La Casa de Loto is a Meditation and Yoga Retreat Center, high up in the magical Colombian mountains, founded and run by Pema Tsering. Here we offer you daily guided meditations, yoga classes, question and answer rounds, freshly cooked organic food, clean and comfortable accommodations, and a variety of optional massages and treatments. Our guests come here for many reasons, but they all amount to essentially the same thing — wanting a more easeful relationship with life. Our experienced teachers and staff and the beautiful nature surroundings create the ideal conditions for you to turn inward, let go of stress, and to reconnect to the essence of life, where lasting happiness can be found. You will find us only 1 hour away from Medellin City, and 40 minutes from its international airport MDE/JMC.
At the heart of all our programs are the Buddhist and Vedic practices of samatha meditation (calming the mind), vipassana meditation (special insight into the nature of phenomena), and a daily 90 minute yoga asana and pranayama class, to relax and strengthen your mind and body. To support your stay and cultivate more self-awareness, we also imply a practice of noble silence for five days each week from Sunday after the introduction session until Friday afternoon. All doubts can be cleared up in our daily question and answer rounds, which take place after the guided meditation.
Each Sunday we receive visitors from all over the world to attend our retreats and enjoy the restful and spiritual atmosphere of the place and its surroundings. Absolutely all who want to learn how to practice, or deepen their practice, are happily welcome to join us. For beginners, we recommend you to start with a one or two week stay. All who have established a daily meditation practice already can apply for longer stays.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” — H.H. The Dalai Lama
TEACHERS & PRACTICES
Pema is a Buddhist Dzogchen and Yoga practitioner and teacher. He mainly follows the teachings of Dudjom Lingpa and the non-sectarian Khyentse (Wisdom-Compassion) lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
Very early in his childhood Pema lost both of his parents. Meanwhile, all of the wealth they had left for him by will was stolen by others in his family while he was still young. As a teenager and into his mid-twenties, he struggled with this betrayal and loss while pursuing a career as a professional musician, but eventually developed addiction problems and an unsustainable lifestyle.
All of this led Pema to the edge of suicide. One night, just a moment before jumping out of a seventh floor window into a stinky, grey backyard in Berlin, he had a flash of insight which encouraged him to step away from the ledge. This was the decisive moment which led him to understand the nature of mind, and the art of just being. Soon after this experience he gave away all of his belongings and went to live and study with various lamas and yogis, first in Berlin and then around the world, including two years spent in Tibetan Buddhist schools and monasteries, and a one year mindfulness meditation and yoga teacher training in Colombia.
For the rest of this life Pema wants to stay on retreat and share the precious teachings and practices which he had received with others.
SAMATHA & VIPASSANA
Buddhism addresses two major types of meditation. They are different mental skills, modes of functioning or qualities of consciousness. In Pali, the original language of Theravada literature, they are called Vipassana and Samatha.
Vipassana can be translated as “Special Insight,” a clear awareness of exactly what is happening as it happens. Samatha can be translated as “concentration” or “calm abiding.” It is a state in which the mind is brought to rest, focused only on one item and not allowed to wander. When this is done, a deep calm pervades body and mind, a state of tranquility which must be experienced to be understood.
At La Casa De Loto we teach you the two techniques and how to apply them from the point of view of Dzogchen (The Great Perfection). This way of practice teaches us how to break out of our mental prison, the monkey-mind, and come to see our true nature, life just as it is - an uncontrived, natural, spontaneous flow of pure awareness, the Buddha.
Hatha yoga can be translated as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), and "union" (yoga), the practice of finding union through balance. Hatha mostly is composed of various ancient physical exercises which combine teachings related to asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) in order to bring our mind and body into union. These practices support and prepare us for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation.
At La Casa de Loto the focus in our yoga classes is on proper alignment like it was taught by B.K.S. Iyengar, and on the breath, trying to create a flow of energy to help release mental and physical blockages and pains. All our classes are taught by Maria Mercedes Lopez. She lives, studies and practices Yoga for more than 30 years, and lived as a nun in a buddhist Temple in Thailand for over a year. She is a real Yogi who will teach you authentic yoga.