The Heart of Kirtan Day Guest

About This Event

The practice of kirtan is infused with love.  It is a powerful doorway into the lifelong practice of transforming ourselves into loving human beings, bringing us into greater union with the Beloved that dwells inside us and beyond.  In a very unique and personal way, we have the possibility through chanting to touch the deepest, most tender parts of being human and the sacred pulse of the universe.

This kirtan intensive offers a deepening experience of devotion, presenting kirtan as a loving spiritual practice of transformation (sadhana).  It is designed for those who want to expand their lives to include more chanting or wish to move in the direction of learning to lead kirtan.   For all levels of musical or kirtan experience.

The intensive includes:

•    Deepening experience with the practice of sacred chant

•    Eastern and Western vocal technique

•    Instruction in one or more areas of focus:

harmonium, guitar/bass, percussion, and voice

•    Common mantras, their meanings, usage, and correct pronunciation

•    Understanding bhakti (devotion) and how it connects to the other paths of yoga

•    Study and discussion of philosophy through the Bhakti Sutras

•    Introduction to japa practice (recitation of mantra)

•    How to create a sacred mood in kirtan (bhava) and channel emotional energy

•    Learning to chant the Hanuman Chalisa

•    Cultivating a home practice

•    Foundational skills for learning to lead kirtan if desired

•    Sequencing and working skillfully with the energetic dimension of kirtan

•    How to start composing and arranging chants

•    You will have the opportunity to make your own personal offerings in a supportive group setting


Benjy Wertheimer: Kirtan, mantra, percussion instruction, Eastern vocal instruction

Heather Wertheimer: Kirtan, mantra, group process

Sean Frenette: Guitar/bass & vocal instruction, group instrumentalist and vocalist

Special guest instructors TBA

The Center at Ananda Laurelwood is an ideal environment to quickly “unplug” from life’s daily stresses and learn lifelong techniques for an improved quality of life. The retreat center has great energy, beautiful surroundings, and warm, open people. The food was excellent and the lodging comfortable.


Venue Highlights

The Center at Ananda Laurelwood is located 45 minutes west of downtown Portland in Oregon, surrounded by farmland, forest, and wetlands, with vistas of gently rolling hills stretching west to the coastal range. Quiet, serene, and inspiring, the landscape itself rejuvenates the soul.

The campus was originally designed and built as a residential high-school for the Seventh Day Adventist community. Retreat buildings are updated and comfortable, while retaining the charm and nostalgia of mid-century architecture.

Classrooms are sunny and bright, with plenty of room to stretch out and immerse yourself in a workshop, discussion group, or movement class.

Afternoon yoga classes are offered almost daily, year round.

Group meditations are held each morning and mid-day. Meditation instruction can be arranged.


Most of the accommodations at the Center at Ananda Laurelwood are dorm-style bedrooms with shared bathrooms down the hall. Most rooms have a sink in the corner. All rooms have ample closets and are quite spacious, light, and airy with good-sized windows looking out either across Laurelwood valley or onto the hillside above the retreat center.

You can choose your sleeping preference: twin, double, or queen bed. A small number of rooms have an en suite bathroom. A 2-bedroom apartment with kitchen and bath is also available.


  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Free Parking
  • Kitchen
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Cafe
  • Yoga Studio

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


All meals are vegetarian, with vegan and gluten-free options available. Grace Kitchen tries to accommodate special dietary needs.


From Portland airport (PDX), take the MAX light rail to the Beaverton Transit Station. Uber or Lyft are available for the picturesque, 30-minute drive to the Center at Ananda Laurelwood.

For GPS directions, enter Academy Way, Gaston OR.

Thank you!

We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

Having our beautiful baby boy 3 months ago gave me a new perspective and outlook moving forward. Liana

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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