Spring 2016 Qigong Retreat in Nature

Our Final Retreat at Stump Sprouts

This Fall Retreat will be our final Toward Harmony with the Earth retreat at Stump Sprouts.

This will also be the culminating retreat of our Toward Harmony with the Earth series, which we’ve been facilitating since the Spring of 2011.

This was a difficult decision to make. But we feel that we’ve come to a natural culmination of the material we’ve been teaching. It just seems like a good time to stop. We also feel we need more time to devote to our own practice for a while.

We do hope to continue our exploration of moving toward harmony with Earth, and to help people find more ways to do this in their lives. We may decide to offer in other forums more material about seasonal energies and connecting to Earth and nature, such as in local workshops in Northampton.

So please come join us to celebrate this ending, which will create the opportunity for other new beginnings.

To be eligible, you'll need to have attended at least one of our previous retreats at Stump Sprouts. You'll also need to know the seven movements of Dragon & Tiger qigong.

Deepen and Make More Conscious Your Relationship with Earth

We've formally called our retreat series over the last seven years Toward Harmony with the Earth.

Our goal has been to help people learn about and energetically connect to the living being we call Earth and the web of nature she supports, of which we are a part.

Our Taoist Water tradition has long considered Earth to be a living, conscious being. Taoists think that human beings are fortunate to be born on and to live on Earth, who nourishes and sustains us in many ways. For example, we borrow from her the elements that make up our physical bodies, and much of the chi energy we use in life we also receive from her and return to her.

In recent years in our retreats, we have often encouraged people to contemplate and explore their relationship with Earth, especially in the way that we exchange chi energy with her.

Our primary purpose in facilitating this final retreat will be to try to help you go beyond thinking about your relationship with Earth to having a felt experience of that relationship. We'll try to help you deepen and make more conscious your relationship with Earth, the living being.

Fall Tools: Standing and Sinking, Breathing, and Dragon & Tiger Qigong

We'll explore how you can use the following tools to open yourself up to Earth and invite her in, to form a deeper and more conscious relationship with her. These tools align particularly well with the natural energy flows prominent in the Fall season.

* Standing (or Sitting) and Sinking Chi

Can you learn to sink chi down through your body and into hers? This downward current of energy within and around Earth, nature, and us especially becomes more obvious and accessible to us in the Fall.

* Breathing

Can you breathe in and out Earth's and nature's air and energy? One of the key "harvest" qualities of Fall is taking in what you need and letting go of what you don't. Breathing is a way to help you learn consciously to take in what you need from Earth and to give back what you don't.

* Dragon & Tiger Qigong

Dragon and Tiger qigong could just as easily be called Liver and Lung qigong. The Tiger walks powerfully on Earth and can be associated with the energies of the liver. The Dragon flies through the air and can represent the energies of the lungs.

The energies of Fall in our tradition - and in Chinese Medicine - are associated with the Metal elemental energy and therefore with the lungs. Practice of Dragon & Tiger naturally stimulates the lungs.

We'll explore how you can use the movements of Dragon & Tiger to exchange energies - chi, emotional, and even spiritual - with Earth and her web of nature. We'll explore how you can become more conscious of these exchanges.

Prerequisite:

There are two prerequisites for attendance: 

  • you must have attended one of our previous retreats at Stump Sprouts, and
     
  • you must know the seven movements of Dragon & Tiger qigong.

Please Join Us

We invite you to retreat with us deep into nature at the serene, remote, and harmonious Stump Sprouts Retreat Center in the hills of western Massachusetts.

You'll be accompanied by a small group of 20 to 35 like-minded people, including two instructors with a deep well of experience.

You’ll enjoy good food and good company and have time to learn, relax, and move toward a more harmonious relationship with Earth and her web of nature.

Topics of Interest

Earth And Her Five Seasons As Our Teacher

The Taoist perspective is that Earth is our “great yin” or mother from which all life in our physical world springs.

We have much to learn from her about how to live as natural beings in harmony with ourselves and the web of life she nurtures.

In particular, her Five Seasons offer us many lessons about how to let go and flow with life and change.

One of the most direct ways to study with her is to learn to feel, explore, and enhance the ways that our chi flows into her and her chi flows into us.

These flows between her and us occur directly, as well as indirectly through her web of life that surrounds us and into which we are integrally connected.

Qigong practices are a wonderful vehicle that we can use to explore these chi flows.

While most of us initially practice qigong to develop and understand our own energies, a natural outgrowth of such practice is that we begin to become aware of how we are connected to and affected by the energies of what’s around us, including Earth’s.

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Dragon & Tiger Qigong: An Ideal Vehicle

The Dragon & Tiger qigong system is an ideal vehicle for exploring how your energies and those in the environment around you interact.

Those interactions especially occur in the chi field that immediately surrounds your body - the field known as the chi body in our Taoist Water tradition and as the etheric field or body in some Western traditions.

Playing with the energies within this field is Dragon & Tiger’s specialty.

The system consists of a set of seven invigorating-yet-calming, gentle flowing exercises.

In each exercise you move your hands in a particular pattern through your etheric field to stimulate it and in turn stimulate the energies within your physical body.

You consciously send your own energies out into the environment around your field and draw energies back in from the environment.

When you practice in a setting where the energies of nature are strong, then by its design Dragon & Tiger gives you direct and immediate access to those energies.

You just need to learn how to work with them.

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Who May Attend

To participate, you must already have attended at least one of our previous retreats at Stump Sprouts.

In addition, you must already know the seven movements of Dragon & Tiger.

If you don't know the movements now, there are a variety of ways that you can learn them:

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Schedule

Friday, September 15

 4:30 to 7 pm

Arrival and Check-in (and individual exploration of the land)

 5:30 to 6:45

During this time period we will be teaching/reviewing qigong skills that we will use in our explorations during the weekend. You may attend either group. We recommend that you attend the group which offers the subject material with which you are least familiar.

Group A:  Kathryn will teach/review key postural alignments we use when doing our qigong Standing practices. She'll also explore foundational Longevity Breathing skills, including how to breathe "into" your belly and back.

Group B: Bill will teach/review how to pull energy into your hands from the environment and push/release it back out. Those newer to this subject will focus on using their hands; those with experience with their hands will focus on using their feet.

 7 to 8

Dinner

 8:15 to 9:45

Evening Session

Saturday, September 16

7 to 8 am

Morning practice or rest (unstructured)

 8 to 9

Breakfast

 9:30 to Noon

Morning session

 12:30 to 1:30 pm

Lunch

 1:30 to 3 pm

Free time / Rest

 3 to 5:30

Afternoon session

 6 to 7

Dinner

 7 to 10

Free Time

Sunday, September 17

 7 to 8 am

Morning practice or rest (unstructured)

 8 to 9

Breakfast

 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Morning session

 12:45 to 1:30

Lunch

 1:45

Depart

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Location: Stump Sprouts Retreat Center

  • 64 West Hill Road, Hawley, MA 01339
  • www.StumpSprouts.com
  • stumpsprouts@stumpsprouts.com
  • (413) 339-4265 - ask for Lloyd or Suzanne

We’re thrilled to have found Stump Sprouts. It’s a very, very special place.

When you get there, you’ll find a place that’s vibrant and alive.

Through over 30 years of love and hard work, our hosts, Lloyd and Suzanne, have created a comfortable, simple, hand-crafted place of learning and lodging that is a model of harmony and sustainability.

Stump Sprouts is a jewel of a place, Its buildings sit on the shoulder of a tall hill and look out over a high meadow to forestland beyond and below. From those buildings you have access to the Center’s 350 acres, through which you are free to ramble.

Stump Sprouts pulses with the rhythms of life.  Earth’s seasons flow through in timeless cycles. There is much to learn about chi here.

Ours will be the only group at the Center this weekend, which will enhance our sense of retreat even more.

For more information on the Stump Sprouts Retreat Center, visit www.StumpSprouts.com.

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Travel & Directions

Stump Sprouts is located 2 hours and 30 minutes by car west of Boston and 3 hours and 45 minutes north of New York City.

Directions to Stump Sprouts: Please click here and read carefully the information provided by Lloyd and Suzanne.

Travel Assistance / Ride Sharing: We’re sorry, but at this time, we do not have the staffing we need to be able to help you organize your travel to and from Stump Sprouts.

We do encourage you to organize ride sharing with your friends, if you can. As we get close to the time of the retreat, we will make an effort to connect folks who'd like to give or receive a ride.

We understand the tension between trying to retreat to nature and having to drive a car in order to do so. Over time we hope to find ways to ease this tension.

Nearest Airport:  Bradley International Airport (BDL) between Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA (1.5 hours away by car)

Nearest Train Station: Springfield or Amherst, MA (both 1 hour away by car)

Nearest Bus Station: Northampton, MA or Greenfield, MA (both 45 minutes away by car)

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Food

Lloyd and Suzanne have been preparing food for groups for 25 years.

They specialize in home-grown or locally produced food whenever possible.

Meals are made from scratch and feature fresh fruits and vegetables.

For each meal they provide a wide variety of foods, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

At some meals there will be meat available for those who eat it.

If you have other dietary needs, before you register please contact Lloyd directly and he will tell you what, if anything, he can do for you.

You can contact Lloyd at (413) 339-4265 or
stumpsprouts@stumpsprouts.com

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Accommodations - On-Site Indoors

You may attend the retreat and stay indoors on-site as described in this section.

To find out about camping on-site in a tent, please click here or scroll down to the next section.

Please click here for information about staying or camping off-site at accommodations nearby. The accommodations indoors at Stump Sprouts are rather rustic, so some people prefer to stay nearby.

Please direct all questions about on-site indoor lodging or camping to us at Toward Harmony. Please DO NOT contact Stump Sprouts.

Rooms and bedding are simple, very relaxed, clean, and comfortable. The mattresses are thin so if you like a softer bed please bring extra cushioning to put on your bed.

All rooms have a double bed in them, and most have a single or bunk bed as well.

We will house two people per room. Each person in a room will have their own bed.

If you stay on-site, then all of your meals will be provided, including: dinner on Friday evening; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

If you wish to share a room with someone you know, then each of you when you register should let us know that is your preference. If the two of you wish to share a double bed, then also please let us know that and we'll honor your request, if possible.

Some rooms have three or four beds, so if you'd like to share a room with two or three other people who you know, each of you when you register should let us know.

You will need to bring your own pillow, towel, and sheets and blankets (or sleeping bag). Exceptions will be made for those traveling by air or other public transportation.

Please let us know when you register if you have reasons for not being able to bring yours.

During cold weather Stump Sprouts is heated entirely with wood. It is cozy but not tropical. Please bring extra blankets if you tend to get chilly in the night.

Bathrooms are unisex, and accommodate 1 person at a time.

3 to 4 people will share each bathroom / shower.

We will do our best to honor requests of couples wishing to stay together, or others who wish to room together.

Unless otherwise requested, we will house women with women and men with men.

The earlier you register, the more likely we’ll be able to honor your request.

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Accommodations - On-Site Camping

You may attend the retreat and camp in a tent on-site as described in this section, stay on-site indoors as described in the previous section, or stay or camp off-site at accommodations nearby as described in the next section.

Please direct all questions about on-site indoor lodging or camping to us at Toward Harmony. Please DO NOT contact Stump Sprouts.

On the Stump Sprouts property there are several gorgeous spots available for tent camping.

If you'd like to bring your tent and use one of these spots, then please register for on-site tent camping.

If you camp on-site, then all of your meals will be provided, including: dinner on Friday evening; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

You also will have access to the bathrooms and showers in the Stump Sprouts lodge and farmhouse.

Please be sure that you have good equipment and are an experienced tent camper, because we likely will not have room for you indoors once you commit to camping. If we have extreme weather that would make it dangerous you to be outdoors in a tent, then you will be allowed to sleep on the floor in a common area of the lodge or farmhouse.

The fees for staying indoors on-site or camping on-site are the same.

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Accommodations - Nearby

You may attend the retreat and stay or camp off-site at accommodations nearby as described in this section or stay indoors or camp in a tent on-site at Stump Sprouts as described in the previous two sections. The accommodations at Stump Sprouts are rather rustic, so some people prefer to stay nearby.

Bed and Breakfasts

There are various small "bed and breakfast" accommodations near Stump Sprouts.

There is one that our students have tried and liked. It is in the neighboring town of Charlemont, 7 miles away, a 15-minute drive.

Hawk Mountain Lodge - (800) 532-7483 -
www.hawkmountainlodge.com

There are others in the area that neither we nor our students have tried yet, such as the Cavalier Cottage on the outskirts of Charlemont (www.cavaliercottage.com)

Camping

There are a few places to camp near Stump Sprouts that we have identified. Both are in the neighboring town of Charlemont, 7 miles away, a 15-minute drive. None of our students have tried them yet.

Mohawk Trail State Forest -
http://www.massgov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-west/mohawk-trail-state-forest.html

Country Aire Campground - 413-625-2996 -
www.countryairecampground.com

Meals

If you stay off-site, then the following meals will be provided for you at Stump Sprouts; dinner on Friday evening, lunch on Saturday, and lunch on Sunday.

When you register you'll be offered an option to purchase additional meals to eat on-site. Saturday dinner costs $16. Saturday and Sunday breakfasts cost $8 each.

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Fees - If You Stay on-Site

We can accommodate on-site at Stump Sprouts only 18 people indoors and 6 camping in tents.

So please register early to ensure you will have a spot.

For information on Day Use Fees, please click here.

Full On-Site Fee: includes Instruction, Food & Lodging

  • $445 if you pay by August 27
  • $490 if you pay after August 27

Discounted On-Site Fee: for those eligible

  • $395 if you pay by August 27
  • $435 if you pay after August 27

You are eligible for these discounted rates if:

  • your total family income (before deductions) is less than $40,000 a year, OR
  • you are a full-time student

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Fees - If You Stay Or Live Nearby

You may attend the retreat on a day use basis.

For the fees listed below, we'll provide you with instruction, dinner on Friday, and lunches on Saturday & Sunday. You provide your own accommodations off-site, your breakfasts, and your own Saturday dinner.

If you like, you may purchase additional meals to eat on-site. Saturday dinner costs $16. Saturday and Sunday breakfasts cost $8 each.

Full Day Use Fee: Instruction & One Meal a Day

  • $370 if you pay by August 27
  • $405 if you pay after August 27

Discounted Day Use Fee: for those eligible

  • $320 if you pay by August 27
  • $350 if you pay after August 27

You are eligible for these discounted rates if:

  • your total family income (before deductions) is less than $40,000 a year, OR
  • you are a full-time student

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Registration

You may register for this event online or by phone.

Last Day to Register

Registration will close at midnight on Tuesday, September 12, or sooner if we run out of spaces.

If you are interested in registering after September 12, please contact us (413-586-8880 or info@towardharmony.com) to inquire about whether any special arrangements are possible.

Online Registration

When you register online you may:

  • pay online with a credit card;
  • pay online with a PayPal account; or
  • send us a check, unless you register after August 27.

If you register after August 27, you must pay either with a credit card or a PayPal account or contact us (413-586-8880 or info@towardharmony.com) to make special arrangements.

Please CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE for this retreat.

Phone Registration

You may call us at 413-586-8880 and register by phone.

You may pay with a credit card or PayPal account. If you do, your payment will be paid through PayPal, just as if you had registered online.

If you register on or before August 27, then you may also pay us with a check, which must be sent to us so that it arrives within 4 business days after you register.

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Friday Arrivals And Activities

We encourage you - if at all possible - to arrive, check in, and get settled into your accommodations between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on Friday.

This will allow you to see, greet, and get your feet on the land during daylight, so that you will have a good sense of place before going to bed on Friday night.

From 5:30 to 6:45 we will hold the first group session of the retreat.

During this time period we will be teaching/reviewing qigong skills that we will use in our explorations during the weekend. You may attend either group. We recommend that you attend the group which offers the subject material with which you are least familiar.

Group A:  Kathryn will teach/review key postural alignments we use when doing our qigong Standing practices. She'll also explore foundational Longevity Breathing skills, including how to breathe "into" your belly and back.

Group B: Bill will teach/review how to pull energy into your hands from the environment and push/release it back out. Those newer to this subject will focus on using their hands; those with experience with their hands will focus on using their feet.

Our first group session that we expect everyone to attend will be after dinner.

Dinner will be held from 7 to 8, and we’ll hold that group learning session from 8:15 to 9:45 p.m.

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What To Bring

If You're Staying On-Site, Please Bring:

  • pillow
  • sheets and blankets or sleeping bag
  • towel
  • tent, if you're camping

Everyone, Please Bring:

  • cool and warm clothes, including layers (average Fall temperatures range from the 40’s at night to the 60’s and 70’s during the day)
  • something to lie down on during class, either indoors or outdoors.
  • slippers or heavy socks (we will have indoor sessions without shoes)
  • outdoor shoes/boots
  • outdoor clothing, including rain gear (We will hold some outdoor practice sessions. If it is raining during those sessions, you will have the option to practice outside or in. If you opt to practice outside, you’ll need rain gear.)
  • flashlight
  • sunscreen
  • water-bottle or travel mug
  • personal toiletries
  • insect repellent
  • hat for protection from the sun

Please DO NOT bring

  • Fragrances or scented body products, to which some of our students are very sensitive
  • Alcohol or recreational drugs (these interfere with your ability to learn to feel chi clearly)

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Refund Policy

  • If you pay for the retreat and are not able to attend due to an illness, emergency, or other circumstances beyond your control, and we are able to to fill your space with another student, then we will refund in full the fee you paid, minus a $100 administrative fee. If we are not able to fill your space, then we will refund half of your fee.
  • If you pay for the retreat and decide not to attend for any other reason, if we are able to fill your space with another student, then we will refund in full the fee you paid, minus a $100 administrative fee. Otherwise, we will not refund any of your fee.

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