Burma Love: Yoga Seva Project 2020
April 10 - 18, 2020 in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
“The Om & Roam team are inspiring, wild, free and wise women, who graciously open their hearts and arms to anyone who wishes to join them in sharing yoga, awareness and love. Be brave and proud in your decision to join this team and be ready for an amazing experience that can shift the trajectory of your life forever!” -Louise Webster (2018)
This year marks our 4th annual Burma Love: Yoga Seva Project; a heart based compassion project held in Myanmar (Burma), designed to empower and support women through yoga, body awareness, and sisterhood. We are forever humbled by this beautiful opportunity to teach yoga at a Theravada Buddhist Nunnery in the Yangon region. This project is filled with heart and complete devotion to the selfless power of yoga. We feel extremely fortunate to be invited back into this community this spring, to both share yoga with hundreds of nuns and orphans, and participate in their annual meditation retreat. Our passion and purpose is to foster self-empowerment and embodiment in our sisters in Myanmar (Burma) as well as ourselves. The experience that we share is transformative for all involved – it is an amazing synergy to witness.
a sacred opportunity
We are invited to this nunnery to be a part of their annual meditation retreat held in alignment with Thingyan - the annual New Year water festival celebration. Thingyan is a time for cleansing ceremonies, deep meditation, community, and transition into the new year. The leaders of this Buddhist nunnery made the progressive decision to incorporate a yoga asana practice into the annual Thingyan retreat. This relationship was born of the intention to provide the nuns and orphans with an outlet for physical activity, body awareness, and self-empowerment. Our days will consist of teaching/practice yoga with hundreds of nuns and orphans, multiple meditations, and various new year’s ceremonies (at the opening and close of the week). This is a sacred opportunity to both be in service and deepen your own meditation practice. This program is very unique, and a respectful level of discipline is required. Out of service to the nunnery, we as a group are committed to being mindful, respectful, flexible and humble as we join this community.
This year we have been granted the opportunity to expand our 2019 group and are invited to open the Burma Love: Yoga Seva Project to 20 female participants! As we grow our group, we are both able to develop and strengthen our yoga teaching program, as well as open up a new experience this year for women to come participate in a meditation retreat.
Below are the three ways to participate in 2020:
(scroll down to apply)
Yoga Teacher Team
This track is for trained, female yoga teachers who wish to take part in curating and teaching the yoga offerings.
During the week, we will teach 12-15 yoga classes. Class lengths range from 60-90 minutes each, with anywhere from 40-100 students at a time. Classes are broken up by age, usually two daily adult classes (~13-60 years old) and one children’s class (~4-12 years old). We commit to offering as many yoga classes as are requested throughout the retreat schedule. Each year we adjust the yoga practices based on the expressed needs and responses of this community. Styles include Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin and some gentle partner yoga exercises. Teachers will receive a sequence(s) to familiarize themselves with. This sequence(s) will be used as a launching point for the yoga program and adjusted accordingly.
This program is organized with a group teaching model. Depending on each teacher’s specific strengths and skills, we will assign a rotation of roles for each class (roles include: lead teacher (s), demo, assist, observer). Please note that each role in this group teaching approach is equally important as we offer yoga to this community. Depending on volume of teachers and schedule, not every teacher will have the opportunity to fulfill each role. We ask for a commitment to flexibility as the week unfolds.
This track is for female yoga practitioners who wish to participate (no teaching experience required).
You will participate in the daily schedule, including each yoga class and meditation. You will be placed strategically in the room to be a demo while you practice alongside the nunnery community. While we teach across a language barrier (using translators) the role of Demo in class is an effective and important role.
Participants in this track will be asked to commit to the full daily schedule.
“Doing yoga with the girls was magical. I realized all the ways yoga has helped me stand on my own and find my inner strength and confidence as a women. And then to share this practice with the most beautiful and spiritual girls who don't have a physical practice was just incredible.”
-Eve Teeter-Balin (2018)
This track is for female meditation practitioners who wish to take part in this retreat as a participant. We are very excited to be offering this track as a new opportunity this year! A motivation for this nunnery has been to share meditation with people from around the world, and we are so grateful to be able to help facilitate this opportunity this year. Your daily schedule will mimic that of the adult nun group. You will participate in about 4 meditations and 2 yoga classes per day.
This is a Vipassana style retreat. While this is not a silent retreat, there will be opportunities for individuals to take vows of silence. Meditation sessions will vary between sitting practice and walking meditation. There will be Buddhist Dharma taught by Sayarlay (meaning “nun of high order” in Burmese). These sessions are optional, time permitting. While the Dharma is taught in Burmese without translation, some material may be translated or reviewed throughout the week. There will also be sessions held with Marni Reynolds, program founder and meditation teacher, topics will include the Four Pillars of Mindfulness, Mindfulness of Emotions, Thoughts, and the Senses, how to curate a Mindfulness practice outside of a retreat, and Metta (loving kindness).
*This retreat is ideally suited for experienced meditation practitioners who wish to deepen their practice. Through this retreat you will learn skillful methods to develop Metta, loving kindness, and awareness. We ask that those applying have ideally 1 year of meditation practice. If you are new to meditation and are drawn to this retreat, contact email@example.com
Schedule & Accommodations
This is a sample of our potential schedule. Please note that things change throughout the retreat, including times and expectations. We practice a great deal of flexibility and adapt according to how we can best serve the needs of this community. Break times can be for resting, yoga de-briefing/planning, group discussion, meditation and check-ins.
On Wednesday April 10th, all participants will be meeting in Yangon city for a midday tea and orientation meeting, followed by a group visit to the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda. We will be transporting from Yangon to the Nunnery on the morning of Thursday April 11th and departing from the nunnery on the morning of Thursday April 18th. We ask participants who are traveling internationally to arrive in Yangon no later than the evening of April 8th. This will allow important time for you to rest, adjust to the climate and time zone, and settle in.
Accommodations are shared, with 3 to 4 women to a bungalow. Each bungalow has a bathroom and AC unit. Beds are twin size wood frames with a thin mattress pad, sheet, pillow, blanket, and bug net. April is a very HOT time of year in Yangon. Temperatures average 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. We will be sleeping with AC units. The rooms that we will be teaching yoga are cooled by several fans. Power surges with the electricity are to be expected.
All meals are vegetarian (meals will include some vegan options; however, many local main dishes include a spice blend with dried fish).
All meals are enjoyed seated on the floor at a low table. Fasting is observed during dinner. (Fasting through dinner is not required by our team but is an option available. Fruit and light snacks can be made available at dinner if desired.)
There is no Wi-Fi access provided at the nunnery. During this Thingyan holiday, we are asked to observe restraint with technology by staying off our phones, refraining from listening to music, watching movies, etc. This is a rare opportunity to unplug and tune in — embrace it! We ask that all participants prepare for and abide to being off tech entirely during our stay. The project manager will have a phone with local cell service that can be provided to friends/family for emergency contact.
Photography at the nunnery is sensitive, and participants are not allowed to take any photos. Project facilitators will be taking photos according to the guidelines and permissions given by the nunnery. These photos will be approved and shared with the group afterwards.
Participant cost: $700 (This cost is collected when each person’s participation is confirmed.)
$108 of each participant cost is offered to the nunnery as a donation. This community generously provides us with food and lodging during our stay. We will be offering this donation as a group at the close of our stay.
Om&Roam has established a scholarship fund, which receives a contribution annually. This fund is generated by Om&Roam and managed by the nunnery. A portion of the entire group participation fee is allocated to this scholarship fund. The scholarship fund can include things such as: tuition fee for schooling/education, and medical/health care, nutrition.
OM & ROAM, LLC is honored to curate this unique and progressive program in Myanmar. The BURMA LOVE program requires funding support to sustain itself. Areas of support include: (not limited to) program fees, in-country transportation, supplies, administration fees, and also budgeting for unforeseen expenses. Participant fee contribution from each participant ensures the continued success and possibility of both this program and opportunity. Participant cost also includes the Om&Roam Shwedagon Pagoda excursion in Yangon on Wednesday, April 10th.
Please note: Each participant is responsible for purchasing their own airfare, travel insurance, visa, and all accommodations outside of their time at nunnery (including 2 evenings in Yangon prior to arrival at nunnery on April 11th).
(All Burma Love: Yoga Seva Project images/photos are property of Om & Roam, LLC (2019) and we ask there is no sharing or use of images without explicit consent. This measure is in place to protect the privacy of this nunnery community. If you are viewing this website, you accept this condition.
We thank you for respecting this condition, and respecting this sacred community.)
Meet The Facilitators
Traveling To Myanmar (Burma)
Please consider the following when traveling to Myanmar (Burma), especially this time of year. All of these topics will be covered in depth upon joining the trip officially:
Tourist Visa: All participants will be required to obtain a Tourist Visa, which allows for 28 days of travel. The Visa takes 3-5 business days (on average) to process once the application is completed and submitted, and costs ~$50USD. Click here for more Myanmar (Burma) Visa info
Vaccinations: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations for vaccinations and medications to consider when traveling to this country. We encourage each traveler to engage in their own research, consult their physician, and execute the healthcare plan that is best suited for them personally.
Weather: April is a very HOT time of year. Temperatures average between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. We will be sleeping with AC units. The rooms that we will be teaching yoga are cooled by several fans. Power surges with the electricity are to be expected.
Thingyan: Our travel coincides with the Thingyan celebration. During Thingyan, many businesses shut down in observance of the holiday. This makes it especially important to have all travel details and plans, both before and after your time at the nunnery, carefully planned before arriving in country. We can offer some advisement on how best to prepare.
Timeline: We ask that each participant be able to arrive in Yangon at least 2 full days early, to allow for rest and adjustment to the time and climate. This means sleeping 2 nights in Yangon before we begin on April 10th. Allowing yourself the necessary time and and measures prior to your stay at the nunnery is crucial to both the yoga program and meditation program.
Contact Project Manager / Om&Roam Creative Director, Carly Gaffey: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Burma Love: Yoga Seva Project images/photos are property of Om & Roam, LLC (2020) and we ask there is no sharing or use of images without explicit consent. This measure is in place to protect the privacy of this nunnery community. If you are viewing this website, you accept this condition.
We thank you for respecting this condition, and respecting this sacred community.