Universe Somatic- Day Long Meditation and Movement Retreat

About This Event

/Registration begins at 8AM, orientation to the practice at 8:30

Universe Somatic is an integration of open awareness practice and body movement practices.

Alternating between sessions of sitting practice and movement, we emerge from the stillness and openness of the sitting sessions with the judging and self-conscious mind quieted to one degree or another. This allows us to appreciate the simple miracle of fresh and fluid movement, the joy of the living body, the play of the present moment's pulse with deepened embodied presence.

For example, the invitation for a movement session may be Holy Ground, to move through the space as if in full touch with the sacred in body and environment. Or for a movement session we may work with one of the 5 elements such as Water, inviting and embodying the quality of fluidity in order to soften rigidity in ourselves.  The movement sessions open and enliven us in various ways and we bring those qualities back into the sitting sessions, resting as spaciousness now charged with vitality, mystery and heart.

Universe Somatic draws on vision and method from Dzogchen Rushen, Paratheatre and Zen Koan tradition.

Suggested donation includes a vegetarian/vegan lunch. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Venue Highlights

The monastery includes a spacious meditation hall, guest and resident dormitories, dining hall, and a large organic vegetable garden.

Within the forest is Great Vow's famous Jizo Garden, a memorial garden for people who have died, and the newly dedicated Shrine of Vows, a place where people leave tokens of their deep aspirations.


Overnight guests stay in the guest hall (semi-private dormitory), follow the daily monastery schedule, and share meals with the community. A donation is suggested.

Private retreat accommodations are sometimes available for those with significant prior meditation or contemplative experience. Private retreatants can follow their own schedule in solitude.


  • Free Wifi
  • Free Parking
  • Coffee/Tea

Menu Types

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


Meals are simple. Breakfast is usually hot grain cereal, nuts or nut butter, dairy and non-dairy milk, fruit, yogurt, and tea. Lunch is the most substantial with a main entree, salad, vegetable side, and condiments. Dinner is soup and bread. Many retreats are served as buffet. Zen-style retreats feature meals that are oriyoki, a Zen form of mindful eating in monasteries that goes back 1,000 years. Imagine Zen tea ceremony, but eating. Newcomers are guided on how to do it and people get the hang of it after a couple days. Meals are vegetarian with vegan options. Gluten-free alternatives can be accommodated. Coffee, caffeinated, and herbal tea are provided.


Ride sharing can be arranged from the airport with some advanced notice with our registrar. The monastery is located 80 miles northwest of Portland, Oregon on twenty forested acres overlooking the Columbia River flood plain. The drive takes 80-90 minutes.

Directions from the airport:
1. Take I-205 North to I-5 North. I-5 North to exit 36 Longview (south of Seattle, north of Portland).
2. At the exit travel west on to 432 towards Longview City Center.
3. At the sign to “Highway 30 to Oregon”, turn left (south) onto “Oregon Way” .
4. Cross the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon.
5. Turn right (west) onto Highway 30 towards Astoria. Clatskanie is 12 miles from this point.
6. In Clatskanie turn right at the stoplight onto Nehalem Street
7. Go straight to the end, and then follow the road left onto 5th street.
8. Stay on this road (do NOT take the first left fork to the Poplar Farm).
9. You will reach a fork after 2.9 miles; stay left, on Quincy-Mayger Road. Following the street signs saying “Zen Monastery”.
10. The Monastery is 1.8 miles past the fork, at 79640 Quincy-Mayger Road on the right.

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Why Retreat?

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

I go on retreat to remember who I really am. And I remember that I am alive, Deryk

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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Universe Somatic- Day Long Meditation and Movement Retreat

at Great Vow Zen Monastery

  • Mar 7, 2020 - Mar 7, 2020 ()