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In our increasingly fast-paced, technological world, developing and deepening “Embodied Heartfelt Awareness” has become one of the most important challenges or “dharmas of our times.”

The retreat, taking place July 6th to July 9th, 2017 and led by teachers Heather Sundberg and Ronya Banks, will allow us to dive into the direct experience of a sense of embodiment. We will cultivate the awakened qualities of the heart, amidst the present-day world of complexity and reactivity. We will also awaken a mature awareness that will serve us as a reliable refuge, allowing us to achieve the mindful wisdom of letting go.

About the Retreat

This silent residential retreat takes place over a period of four days and three nights. The daily schedule involves periods of sitting and walking meditation, with a focus on cultivating “embodied presence”. The teachers will offer dharma talks and meetings with participants. There will also be optional Mindful Movement practice, which includes simple Qi Gong.

The retreat is appropriate for those who are new to retreat practice as well as for those with more experience. All are welcome.

The Teachers

Heather Sundberg

Heather Sundberg has taught Insight Meditation since 1999 and has completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Senior Teacher Training. She began meditating in her late teens, and has studied for the last 25 years with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions. For the last 20 years, she has spent 1-3 months/year in silent retreat.

Heather was the Spirit Rock Family & Teen Program Teacher & Manager for a decade. Between 2010- 2015, she spent a year’s worth of time in study, practice, and pilgrimage in Asia. Since 2011, she has been a teacher at Mountain Stream Meditation Center and its sister communities in the California Sierra Foothills.

Heather teaches retreats nationally and internationally and has a long-term connection with Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Her teaching emphasizes Awakening through the Body (First Foundation Mindfulness), the Heart Practices (Divine Abodes), and Awareness Practices, taken from the Thai forest tradition. For more information about Heather, visit

Ronya Banks
Ronya Banks

Ronya Banks has been a veteran of daily meditation practice for the past 31 years. She has been teaching Insight Meditation for the past 10 years, and she was trained in the Spirit Rock/IMS “Community Dharma Leader” training program. Over the span of many years, she has sat on numerous meditation retreats with over 30 different Vipassana teachers from all over the world.

In 2010, Ronya Banks became the founder and lead teacher of Asheville Insight Meditation, a thriving Insight spiritual community in Asheville, North Carolina. She has led several AIM silent residential meditation retreats in the Southeast USA. Her eclectic, easy-going teaching style is characterized by her love for intensive practice and the vast body of Theravada Buddhist teachings. Read more about Ronya »

Retreat Details
Heartwood Refuge

The retreat will be held at the beautiful Heartwood Refuge Retreat Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The retreat center offers both single occupancy and double occupancy rooms.

  • Meals: Vegetarian. Inquire about any food restriction needs via the contact information below.
  • Linens: Provided.
Registration Fee

The cost is for room and board only. The payment of the teacher is dana-based through your generosity.

Payment plans are available for those with financial need. Both credit cards and checks are accepted.

  • Double occupancy: $195
  • Single occupancy: $255

You may register and pay for the retreat by visiting the Retreat Calendar page at Heartwood Refuge’s website. Scroll down to the July 6th entry for the Embodied Heartfelt Awareness retreat and click on that entry, then click on the “Register” button on the pop-up page. REGISTER NOW »

**Note**: Our last retreat filled up very quickly, so register early to ensure your spot.


For more information or assistance, contact Darlene at

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