*** Register before February 25 for Early Bird discount! ***

Sexuality is a basic, primordial source of our vitality, imagination and creativity. There are infinite dimensions of sexuality that connect us vividly to our world. Although it is an omnipresent theme in our society, sexuality is rarely acknowledged in an open, healthy way. Human dignity and goodness are enhanced by communication and communion in sexual exchange, which awaken the magic of erotic energy and deep emotional exchange.

The relationship between sexuality and consciousness is one of the most important ways that we define ourselves. It is obvious that sexuality is more than just physical touching. It has physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions. At the deepest levels sexuality can be an opening to transcendent intimacy and enlightenment. This programme explores how the spiritual teachings of different traditionsrelate to sexuality (Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, etc).

Any approach to sexuality also includes working with its shadow side, including guilt, shame, embarrassment, or confusion around boundaries and unspoken power dynamics that block our energy and aliveness. This programme will take place within a strong, protected environment respecting confidentiality, consent, and clear boundaries.

There is no offer of any type of sexual practices or exercises without clothes. Dechen Chöling is a meditation practice center and the retreat will approach the topic based on foundations and exercises proposed by Henriette Versteijnen, a knowledgeable and experienced sexologist, in a team with Herb Elsky and Diederik Prakke. Herb Elsky will explore what the essence of sexuality is, how it relates to meditation and the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings, whereas Diederik Prakke will coordinate the programme and address how one can be touched by the world and different persons at once.

Herbert Elsky met and became a student of theTibetan Buddhist meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1971. He has been studying and practicing in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition for almost fifty years. A senior teacher, he has taught in America and almost every country in Europe.
He will be teaching about Sacred Sexuality, the relationship between meditation and sexuality as an integral part of the path of awakening in our contemporary world and as it has been practiced in a variety of cultures (Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist), seeing spirituality and sexuality as both being powerful forces that can be unified with an inspired attitude and motivation.

As an artist, he celebrates the relationship of sexuality to creativity, and as a lens through which to connect to the complex and very mysterious world that we live in.

Content 

In this program we will deepen your insight and learn:

  • Building confidence in intimate relationships, how each person is unique as a lover (a giver / a receiver) with their own sacred intimate biography.
  • How to be free of guilt, shame, and embarrassment in sexual relationships.
  • How meditation and awareness practices open our perceptions to complete connection with another person and the “world as lover”, and therefore how sexual energies and meditative awareness are connected
  • How to develop the capacity for healing and playfulness.
  • How the layers of intimacy and connection, communion and autonomy are linked.
  • How to navigate insecurity, jealousy and honesty in different, concurrent intimate friendships and relationships
  • Saying yes and no in social contact. Developing more understanding about consent. Staying in touch with your own, ever evolving, truth.
  • Developing more understanding about the dignity of eros, and how our sense perceptions are a doorway for pleasure.
  • Sexuality at different ages of life.

The schedule for each day will include:

  • Morning warm-up exercises with movements and voice
  • Meditation
  • Talks 
  • Communication exchanges
  • Many forms of Touch, Massage, and Energy practice
  • Tandava meditation practice (liberating movements synchronized with the breath)
  • Kashmir massage (with clothes on)
  • Dharma creativity
  • All exercises that will be offered in the program are with clothes on. (No sexual practices.)

Practical information 

This programme is taught in English. Requests for interpretation into other languages must be made in advance and confirmed (please indicate your request for interpretation on the registration page).

Arrival day: Saturday, May 25. You are invited to arrive at 4 pm to check in and settle into your room. Dinner is served at 7:00 pm.

End of programme: Wednesday, 29 May. Closing circle and celebration in the evening.

Departure day: Thursday, 30 May. No programme. You are welcome to stay for breakfast.


Programme price

Regular320 €
Patron428 €Help support lower income participants
Under 30 years of age160 €

If you require financial assistance to attend this programme please contact [email protected].

Accommodation and food

Full board60 €/ night *

* includes standard accommodation and all meals.

Price information

  • Regular: this is the regular price for participating in the programme. Occasionaly (if specified in the programme description), there may be an additional fee for materials, to be paid upon arrival.
  • Patron: for those who can offer more than the regular price, your generosity in paying the Patron Price helps cover the costs for others who are not able to pay the full programme price and provides support to Dechen Chöling.
  • Under 30 years of age: 50% reduction on the regular programme price for persons under 30 years at the start of the programme.

Accommodation: the standard accommodation we provide is in a dormitory for the winter and a furnished two-person tent in the summer. Extra fees for room upgrades can be paid upon arrival. Additionally, room tax will be charged at 0.20 € per person, per night.

See the full price list

Note: participation in any programme offered by the association of Dechen Chöling requires you to be up-to-date with the association’s annual fee (15 €), which can be settled upon arrival.