Abiding Silence: Half Day Open Retreat, November 5th from 12 Noon – 6 PM

Relax and renew your body, mind and spirit at Bodhi Tree’s first Silent Meditation Retreat.  The studio and grounds of Bodhi Tree will be open and available to those wishing to deepen their practice of meditation and/or yoga on Sunday, November 5th.

Our day begins at 12 noon, with 1-hour blocks of open, silent meditation.  Each block will include 20 minutes of seated meditation, 10 minutes of walking meditation, then 20 more minutes of seated meditation. After a 10-minute break, the next block will begin.  At 4 PM Liz’s regularly scheduled Sunday yoga class will be held, although for this class participants are requested to maintain silence before, during and after the class.  The last meditation block will last from 5:30-6:00 and will include 20 minutes of seated meditation and will culminate in a (very non-silent!) chanting of the Heart Sutra.

Participants are invited to come for some or all of the mediations.  You may stay for the entire day, drop in and out, and take breaks as you wish.  The only requirement is that you join our community in observing silence.  On the day of the retreat, participants will be given a few additional instructions before entering the grounds and studio areas so that we may all enter into the experience of “quietly abiding”– both with ourselves and others. If you have no previous meditation experience, we ask that you email us in advance so that we can arrange for advance instruction in sitting and walking meditation.

Coffee, tea and fruit will be available throughout the day, and you are welcome to bring your own food and beverages if you wish.  Parking is limited, so please carpool if you can!  The retreat is free and open to the public and no advance registration is required. 

Heart Sutra discussion on Wednesday November 1st, 8th & 15th from 5:30-6:45 PM

Prepare for holiday frenzies! Explore and discuss the Heart Sutra (Prajna Paramita) with Mary Moffat.

This class meets from 5:30 – 6:45 PM on Wednesday, November 1st, 8th & 15th.  $10 donation requested/class.

This Sanskrit sutra is revered in every Buddhist tradition and aligns with Western ethics.  The pithy content leads the mind to deeper appreciation and experience of a pervasive ‘Buddha nature’ residing in each of us.  Various translations of the Sanskrit text will be compared.  Anyone curious is invited to discover more about the sutra’s guidance on integrating meditation, wisdom, and conduct in ordinary activities.  

Mary Moffat RN, PhD in Education (Ohio University anticipated December 2017) has studied with Kabot-Zinn, Lamas from several Buddhist lineages, and respected integrative practitioners . Her nursing career in Western healthcare spanned 40 years which began in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has long term interests in yoga, healing modalities, dream interpretation, and meditation formats. More details available on request.  In 2015 she founded the Athens Center for Integrative Arts (ACIA) to facilitate community access for informal meetings lead by various practitioners to learn about areas promoting healthy choices. ACIA is sponsoring this event at Bodhi Tree and is open to everyone curious about learning more on this well known sutra.

Primary text is The Wisdom Gone Beyond by Lama Migmar Tseten (2014).  Selected segments of Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh (2012) and other commentaries are included in discussions

Copies of the books will be available at each class.  Suggested donation for each class:  $10.

Meander Lines: An exhibit of new work by Molly Schoenhoff, FREE, Saturday, October 14th 5-7PM

Join us for h’ors de’ouvres and drinks on Saturday, October 14th from 5 – 7 PM to meet Molly, view the installation and celebrate her work!


“Find Your Float” Arm Balance and Inversion Workshop with Cait Nolan, RYT-200

Sunday, September 24th 10 AM – 12 PM, $25 drop-in.

This workshop is for those who have begun exploring inversions and arm balances like supported headstand and crow pose and are now looking to cultivate a deeper awareness along with a greater sense of fluidity in their approach. The workshop will begin with a heat-generating flow. We will then look at ways to build float into the familiar vinyasa flows by breaking down common arm support postures and transitions. We will spend time experimenting with different approaches to handstand and forearm stand.  Time permitting, we will also play with some fun arm balance combinations.

Some Things We Will Cover:

  • functional anatomy of select arm balances and inversions
  • Core integregration
  • Entering a handstand with control (“pressing”)
  • Strengthening drills
  • Wrist and Shoulder Maintenance
  • Finding float in your flow

Students who have a some experience with supported headstand and crow pose will be able to gain the most from this workshop

 Cait Nolan currently lives and works as an artist, yoga instructor, homesteader in eastern North Carolina.

Yoga has been a part of her daily life since 2010 when she happened to trade some of my art for yoga classes. She was hooked from her first savasana. Cait’s approaches both her personal practice and her teaching practice with humble curiosity and thoughtful consideration.  Through yoga she has

found a sense of home in her own body. In her teaching, Cait attempts to make space for all to feel safe and empowered by meeting her students where they are and helping them explore new possibilities.

Cait’s 200-hour teacher training was completed at Power Yoga Works, Philadelpia in 2015.  In order to deepen her understanding of the body she subsequently completed two 30-hour Thai Yoga Massage Trainings, one in Japan and one in Thailand.  In 2016 she completed the Yoga For All Training with Dianne Bondy and Amber Karnes and in 2017 she complete a yoga for trauma training with Molly Harris.  Informed by these trainings, along with the influence of varied experiences as a practitioner, she designs and leads classes with an emphasis on alignment, strength and breath.

The practice of mindful movement has been a powerful force in Cait’s life, and as an instructor she hopes to make the benefits of yoga and specifically asana practice accessible to all.

Ayurvedic Massage with Carissa Rose, LMT

Warm up this fall with an Ayurvedic massage.  Carissa Rose, LMT is now offering Abhyanga and Shirodhara Ayurvedic massages.  Both are traditional warm oil treatments…perfect for the changing season!  Enjoy them on their own or as a 2-hour combination. See details and pricing below:

Abhyanga Ayurvedic Massage uses rhythmic movements, warm oil and focuses on joints for a blissful experience! Cost, $65 for 1 hour.

Shirodhara Ayurvedic Massage is the traditional treatment where warm oil is continuously poured over the forehead to relax and calm the body and mind.  Cost, $100 for 1 hour.

Have a 2-hour experience with both treatments for $165.

Click here to schedule your session or call Liz at 740-707-2050

Restorative Yoga with Live Therapeutic Music to welcome the Fall Equinox

Join us at Bodhi Tree Studio for a special candle-lit restorative yoga class with live music to celebrate Fall Equinox!  Board-certified music therapist Guinevere Whitford offers soothing harp improvisations while Stephanie Robinson, certified yoga instructor, guides us in renewing body and spirit.

All levels are warmly welcomed as we in turn welcome in the new season!

Friday evening, September 22, 6:00-7:15

Class fee is $10.

Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga: Cultivating a Specific Daily Yoga Practice with Robbie Norris



We are excited to offer our first full weekend workshop with guest teacher Robbie Norris.  These classes will take place starting at 5 PM on Friday, September 8th and conclude with a morning session at 9 AM on Sunday, September 10th.  Pre-registration is required, and the cost ($100, $125 after August 25th) covers the series of 4 classes offered that weekend.  See times/details below.


This workshop is suitable for people brand new to yoga, for regular yoga practitioners, and for yoga teachers.  It does not matter how stiff, weak, or old you are — Robbie specializes in helping people of all states learn to practice yoga according to their unique condition.



Friday 5:00-7:00 pm:  Sun Salutations

Discussion of Ashtanga Yoga as a healing and meditative daily practice.  Students will learn and memorize the specific Ashtanga Yoga method of performing sun salutations, which compose the first 15 minutes — and comprise the essential elements —  of the larger, 90-minute, Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga practice.  This will entail detailed discussion and demonstration of proper ways to modify the sun salutation for people of all ages and conditions.


Saturday 9:00-11:00 am:  Standing Postures

We will go straight through the 5 sun salutations A, and 5 sun salutations B, that we learned the previous evening.  We will then take ample time to learn the specific 15-minute sequence of the Standing Postures of the Primary Series.


Saturday 2:00-4:00 pm:  “Led” Practice with Closing Postures

Robbie will “call out” the practice we have learned so far, breath by breath — beginning with the 10 sun salutations and through the Standing Postures (without stopping to “workshop” the details).  Then we will learn the Closing Postures of the Ashtanga Yoga practices, including back-bending, shoulder stand, and headstand.


Sunday 9:00 – 11:00 am:  Led 1/2 Primary Series

Guided 1/2 Primary Series practice.  We will begin with the sun salutations, followed by the specific sequence of Standing Postures.  We will then experiment with the first half of the seated postures of the Primary Series, followed by the Closing Postures.


The Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga was conceived in Mysore, India during the last century, and has ancient roots.  Designed to strengthen and align the body, and purify the internal organs, this specific yoga practice is a world-renowned gold standard of meditative holistic healing.  Most practices referred to as vinyasa yoga derive from Ashtanga Yoga.  Because it is infinitely modifiable, the Primary Series can be learned by anyone — regardless of age, level of physical fitness, destructive habits or station in life.  This yoga practice encourages self awareness and self reliance, and it stimulates the body’s incredible healing processes.

Most people who attend yoga classes have little if any experience practicing yoga on their own, and many yoga teachers struggle to cultivate an effective and consistent yoga practice apart from their teaching duties.

However, as with any pursuit, consistent frequent practice is the key ingredient to deepening proficiency.  Everyone who attends this workshop will learn how to perform their own specific daily yoga practice.  Yoga teachers who attend will enhance their own practices, as well as learn various ways to help students approximate text-book postures in a way that is safe and beneficial for their students.

Robbie Norris teaches a specific fundamental yoga practice — The Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga – both privately in people’s homes (RichmondPrivateYoga), and at his Jackson Ward studio, Richmond City Yoga.  Robbie has been practicing daily since 2001; and he enjoys helping people of all ages and health statuses learn this practice, and adapt it to their particular situation.   It is infinitely modifiable.

 From April 2008 through September 2015, Robbie taught over 1,000 classes to inmates in the Richmond City Justice Center (formerly Richmond City Jail).

 Robbie welcomes and encourages students of all shapes, ages, cultures, races and backgrounds, bringing people together with a yoga practice that heightens collective abilities and good qualities, aiming to have a positive effect on the health and culture of the city of Richmond, Virginia.


Intro to Yoga: A 6-Week Series for Beginners with Jennifer Collins, RYT-200

This series is designed for the beginner student seeking a strong foundation of the basic asanas (poses) found in Vinyasa (flow) classes. Students will gain an understanding of the breath, how it links to movement, and the correct structural alignment of each pose, including appropriate modifications. Each class will incorporate guided meditation and restorative practices, as well as time for discussion.  Instructor:  Jennifer Collins, RYT-200.

Class is held on Sundays from 2-3:30 PM, beginning September 17th and ending October 22nd.  Pre-registration required.  $125 for all 6 classes.

Course Content:

  • Week 1:  Introduction to Vinyasa; coming into the body/gentle practice (focus on feet and grounding).
  • Week 2:  Connecting breath to movement and breaking down the sun salutations (surya A & B).
  • Week 3:  Square hip poses and yin (hips and shoulders focus).
  • Week 4:  Open hip poses and restorative (hamstrings and low back focus).
  • Week 5:  Connecting to core and pranayama (breath).
  • Week 6:  Bringing it all together.


Meditation Groups

Bodhi Tree offers two open group meditation sessions weekly.  Our Sunday group focuses mainly on Insight Meditation teachings and practice, while the Monday evening group, initiated by our friend Nate Hayes, takes its form from Zen. There are many styles of zazen (usually translated to mean “seated meditation”) and we tend not to be too doctrinaire about our practice.  That said, we do observe some basic forms of zazen practice, including walking and seated meditation, as well as chanting.  If you are new to meditation in general, or to zazen in particular, we ask that you arrive 20 minutes early for brief instruction and orientation.  Sessions are free and open to all.

But what exactly IS Zen?  What’s the wherefore and the why?  We asked fellow practitioner Brandon Jaeger to share his thoughts on such questions and what follows are a few of his reflections on the (not)zen of Zen.  Thank you, Brandon.

What Is Zen?


What is Zen? A religion? A mystical philosophy? A psychological science? A way of seeing and living? A spiritual medicine? A lifetime of devotional acts? After hundreds of years, the question continues to be a more effective teacher than any one of its answers.

More than a quarter billion (and perhaps as many as 1.6 billion) people around the world identify with the understanding and teaching (Dharma) of a mind fully awakened (Buddha/Bodhi) to the actual reality of our existence, which is that the suffering of all sentient beings comes from the same root cause: putting too much stock in the dualistic stories that the discriminatory mind creates to make sense of and navigate our experience with the universe.

These dualistic stories our minds tell about the world, such as good/bad, self/other, birth/death, holy/sinful, are often useful tools in surviving as an individual organism in our everyday lives, but belief that these countless stories are the entire truth of our existence is ignorance of the fact that nothing is permanent, and nothing has a finite self that is independent of the rest of the Universe.

“To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening”. – Genjo Koan, Master Eihei Dogen Zenji

Through the centuries, and Westward across Asia, various Buddhist practices have been developed for training the mind to be conscious of both the “storied” world and the “un-storied” world simultaneously, until they are not actually two separate worlds at all. This practice cultivates happier, healthier, and more skillful bodhisattvas, who are in turn content to devote their lives to helping all beings be free from their suffering. This Bodhisattva Way is considered the ultimate culmination and purpose of the practice.

With cultural and philosophical influences ranging from Indian yoga, to Daoism in China, to Shintoism in Japan, and now infusion into every continent of the world, Zen practice and training have been said by many to be a pinnacle in the refinement of Buddhism’s teachings of non-duality, impermanence, and dependent co-arising (emptiness of any distinct self) as the true nature of reality, the practice and realization of which are considered the key to freedom from needless suffering.

In the Soto Zen tradition, initially attributed to Chinese teachers in the lineage, and transmitted to Japan by 13th century teacher Eihei Dogen Zenji, it is maintained that the Buddha mind is not something outside of us that we must attain or acquire, but rather the essential and ever-present nature of all consciousness, only obscured from realization by confusion brought about by our excessive identification with the dualistic mind. This view is often referred to as Original Enlightenment.

“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to become one with the entire Universe” – Genjo Koan, Master Dogen

To cultivate the realization of emptiness and non-duality, Zen practice starts by calming and concentrating the mind, helping it become more relaxed, supple, and flexible enough to allow its dualistic thoughts and stories to appear without interfering with or excluding them, while maintaining a “witness” perspective that does not identify with or attach additional meaning to them. In addition to sitting meditation (zazen), this tranquility practice includes concentrated attention on performing ceremonial forms, such as chanting, bowing, offering incense, and walking meditation (kinhin). Finally, the Zen practitioner may be presented with stories, poems and Dharma-doctrine teachings, referred to as “Koans”, able to be appreciated and fully realized by all kinds of minds and through all sorts of approaches. In addition to being windows into reality, Koans are an invitation to analysis, puzzles that are unanswerable by the dualistic mind, thereby obliging the dualistic mind to give up and make way for realization of the non-dual awakened (Buddha) mind that pervades all existence.

“Our practice is to go beyond the realm of good and bad and to realize the absolute”. – Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, founder, San Francisco Zen Center

Through its unusual, seemingly contradictory, and sometimes irreverent approach, Zen tradition is even careful not to allow itself to be confused with something that has inherent meaning, or a self, separate from the rest of the Universe.

“If you see the Buddha on the path, kill the Buddha”. – Koan attributed to Master Linji.

It’s no wonder that a tradition that calls into question the very underpinnings of our sense of the world and our selves would have such an enigmatic reputation as Zen does. Please join us in unraveling the Great Mystery and discovering its rewards together, for the benefit of all beings.

“Real practice has orientation or direction, but it has no purpose, no gaining idea, so it can include everything that comes.” – Shunryu Suzuki Roshi


Support, Space & Balance: A Day of Restoration at Bodhi Tree benefitting Women For Recovery


Schedule for the day:

10 AM- 12 PM         Slow Flow with Liz and Yoga Nidra with Mary Beaton

12 PM – 1 PM           Lunch

1 PM – 1:30 PM       Walking meditation

1:30 PM – 2 PM      Tea tasting

2 PM – 4 PM            Mindfulness through the senses with Carissa Rose, LMT