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Image by Manuel Meurisse

Touching into Self Liberated Essence


The practice of dark retreat, yangti yoga in sanskrit, is a profound form of thögal meditation which engages the experience of darkness to transform our relationship to the way we experience appearance and directly understand our true, awakened nature. The use of darkness within human spirituality extends across many cultures. Our approach to dark retreat is connected to forms of practice that were inspired by the 15th century yangti yoga master, Dungtso Repa, the later who revealed an important cycle of yangti yoga practice.


The practice of dark retreat within this context is a ‘leap -over’ practice in the sense that it affords the practitioner the opportunity for an experience that is rich, clear and dynamically confirms a greater understanding of the nature of our minds.

In the style of many great realized masters of the past and present time, our approach to practice and inclusivity is non-sectarian, or rimé (Tib. རིས་མེད་) in nature. We have a foundational commitment to inclusivity, as such are committed to working with practitioners of various backgrounds and lineages.

  • How do I prepare for a dark retreat?
    Try to show up to a dark retreat in such a way that you are relaxed and at ease. It is worth trying to get a good night’s rest for a few days before - we are all generally busier than we think, and sometimes we don’t realize this until we are able to stop and in this case be in darkness for some time. An easeful, intentionally relaxed approach will definitely help you open up to the subtle nature of this type of experience. A stable basis in Trekchö and/or Mahamudra is very important as well which is why Yantgi Yoga Retreat Center offers supportive programming as a way to help people prepare for dark retreat. Generally, the longer the retreat the more stability one should have with respect to practices like Mahamudra and Trekchö - these practices serve as a skillful foundation that will enable the practitioner to have a stable basis for practice as well as the ideal context. You will be asked to provide a description of your history of meditation practice - this will allow us to assist in addressing any supplementary preparatory training that may be helpful and wise. Dark retreat can be transformational for practitioners, and this is especially true for those who have a clear understanding of how these practices support and augment a pre-existing relationship to open awareness practices. Before you begin a retreat with us we will meet with you to discuss these issues in detail and if needed, offer supportive preparatory training as an additional support.
  • What can I expect during the course of a dark retreat?
    In short, it is always difficult to predict what one might experience during a retreat of this nature. Sometimes the length of the retreat has an impact, at other times what it is that we are experiencing leading up to the retreats can impact the nature of the experience. Since we are not always used to this type of experience, especially being in the dark for extended periods of time, try to be curious around what comes up for you. If possible, try to enter into this without too many preconceived ideas so that you can open to experiencing the unexpected through your senses and your mind. Quite often these retreats are very visual and so, despite being in darkness, it is not uncommon to have visions and a variety of experiences of peace, easefulness and increased awareness. At other times these retreats can be difficult – when these situations arise try to relax and let the difficulties pass.
  • Because we will be in complete darkness if there is an emergency how will we know what to do?
    We have carefully planned these retreats and will always have people on site and at the ready in the unlikely event that an emergency situation arises. Lama Justin will always be on the property when dark retreats are in process and will also be available to address any serious issue that may occur. We have practical systems in place that we will explain in person. Everyone has the ability to break retreat if things get too difficult. Additionally, as part of the larger application process you will be asked to provide the contact information for an emergency contact, your doctor and or therapist so that in the event of an emergency as much possible support can be offered.
  • What mindset, or perspective should I bring to this?
    Try not to prejudge what you think the experience should be. Being in darkness can be challenging when we are anxious, in a difficult place with respect to our emotions or when we are sick. As you prepare for a retreat like this take some time to feel into whether being in darkness would be a challenge for you. If it feels like something that will be worthwhile, then try to show up with an open, easy attitude and begin to explore your curiosity as the retreat begins.
Image by Manuel Meurisse

"Rest like the immovable, stable mountains, like the still and limpid sea. Rest like the limitless sky – whatever may abide, whatever may arise, rest in primordial awareness and it’s radiance."


APPLICATION of interest in Dark retreat

Thank you for your interest in visiting the Yangti Yoga Retreat Center. This application is a preliminary request to submit interest in scheduling a Dark Retreat, based on the application one may expect further screening and interview prior to retreat. Please note that our center is in the initial stage of preparing for retreat guests and will begin hosting guests for retreat starting late fall of 2024. Following submission of this application you will be contacted regarding next steps and timeline

Thank you for your submission! You will be contacted by a memeber of our team regarding next steps

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