Return to your Source: A collaborative retreat of Tantric Hatha and Budokon
In yoga, we use the body to connect back with the breath (asana), the breath to connect back with the mind (pranayama) and finally the mind to connect back to Source (meditation). The collaboration of different styles of yoga allows us to add another dimension to our practice; stepping out of our comfort zone and into opportunities where we can find out who we truly are.
We got in touch with yoga instructors, Chrissie Chung and Sam Vietri, to hear all about their collaboration of Tantric Hatha and Budokon in their upcoming yoga retreat in Cape Town!
Tell me a bit about yourselves; your yoga background, qualifications and how you two met.
Chrissie: My first training was in May 2015 in Ashtanga Vinyasa. It was the mark of my life moving in a new direction, that has been perhaps one of the most fulfilling decisions I’ve ever made. Since then I’ve completed another 200hr in Hatha, a level 1 Yin training, Yoga Nidra immersion and have just signed up for another 200hr in February of next year. That’s the beauty of this tradition - it’s vast & intricate & nuanced through the many different lineages, that you will forever be a student and this sets my soul on fire. I met Sam through the journey - she was actually one of my students. You know how some people shine like the sun - that’s Sam.
Sam: The start of a practice in 2012 led me to where I am today. I knew then and there it was part of my purpose. In 2016 I did a 200h Ashtanga Vinyasa training in India, Yin Yoga training in Ireland and a deep 5 day Budokon TTC with Cameron Shayne - which is the style I will be teaching on this retreat. I am dedicated to a life of self-study, deepening knowledge & self-practice. Changing, shifting, shedding as the days go by so that I may keep giving from the source. My experience with Chrissie as my teacher and friend is life changing. Her way of expressing & sharing passion is inspiring. Chrissies cup overflows!
How did you choose the styles of Hatha and Budokon? Although most practitioners are familiar with Hatha, Budokon is a fairly new style. How will you be integrating the different styles into the weekend?
The styles we chose for the retreat speak as a reflection to what we are passionate about within our own practices. We’re very much of the opinion to “practice what you preach” so what we’re teaching will generally be the methods & experiences we embody within our own daily devotion to yoga.
The styles won’t be integrated into each other as such - rather the guests will experience the magic that each has to offer, separately over the course of the week with the intention to guide them into a deeper understanding of the two.
Chrissie, How would you explain the style of Traditional Tantric Hatha?
Hatha through the lens/ tradition of Tantra, is about using the wisdom of yoga in a scientific manner to experience a practice that will continue to help us expand and evolve into a deeper understanding of our purpose and spiritual capacity. It’s like removing the layers of our past experiences in order to return to the truest version of ourselves; a relearning of who we were when we first arrived in this physical body.
The asana is simple & direct with a much greater focus on breath and skilful cultivation of energy. It’s less about perfecting shape and really more about knowing what those shapes do, how they impact your physiology, your energy and your mind - shifting the focus from form to function so that the true magic of the yoga tradition begins to reveal itself to you. You’ll find Hatha less fluid around the mat, with a greater emphasis on exploring breath patterns, bandhas and a deep focus on the specific vayus (direction of energy within the body) whilst giving a lot of space & permission for stillness, in order to feel and sensitise yourself to this energy.
Sam, How would you explain the style of Budokon?
Budokon is graceful and strong. Rewire the way you move and think. Moving through to a single pointed practice. The primary series teaches us to embrace change, even invite it in, so that we can unravel ourselves through movement. Shedding and shifting through the stories we’ve become.
A complete strip down to our raw, free, playful sense of being. Simple calisthenics, animal locomotives, flowing shapes and complete focus - a connection to how you were made to move.
The journey is deeply rooted in the smooth transitions towards & into the peak of your shape. Dancing deeply and slowly between rolling breaths. Connecting each part of you as you play between strength & softness, effort & surrender.
How do you find these two styles to be complimentary when it comes to your theme of "Returning to the source”
Both styles are asking us to burn through the limitations that hold us back - the samskaras/negative thought patterns that blind us from seeing and harnessing our full power - just in different but equally beautiful manners.
They work us in a different nature but each experience draws you into a space of deep embodiment and connection back to yourself - you feel complete, whole.
You are incorporating a variety of practices into your retreat (asana, meditation, mantra, pranayama). In your opinion, how do all of these aspects come together to create that luminous state of being that you are talking about in the retreat details :)
We need the magic of all of these tools to move past this idea of yoga as just a physical practice and into an understanding of the depth of its reach and the quality of illumination/awakening that’s possible.
We’re offering a step into that next layer by presenting the different dimensions of practice in an invitation to turn inwards - an opportunity to find out who you are, to remember your purpose in life and to unveil the mystery of what it means to be a full person, and to live a full life. These practices need to be felt, to be put into play, and then you start to taste the luminous potential that is an innate part of your being.
It’s about returning to the essence of yoga and in doing so, a sweet return to source.
. What brought about the thought of hosting a retreat in Noordhoek?
This is our first retreat, so it’s very special for us.
It all felt very organic - and it was just one of those many moments where we were completely in sync - one of those ideas that had fire & substance. There is just something magical about our city that I feel needs to be shared. I can’t help wanting to show it off to the world! We wanted to be able to give people a taste of culture as well as sharing a yoga experience.
Tell me a bit about the accommodation and the venue and why you chose Noordhoek.
There is an indescribable peace and tranquility about Noordhoek. Surrounded by the mountains where we find our stability and a stone throw away from the cleansing effect of the ocean. The views and the vibrant, yet simple, village life.
The accommodation has the essence of luxury whilst still maintaining the warmth of home. The decor is simple and elegant. It has soft and enchanting feel. With only 5 rooms the week promises to be deliciously intimate. Our food is vegan and here to create the ultimate taste sensation! 3 meals a day, lovingly made by Sam’s mom & sister to fully complete this nourishing experience.
Give a few highlights of what your guests can expect on the retreat (not in terms of inclusions, but rather unique experiences that they can take away from the weekend.
A compassionately planted seed that brings you a sense of self awareness, a self practice that you can take with you anywhere and the knowledge of the subtle beauty and understanding of energy work. Sharing exercises to move and shift into a deeper acceptance & knowing of you.
This week will be about giving our guests tools and space to reconnect and reflect on their life & desires. Journaling/ writing exercises that speak to the power of our thoughts and manifestation. A workshop that touches on purpose through the lens of Samkyha philosophy. Ultimately, a place for our guests to soften into the unique being of who they truly are and to do that they must courageously let go of what they’re not; this can only happen when the time is taken to turn in and see.
There will be a Kinesiologist available to help work through any issues that may arise.
What is your favourite philosophy or mantras when it comes to yoga?
Chrissie: “Do yoga, in order to know what to do when you’re not doing yoga” Our practice speaks to how we live our lives off the mat - do the work on the mat so we can move with more grace in our ever-changing world.
Om Namoh Narayani - an invocation to the divine mother who is a part of us all
Sam: Live simply. My favorite mantras are Ara Kara - the mantra of manifestation and Ananda Ham - I am pure bliss. Repeating mantras connect me to my deepest, truest desires.