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This silent meditation retreat is tailored to your needs, proficiency, and progress to learn meditation as a means to enjoy good health and a happy life. You will develop concentration with Taoist longevity breathing and awareness of the subtle anatomy - specifically, the central channel and the dai mai extraordinary meridien. You will also be introduced to Dharmata meditation on intrinsic or objectless awareness. This retreat is suitable for all levels of experience.
The manor house at Tourné is set in a secluded river valley in the foothills of the Ariège Pyrénées mountains. Spacious accommodation in the main house or adjoining stone cottage offers an excellent base for your holiday in France. The manor has large bedrooms all with private bathrooms.
Tourné and the Artillac River are in the very center of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises Natural Regional Park. Tourné also has substantial gardens and outside seating areas with 1,000 meters of private river frontage. The altitude of just under 500 meters allows you to enjoy exceptional air quality, warm sunshine with cool shade never far away.
On this Tao teaching program, participants will swiftly experience how the method efficiently quietens the mind and releases accumulated stress, negative emotions, and blocked energy. Participants with experience of other traditions and methods will quickly recognize the elements in this approach that are germane to all the great meditation traditions. All sessions will take place in the dojo at the retreat center at Tourné. You will have the chance to walk, rest, and practice.
One of the unique methods of Ram’s approach is the use of the ‘Three Sages’. These are three energies or modes of the teachings and the practitioner’s response to them. This threefold approach recognizes that your response and amenability to aspects of the practice changes according to mood, energy, and receptivity. The Three Sages variously deploy discipline when discipline is appropriate and necessary; artistry and abandon.
There will be up to seven daily sitting meditation sessions, divided between timed sessions, guided sessions, and personal practice sessions. Full instructions will be given in Taoist longevity breathing. The meditation method will lay the foundations for the Golden Flower meditation, directing eventually attention to the source of awareness. The foundation stages include:
The sessions begin at 06:30 in the morning and finishes at around 21:00. There will be one or two daily sessions of Qigong or Tao yoga - a basic muscle change and eight brocades workout to keep chi moving and lively, to support a release of stagnant energy. There will also daily walk with prescribed exercises to deepen and relax your meditation.
This year’s retreat will again introduce Tao longevity breathing. Many participants already booked on the retreat have learned this method, so it will provide an opportunity to develop expertise and to extend breath. Full instructions will be given to beginners. Longevity breathing is a doorway to regulating the breath, the nervous system and the energy systems of the body.
It enhances performance and staying power through gently extending the breath and developing awareness of the central channel and subsidiary elements of the body’s subtle anatomy. A Taoist method, it is nevertheless founded upon general principles that are germane to Zen and Dzogchen methods.
Special instructions will be given on Dharmata or intrinsic awareness where the practice is without concepts or objects. It is a supreme healer of mind, body, and emotions. Under different names, it has been recognized and practiced in India, Tibet, China, and Japan where it was closely aligned with Zen and the art of Samurai swordsmanship. In that latter practice, the formula adopted was based on the link between mind, chi, and form. It’s a formula that makes very clear how “no mind” is the key to harmony and healing.
In addition and very much in the same healing vein, participants will be introduced to Five Winds rejuvenation breathing practice. This is a simple and easy-to-learn practice that takes no more than 20 minutes to undertake. It draws upon Tibetan practices but uses a formula that is believed to have been taken to China by Padampa Sangye who was considered by some Tibetans to be Bodhidharma.
Each part of the program will be gradually delivered over ten days to ensure that participants have sufficient time and opportunity to experience the benefits of how the practices, when combined, generate well-being and rejuvenation and support the release of habit patterns that cause stress. By recognizing the inherent purity of intrinsic awareness the tendency towards grasping and rejecting is effortlessly and naturally purified.
Ram is an expert teacher of Tao yoga, Tai Chi, Bagua (eight trigrams circle walking), Qigong, and meditation with over 30 years experience. He has been certified by Master B.K. Frantzis as a teacher of various Qigong forms, breathing and Bagua circle walking for health and meditation. His other teachers include Dadi Janki, Sepa Dorjé Rinpoche, Lama Lena Yeshe Katyub, and Victor Sanchez. He has students worldwide and is an inspiring teacher with vast practical knowledge and a unique approach to the universal methods of Tao. He has trained extensively in Buddhist, Yogic, and Taoist tradition.
This meditation retreat will be located at the retreat center at Tourné in the foothills of the French Pyrénées mountains, deep in the Artillac Forest bordering on the gentle Artillac River.
All food is prepared in-house with organic produce from the vegetable garden. You will be served a wide variety of vegetarian food with lighter evening meals to support your practice.
Please book your flight to arrive at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS).
You can take a ferry bus from outside the airport to Toulouse-Matabiau train station. The cost is about 5 EUR per person each way with three buses each hour. The journey time is about 20 minutes outside rush hour when it can take 35 minutes.
From Toulouse Matabiau train station, take a train to Foix. From Foix, you can catch a taxi or prearranged transport or a bus to Castelnau-Durban. Total journey time from the airport is usually under two hours. The journey by car from the airport is 90 minutes.
You can also arrive at Carcassone Airport (CCF). Those arriving at Carcassone Airport (CCF) will need to go to Toulouse-Matabiau train station. Thus, it is better suited as an airport for those who plan to hire a car. Road journey time to Tourné is under 90 minutes.
It is also possible to fly to Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport (LDE), which journey by car will take 1 hour 40 minutes to Castelnau-Durban.
Local buses run from St. Girons and Foix to Castelnau-Durban. Buses run twice a day, with no service on Sunday and bank holidays. A bus leaves Foix at 12.30 p.m., arriving at Castlenau-Durban at 1 p.m. A bus also leaves at 5.30 p.m. arriving at 6 p.m. at Castlenau-Durban. On Mondays, there is an additional bus that leaves at 7 a.m. and arrives at 8 a.m. From Foix, the bus leaves from by the main post office in the town, about a 10-minute walk from the Foix train station.
You can reach Toulouse by using Eurostar or search SNCF website to find train times for all French rail travel. When arriving by train, it is usually recommended to arrive at Foix train station. Transfer from the station to the venue can be arranged for 20 EUR.
Taxis are available at the airport at all times. At Foix train station, they are less reliable. It is recommended that you contact Tao Meditation in advance of your arrival time and they will arrange for a pick up from Foix for 25 EUR.
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