Browse Schedule by Category: Retreats / Online Courses

Loading Events

« All Events

Breathing Retreat 2024

May 24 - June 2

Breathing

Summer Meditation Retreat | May 24- June 2, 2024

This breath will change your life. Join Catherine Pawasarat Sensei in an eight-day breathing meditation retreat. This practice is suitable whether you are a newbie or seasoned meditator, or have always wanted to do a vipassana or longer retreat. Gift yourself the in-person guidance of an accomplished meditation teacher and a balanced meditative approach of the four classical meditation postures.

OverviewRegistration
breathing meditation retreat

The meditation on Mindfulness of Breathing is not only suitable for all beings, it is also the direct way to enlightenment.

Namgyal Rinpoche

A Life Changing Experience

Eight Day Breathing Meditation Retreat

It’s with you every moment of your life. It is the universe, alive. And it is a tool for liberation, free and always, every second, readily available. The breath.

Over and over again, we hone our attentiveness to the breath until calm, clarity and wisdom emerges. And it always emerges.

At this retreat, the practice itself is awakening, life-changing and healing. And most importantly, you will reap great benefit from the rare in-person guidance of an accomplished meditation teacher and wisdom holder, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei. Sensei’s teaching is radical, down to earth, and one-of-a-kind.

If you have a background in Vipassana retreats and are interested in doing something that is similar but a next step, with a live teacher, then this retreat may be for you. You will receive more detailed instructions based on the Buddhist suttas, and opportunities for asking questions and receiving feedback on your practice. This is priceless.

In the words of our Teachers’ Teacher, the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche, “meditation on Mindfulness of Breathing is not only suitable for all beings, it is also the direct way to enlightenment.”

An online option is also available for those not in Western Canada, to make participation possible from anywhere in the world.

While we believe any undertaking can be a vehicle for awakening, there’s no substitute for the power of one’s own profound experience of truth, gained through meditation. This is why meditation is one of the four foundational practices of our teaching.

Another of our foundation practices is learning. A guiding text for this retreat is the Ānāpānasati Sutta, or Mindfulness of Breathing Discourse.  It is an incredibly powerful methodology. In it, the Buddha describes 16 steps of practice divided into four areas of mindfulness: body, feeling, mind, and mental objects. It is a guide to liberation.

This simple yet powerful framework will extend your meditation experience to everything from subatomic particles to the vastness of space, and all that’s between. It includes practice in all four postures—sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. Experience will transform. And, finally, we will offer support for bridging the gap between retreat and daily life when you get home.

Meet the Teacher

Catherine Pawasarat Sensei

Catherine Pawasarat Sensei is a contemporary Dharma teacher, attendant, consort, co-teacher via Planet Dharma and co-founder of Clear Sky Retreat Center. Anapanasati Breathing meditation is a much loved practice for Sensei, a central focus of her 2023 one month meditation retreat. It is also connected with one branch of our lineage’s roots in the Burmese Theravadin tradition through the meditation master Venerable Sayadaw U Thila Wunta.

She has trained daily with Acariya Doug Duncan since 1998 in an intensive spiritual apprenticeship that is rare in the modern West. She received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 2003. In addition to Buddhist philosophy and its applications to daily life, Catherine also draws on generative living and the arts.

The Self Falls Away: How Meditation Works

A video of Sensei teaching on meditation:

What Did Last Year’s Breathing Retreat Meditators Say?

Cheryl Bate

The anapanasati sutta created a deep, deep experience for me. I was finally able to understand the 16 steps and the 4 tetrads much much better. It’s a whole new world.

Cheryl Bate
Clinical Counsellor, Private Practise, Whistler, BC
Zoe Moores

I enjoyed reconnecting with my body, with nature and with joyful memories during the retreat. Some of this was inspired through the breathing practice, and some through searching for moments of piti which we could easily connect to. There was an easing during the retreat, as well as some moments of deep connection and understanding. This time, it was hearing spaciousness explained in a different way.

Zoe Moores
Translator, trainer, researcher
James Stewart

The breathing retreat was fantastic for me on so many levels! As my first retreat, it really taught how me to deepen my budding meditation practice. Catherine Sensei is warm, knowledgeable and led a wonderful course.

James Stewart
Dr. Duncan Cryle

Sensei, fresh from a 3 month retreat, gave beautiful, grounded and profound teachings on breathing practice. The retreat worked seamlessly between those of us with the fortune to be in person, and those joining online. Felt I could go very deep over the ten days with a transformative combination of a great teacher, a deep practice, a sincere group of co-retreatants, and 310 acres in the mountains!

Dr. Duncan Cryle
Ph.D IBM executive

What’s Expected of Me?

  1. An open mind and heart, and a spirit of adventure are excellent things to bring!
  2. It’s human to have some apprehensions about doing something new, meeting new people, or going to a new place. Particularly when all three happen together. We try to make this as supportive as possible.
  3. When exploring our growth edges, it’s natural to feel uncertain and awkward. And it’s very fruitful to transform that emotional tension into creative energy by drawing on your own inner resources – such as inquiry, going with the flow, and self-reflection, just a few of the many kinds of constructive engagement.
  4. To maximize your retreat experience, we ask that you refrain from reading, using the internet, phone or listening to music during the course.
  5. Students are expected to be silent during the silent parts of the retreat, and participate in all classes, group meditations, activities, and discussions.
  6. We ask that you refrain from microdosing or consuming mind-altering substances during this retreat and in the days immediately following it.

The Location – Clear Sky Center

  • Located in the BC rocky mountains, Clear Sky offers over 300-acres to deepen your practice and reconnect with nature. Founded by Qapel (Achariya Doug Duncan) and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei, the center is home to students from around the globe who are dedicated to co-creating a supportive and innovative space for awakening in our modern world.
  • How to get there, what to bring and other FAQ about Clear Sky
  • Our teachings and Clear Sky operate based on the ancient tradition of dāna or generosity. As generosity is the basis upon which all spiritual practice flourishes, we recommend that you learn more about this profound practice before you register.
Retreat room beds
CS Retreat Shrine Room Meditation Sangha

The Anapanasati Meditation Group

The power of continued community meditation practice:

Following Catherine Sensei’s excellent Breathing retreat at Clear Sky and online in June 2022, a group of students from Dharma Europe and Japan started a morning zoom meeting to help continue the practice. Meeting at 8am UK time six days a week, we take turns to lead/hold space – usually with a reading, sometimes an exercise, we meditate on the breath for 45 minutes and then share our experiences. The group has grown to include more European Sangha as well as Movement Shiatsu practitioners who didn’t attend the retreat but are committed to developing their practice.

“It’s great to have the contact of the group – we learn so much from experiencing how the different parts of ourselves – individually and as a group perceive and receive the (phenomenal) world. ”

-Jonathan Clifford

“The daily contact with awakening beings uplifts and encourages me in a practice that has been very solitary for me for many years.  The daily discipline reminds me of a monastic order, where the task of gathering at an appointed hour to sit in silence together IS a practice in itself.”

-Renata Drtina

“The morning sits and Anapanasati practice are an opportunity to explore and build sangha in a different way and for us to strengthen and deepen our practice together.”

-Zoe Moores

“The Anapanasati group is an anchor – both to steady practice and being part of a group.  It helps me to be in contact when I don’t feel like it.  To practice speaking  in front of a group even when it’s not comfortable.  To practice leading a group.  And silently this group has reinforced and supported daily practice and helped me to experience contact with the experience of breathing.”

-Brigid Maclachlan

Course Fees & Requirements

Arrivals and Departures

For those traveling short distances, please arrive by 3pm on May 24th. For those coming from international or longer distance travel, please plan to arrive 1-2 days early to allow time to rest and acclimatize before the start of retreat. 

Departures will begin on June 2nd, however we also recommend adding some extra nights to your stay for a more easeful transition from retreat to daily life.

All Retreatants: A Dāna Based Retreat

This retreat is offered on the basis of dāna (generosity).

Dāna is a Sanskrit term meaning “generosity”, and is the traditional way in which Buddhist teachings are offered.  With dāna, we give as a mutual exchange of generosity. You may have come across this in the form of “pay from the heart”. It’s our joy to offer this course, and we trust you’ll match our time, energy, and passion by giving an amount of money that feels good and healthy to both you and us.

You will be sent a link to offer “dana” to the teachers after registration. 

For more information on dāna click here.

For Online Retreatants: Admin Fees & Requirements

In order to bring you this retreat at home, there is an additional admin fee* of $350 CAD. The admin fee is to cover the costs of running these online courses – for equipment and software to provide you the teachings online.

If you are taking this retreat online, we require that you devote your full attention to the retreat for the entire week.

Requirements include:

  • Block out the retreat duration and be focused on the retreat for this entire period, using this time and participating in the retreat as if you were at Clear Sky in person.  This includes a rigorous, full, daily meditation schedule.
  • Participate in all of the daily classes and group practices via online streaming.
  • Set up a quiet space or location where you can focus on the Meditation Retreat, and not need to engage in conversation or work with others.
  • Put away your phone, digital devices and other distractions.
  • If there are enough people in the same time zone as you, you could also make a cohort to meet to do a group practice throughout the retreat.
  • Note: full details/ requirements will be sent to you after registering

 

About the administrative fee*

In a traditional model of in-person teachings, a retreat center or urban meditation center invites teachers to visit. In these cases the centers have infrastructure and organization costs to cover, which might be covered by an admin fee. For the teaching itself, dāna to the teachers is offered in a bowl. This honors both the sustainability of the teachers and of the supporting center.

We’ve tried to recreate this approach online.
The teachers’ time and the teaching themselves are offered on the basis of dāna, separate to the admin fee. With our dāna offering we are making a direct gift of generosity to the teachers to support their teachings and livelihood. Learn more about the practice of dāna here.

The admin fee goes to support the infrastructure and organization necessary to support them to teach. As anyone with an online business will know, it can be surprising the costs of setting up a good infrastructure to support effective teaching and connection online.

Below are a few of the work and benefits that your admin fee payment is supporting:

  • high speed internet (to allow interviews and classes on-line)
  • online class systems (Zoom)
  • registration / admin systems (Eventbrite, Basecamp)
  • communication systems to keep everyone informed, share connection details, teachings and other resources (Mailchimp)
  • online storage (for example, Dropbox, to allow us to let students watch recordings and to store and share selected teachings in other forms such as podcasts and videos after the Teachings)
  • quality sound, video and editing equipment (both for live teachings and to provide good enough quality for later sharing as podcasts and video). We are regularly updating our equipment to improve your user experience.
  • online calendar booking system to allow students to book interviews
  • website hosting and maintenance for sharing upcoming courses, teachings, blogs and other resources.

May all our efforts be sustainable, abundant and for the benefit of all beings!

*We also do not wish to exclude anyone from the Teachings, so if you are not currently in a financial position to afford the admin fee, please contact us so we can support you to attend.

We welcome any questions. Please feel free to contact [email protected].

Retreatants at Clear Sky: Lodging Fees & Covid 19 Protocols

In addition to Dana to the Teacher, Clear Sky Meditation Centre provides an incredible space for your retreat.  Situated on a beautiful 310-acre property in the Rocky Mountains, the center and its karma yogis provide you nourishing daily meals and comfortable accomodation. Read more: Staying with us (Clear Sky Meditation Centre)

Please go to the retreat registration page for this retreat for details of the all inclusive fee for the retreat.

Covid-19 Protocols

Our retreats comply with current BC Covid-19 Health Orders.  Please refer to those provincial guidelines as well as the Canadian federal travel guidelines, especially if you are planning to travel to Clear Sky Center in person.

Detailed Daily Schedule

Specific times may change (MST)

RETREAT DAILY SCHEDULE
6:30 – 7:30 AM Walk &/or Personal Practice
7:30 – 8:15 AM Breakfast: Prepare, eat, clean up
8:15 – 8:45 AM Walk &/or Personal Practice
9:00 – 10:00 AM Class with Teachers
10:00 – 10:30 AM Walk
10:30 – 11:30 AM Group Practice lead by Sangha
11:30 – 12:30 PM Personal Practice
12:30 – 1:30 PM Lunch: Prepare, eat, clean up
1:30 – 3:00 PM Personal Practice
3:00 – 4:00 PM Group Practice lead by Sangha
4:00 – 5:30 PM Personal Practice
5:30 – 7:00 PM  Dinner: prepare, eat, clean up
7:00 – 7:30 PM Walk &/or Personal Practice
7:30 – 8:30 PM Group Practice and Q & A with Teachers
8:30 – beyond Personal Practice & bed

 

Micro-dosing / Psychedelics

We recognize and respect plant medicine as an important part of some people’s spiritual paths. Please note, the meditation practice on this retreat is very powerful.

Consuming mind-altering substances will detract from your experience and could cause negative side-effects.

We ask that you refrain from microdosing or consuming mind-altering substances during this retreat and in the days immediately following it.

Ready to Register?

If you have questions about the retreat, please phone 250-429-3929, or contact [email protected].

 

 

Registration deadline for in-person retreatants is May 11th 2024. Registration deadline for online retreatants is May 18th 2024.

Clear Sky Cabin/nature
12 Manjushri meditation retreat
Clear Sky residence;)