I sponsor spiritual meditation retreats at the Los Naranjos Retreat Center in the fishing
village of Yelapa, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. I was so impressed that
I put up standing deposits
for two retreats a year, and will continue to return twice a year
to this little corner of paradise.
It is the setting, as much as the
retreat center itself, that creates the magical environment that lifts
participants out of their daily routines and concerns, and immerses
them in a simpler, more sane way of being in the world.
The village and the entire valley are
cut off from civilization by the Sierra Madres. The roads and even
the electric lines, coming down the coast from Puerto Vallarta, stop
10 miles short of Yelapa. The only access into
the village is by boat or by mule over mountain trails.
Throughout the valley there are no cars
or motorcycles. Bicycles only made their first appearance in Yelapa
this last Christmas, but are still rare. Most kids still walk or ride
At Los Naranjos there are no telephones,
TVs, faxes, or even electricity. It is the absence of the modern world
that makes this experience so rare and so magical.
Participants are often amazed at how
quickly they adjust to this simpler lifestyle, and how little they
miss electricity. At night the valley and surrounding mountains are
so dark that the sky lights up with stars. Dinner is served by candlelight,
and candles placed along paths through out the grounds lead participants
back to their rooms at bedtime.
Each day is another opportunity to
explore the sacrament of Salvia Divinorum or Ayahuasca, as well as the chance
to engage in activities such as Hatha Yoga, workshops, discussions,
visualization exercises, hiking, excursions
to waterfalls and island reefs, and much, much more.
The most important thing to understand about the schedule is that
absolutely everything is optional.
All levels of students are welcome.
First time spiritual explorers always feel perfectly comfortable
working alongside more experienced students. First time yoga students
will feel perfectly comfortable working alongside more experienced
students. There is always at least one, and often as many as three,
additional teachers assisting with his retreats. This means lots
of personal attention for each participant. While one teacher works
with beginning students, another teacher is free to challenge the more
Lastly, we also have
out-of-this-world vegetarian cooking...