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  • J Felix

What to Expect on Retreat

Updated: Nov 18

Before a practitioner takes his or her seat to meditate, most of the work has already been done. It takes firm resolve to begin a practice and a strong will to maintain one's resolve. This inner work must be done prior to attending, and it must be done alone. It takes discipline to commit to a new regimen and patience to change and grow. Only you can choose to subject yourself to the rigors of this discipline, to face uncertainty and discomfort, and to challenge yourself. Only you can mediate the inner dialogue between the part that wants to remain in the familiar and the part willing to venture into the unknown; the part that wants to stay home, and the part ready to explore new possibilities. Only you can determine if this discipline of self discovery is worth your effort. You choose how to prioritize your time. You decide what is important to you.


From 9-12 we cover meditation basics. If you wish to stay for the afternoon session, we cover mindfulness fundamentals.


Once you arrive, you set up your space: tarp or mat, cushion, etc. We have mats and chairs for those who need them. After introductions, we begin with breath work. We practice different exercises to regulate our physiology, change our biochemistry, increase our pain threshold and tolerance to discomfort. With breath, we learn to change the ph balance of our blood, increase or decrease oxygen saturation, change our systolic blood pressure, increase body temperature, slow or raise heart rate, and strengthen our immune systems. These are physiological changes we can measure, and, more importantly, induce on command.


These exercises are not only useful for meditators sitting on cushions. Elite cyclists, runners, free divers, and other endurance athletes benefit from breath work. You'll learn to simulate the effects of high-altitude training by inducing both a hypoxic (lack of oxygen) and hypercapnic (high carbon dioxide) response. These two effects lower sensitivity to carbon dioxide, increase endurance, reduce the discomfort and fatigue from lactate build-up, increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, improve breathing economy, and improve VO2 max.


We learn breathing techniques to regulate the mind, increase mental alertness, or change the pattern of brain wave activity.

Before meditation we review preliminaries. To live mindfully, we attend to fundamentals. Meditation, a good night’s sleep, a balanced exercise routine, and a nutrient dense diet are some of the habits that promote not only physical well-being, but mental clarity, improved concentration, and emotional balance. We share actionable, research-based protocols that affect practice. The most impactful are:

  1. sleep

  2. diet

  3. exercise

Each meditation technique drives different cognitive-control states. You will learn techniques for strengthening the neural substrates underlying perception, perceptual decoupling, attention, and interoceptive awareness.


Below is a the characteristic profile of an engaged, busy mind. The screen-shot represents a measure of brain wave activity during a typical workday. The Beta frequency is most pronounced. Brain waves occur at the following frequencies (from slowest to fastest): delta (0.5–3 Hz), theta (3.5–7 Hz), alpha (8-–13 Hz), beta (13–30 Hz), and gamma (30–100 Hz). Brain waves are measured in hertz (Hz) or cycles per second. The more demands on the mind, the faster the cycling.

Below is a screenshot of a focused meditation practice. The alpha channel (associated with relaxed focus) is most pronounced.


Below is the profile of a practice that shows the brain cycling all the way down to a delta wave state (<4 hz), consistent with deep, non-REM sleep, yet the practitioner remains conscious.



This degree of cognitive control is trainable.


We begin with focused attention. We will review the attention cycle and provide tips to optimize training. We will also review mindsets and the neuro-mechanisms that control attention, selection, and inhibition to get the most out of each sit.


We will train interoceptive awareness with a focus on temperature, contraction, touch, and pain.


We will learn strategies for managing strong emotions.


We take movement breaks. Each practice is evidence based; exercises are tiered with variations for beginners and athletes.


1-3PM

We will do light breathwork and will learn a powerful technique for resetting the mind to optimize cognitive performance.


There are more movement breaks in the afternoon.


We end with everyday mindfulness tools we can use off the cushion which include: communication frameworks, gratitude practices, present moment awareness, financial freedom, job crafting, addiction recovery, savoring (appreciating the simplest things), and accountability measures to disable wayward thoughts.


Mindful living is a way of life, and there is too much to cover in just one day. Sign up for as many sessions as you'd like. These retreats are donation based. No gimmicks, no upselling, no sales funneling, no nonsense. I have no secrets to share. I do not promise enlightenment. I can't say if your chakras will be cleansed, if your vibration will align with Infinite Intelligence, or if you will meet your spirit guides in the astral plane. But, I can assert with confidence that you will leave with many practical and actionable protocols you can use to enhance your day to day well-being.


If you wish to register, click here.





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