, so each participant can benefit fully from their experience. All necessary food is provided, with no cooking or stove necessary. Everyone can do their solo in a variety of locations, anywhere from next to the lodge to deep in the wilderness. Most past participants have found the solo a highlight of their retreat. If you are are physically or medically unable to camp during the solo, you can continue sleeping in the lodge during it. Otherwise plan on bringing a tent, sleeping bag, pad, etc. so you can camp out.

General Retreat Guidelines

  • The retreat is designed to be enjoyable, not rigorous, and participants are expected to have a willingness to maintain silence during silent times, to help with yogi jobs, and to cooperate with the group structure.
  • Some camping experience (car camping or backpacking) is helpful for the solo, but not necessary.
  • Being in good health, able to camp and hike (at least the easier) trails at the center.
  • Having the necessary clothing and equipment to enjoy being outdoors in a variety of conditions, and do the solo. We will be living and practicing outdoors, under the barn or another shelter in case of bad weather, including meditating, eating and walking.

Time & Transportation

The retreat begins at 4:00pm on the first day, and ends about 1:00pm after lunch on the last day. If you are flying into Denver, the airport is about 90 minutes from the center, so you should plan on your flight arriving no later than 1:00pm to reach the retreat center on time. Return flights departing from the Denver airport should leave no earlier than 4:30pm, so you can get to the airport on time. Please do not plan on leaving the retreat early or arriving late. If camping you might want to allow some extra time to set up your tent before the retreat starts.

Please note that the center is at 8500 feet, similar to most Colorado ski towns. If you are concerned about acclimating from sea level, you might consider arriving a day or two in the Denver/Boulder area before the retreat.

Teacher Bios

Rochelle Calvert
Rochelle Calvert has a devoted love to share the power and healing potential of mindfulness, somatic awareness, and nature. She has studied and taught mindfulness for the past 19 years and knows personally the transformational potential. Rochelle currently leads courses and retreats in mindfulness, somatic experiencing, and Awake in the Wild- nature-based mindfulness. She is also the Eco-Therapy director for Southwestern College and New Earth Institue. She is a certified mindfulness teacher with the Mindfulness Teaching Institute and the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. She has also trained and assisted with Mark Coleman and as an Awake in the Wild meditation teacher. She practices mindfulness-based meditation rooted in the Buddhist Theravada Tradition and practices meditation outside in nature daily.
David Loy
David identifies his spiritual roots as primarily in the Japanese Zen tradition. His Zen practice began in Hawaii in 1971 with Yamada Koun and Robert Aitken, and continued with Koun-roshi in Japan, where he lived for almost twenty years. He was authorized to teach in 1988 and has led retreats and workshops nationally and internationally in places such as Spirit Rock, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, Terre d’Eveil in Paris, and Dharma Gate University in Budapest. In 2014 David received an honorary PhD from Carleton College, his alma mater, for his contributions to socially engaged Buddhism. (He returned it in 2016, to protest the decision of the Board of Trustees not to divest from fossil fuel corporations.) David’s spiritual journey began when he lived in a remote valley on Molokai, Hawaii. There he fell in love with backpacking, meditating in nature, and solo wilderness retreats. David is a well-known writer, whose books and articles have been translated into many languages. His latest book, Ecodharma: Buddhist teachings for the ecological crisis, was published in 2019. He is also co-editor of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency and has written many articles and blogs on Buddhism,…
Learn more about David Loy


Johann Robbins
Johann started backpacking and meditating as a teenager, and deepened his spiritual journey on frequent solo wilderness trips. His passion is facilitating spiritual practice in nature: he has guided and taught wilderness retreats and workshops in various traditions for over 25 years, including as a Vision Quest guide in the late 1990s. Johann founded Impermanent Sangha in 2002 and has led dozens of Ecodharma and nature meditation retreats, including backpacking, camping, canoeing and rafting. Johann founded Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center in 2016 and is its Executive Director. Johann teaches Mindfulness Meditation, also known as Insight or Vipassana, with a modern secular approach. He has been meditating since 1974 and was asked to teach in 2008. He completed the two-year CDL teacher training program at Spirit Rock in 2012. His primary teachers include Shinzen Young and Eric Kolvig (who also helped found Impermanent Sangha and taught wilderness retreats for many years before his retirement).
Learn more about Johann Robbins
Cornelia Santschi
Cornelia (Punnya) Santschi is a neuropsychologist and meditation teacher. She is deeply committed to environmental conservation and social justice. At the RWJ Barnabas Health Institute of Neurology in NJ, she has specialized in brain-behavior relationships for over 20 years. Cornelia is a devoted student of Buddhism with a dedicated insight meditation practice since 2000.  She completed yoga teacher training at Integral Yoga in NYC in 2001, and graduated from the Community Dharma Leader Program in 2017. As founder/president of non-profit Anatta World Health & Education Outreach, Cornelia has organized culturally sensitive health, education, and women’s empowerment programs in multiple countries, with local partners since 2006, and co-leads yearly meaningful travel tours in Nepal. Cornelia is co-founder/board member of Newark Center for Meditative Culture in NJ, where she serves as meditation teacher and insight community liaison; working to increase access to socially engaged programs within a diverse urban community. She is co-founder/vice-president of the Alegria Dharma Center, a meditation retreat center in Costa Rica, where she is developing a comprehensive EcoDharma retreat program.
Learn more about Cornelia Santschi


July 19 @ 4:00 pm
July 28 @ 12:00 pm
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