2023 Queer Retreat: Attuning to Our Powers - the Five Spiritual Faculties as a Path to Liberation

A Residential & Online Retreat with Leslie Booker, Ian Challis and Jacoby Ballard

Oct 15 - Oct 21, 2023  |  Self-retreat: Oct 22 - 28, 2023

Note: This retreat is currently full with a long waiting list

One of the greatest vehicles for spiritual growth in the Buddha's teaching is through the refuge of sangha (sacred spiritual community). Mindful practice with friends along the path can bless and enrich our hearts and minds and bless our communities.

Faith, Energy, Mindfulness, Concentration, and Wisdom, are the Five Spiritual Faculties  offered by the Buddha as a deep and powerful framework for supporting our practice. With cultivation, these 5 emerge into powers that enrich and deepen our spiritual lives and support us for the complex and interdependent lives we live.

In this silent retreat we will come together as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Gender Expansive, and 2 Spirit Folk and other family on the gender and sexual spectrum to practice the Buddha's liberating path of the Five Faculties. Through daily instruction, personal practice, on land affinity groups, daily movement offerings, and group interviews - we will practice ways for us to do the work of living in a world so in need of love and wise responsiveness.

This is the 7th iteration of the annual Dhamma Dena Queer Retreat created by Queer Dharma elder Arinna Weisman in 2017. Past co-teachers of this retreat, Leslie Booker and Ian Challis, honor their friend and mentor’s love and care of our community and are grateful for the opportunity to continue this work with the support of movement and dharma teacher Jacoby Ballard.

Disability Accommodations via Zoom

This retreat will hold 12 spaces to accommodate those unable to be on the land due to living with disabilities. Zoom participation in a hybrid retreat can be challenging and so we ask for patience with the limitations as we practice together. Because of logistical and technical considerations we will not be able to extend the hybrid space to encompass affinity groups. We ask that those requesting disability accommodation be committed to the full practice schedule as they would be on land, to the best of their ability. Participation in dharma talks, group inquiry and interviews will be supported. Please contact retreats@dhammadena.org with questions or to request a place.

Post retreat self-retreat
To support those who would like additional practice time, we are offering the week after the retreat (October 22-28) for self-retreat with the support of individual interviews from one of the teachers.

Holding 50% of space for BIPOC folks to register

To support Dhamma Dena’s commitment to equity in this practice community, we are holding 50% of available spaces for BIPOC folks. On September 1 unclaimed spaces will be made available for those on the waitlist. 

This retreat is offered at no cost. You are invited to offer dana / donations for the retreat costs and the teachers at any time through Dhamma Dena's Paypal.

Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma, Embodied Wisdom, and Liberation. She shares her expertise nationally on expanding our vision around culturally responsive teaching, and changing the paradigm of self and community care. She is a co-founder of the Yoga Service Council at Omega Institute and the Meditation Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. Booker is a co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting, a contributor to Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality’s report: Gender & Trauma—Somatic Interventions for Girls in Juvenile Justice, YOGA: The Secret of Life, and contributed to Sharon Salzberg’s book ‘Happiness at Work’. In 2020 she was invited in as Sojourner Truth Leadership Fellow through Auburn Seminary, and was voted by her peers as one of the 12 Powerful Women in the Mindfulness Movement. She is currently based in Philadelphia. Website: www.lesliebooker.com

Ian Challis is a student and teacher in the Insight Tradition of Buddhism. He is a core teacher, founding member and past guiding teacher of Insight Community of the Desert in Palm Springs, CA. Ayya Khema, Leigh Brasington, Narayan Liebenson, Larry Yang, and Arinna Weisman are the teachers who have most inspired and illuminated his practice and path. Serving and creating space for Queer dharma community is a passion and source of joy, and he is excited to support the continuation of this beautiful and powerful retreat under the skies of the high desert. Ian teaches regular drop-in classes as well as retreats. He is a qualified teacher of MBSR, a graduate of Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leader teacher training, and was formally invited by Arinna Weisman to teach in the lineage of U Ba Khin and Ruth Denison. You can find information on Ian’s work and teaching at www.ianchallis.com

Jacoby Ballard is a social justice educator and yoga teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah known for his playfulness, heart-opening, and commitment to change from the inside out.

As a yoga teacher with 20 years of experience, he leads workshops, retreats, teacher trainings, teaches at conferences, and runs the Resonance mentorship program for certified yoga teachers to find their niche and calling.  In 2008, Jacoby co-founded Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn, to work at the nexus of healing and social justice.

Since 2006, Jacoby has taught Queer and Trans Yoga, a space for queer folks to unfurl and cultivate resilience. Jacoby received Yoga Journal’s Game Changer Award in 2014 and Good Karma Award in 2016, and an award by Reclamation Ventures in 2021.

Jacoby has taught in schools, hospitals, non profit and business offices, a maximum security prison, a recovery center, a cancer center, LGBT centers, gyms, a veteran’s center, and yoga studios. He leads workshops and trainings around the country on diversity, equity, and inclusion and consults on DEI for yoga and meditation organizations. He is the author of A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation, released in 2021. jacobyballard.net