tools & guidance for embodied inquiry

sean feit, SEP, E-RYT, PhD (almost)

inner work for resilience, love, & liberation
informed by 25 years of study & practice

nondual Theravāda Buddhism
Yoga āsana, prānāyāma, jñāna, bhakti
Somatic Experiencing  |  Organic Intelligence
Asian & European philosophy
Authentic Movement

classes, workshops & individual sessions
need-based sliding scale available

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Welcome. I teach Buddhism and Yoga based in many years of practice and study, working with āsana, prānāyāma, meditation, devotion, and inquiry, supporting those who hold these practices as part of their spiritual path. All are welcome to come and explore the mystery of this human life together. No religious belief is necessary, but my teaching is strongly rooted in the Theravāda Buddhist tradition as expressed in the Thai Forest and Burmese Vipassanā traditions. Like many contemporary teachers in the Insight Meditation lineage, I supplement this foundation with elements from both Buddhist and Hindu yogas, classical and tantric, as tools for the awakening of the heart to freedom and ease. My teaching currently takes the form of a weekly meditation gathering, sacred text study workshops, and writing on social issues in Buddhist and Hindu Yoga convert communities.

Central to my understanding and teaching of spiritual practice is the role of trauma and relational disruption in the process of self-knowledge and inquiry. Trauma comes in many forms, from physical harm through abuse and violence, to emotional harm in unsafe environments, to the systemic harm all of us experience in cultures where racism, sexism, oppression, and the perversion of wholesome living by rapacious social systems (consumer capitalism, toxic individualism, religious intolerance) are the norm. Wise action to heal trauma consists in addressing it wisely on all levels, including the personal and societal, and influences every level of spiritual development. My work in trauma resolution is strongly influenced by the work of Dr. Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing), and my SE teacher and current mentor Steve Hoskinson (Organic Intelligence). I see yogis (folks with an ongoing practice of yoga or meditation) for individual SE/OI sessions and teach workshops on trauma to Buddhist and Yoga groups.

I write about current issues in western Buddhist and Yoga communities, as well as art, performance, politics, and social justice. Shorter writing is under “blog” and longer academic essays under “poems + essays”. Writing for this blog has slowed to a trickle like a California river [ooh, sad simile! :( ] as I’m giving all my writing energy to my PhD dissertation, tentatively titled, ““This Very Body is the Bodhi Tree”: 
The Performance of Contemplative States 
by Practitioners in the Western Jhāna Revival 
& West Coast experimental art”. I’m about 1/3 done, and hope to be truly done by early 2016. Send prayers (for rain).

Please stay in touch (email list signup on the left, contact info at the bottom of the page), and I look forward to practicing with you sometime soon. Blessings for your practice.

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Ongoing classes

Insight Meditation Satsang: Thu 7:45-9:15pm Yoga Tree Telegraph

Meditation with instructions, wisdom teachings from Theravāda Buddhism leavened with Mahāyāna, Tantra, and existential philosophy, and community discussion of practice. Beginners welcome, and the first Thursday of each month is oriented toward beginners.

Offered fully and joyfully on donation, in the Buddhist practice of dāna (generosity). Your monetary gift sustains this kind of gathering in deeper ways than a class with a “price” can, because the act of heartfelt giving itself is a practice of living in a way we most deeply long for: connected to each other in community and respect. Thank you for your support as we challenge inhuman capitalism through the subtle and profound practice of gift economy.

Yoga & kirtan have ended for now

Wed and Fri vinyasa at Yoga Tree Telegraph has ended. Thank you to all my regulars for many years of rich, evolving practice. I’m doing no ongoing āsana classes currently. At Yoga Tree Telegraph I recommend my wonderful colleagues and friends Rachel Shaw and Lucid Dawn. Last Sunday of the month kirtan at Yoga Tree Telegraph has also ended (for Sara and I). Our dear friend Surya Prakasha will continue leading on the Last Sundays, and Sara and I will join sometimes.

**Kirtan every Sunday 7-9 at Yoga Tree Telegraph, with rotating leaders, continues.**

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upcoming workshops

The Bhagavad Gita: Action and devotion in a complex world

Fri-Sun: Sep 11, 9-5:30pm, Sep 12, 12-5pm, Sep 13, 12:30-5pm
Yoga Garden, San Francisco

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the core texts of the yoga tradition, and one of Hinduism’s most beloved spiritual books. It contains practical instructions for yoga and daily life, meditations on the nature of God, and a deep exploration of the question of how to live a good life, framed as a battlefield conversation on the brink of a terrible war.

We will read the Gita in Stephen Mitchell’s accessible and poetic translation alongside traditional commentaries, exploring multiple viewpoints on this powerful and complex text, and wrestle with the challenging and powerful teaching on renunciation of the fruits of action.

Required text: Stephen Mitchell, The Bhagavad Gita, a new translation. Students who own other translations of the Gita are welcome to bring them, but we’ll mainly read out of the Mitchell.

$295 Earlybird by August 20, $345 after. Register here.

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Fall 5-day Bodhi Silent Yoga+Meditation Retreat: Pete Guinosso & Sean Feit

Wed-Sun: Sep 30 – Oct 4
Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek
http://petegyoga.com/event/bodhi-silent-yoga-and-meditation-retreat-2/
registration link

I’ll be co-teaching with renowned Forrest Yoga teacher teacher Pete Guinosso, offering meditation interwoven with his vigorous vinyasa practice. Experienced students of both yoga āsana and meditation are invited to join us for a beautiful 5-day silent retreat in the redwoods.

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From Veda to Vinyāsa: An Timeline of Yoga History

Sunday, Oct 11, 12:30-5:30pm
Yoga Garden San Francisco

3000 years of (mostly) Indian cultural history in 5 hours. A beginner’s tour of the landscape, focusing on understanding the interaction between groups of people, culture & economics, and the textual traditions that would become the foundations for the many lineages we call “yoga”, including Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Tantric, Haṭha, Colonial, Modern & Postmodern.

This workshop is primarily for students in the 200 hour Teacher Training programs at Yoga Garden, but is open to all. Registration link.

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The Yoga Sutra of Patañjali: Meditation & Liberation

Sunday, Oct 18, 12:30-5:30pm
Yoga Garden San Francisco

A beginner’s intro to one of the most beloved and profound texts of classical Yoga. We’ll look at the philosophical roots of modern Yoga in this 2000 year-old text, including the causes and resolution of existential suffering and the meditation and inquiry meant to lead us to wisdom and liberation. The YS is the source of the aṣtānga or “Eight Limb” model of spiritual practice made famous by the Krishnamacharya tradition, and one of the most important root texts for modern practice.

In this practice-based workshop, we’ll explore how the 8 Limb structure can be seen as describing both a specific meditation practice and a general guideline for spiritual life. We will learn basics of meditation practice including posture, breath work, and the relation of ethical action and renunciation to the inner tranquillity necessary for liberation in this early Yoga system.

The day will include self-guided āsana practice, suitable for experienced yoga students. Experience in meditation is encouraged but not required.

This workshop is primarily for students in the 200 hour Teacher Training programs at Yoga Garden, but is open to all. Register with YG here.

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From Awareness to Energy: Roots of Haṭha Yoga in Śaiva Tantra

Saturday, Oct 31, 12-3pm
Yoga Garden San Francisco

The yoga we practice has roots in several Indian traditions, most prominently the late medieval Haṭha Yoga tradition, which itself grew out of the vast medieval traditions called Tantra. Understanding some of the belief systems and core practices of Tantra can help us to deepen our own practice toward a rich and nourishing spiritual practice.

In this final workshop of my Yoga Garden History & Practice series, we look at the most fertile period of yoga’s development in India, exploring how the physical and energetic focus of Haṭha Yoga grew out of the rich philosophical and experiential soil of Tantric ritual process. Topics include mantra, guru, kuṇḍalinī, and the extraordinary non-dual View of reality preserved in the Śaiva Tantra of Kashmir.

Experience in yoga āsana and meditation helpful, but precocious beginners welcome.

This workshop is primarily for students in the 200 hour Teacher Training programs at Yoga Garden, but is open to all. Register with YG here.

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Organic Intelligence HEARTraining intro weekend

Nov. 6-8
[Location & cost TBA]

In this weekend workshop, I’ll explore some of the basics of the profound and graceful trauma resolution and resilience work known as Organic Intelligence. This introduction to the work of Steven Hoskinson is one of a series of intros preceding the first HEART (Human Empowerment And Resilience Training) module in the Bay Area, January 17-22, 2016.

We’ll look at nervous system physiology, the behavior of chaotic systems, phases of psychological and nervous system work, and practice tools for deepening coherence and resilience in ourselves and if we’re therapists or teachers, in those we support. More information soon, including location and cost, but please send me a note if you’re interested.

Temporary webpage with info.

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After the Nov HEART intro I’ll take a break from teaching for a few months of… paternity leave! If you follow me on FB you’ll see some evidence of whatever’s happening. When the adorable newborn pictures start to turn back into complaints about capitalism and issues in Yoga & Buddhism you know I’m on my way back. Workshops and blog posts will start up again in Feb or so. Thanks for reading this far & I hope to share practice with you sometime soon. Blessings always, sean.

Meditation and mystery are inseparable. Just as the mysterious cannot be unraveled through calculation, nor can a meditative attitude be acquired as though it were a technical skill. Heidegger remarked, “That which shows itself and at the same time withdraws is the essential trait of the mystery.” Meditation occurs whenever our innermost awareness is trained on the shocking nearness yet elusive distance of what is present.

(Stephen Batchelor, The Faith to Doubt)