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Winter Solstice Retreat

November 26, 2013



Winter solstice is a time for reflection, renewal, and reunion with our community and ourselves.

Jon Jandai will lead us in a workshop on building with the earth (and playing in the mud), Peggy and Larry Ward will guide our walking, sitting and singing meditation, and Areerat Kaewkla will guide us through the healing power of dance.  We’ll camp out under the stars on our beautiful farm, enjoy fresh healthy food, practice yoga, swim in our pool, take herbal baths in our fragrant steam bath and hike around the lovely nearby lakes.

It’s the perfect way to end this year and start the next – filled with peace and joy.

Retreat Facilitators:

Jon Jandai is the co-founder of Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance in Chiang Mai and an expert in natural building. Jon spearheaded the now widespread earthen building movement in Thailand and travels widely, teaching sustainable building techniques to farmers, villagers, and NGOs. Over at Pun Pun, he is involved in organic farming and seed saving and is a passionate believer in living a simple and meaningful life. Learn more about Jon’s philosophy in his inspiring Ted Talk “Life is easy – why do we make it so hard?”

Peggy and Larry Ward are teachers and practitioners in the tradition of Plum Village. Both received the Dharmacharaya transmission in 2000 from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Peggy has her doctorate in Education and is a spiritual director, university teacher and artist. Larry is Director of The Lotus Institute, a non-profit religious and educational institution, and helped to co-found Plum Village’s Deer Park Monastery in California. Peggy and Larry also co-authored the award-winning book, Love’s Garden: A Guide to Mindful Relationships.

Areerat Kaewkla  is a certified yoga teacher and dance mandala and biodanza facilitator. Based in Chiang Mai, where she runs the Yoga Tree studio, she trained with Anna Ashby and Joey Miles at Triyoga in the UK and is a teaching member of the British Wheel of Yoga Association (BWY). As well as yoga, Areerat is passionate about and has spent over 5 years studying and teaching the healing power of dance, voice, rhythms, music and creative movement.


The festival will begin on Wednesday December 18 at 19.30 pm with an introductory gathering. You are welcome to arrive anytime between 1.30pm and 4.00pm on Tuesday. Please do not arrive outside of these times. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm – please feel free to join us! The festival will end on Sunday December 22 at 16.00pm.

Our community practices noble silence from 9.30pm until 8am the next morning (until 9am on Sundays). Festival participants will also be asked to adhere to noble silence during these times.

Places are limited so please sign up immediately so that we can reserve a room for you. For more information or registration, please contact us at:

Please note that New Life is a non-profit organisation. The fee covers only the costs of holding the festival, including food, electricity, accommodation, and the teachers’ expenses. Being a young foundation, we need a lot of support, so additional donations are very welcome! Please help us spread the word and bring some friends.


Option A) If you would like to stay at the foundation, all accommodation for festival guests will be in 1 or 2 person tents. Feel free to bring your own! There will be showers and bathrooms available.

Option B) If you would like a private room, there is a guesthouse near the foundation where we can book your accommodation. We will organise a van to pick retreat participants up in the morning and to drop them off in the evening. If you would like to return to the guesthouse in between sessions, please enquire about renting a bike (100 baht per day). The distance between the foundation and the guesthouse is around 3km.

Festival contribution:

Includes 4 nights’ accommodation and 3 meals per day as well as all activities and workshops

a) Bring your own tent: 2600 baht per person

b) 1 person tent: 3100 baht per person

c) 2 person tent: 3000 baht per person

d) Pyramid Guesthouse*

– Single room: 5000 baht per person

– Twinshare bungalow: 4200 baht per person

* Subject to room availability 

NB: All tents must be packed up by the evening of 22 December when the festival ends. An added cost of 750 baht per person per night applies if you wish to stay in a room at the foundation after the festival ends. Please inform us at time of registration. The festival contribution must be paid in full, in advance. Please notify us of payment details and send a copy of the transfer receipt so that we can complete your registration. Kindly note that no refunds are possible once you have paid your retreat fee. Payment information can be found here:

Simple, healthy meals will be served, consisting of breakfast with fruit and Thai-style meals for lunch and dinner. We cannot cater to special diets, but do let us know if have any food allergies. There will be vegetarian options available at every meal.

Want to stay for longer? Enquire about our resident, guest, or volunteer programs!

Location: New Life Foundation

No. 49 Moo 1, Tambol Don Sila, Amphoe Wiang Chai, Chiang Rai, Thailand

The festival contribution does not include transportation to and from the retreat location. There are a number of low-cost carriers within Thailand and the Asia region if you would like to fly to Chiang Rai. Buses are also a good option. Taxis and tuk-tuks that will take you straight to the foundation can be hired at the airport or bus station.

For a detailed map and directions, please visit:

Things to bring:

–       Warm clothing and raincoat/umbrella in case of rain/cold mornings or evenings

–       Mosquito repellent: this is a natural environment and we do not use pesticides

–       A bathing suit: if you would like to use the swimming pool or steam bath

–       A torch: the foundation grounds are very dark at night

–       A refillable water bottle: we have a natural filtration system for drinking water

–      A sleeping bag and warm blankets if you are camping out

–       Your own toiletries

–       Your own cup or mug

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