Rocky Mountain

Ecodharma Retreat Center

A Home for Meditation in Nature


2024 Retreat Leaders

Select a Leader to see the Events that they are guiding this summer!


“CHOKE” (she/her) is a self-taught artist of Taíno and Aztec ancestry and co-founder and director of The Mind Body Ecology Institute. She is also founder and CEO of Arté Tea Co., specializing in artistically curated teas and tisanes, along with tea ceremonial sittings and tea travel adventures around the globe. “CHOKE” stands for ‘Creating Her Own Kinetic Energy’. Her presence is deeply felt in communities throughout the U.S., from the Bay Area to southern Oregon and Florida to the greater metro area of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, even to Fort Worth, Texas, a.k.a, Panther City, where she still keeps a…

Alex Julie

Alex Julie (he/him) is an Awake in the Wild meditation teacher, specializing in contemplative nature practice. He received EcoSattva training through One Earth Sangha, as well as EcoDharma training at the Rocky Mountain EcoDharma Retreat Center.  He is a RYT-200 yoga instructor and has a background in regenerative economics and investing.  He is a director of the Mind Body Ecology Institute. Alex is a PADI Rescue Diver, with over 25 years of experience. He is developing a first-of-its-kind Underwater Meditative Immersion program (UMI), launching in 2024. Alex draws his inspiration from wild spaces and believes our stories of separation from the Earth lie at the…

Alice Robbins (retreat manager)

Alice Robbins (Retreat Manager) – My life’s passion has been a calling to be of service to others and has taken form in many different capacities.  My love of the wilderness drew me to meditation and the Dharma over 24 years ago when I attended an 11-day silent backpacking meditation retreat in the Sierra mountains. Since then, I found my place of service as a meditation retreat manager and have had the privilege over the past 20 years of managing meditation retreats in the wilderness and wild rivers of Colorado and Southern Utah, and more recently at Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat…

Andrea Valeska

Andrea Valeska is a Mapuche descendant, born and raised in the South of Chile. She has dedicated her life to the healing of ancestral wounds and women empowerment. She serves as a Holistic Life Integration and Nutrition Health Coach, Herbalist, Women’s circles Facilitator and Intuitive guide. She is a catalyst of change, and through her holistic and integrative approach she guides individuals and communities to reconnect with the rhythms of nature, embrace bio-individuality and authenticity, co-creating heart led sustainable systems based on Empowerment and Conscious Leadership. As a first generation graduate, she has a degree in Engineering Business Administration, a…

Asia Whitlock

Retreat Manager Asia Whitlock is passionate about building and sustaining people of color (POC) communities, decolonizing our minds, reparations by any means necessary, and growing her own foods. After several years in real estate, Asia co-founded Southwest Van Builders where she converts vans into tiny homes as an alternative housing solution. She currently lives in New Mexico. Asia is a two year alumni of People of Color Ecodharma Retreat and in summer 2022 stepped into the retreat manager role for these retreats which are co-hosted at least once a year by Boundless in Motion sangha and the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat…

Barry Gillespie

Barry Gillespie was introduced to meditation practice in 1978, through the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram. In 2003 he began exploring Theravada Buddhist practice, sitting many long retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and Spirit Rock in Woodacre, CA. His principal teacher is Guy Armstrong. Barry is an affiliated teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Colorado (IMCC). He teaches mainly in Boulder and at the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center.

Ben Connelly

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts and leads wilderness meditation retreats. He works with multifaith groups focused on intersectional liberation, racial justice, and climate justice. Ben is based at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, travels to teach across the United States, has written for Tricycle and Lion’s Roar magazines, and is author of Inside the Grass Hut, Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara, Vasubandhu’s “Three Natures”, and Mindfulness and Intimacy.

Bhava Jaya

Bhava Jaya embarked on his yoga journey in 2013, delving into Vinyasa flow classes for two years before earning his initial 200-hour yoga teacher certification at Dharma Yoga in Austin, Texas. The intensive training infused him with Buddhist dharma teachings and meditation practices, fueling his dedication to self-discovery and altruism. Following his intuition, Bhava relocated to Atlanta in 2017 to deepen his involvement in the wellness community. There, he obtained his second 200-hour yoga certification from Kashi Atlanta ashram and became actively engaged with Kashi Atlanta programs, including children’s art programs, yoga sponsorship for underserved populations, and aiding those grappling with…

Bianca Acosta

Bianca Acosta is a trained teacher of somatic Qigong, traditional ecological design and farming practices (best known as permaculture), and Ecodharma ceremonies at the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. She is originally from Zacatecas, Mexico and has been living in Colorado for over 17 years. She is proud of her indigenous roots and her life’s prayer is to be an active co-creator of a more beautiful world by sharing her gifts, being in synergetic relationships with Mother Earth, the diverse communities she is part of and embracing the multi-dimensionality of their being. She currently is in her last year of…

Blake Hestir

Blake Hestir lives in Fort Worth, Texas, the unceded sacred ancestral land of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. He is professor of philosophy and the associate director of CALM Studies at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. He is director and co-founder of The Mind Body Ecology Institute and a member of the Flourishing Academic Network, and an advisor for the Dallas Movement Collective. His teaching and scholarship are in the areas of ancient Greek philosophy, philosophy of mind, and phenomenology, as well as ecology and contemplative research. His current work is a philosophical inquiry into how inner transformation may be cultivated through expanding worldviews,…

Carla Brennan

Carla Brennan, M.Ed., has trained in the Zen, Insight Meditation and Tibetan Buddhist traditions since 1975 and is an authorized Spirit Rock Teacher. She founded Bloom of the Present Insight Meditation ( in 2014. Carla also taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for 18 years and is a former transpersonal psychotherapist. Currently, she teaches with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach in the Mindfulness Meditation Teachers Certification Program (MMTCP) and with Cloud Sangha. Carla has spent many months in silent retreat including two monthlong solos in the wilderness. Her dharma approach emphasizes integrating wisdom into everyday life, releasing the qualities of the awakened…

Carol Kortsch

Carol Kortsch was born in Africa, educated in Canada, and then worked internationally building community in different forms. After 25 years in psychotherapy and group practice at Stonehaven Commons in Radnor, PA., she now offers nature-based retreats from Boulder, Colorado as a Courage & Renewal group facilitator. She is blending the Earth-based practices of Animas Valley Institute in a visionary program called ElderSoul. As a life adventurer and Earth listener, she recognizes our essential and critical human need to stop, slow down, and listen to our lives and all our relations speak. What we offer in these circles is a…

Caverly Morgan

Caverly Morgan is a meditation teacher, author, speaker, and nonprofit founder. Her new book, The Heart of Who We Are: Realizing Freedom Together through Sounds True is available here. She is the founder and Lead Contemplative of Peace in Schools—a nonprofit which created the nation’s first for-credit mindfulness class in public high schools. She is also the founder of Presence Collective, a community of cross-cultural contemplatives committed to personal and collective transformation. Caverly blends the original spirit of Zen with a modern nondual approach. Her practice began in 1995 and has included eight years of training in a silent Zen…

Cornelia Santschi

Cornelia (Punnya) Santschi is a neuropsychologist and meditation teacher. She is deeply committed to environmental conservation and social justice. At the RWJ Barnabas Health Institute of Neurology in NJ, she has specialized in brain-behavior relationships for over 20 years. Cornelia is a devoted student of Buddhism with a dedicated insight meditation practice since 2000.  She completed yoga teacher training at Integral Yoga in NYC in 2001, and graduated from the Community Dharma Leader Program in 2017. As founder/president of non-profit Anatta World Health & Education Outreach, Cornelia has organized culturally sensitive health, education, and women’s empowerment programs in multiple countries, with local partners…

Dave Smith

For over 30 years, Dave Smith has held a practice rooted in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) tradition. He was empowered to teach through the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, is a certified teacher for Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) which is combines contemporary emotion based scientific research with contemplative practices and psychology drawn from Buddhism. Dave teaches residential meditation retreats, weekly live dharma classes, online courses, and workshops. He lives in rural Colorado with his wife and two sons.

David Chernikoff

David Chernikoff is a meditation teacher, spiritual counselor, and life coach who taught psychology and meditation at Naropa University for many years. A student of meditation since 1971, David completed the inaugural Community Dharma Leader Training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and began teaching Insight Meditation in 1988. His teaching has been influenced by senior teachers from the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock, Zen teacher Yvonne Rand, and spiritual guides from other contemplative traditions, most notably Ram Dass, Father Thomas Keating, and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. In the early 1980s, he worked at Ram Dass’s Hanuman Foundation Dying Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico…

David Loy

David identifies his spiritual roots as primarily in the Japanese Zen tradition. His Zen practice began in Hawaii in 1971 with Yamada Koun and Robert Aitken, and continued with Koun-roshi in Japan, where he lived for almost twenty years. He was authorized to teach in 1988 and has led retreats and workshops nationally and internationally in places such as Spirit Rock, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, Terre d’Eveil in Paris, and Dharma Gate University in Budapest. In 2014 David received an honorary PhD from Carleton College, his alma mater, for his contributions to socially engaged…

Denise Ackert

Denise has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1986, training in the US, India, and Nepal and teaching meditation at the Salida Insight Meditation Community since 2012. Her core teachers include John Travis, Brian Lesage, Susie Harrington, Erin Treat and many other Spirit Rock and IMS teachers. Denise has studied with teachers from other Buddhist lineages including Anam Thubten and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Her background as a yoga teacher, body worker, and environmental scientist deeply informs her focus on nature and embodied practice. In addition, she teaches meditation in schools, jails, non-profit organizations, businesses and on the trail. Denise is currently in…

Djuna Devereaux

Djuna is a core teacher and board chair for Sacred Mountain Sangha, supporting her primary Dharma teachers, Thanissara and Kittisaro. She teaches on retreats and daylong events at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and leads their Dharma and Yoga Teacher Training. Djuna is faculty for Prajna Yoga and offers workshops and teacher training internationally. She is also a certified yoga therapist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in private practice. Djuna’s teaching weaves asana training, with somatic movement, biomechanics, and the wisdom of yoga and the Buddha Dharma, into each offering. Her movement sessions are crafted to cultivate embodied awareness while supporting the…

Elaine Yeh

Elaine Yeh met Master Hua when she was studying computer science at the University of Texas in 1989 and was inspired to become his monastic disciple. During her 33 years as a Buddhist nun, she worked on translating Chinese Buddhist texts, served as principal at Instilling Goodness and Developing Virtue Schools, and taught at Dharma Realm Buddhist University. She earned an MA in Buddhist Classics from Dharma Realm Buddhist University and an MA in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley. In recent years she has been exploring how Buddhist and Western psychological approaches can work together to bring about deeper self-transformation…

Emerson James

Emerson James (they/them) is imagining, articulating, and captivated by a world permeated with the possibilities of queerness. Nourished by contemplative practices, they find vocational calling in cultivating and offering skills in spiritual care and facilitation. After first being introduced as an undergraduate to the Church of the Brethren’s deep commitment to pacifism and social justice, they have been called to the particular role of spiritual practice and action in the transformation and expansion of cultures, systems and modes of awareness. They took to heart young Wendell Berry’s statement that one’s relationship with place is like all relationships, including that of…

Heidi Bourne

Heidi Bourne is a meditation teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition and is the founder and guiding teacher of Pacific Mindfulness. She has been teaching since 2005 offering classes, series courses, nature retreats, trauma-informed and resiliency-focused professional programs, and teaches regularly for Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She holds certification in mindfulness facilitation from UCLA, trauma resiliency from the Trauma Resource Institute, and is a member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. Heidi is especially interested in the integration of the common sense, accessible and timeless teachings of awareness, ethics, and compassion into the complexity of our everyday lives. She is…

Imtiaz Rangwala

Imtiaz Rangwala

Imtiaz Rangwala has been practicing meditation for ~20 years and is a lay meditation teacher in the lineage of Cold Mountain Zen. He is also one of the founding members of Boulder Ecodharma Sangha. Professionally, he is a Climate Scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he provides climate science support to people managing our land, water and wildlife. He loves to nurture community through his love for cooking, gardening and sharing of songs and stories. He also greatly loves the outdoors and considers nature to be a very important teacher. Imtiaz was raised in the Islamic tradition of progressive Dawoodi…

Jade Sherer

Jade Sherer is a wild elder in the making, a “grief astronomer” (a la Andrea Gibson), and one who apprentices to death and joy. She has devoted her life to showing up to support others as they navigate the transitions of their lives, guiding others in nature-based transformational processes and ceremonies, a mentor to hundreds as they bring their integrity and authentic genius alive and accessible for the world. Jade was trained and then guided with Animas Valley Institute for 15 years and now works independently. ( As an animist through and through, Jade’s particular passion is focused on listening…

Jane Seaton

Jane Seaton PhD., at just two and half years old, declared to her mother that she would teach art. She grew up to become both a multimedia artist and a creativity guide for others. Since 1973, Jane has taught hundreds of people from all walks of life how to reawaken and explore the many dimensions of their real artistic nature – often by allowing them to relax and let their hands and heart lead the way. Her teaching programs have varied from weekend workshops to five year training programs. Jane has also been in private practice as a transpersonal psychotherapist…

Jean Leonard

Jean Leonard, Ph.D. (she/her) is a licensed psychologist, dharma teacher, certified Mindful Self-Compassion teacher, and Buddhist Ecochaplain in private practice in Louisville, Colorado. Jean teaches mindfulness classes and mentors mindfulness teachers in training through Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach’s Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program. She has practiced yoga for over 30 years and vipassana meditation (primarily in the Theravada tradition) since 2003, and holds the Dharma as a sacred compass that guides her personal and professional life. Some of her primary teachers have included James Baraz, Gil Fronsdal, Dana DePalma, Thanissara and Kittisaro. She is currently participating in the two-year…

Johann Robbins

Johann started backpacking and meditating as a teenager, and deepened his spiritual journey on frequent solo wilderness trips. His passion is facilitating spiritual practice in nature: he has guided and taught wilderness retreats and workshops in various traditions for over 25 years, including as a Vision Quest guide in the late 1990s. Johann founded Impermanent Sangha in 2002 and has led dozens of Ecodharma and nature meditation retreats, including backpacking, camping, canoeing and rafting. Johann founded Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center in 2016 and is its Executive Director. Johann teaches Mindfulness Meditation, also known as Insight or Vipassana, with a…

Jon Aaron

A Dharma and Mindfulness teacher at New York Insight Meditation Center Jon first came across meditation in the 1970s, and then became interested in Insight and Mindfulness practices in the late 1990s, studying mindfulness meditation and Buddhism, which have since become central to his life.  A Certified MBSR Teacher and Teacher Trainer, Jon trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Brown University. In 2016 he completed his training with Breathworks in the UK and has integrated many of these techniques and modalities into all his teaching.  He is…

Kaira Jewel Lingo

Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher who has a lifelong interest in blending spirituality and meditation with social justice. Having grown up in an ecumenical Christian community where families practiced a new kind of monasticism and worked with the poor, at the age of twenty-five she entered a Buddhist monastery in the Plum Village tradition and spent fifteen years living as a nun under the guidance of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. She received Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh and became a Zen teacher in 2007, and is also a teacher in the Vipassana Insight lineage through Spirit…

Kirsten Rudestam

Kirsten Rudestam (she/her) believes that practices of (re)connection are crucial in maintaining our capacity to face and respond to ecological loss and to embrace our inherent interbeing. Kirsten holds a Ph.D. in environmental sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied water policy and management, feminist political ecology, and environmental justice. She began practicing meditation in 1997, graduated from Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders program in 2005 and is currently in a four-year teacher training program with Andrea Fella and Gil Fronsdal of the Insight Meditation Center. She has taught meditation and dharma for Insight Santa Cruz,…

Kritee (Kanko)

Kritee (Kanko)

Kritee (dharma name Kanko) is a Climate Scientist, Buddhist Zen priest, Educator & Founding Spiritual teacher of Boundless in Motion. She is an ordained teacher in the Rinzai Zen lineage of Cold Mountain and a co-founder of Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. She has served as faculty for courses or retreats at the intersection of climate crisis, racial justice, trauma healing and spirituality for many organizations including One Earth Sangha, Al Gore’s Climate Reality, Stanford University, World Council of Churches, San Francisco Zen Center, Mind & Life Institute and Lama Foundation. She has served as a leading scientist in the Climate Smart…

Lama Rod Owens

Lama Rod Owens is a Black Buddhist Southern Queen. An international influencer with a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School with a focus on the intersection of social change, identity, and spiritual practice. Author of The New Saints: From Broken Hearts to Spiritual Warriors and Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger and co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation, his teachings center on freedom, self-expression, and radical self-care. Highly sought after for talks, retreats, and workshops, his mission is showing you how to heal and free yourself. A leading voice in a new generation of Buddhist teachers with over…

Laurie Cousins

Laurie Cousins is a mindfulness teacher, integrative somatic practitioner, and trauma-informed educator based in Los Angeles. Part of her education and training include the mindfulness centers of UCLA & UCSD and she teaches their signature evidence-based programs of Mindful Awareness Practices and Mindful Self-Compassion. Laurie is mentored by Susan Kaiser Greenland and a lead teacher of the International Inner Kids Collaborative. As a certified CRM Teacher of the Trauma Resource Institute and specializing in the field of trauma and addiction recovery for over 15 years, Laurie offers a holistic approach in her private practice through somatic-centered healing, compassion training, and…

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is an inner and outer explorer, who has devotedly studied mindfulness meditation practices for three decades and has taught mindfulness workshops and meditation retreats on six continents for the past twenty years.  Mark is a senior meditation teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and cofounder of the Mindfulness Training Institute. Mark is an unabashed nature lover and, through his organization Awake in the Wild, he leads wilderness meditation retreats integrating meditation and nature. Based on his book, Awake in the Wild, Mark leads year-long meditation-in-nature teacher training programs in the US. Mark also holds a MA in Clinical…

Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish

Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish is an ethnofuturist mama, “cultural therapist” and ecotopian dreamer preoccupied with ancestors, art, Environmental Justice and Earth (re)becoming a paradise. She brings over 27 years of experience uniting sustainability, justice, and art. Michelle is the founder of FLOWS environmental justice program, serves on the Colorado Water Equity Partnership, the advisory board for Frontline Farming, and the State of Colorado Biochar for Oil and Gas Plugging Working Group. As founder of the consulting group “Once and Future Green” Michelle facilitates and trains communities to reclaim diverse ecological wisdom and cultural traditions with anti-oppression and ecological design tools. Leaning on…

Nicoya Helm (Assistant)

Nicoya Helm is a certified Unified Mindfulness Pathways coach and Mental Health First Aid Instructor. She began meditating in 1999 as part of recovery from a serious health challenge; now she offers mindfulness and mental health education to help others look deeper, dream bigger, and live better. Since 2018, she’s served as a lead instructor for multiple cohorts of Unified Mindfulness’s Pathways coach training program, a support instructor for Jansusz Wellin’s Progress of Shinsight course, and an associate teacher at Temple Buddhist Center of Kansas City. She is a regular facilitator at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Turning Point…

Peter Williams

Peter has practiced meditation for 29 years in the Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. He has done more than 31 months of silent retreat. He has taught insight meditation (mindfulness) since 2003 and has completed the Community Dharma Leader training through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Peter teaches retreats and dedicated practitioner groups based in Longmont, CO. He has taught mindfulness to diverse audiences, from Colorado juvenile justices to school teachers to environmentalists. He is one of the founders of the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center in the mountains near Boulder, CO. Peter has been practicing as a transpersonal psychotherapist since 2007,…

Piero Falci

Piero Falci teaches Mindfulness Meditation and Mindful Living. He is certified to teach the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program,  the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) model, and Mindfulness in Schools (MiSP) programs for teenagers. He received his MBSR teacher training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and at the Brown University School of Public Health. He is a board member of the Academy of Heart and Mind and the organization’s Representative on Sustainable Development to the United Nations. Piero has written several books, including the book series “A Better Life in a Better World,” and has created a variety of courses on how to apply mindfulness…

Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish

Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish is a lifelong star gazer, Afrofuturist philosopher, dancing mythologist and storyteller, practicing astrologer, social artist and creative ceremonialist. His current project is to utilize the many outer planetary alignments of the 2020’s as occasions to create new holidays and festivals that open spaces for alternative futures and social realities. He serves as an assistant professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Naropa University, focusing on the intersections of equity and sustainability through courses on food and environmental justice. He also teaches foundations in contemplative learning and theory, embodiment, social identity, and conflict transformation. Ramon is committed to community, cultural and…

Rashid Hughes

Rashid Hughes serves as the Lead Facilitator of the Inaugural Cohort of the Howard University Contemplative Justice Fellowship. Rashid is passionate about bridging the worlds of contemplative practice, spirituality, and collective care. He is a proud graduate of the Howard University Department of Music and the Howard University School of Divinity. Rashid is a certified Mindfulness Teacher, a certified Yoga Instructor, a Restorative Justice Facilitator, and is currently in training to become a Fire Pujari. Most recently, Rashid was selected to be a 2022-2024 fellow of the Garrison Institute and was also featured in the new groundbreaking project, gOD-Talk, a project…

Reggie Hubbard

Reggie Hubbard is the founder and Chief Serving Officer of Active Peace. He is a gifted strategist, teacher, and communicator with an innate ability to inspire change and simplify chaos. His work is guided by a commitment to truth-telling, healing, social justice, and holding space for transformation. His contemplative practices have been a refuge of peace and perspective while navigating the stresses of being a black man in the world and serving in pressure-filled jobs. He began yoga and meditation practices under extreme emotional distress at work. Through the blessing of ancestral guidance, consistent practice, and curiosity he offers peace…

Renee Sills

Renee Sills is a second generation astrologer, intuitive, somatic educator and practitioner, and the founder of Embodied Astrology – a community-based, hybrid platform exploring intersectional astrology and the synthesis and application of astrology with other forms of knowledge, healing and creating. The through-lines of their work involve ongoing investigations of inter-relatedness, spirituality, mindfulness, creative agency, and the adaptive processes and queering of human bodies and consciousness in times of apocalypse. Renee’s work weaves together and between the realms of astrology, mysticism, bodywork, healing ritual and participatory art. She seeks to proliferate (through all means possible) accessible, adaptable, embodied practices that…

Rochelle Calvert

Rochelle Calvert has a devoted love to share the power and healing potential of mindfulness, somatic awareness, and nature. She has studied and taught mindfulness for the past 19 years and knows personally the transformational potential. Rochelle currently leads courses and retreats in mindfulness, somatic experiencing, and Awake in the Wild- nature-based mindfulness. She is also the Eco-Therapy director for Southwestern College and New Earth Institue. She is a certified mindfulness teacher with the Mindfulness Teaching Institute and the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. She has also trained and assisted with Mark Coleman and as an Awake in the Wild meditation…

Sarah Heffron

Sarah Heffron, LCSW is a Buddhist Eco-Chaplain, lover of our planet, meditator of 30 years, and licensed clinical therapist dedicated to collectively reckoning with the immense suffering of this time and deepening our capacity for awakening into our fullest potential of wisdom, compassion, and joy amidst it. She has shared meditation and wisdom in the insight tradition for 24 years and has a private therapy practice in Moab, Utah. Mothering, gardening, exploring/hiking, engaging creatively with climate change, learning from Indigenous wisdom and the more than human world, and silence sustain and nourish her purpose.  

Sarah Sampson

Sarah Sampson (she/her) is a social-emotional learning (SEL) educator, mindful movement teacher, ceremonial facilitator, and devoted student of life. Sarah is the founder of Art of the Circle, an organization that provides training and consulting to schools, businesses, and individuals using circling practices based in restorative justice, SEL, and mindfulness. Sarah is also co-founder and director of The Mind Body Ecology Institute. As the former Social-Emotional Learning Facilitator for Keller ISD, she led the implementation of equity-lensed SEL, restorative circles, and mindfulness-based activities in classrooms that serve over 35,000 students. Sarah is Founder and Director of the Dallas Movement Collective…

Susie Harrington

Susie Harrington is the guiding teacher for Desert Dharma and Sky Mind Retreats, teaching both in the Southwest and internationally since 2005. She delights in teaching outdoors, knowing that nature nourishes the heart and inspires wisdom. She encourages, through silence and intimate presence, coming home to our embedded natural aliveness and belonging, and the freedom that is our natural state. Her roots are in the Insight tradition, having trained extensively with Jack Kornfield, Guy Armstrong, and Joseph Goldstein; she is also well practiced in the Tibetan and Diamond Heart traditions as well as in Hakomi Therapy. For more information:


Thanissara is the co-founder and co-guiding teacher of Sacred Mountain Sangha.  She started Buddhist practice in the Burmese school in 1975. She was inspired to ordain after meeting Ajahn Chah and spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun, where she was a founding member of Chithurst Monastery and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in the UK. She has facilitated meditation retreats internationally for the last 30 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from Middlesex University & the Karuna Institute in the UK. With Kittisaro, she co-founded Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat and helped initiate and support several HIV/Aids response projects…

Upasaka Upali

Upasaka Upali is a Dharma teacher who aims to demystify meditation, provide tangible instruction, and create a rewarding experience for practitioners. Upali received transmission in a lineage traced back to the Buddha through Namgyal Rinpoche (Ananda Bodhi), and he took his Upasaka vows in 2015. He has a degree from St. Olaf College and has studied Dharma and meditation with Tucker Peck, Ph.D., and Upasaka Culadasa. Upali was the founding director of Open Dharma Foundation and currently serves as the Board Chair for Center Space, a non-profit community meditation studio. He co-hosts the Teaching Meditation podcast and is a somatic…

Yong Oh

Yong Oh serves as a teacher on the Dharma Council for the Durango Dharma Center and has sat on the board of directors since 2019. He is also a core teacher for Sacred Mountain Sangha. Yong began meditating through the Soto Zen tradition and eventually transitioned to study, practice, and teach in the Insight tradition. He teaches retreats at the Insight Meditation Society, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center, and Big Bear Retreat Center, as well as being a visiting teacher for other community centers across the US and Canada. Yong is a graduate of the 4-year Insight…

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2024 Retreats

Beginner / Beginner’s Mind Silent Meditation Retreat

With Upasaka Upali and Nicoya Helm (Assistant)

May 2 – 5, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
If you have a meditation practice and have wanted to attend a meditation retreat, this long weekend is an excellent fit for first-time retreat goers. It is also open to anyone wanting time to unplug, enjoy Noble Silence, and deepen their meditation practice. The schedule is devoted almost entirely to silent meditation, but there is also time for hiking, one-on-one teacher support from Upali, and Dharma talks in the evenings. All levels of practice experience are welcome. Upali will teach most readily from a Pragmatic Dharma perspective, utilizing his formal training in Shamatha-Vipassana to teach meditative techniques. He also teaches…

SMS Awakening Activism: A Dharma Response to Gaza RETREAT CANCELED

With Thanissara, Elaine Yeh, Djuna Devereaux and Yong Oh

May 6 – 10, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Sacred Mountain Sangha in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Amidst the stark realities of our times, the need for a more resilient, transparent, engaged, and collaborative Dharma culture has been illuminated by the destruction of Gaza. This retreat emerges as a response to this need as a contribution toward its realization. Inspired by the interventions of the Buddha to stop wars and the courageous stands of spiritual movements against political injustices throughout history, we recognize a moral imperative to act and to resist the descent into chaos and the normalization of mass atrocities and extreme violence.cultivate mindful engagement guided by…

Healing, Belonging and Kinning: An Ecodharma Retreat

With Kritee (Kanko), Imtiaz Rangwala and Bianca Acosta

May 14 – 19, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
 Join us at the stunningly pristine and healing Rocky Mountain Ecodharma retreat center for a retreat designed for empowering anyone who cares about the healing and belonging in these wild times of polycrisis (climate, genocidal wars, xenophobia, pollution, rise of fascism and mental health crisis). You could be a community organizer, healer, educator, activist, artist, scientist, journalist, lawyer, author or storyteller working. Through silent meditation, movement/yoga, guided dialogue, a deep grief and rage ceremony, an extended “Solo” time in nature, small affinity group work, and dharma talks by the teachers we will explore how we can deepen our love for…

The Ecology of Self

With Blake Hestir, Sarah Sampson, “Choke” and Alex Julie

May 20 – 25, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
The Ecology of Self is a 6-day, 5-night adventure into deepening our relationship with Mother Earth. Our stories of separation from the Earth and each other are the seeds of the global challenges we face. Together we delve into the dynamic interdependence of self, community, and the living land, framed within a larger conversation about regenerative sustainability, equity, and well-being. Along our journey, we build community, practice nature-centered meditation, explore embodiment practices, enjoy tea ritual and expressive arts, and engage in vibrant discussion. Creating a strong culture of belonging and inclusivity is a crucial part of promoting individual and planetary…

Embracing Eco Dharma as A New Saint

With Lama Rod Owens, Reggie Hubbard, Rashid Hughes and Bhava Jaya

May 25 – 31, 2024
Cal-Wood Retreat Center
In this retreat we will explore themes around climate anxiety, the harm of individual and collective narcissism, connecting to the awakened consciousness of the earth as well as the sky, and developing renewed visions for climate change organizing and activism based on the recognition that all systems of violence intersect with climate change work. We will be relying on Lama Rod’s newest book, The New Saints, along with ancient Buddhist based practices, including mindfulness and tantra, and body-based practices to deepen our understanding of our body’s connection to the earth. This retreat is open to anyone regardless of practice experience.…

Awake in the Wild – Cultivating Awareness, Wisdom and Love in Nature

With Mark Coleman

May 26 – June 1, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Like the Buddha, people for millennia have sought refuge, clarity and wisdom in nature. In this silent, fully outdoor nature retreat, you will meditate in the serenity and beauty of mountains and meadows, while cultivating potent yet accessible sensory awareness practices that open you to insight, interconnection and well-being. This nature immersion provide the perfect antidote to our busy, digital and stressed lives. During the retreat, you will cultivate a receptive, embodied quality of mindful attention. This awareness supports learning from nature’s wisdom teachings on change, letting go, equanimity and sensing intimately ones inter-connection with all life. You will also…

Finding our True Nature in Nature

With Jon Aaron and Ben Connelly

June 3 – 9, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Within the beautiful surroundings of RMERC, and with the power of meditating in nature, we may discover our true nature. Let us cultivate a joy that supports facing the uncertainties of this world and the arising of appropriate response. This retreat brings together different traditions of Buddhist practice, integrating Insight and early Mahayana practices by drawing deeply from Yogacara’s Three Natures teachings. Held by the mountains, forest, and stream, supported by the container of noble silence, we will spend most of our time outside in the meadows and forests of the center.

Natural Awareness and Wisdom:Exploring Mindfulness in Nature

With Dave Smith

June 10 – 17, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
During this retreat we will explore the Four Foundations of Mindfulness with an emphasis on developing continuity of wise awareness as taught by Burmese master Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Instructions will emphasize the Buddha’s teachings on view, attitude and qualities of mind that support a relaxed and alert awareness throughout all activities. Through the development of a sustained and kind awareness we come to meet ourselves and the world with presence, ease and wisdom, naturally establishing the clear seeing and collectedness of mind that are the hallmarks of liberating insight. The retreat will be conducted in noble silence and will follow…

Belonging to Each Other: Falling in Love with Mother Earth Together – An Ecodharma Retreat for People of Color

With Kritee (Kanko), Kaira Jewel Lingo, Imtiaz Rangwala, Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, Bianca Acosta and Asia Whitlock

June 18 – 23, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Join us at the stunningly pristine and healing Rocky Mountain Ecodharma retreat center for a retreat designed for empowering anyone who cares about the healing and belonging in these wild times of polycrisis (climate, genocidal wars, xenophobia, pollution, rise of fascism and mental health crisis). You could be a community organizer, healer, educator, activist, artist, scientist, journalist, lawyer, author or storyteller working on climate and social justice. Through silent meditation, movement/yoga, guided dialogue, a deep grief and rage ceremony, an extended “Solo” time in nature, small affinity group work, and dharma talks by the teachers we will explore how we…

Meditation, Embodiment and Awakening in Nature

With Peter Williams and Carla Brennan

June 24 – 30, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
This retreat explores the rejuvenating power of deep connection with nature through meditation. When we connect with the simplicity of our senses in outdoor meditation, our minds get quiet and we marvel at the ordinary wonders around us – the spray of colors in a field of mountain flowers, a dewdrop on the tip of an aspen leaf, clouds scudding across the high peaks. Practicing in nature connects us with our care for the world. As a group, we will explore our gratitude for the natural world, our grief for our impact on it, and how to make engaging with…

Pachamama Medicina: An Ecodharma Retreat for Indigenous-descendant Womxn

With Bianca Acosta, Andrea Valeska and Kritee (Kanko)

July 3 – 7, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
In Indigenous cosmology, womxn are at the center of the healing of people and land. By healing the womxn, we heal families, communities and our sacred lands.  This four day retreat for womxn descendants of indigenous peoples will provide space for participants to gather, share and practice Earth-based ancestral ways of healing. The leaders of this retreat believe in Land rematriation as a powerful way to heal our hearts and land from centuries of colonization. They view rematriation as a return to our Mother Earth, a restoration of symbiotic balance among all living things, and a return to Indigenous ways…

Exploring Ecodharma: a Deep Experience in Nature

With Johann Robbins, David Loy, Rochelle Calvert and Cornelia Santschi

July 19 – 28, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $105.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until May 4, 2024.
This ten day retreat is a deep dive into being, in nature, abiding silently, joining inner nature with outer nature, and dissolving separation. Each day includes plentiful time for sitting, hiking/walking meditation, as well as meditation instruction, dharma talks, and small group ecodharma exploration. There will be a two night solo opportunity during the retreat, which is an incredible highlight. The overall intention is for deep silence, practice, and the joy and healing that comes with a profound connection with nature. This will be supported by instruction in a variety of nature meditation practices. There will be nightly campfire dharma…

NEW!! Transformation in Nature: a Supported Solo Retreat

With Johann Robbins and Cornelia Santschi

July 30 – August 3, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $45.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until May 8, 2024.
If you have been wanting to do a longer solo retreat in nature, but were daunted by the logistics, or uncertain about how to spend your time or what to bring, this retreat makes all of that simple. Solo nature practice is an incredibly powerful way to realize who we truly are, to touch into being, and the reality of non-separation that brings. When we hang out in a beautiful spot for days, being aware, peaceful, and still, this calms and reassures the wildlife that usually try and avoid humans, and they come and visit, sometimes for hours. This opens…

Nonduality in Nature: The Direct Path of Beauty and Love

With Johann Robbins and Caverly Morgan

August 4 – 10, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $70.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until May 20, 2024.
Our true being is awareness and love. This peace and happiness, which we all long for, underlies the ceaseless striving of the limited sense of self, or ego. Being in nature allows us to easily relax, and come into presence with the beauty around us, and the appreciation, gratitude and love that arises in response. Being in the mountains in the soft gentle time of high summer, with green meadows, alive forests, abundant wildflowers, high peaks adorned with snowy caps, the running creek, and all the birds, moose, deer, elk, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and others, is an ideal place and…

Touching the Earth

With Susie Harrington and Denise Ackert

August 12 – 19, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Do you long to embody the ease, freedom, and aliveness that is your true home? To do so, the Buddha implored us to “go to the forest, to the foot of a tree” as an onward leading condition for awakening to our true nature. In this home of spruce forests, alpine meadows, birdsong, and wandering moose, we practice immersed in the natural world. And we explore opening ourselves to the beauty, inter-connectedness, and preciousness of our true nature. During this retreat, we’ll be encouraged to look out and around, as well as inward, and to delight in what we see.…

Deepen Your Connection to the Web of Life

With Rochelle Calvert and Piero Falci

August 20 – 25, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $50.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 5, 2024.
Gain a profound understanding of your inner connection to the natural world through insightful dharma teachings, immersive nature experiences and heartfelt reflective inquiry. This is an opportunity to explore the understanding of deep ecology, foster a sense of reverence for the Earth and empower yourself to become an active participant in its healing and preservation. Through the profound power of nature-centered mindfulness and somatic healing this retreat is designed to awaken vitality with life and rekindle your connection to the world around you. Through a harmonious blend of guided practices, mindful explorations of nature, and gentle somatic healing techniques, you…

Gratitude, Joy and Deep Belonging

With Peter Williams and Dave Smith

August 26 – September 1, 2024
Book now and get $65.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 11, 2024.
This retreat emphasizes the ability of meditation in nature to ease the mind into silence, happiness, and deep belonging. With much of the retreat happening outdoors, participants will become aware of all their senses and learn to appreciate the simple joys the earth is always offering. Gratitude becomes a natural state of mind. As practice deepens, one will gain insight into the fundamental truths, such as impermanence and interdependence, that lead to inner peace. The retreat will be held in silence with periods of sitting and walking meditation, movement practices, as well as mindful hiking on the stunning land of…

Deepening Your Practice: A Meditation Retreat for Experienced Practitioners

With David Chernikoff

September 2 – 8, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $60.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 18, 2024.
This retreat is for those who want to deepen their practice and to listen to what the Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah called “the one who knows.” Ultimately, spiritual maturation involves learning to trust our own inner guidance and resting in the felt realization that we already have what we seek and we already are what we wish to become. In a caring, supportive environment, we’ll practice sitting and walking meditation in silence. There will be dharma talks on the retreat theme as well as guided meditations and some interactive exercises that highlight the transformative power of the teachings. This retreat is designed for…

SoulFire Murmuration

With Carol Kortsch and Jade Sherer

September 11 – 15, 2024
Rocky Mountain Eco-dharma Retreat Center
Book now and get $45.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 27, 2024.
This retreat is intentionally intergenerational for all women who identify with the Earth community and are open to exploring your true essence through your connection with Mother Nature.  We are calling you personally back to the circle.  We welcome all those who have attended our SoulFire gatherings or other nature-based retreats and who long for more opportunity to listen deeply. We intend to create a murmuration in our unity, growing our individual and collective strength.  Thus, discovering an emergent wisdom so needed in the world.  Studies of murmuration have shown that a single starling responds to seven of its closest…

Cultivating the Courageous Heart

With Jean Leonard and Sarah Heffron

September 17 – 22, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $55.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jul 3, 2024.
Daily we are faced with our growing vulnerability and the challenges of being alive in this complex world, as well as possibilities for transformation, personally and collectively.  More than ever, we are seeing our common humanity and how interdependent we are with each other and the more than human world. This is an opportunity to meet the moment, ourselves, and one another with care, clarity and compassion. Courage is described as “the ability to do something that frightens one” and “strength in the face of pain or grief.”   Cultivating the Brahma Viharas – the heart qualities of kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity – develops the…

Silence, Stillness and Concentration

With Barry Gillespie

September 23 – 29, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $55.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jul 9, 2024.
A traditional Theravada silent mindfulness retreat with emphasis on stillness, concentration and continuity of practice, leading participants to a spacious stillness of mind, a radiant calm. There will be regular seated and walking practice, daily meditation instruction, evening dharma talks, an optional daily gentle yoga class, individual practice meetings and time every day to hike/walk in the beautiful natural world surrounding the retreat center. All of the teachings will be based directly on the Buddha’s teachings found in the Pali Canon, in particular in the Satipatthana Sutta.

ArtLife – Awakening Original Creativity

With Jane Seaton

October 2 – 6, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
It is becoming ever more urgent to break free from the old paradigms strangling our world.  How are we each called to contribute, from our hearts and with our myriad skills, to no less than radically heal and evolve beyond this fractured reality?  Whether as contemplatives, healers, visionaries or social activists, our natural creative gifts support fulfilling our true life purpose. During this retreat, we’ll go on intuitively guided and sometimes marvelously surprising creative adventures. No prior art making experience is needed to engage with and be nourished by participating in this program. The kind of creativity that we will…

Zen and Ecodharma Retreat (Sesshin)

With Kritee (Kanko) and Imtiaz Rangwala

October 8 – 13, 2024
This silent retreat is for participants who want to learn about Zen tradition and deepen their surrender to the “Enlightened Mind”. Our sangha takes a trauma informed approach to healing, awakening and changemaking. As a result, at our retreats, we combine practices from the ancient tradition of Rinzai Zen with our current understanding of what individuals need to face and release our trauma. Each day will include indoor zazen (seated meditation), outdoor meditation (by trees, bonfire or flowing water), kinhin (group walking meditation), deep abdominal chanting, opportunities to share our experience with other participants, a talk at the interface of…

Deepening Kinship: Exploring the Intersections of Queerness, Ecology & Dharma

With Kirsten Rudestam, Emerson James and Jean Leonard

October 15 – 20, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $55.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jul 31, 2024.
As practices, kinship and queer ecology can help us get in closer touch with the truth of who we truly are, as well as strengthen our inherent connection with the more-than-human world. In queer ecology, at the scale of the individual, to be queer is to be mutable; queerness signifies that which is unfixed and in a constant process of becoming. At the scale of the collective, queerness is relational, symbiotic and supportive.* In this retreat we apply these lenses of kinship and queer ecology to explore the paramitas, a set of 10 qualities or perfections of character, that, once…

The Body of Stars: Exploring Embodiment, Earth & Purpose through Astrology

With Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, Renee Sills and Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish

October 24 – 27, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
PRIVATE RETREAT Exploring to Embodiment, Earth & Purpose through Astrology Astrology is a symbolic language that helps us attune with our intuition, open the gates of our imagination and live with a sense of inspiration, presence and purpose. As a model for complex systems thinking and mind-body coherence and integration that predates and underlies many forms of science and psychology, astrology goes far beyond the simplicity of “sun signs.” In this retreat, participants will explore astrology as a spiritual and contemplative method. We’ll engage with charts, signs and symbolism, to develop greater self and relational awareness; connect with our physical…

Awakening the Heart of Love; Walking the Path of the Bodhisattva

With Heidi Bourne and Laurie Cousins

November 5 – 10, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $60.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Aug 21, 2024.
The path of the Bodhisattva asks us to dedicate ourselves to the well-being of all sentient beings – to show up as best as we can for ourselves, each other, and the natural world with a quality of no-matter-whatness. It’s an impossible though necessary task. Drawing on the teachings of the Buddha, our retreat focuses on cultivating the capacity to skillfully navigate our everyday lives with a steady receptive mind and a courageous wise heart. Held in peaceful noble silence throughout the retreat, our practices include foundational and transformative guidance on lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Please join us as…


NOTE: The first and last days of back-to-back bookings overlap by one day.

That is, you can check in the same day as another party is checking out, or you can check out the same day as another party is checking in. Check-out time is 11 AM, and check-in time is 1 PM (disregard times on the calendar).

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