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, moksha 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 he understood the non dual nature of existence, the oneness we often hear about.
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.
Born and raised in India, Padma Daryanani better known as Ritu started her yoga journey in Curaçao. A personal journey became a passion and she pursued further by taking the teacher training back home in India. While assisting and giving classes in a local studio, the thirst to know more furthered her journey beyond just giving classes. After the teacher training and some practical experience, the need to specialize in therapeutic yoga, breathing techniques, yoga nidra and prenatal yoga opened more doors in this journey. She successfully ran a full yoga studio for a few years and became a full-time teacher helping the local community. Currently she is concentrating on special individual needs with therapeutic yoga and breathing classes. Her journey has helped many and she continues to share her passion and love for yoga in its purest form to as many more as possible.
Yoga means Unity
The spiritual path according to the Indian Vedanta school contains a certain tradition to realise your true nature and rediscover what pure freedom means. This pure freedom has been covered by our thinking mind and our sense of I. Also called the ego, it is a combination of cultural and societal stories that say something about your cultural postion in the world. Some call it your social identity. These stories are evolutionary narratives of cultural traditions.
But, are we those stories, or, are we that which the story contains. Is a book the letters on its page or is the book the blank pages the letters are written on. The essence of every book is the potential to capture all kinds of stories, not the story itself. The story itself is always changing. For example, Am I Dolph or am I pure awareness expressing the story called Dolph. The human suffering starts when we identify and therefore limit ourselves to being the wordly stories we play in life. The essence of who we really are is not limited by a personality, but is pure awareness which can experience itself through any personality, any story. In Vedanta we discover the unchangeable that is always present and which we don't have to look for. Pure awareness is the unchangeable, the blank page if you will.
Vedanta is one of the oldest schools in Hindu Philosophy. It's a very pragmatic way to conduct inquiry of the Self. It explains the main four yogas which are the framework to come to a broader sense of awareness of pure Self. As humans we have the most enhanced form of self awareness, compared to other forms of life. So, we can think ourselves to be separated from others and therefore we find ourselves struggling with feelings like: 'Am I good enough, Am I living life as I'm expected to, What is life, Is this who I am, and therefore, what am I really?'
Yoga means unity, it is how we re-understand that, essentially, we are not separate beings but one consiousness experiences itself through 8 billion observers. So we may feel as separate body-minds, but through self inquiry we can overcome this feeling which causes emotional suffering and realise that we are one consciousness. In understanding this we need an open mind because we will learn things we never thought about before or were never taught because of our cultural coordinates. Vedanta doesn't look at your coordinates, only into who you really are. It's also called the sience of being.
At Ashram Curacao we practise the four main yogas which is traditionally the path to self realisation.
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.
06.00 Individual Meditation
07.00 Yoga / breathwork
13.30 Free time
16.30 Gardening, mindful work
21.00 End of day
Bookings and costs
2-bed shared room/cabin 595 USD/ Week
Private room/cabin 800 USD/week
Prices include the following
- One daily meditation session
- One daily Yoga or breathwork class
- One daily Satsang
- Three vegetarian meals
- Snacks, tea, coffee
- Reiki treatment 40USD
- Herbal consultation 40USD
- Transportation to airport 55USD
Local rates apply for sedula holders. For more information please contact us
-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
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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