Darkness envelops you, accepts you - not as a distinct person; it simply accepts you without any definitions.
Since 1992, Anoula Sifonios has passionately studied the modified states of awareness. For three decades, she has sought to understand the larger reality, including metaphysics, energetics, the intuitions of the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Sumer, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India. She studied their languages and history at the Free University of Brussels, receiving her MA in 2000. She wrote a thesis on advaita vedânta and non-duality. Since 1993, she’s been travelling India and Asia. From 2004 to 2008, Malek Daouk and Geneviève Gillet trained her in yoga, and since 2006 she practices yoga-nidrâ with André Riehl. For twelve years, she practiced Zen intensively with Adyashanti and Flint Sparks, among others. She met other teachers and teachings on her path, such as Vipassana or Gregory Kramer’s Insight Dialogue, which are frequently reflected in the retreats. She works as a teacher, trainer, and therapist; gives lectures and organises initiatic journeys. Her aim is to understand the holistic nature of our humanity. Trained as a Sankritist, she comments on the ancient wisdom and teaches how to walk the path towards it. Her approach is practical, using the body to mould the mind. She loves to explain the knowledge through modern science too, especially in her darkness retreats. She aims at creating fertile ground for waking up to our deep nature and potential. Anoula is passionate about discovering the effects of darkness on body chemistry, health, and the inner path. It is in full darkness that her teachings come to their very essence. During retreats, she offers private interviews for those needing to share the process.
Anoula and her husband Johan offer teachings that intend to bring together the relative and absolute planes of existence; that lean into the light while taking care of the shadow; that bring balance in the human and divine aspects of our lives. This transmission tries to bring discrimination in thought and action. These teachings aim to open consciousness on all levels of existence. They offer a process of growth towards freedom and joy, where we learn to cope with emotions while unveiling metaphysical layers of our being.
The centers that host our retreats
North India near New Delhi : Zorba the Buddha
Created by a sannyasin whose name is Ashwin Bharti, the center Zorba the Buddha is about 20 km from the center of New Delhi and 15 km from the airport. In a residential area of the quiet Ghitorni village, Zorba the Buddha is a luxuriant and artistic garden. It is an avant-gardist place of modern spiritual India, seeking to favour all sorts of experiences around truth (satyam), beauty (sundaram) and the Sacred (Shivam). Meditation, creativity, and exploration are its key-words. Zorba the Buddha started hosting darkness retreats a few years ago. About 16 people can participate in them at one time. ‘Zorba the Buddha’ is famous for its delicious, healthy vegetarian meals, almost exclusively organic. Cooking workshops take place there – including raw and vegan cuisine.
North Thailand near Chiang Mai : Tao Garden
Taoist master Mantak Chia created a large resort in Thailand in order to pass on Taoist wisdom and techniques. Nowadays, few places offer individual darkness retreats. Tao Garden is the only place worldwide that has such a large building designed for group retreats in the dark. It offers simple architecture, complete darkness, ventilation, and of course, complete safety and security for the participants. The darkroom may accommodate 40 people in single, double, or multiple rooms. Tao Garden also has other amenities: a sumptuous swimming-pool, a fitness center, a tennis court, a spa, massages and different sorts of care, and a Taoist clinic.