Holiday Retreat with Nick Herzmark & S'akti Rose

December 24, 2019 – January 1, 2020

We are pleased to again offer our Holiday Retreat in the tradition of our founder, Ruth Denison. It is a special time for old and new sangha to gather and to practice together in the spirit of celebration of the Dharma and the holiday season. A traditional time to Retreat inward. Slowing down, becoming calmer and clearer.

Once again, the retreat will be co-taught by Nick Herzmark and Sakti Rose, senior teachers in Ruth’s tradition. All sessions will be conducted according to a unique teaching style refined and perfected by Ruth herself, one that emphasizes attention to the outer, inner and innermost life of the body and its ever-changing sensations. This method of practice offers students a way to stay connected to the experiential truth of Anicca-- Change itself within each present moment.

This retreat will once again introduce Satipatthana (Four foundations of Mindfulness) practice. An ancient teaching which leads to deep release and freedom by simply using mindfulness - attention to the breath, body and mind to liberate the Heart. In the spirit of the holiday time, practices of lovingkindness and compassion are offered to renew our spiritual and personal connections to life as it is. Continuing with Ruth’s tradition, the retreat will begin with our sacred celebration and culminate in our untraditional New Year’s Eve fire ceremony and ringing in of the New Year – to mark the arising and passing of all phenomena.

Please join us in (mostly) silent community of peace, love and deep inquiry. Invoking the attitude of lovingkindness coupled with the deep silence and beauty of the desert. Our holiday mission is to more fully accept ourself, release pain, confusion and recover our true Nature.

Costs & Fees

Residential sliding scale: $360 - $520 for full retreat

Non-residential sliding scale: $240 - $360 for full retreat

Includes accommodation and three vegetarian meals daily

Housing is simple, most in double-occupancy rooms; all meals are vegetarian with vegan & gluten-free options.

Dhamma Dena is committed to building accessibility by supporting all those who want to come to the center, no matter what their economic status.

According to the ancient tradition of dana, those who carry on the teachings of the Buddha are supported through the generosity of the community; thus dana to support the teachers, manager and cook at Dhamma Dena may be offered at the conclusion of the retreat.

Work exchange & scholarships available according to need, upon request. Due to our current focus on overdue repair and maintenance we ask those who need financial assistance pay at least $10 per day to cover our food costs. A deposit is required to reserve your spot. If this is a hardship please contact us.

If you are able to pay more in order to cover the costs of someone who is not able to, this is very much appreciated. Payment can come in as many installments as is necessary.


  1. Fill out registration form (please click on the box to the right to take you to the registration form).
  2. Pay for the retreat using the link to the right or send a check to the address below. Please do not use our email address to pay through PayPal directly.

The registration form AND online donation (or check) must BOTH be filled out for your registration to be processed. If you have not done both then you are not registered.

Dhamma Dena, PO Box 183, Joshua Tree, CA 92252.

Your Registration is not confirmed until we receive your donation. Your donation is also non-refundable if you cancel within 2 weeks of the retreat except under extreme circumstances.

Within 2 weeks after the receipt of your donation you will be sent a confirmation letter containing all the essential details about the retreat.

Refund, Waitlist and Transfer Policy


If you are applying for a scholarship, we also encourage you to apply for support from The Open Dharma Foundation. They have scholarships of $300 that can be used for tuition, dana for teachers, transportation costs, or anything else that would inhibit you from attending the retreat. Let us know if you are planning on applying, and we can write a letter of support for you. Scholarship applications are reviewed each month on the 15th so please plan accordingly.


Dāna (दान) is a Sanskrit and Pali word connoting the virtue of generosity, charity or giving of alms. The teachings, valuable beyond measure, are offered out of generosity.

Your registration cost covers food and lodging only. According to the ancient tradition of dana those who carry on the teachings of the Buddha are supported through the generosity of the community; thus dana to support the teachings may be offered at the conclusion of the retreat.

Dāna offerings to teachers and staff are gratefully received. They rely on these voluntary financial contributions given to them by participants.

About the Instructors

Sakti Rose, MA, SEP

As in my clinical practice of several decades, I trained and am passionate both as a Naropa trained Contemplative Psychotherapist and as a Somatic Experiencing trauma therapist. This work couples my enthusiasm for healing the mind and the body both thru sensory awareness in the body’s movement joined with my personal dharma practice of 40 years. Meditation in this desert setting has always allowed me a safe space to unwind, settle onto the earth, and listen to the heart of peace, joy and moment to moment awareness happening in the here and now. Our bodies hold the keys to the dharma flowering if we only take the time to listen.

As Ruth often quoted from D.H. Lawrence, “My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than the intellect. The body - unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos. “

Nick Herzmark, MFT

Over 25 years ago, I began to bring mindfulness into my clinical therapy practice. In the early days, the idea of mindfulness was new in therapy yet from my long study and practice of vipassana it seemed important to integrate the wisdom of this teaching into the Western model of Mind and psychotherapy. Just bringing in the practice of non-judgemental observing greatly enhances most psychotherapy approaches.

45 years ago, while still living in Hawaii I met my teacher, Ruth Denison. She had a profound impact on my life. Her very being seemed to express power, kindness and a direct understanding of life. She was grounded in her body and was able to convey profound truths to many of us that she met. She taught me how to connect deeply with the flow of life through my own body. Through the four foundations of mindfulness and her profound wisdom she inspired me in creating a clinical practice based on Buddha’s unique path. Now it is commonplace for therapists to include mindfulness. Ruth was always a pioneer on the buddhist path with her unique style and understanding. Although not fully appreciated in the early days, today most vipassana teachers honor her for her then unique teaching style, using mindful dance, chanting, somatic movement, all in the service of mindfulness. It is a unique priviledge to offer what was passed along to me all these years later here at DD. I hope during this upcoming holiday retreat, to be able to share some of her wisdom with you.