Silence is the true nature of one's Self
Traditionally, an ashram is a place to study ancient Indian wisdom. This retreat serves as an ideal place to evolve spiritually, specifically focussing on self-inquiry and inner silence. Advaita Vedanta or non-duality, is recognized as the main understanding of this ashram. Advaita is one of the oldest schools of the Hindu philosophy. It refers to what our true nature is. Recognising your true nature is called enlightenment, nirvana, moksha liberation, or simply freedom.
This beautiful and serene place is located next to the premises of the herb garden of Dinah Veeris. Besides existing as a physical location, the ashram is also a platform that cultivates an atmosphere of kindness, empathy and insight, through profound teachings led by founder and spiritual teacher, Dolph van Stapele. Retreats, workshops and other practices are offered to develop a greater awareness on who we really are as individuals and as a society.
The ashram provides basic facilities consisting of living quarters, a communal area, syntropic and permaculture gardens and an extensive local herbs garden. A quiet location where you can be in peace for as long as you need. Being in an ashram helps minimize worldly influences that can be distracting in our self-inquiry, and increases general peace of mind. A fixed routine consisting of simple tasks helps to ease the mind to focus more easily on the silent nature of consciousness.
Initiated by Dolph and run by him and his loving partner Nephtalie Demei.
Ashram video impression
Meet your Hosts and Teachers
Dolph van Stapele
From the age of 10, Dolph started sensing a more in-depth perception of life. After 2 decades of searching in a variety of spiritual directions to find some clarity, he discovered the wisdom of Buddha. Buddha's search for liberation of the suffering resonated with Dolph's internal quest. The late Indian Advaita Vedanta teacher Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj represented the embodiment of this wisdom and Dolph took a deep dive and after an intense period of dedicated search with his own teacher Jan Koehoorn, he understood the non dual nature of Self, the oneness we often hear about. Dolph peacefully guides everyone in its spiritual proces.
founder & reiki healer
Nephtalie was born in Curaçao, and even as a young child she felt that there was more to life than what is visible to the eye. This need to understand led her to traveling the world, mostly on her own, to find her spiritual path. After years of searching in many different places, she came to realise that the truth cannot be found in one geological place, it's everywhere. We are it. Her empathetic heart, makes her a welcoming and valuable listener and host. She is also a Reiki healer. As a duo, she and Dolph make Ashram Curaçao a warm and welcoming place to stay.
Sundari Malcolm comes to us from the States and is a lifetime Yogi. Raised between New York and Yogaville, an ashram led by Swami Satchidananda in Buckingham, VA. Sundari is an ERYT- 500 level Yoga and Meditation teacher and Teacher Trainer. She holds specialties in Prenatal, PostLabor, Yoga for Special Needs, Yoga for Cancer, Yoga for Orthopedic Injury and Yoga for Grief.
She is a Birth and Death Doula, a Grief Expert and the Director of Wellbeing for The Dinner Party, a non- profit for those who have suffered significant loss. Sundari is now a recent expat to the island of Curacao and publisher of the book Grief Gems!
Advaita means Non-Duality
Yoga means Unity
As humans we think we have the most enhanced form of self awareness, compared to other forms of life. An impactful side-effect of Self awareness is the sensation of I. We call that the ego. The ego gives us the feeling of separation. Separation of ourselves from the world and everything around us. It creates a feeling of separate self or social identity. Although the feeling feels very real it acts as a hallucination. We might find ourselves struggling with feelings like: 'Am I good enough, am I living life as expected?' Deeper questions may arise like: 'What is God, what is reality? And, who is this I, which I believe to be.
Most religious and philosophical traditions have these questions in common.
How can we overcome or wake up from this misunderstanding of our separate Self and recognise our true Self again.
Advaita Vedanta (or Non-Duality) is one of the oldest schools in Hindu Philosophy. It's a very pragmatic tradition to conduct inquiry of the Self, where the question 'Who am I?' is explored. The universe and You are not separate.
Another ancient Indian tradition where self inquiry is central is Yoga. Yoga means Unity. It has four main branches that form the path to the awareness of Unity or Non-Dual awareness.
Realising who or what you really are, is called self-realisation or enlightenment in all traditions.
In exploring this, we need an open mind because we will discover things we never thought about and we may discover the reality beyond our perception. At Ashram Curacao we practise self-inquiry in the Advaita tradition and the 4 main yogas.
4 Main Yogas
Karma yoga is the yoga of action. Action without expecting anything in return, selfless action. Action where the ego mind or the awareness of an I does not interfere. Does not interfere in the sense of 'I'm doing this or that', which may result in 'I'm doing this for myself or for you', again resulting in expecting something in return.
Bahkti Yoga is devotional yoga. It is yoga where a relationship with the highest Self is created through practise. It's the process of surrendering to the true Self, which means that any concept of the divine, is the divine itself. Relaxing in this understanding will calm the mind. This can be done through chanting, rituals and ceremonies. It depends on each teacher's tradition. At Ashram Curacao you'll get to know different teachers and approaches that were important to the shaping of our Advaita teacher Dolph.
Raja yoga is yoga that focuses on the mind. How do we still the mind? This is where we understand how the mind works. Our reality of the world is a reflection of our sensory experience.
At the Ashram practise is done through Hatha Yoga, wich includes postures, meditation, breathwork and mindfulness.
This is the path of knowledge, the philosophical part of yoga where realisation of Self is understood. Where the Self is constantly analysed through guided meditation, satsangs and reading the old scriptures.
At Ashram Curacao we read from the Bhagavad Gita amongst others, which holds one of the oldest teachings of the Hindu philosophy. You can attend a satsang. During the satsang we reflect on one's Self through conversation and teachings.
07.00 Silent Meditation
16.30 Gardening, mindful work, meditation
20.00 Cup of tea
20.30 End of day
Our daily routine is merely a guideline. The Ashram emphasises on recognizing your essential nature, which is here and now. These activities support this awareness, however it does not depend on any activities. Being who you are, is reflected in everything.
Bookings and costs
5 nights / 6 days retreat
Private room/cabin EUR 600
Prices include the following
- 1 reiki session
- Guided or silent meditation lessons/sessions
- Daily Satsang (spiritual teachings)
- Three vegetarian meals
- Snacks, tea, coffee
- Additional Reiki treatment €40
- Herbal consultation €40
- Transportation from/to airport €45
-Carlijn Holtrop - Damen-
For me this retreat was my introduction (other than books) with non-duality. Dolph is an amazing and kind teacher who doesn't only answers all my questions but also takes care of my process. Together with Nephtalie
he makes a good team. They host, teach, laugh, talk and let us be. It can be a relaxing weekend, but for me it was a learning weekend. Also because of the location and the amazing people who work there, you can learn about Ayurveda, which makes it a complete experience.
If you are looking for a retreat to spend time away from the rat-race relaxing, have a deeply transformative experience, meet like-minded (non-judgmental) people, have a great laugh and eat delicious vegetarian foods, then this is the place to be. I loved the feeling of ease, peace and safety of this beautiful location. All the people at the Ashram are super friendly and accommodating. This was an incredible experience. Thank you so much
Dolph and Nephtalie
I was honored to have had the ability to participate in the first retreat at Ashram Curaçao. It was such a peaceful location and the schedule was filled with informative sessions on health for the body, mind and spirit. I returned after 3 days renewed, re-energized and equipped for my weekly duties.
The Satsang sessions during the retreat and the ones outside the retreat are such deep deliberations, clarification and knowledge sharing that every time again and again I get closer and closer to my true nature, inner peace and inner wisdom.
Thank you Nephtalie and Dolph for being such awesome host, making people feel at ease and renewed by all that you offer at Ashram Curaçao. Highly recommended for the ones who want to shut down from every day duties and get a introduced to inner peace, wisdom and their nature.
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