Embodied Awareness for Tough Times

Exploring Mudra in a Weekend Retreat

Mudra Being Circle


Suzann Duquette

Alison Pepper

Date & Time Details:

October 2023



Program Fee:

Generosity Price - $395

Tuition - $330

Room/Meals Fee:

This will be added in during the registration process.
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Contact Us:

Karmê Chöling
(802) 633-2384

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Mudra Space Awareness practice, or Mudra, leads to embodied awareness through the fearless and unhesitating action of being fully present and engaging wholeheartedly with ourselves and with whatever is arising.

Mudra means "gesture"

We make gestures all the time:

  • Our movements are gestures.
  • The words we speak are gestures.
  • Gestures are how we relate with others and the environment around us.
  • Our whole life is a gesture.

Creating embodied presence & awareness

By empowering our gestures

In Mudra, embodied awareness is feeling our body fully and awakening our sense perceptions (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch). This is accomplished through:

  • Physical intensification and relaxation postures that heighten the contrast between being present for and being trapped by our habitual thoughts and emotions
  • Sensory awareness exercises that increase our awareness and feeling of body and mind, and
  • Contemplation and application.

By exploring and engaging in these ways, we discover a greater sense of space - a powerful and lighter sense of being - within our minds and hearts, and in our lives. This is embodied presence.

To experience a lighter or more spacious mind

First we learn to relate with our own tension.

Typically, we are physically tense in some ways and relaxed in others. For example, our stomach is relaxed but our neck and shoulders are tight. The core exercises of Mudra invite us to feel 100% intensified or 100% relaxed. Through this process, we cut through unexamined and habitual physical and mental patterns, and awaken to feeling our bodies and freeing up our minds. This becomes the ground for greater awareness and presence.

Mudra meditative view and practices

In response to requests from leading theater professionals and other performance artists in the early 1970s, Chögyam Trungpa created Mudra Space Awareness practice, drawn from Tibetan Buddhist yogic practices and monastic dance. Through Mudra’s meditative view and practices, these students became more aware of themselves and others, opened their sense perceptions, and experienced embodied presence. This benefited them in their professional and personal lives. Mudra’s meditative view and practices result in:

  • Recognizing the contrast between habitual physical and mental reactions and fresh experience
  • Reclaiming embodied presence
  • Embodied awareness through postures that call for total involvement
  • Experiencing embodied or genuine presence through activating awake gesture, speech, and movement.

Mudra begins with nonaggression

Nonaggression is the key to life, and to perception altogether. It is how to perceive reality at its best. Out of that comes the notion of dignity.

Chögyam Trungpa

What Can I expect in this retreat?

  • Exercises that ​wake up your sense perceptions and increase mindfulness and awareness in your life
  • Feeling your body wholeheartedly and energetically
  • More openness and awareness of yourself, others, and the environment
  • The ability to see your thoughts and emotions within a larger perspective
  • Attuning to the power and beauty of our sense perceptions.

With the increase of embodied awareness and presence that Mudra practice brings, we are able to see, meet, and embrace tenacious thoughts and emotions and tough energetic situations instead of ignoring, becoming aggressive, or being overwhelmed by them.

Suzann Duquette

This retreat will offer you:

  • Recognition and practice of awake gestures
  • Intensification and relaxation exercises that lead to wakeful and compassionate living
  • Principles, such as Total Involvement, that you can apply in your daily life
  • Contemplative slogans related to physical embodiment postures
  • Sensory awareness exercises that lead to deeper reflection in life and guide you toward nonaggressive living
  • Exercises and materials to help you apply awakened awareness, gesture, and action in your life - work life, with friends, and at home.

Two Retreat Options

To help facilitate your attendance, this retreat will be offered in two parts.

Full Retreat - Parts 1 & 2
Everyone is invited to attend the entire retreat, Wed. October 4 to Sun., October 8.

Weekend Retreat - Part 2 Only
You may attend the weekend only, Friday night, Oct. 6 to Sun., October 8.

No prerequisites
There are no prerequisites for either retreat.

Part 1:
Wednesday, October 4, 7:30p to Friday, October 6, 6:00p
We will ground ourselves in Mudra Space Awareness practice four sessions a day. Sessions will emphasize practice and discussion, including:

  • 5 of the core intensification postures
  • Working with poles to increase mindfulness-awareness
  • Mudra slogan contemplation and
  • Sense perceptions, play, and interaction – inside and in nature.

Part 2:
Friday, October 6, 7:30p to
Sunday, October 8, 5:00p
The first session each morning will focus on core intensification postures.
For the remaining three sessions, practice and discussion will focus on ways to bring Mudra into our lives, especially in these challenging times. Sessions will emphasize:

  • Awakening our senses to broaden awareness
  • Feeling embodied presence in our surroundings
  • Deepening genuine gesture through key Mudra principles
  • Exploring Mudra and trauma - Because trauma lives in our bodies and is not always accessible through the thinking mind, mudra practice allows us to open up to greater mental and emotional space and awareness
  • Mudra slogan contemplation with physical movements
  • Mudra in nature.

This retreat is for you if you are interested in…

  • Increasing awareness of your habitual gestures and reactions
  • Understanding embodied awareness and perceptions as gateways to nonaggression and presence
  • Increasing embodied presence, especially when engaging with uncomfortable situations
  • Joining with others to explore gesture, movement, and play
  • Being fully present in your life - work life, with friends, and at home.

Arrival & Departure

Please plan to arrive between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on October 4 or October 6 to register and check-in.
Dinner is offered at 6:30 p.m.
The retreat begins each of these evenings at 7:30 p.m.
Part 1 will conclude at 6:00p on October 6.
Part 2 will conclude at 5:00 p.m. on October 8.

If you would like to take the Full Retreat October 6 - 8 registration here:

If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Joan Carney at


Karmê Chöling values its commitment to making programs affordable and available to all who wish to study with us. To support this commitment we provide two program price options.

Generosity Price: $395.00
You're able to help us with this commitment by choosing the "Generosity Price". The money above the basic tuition cost goes into a scholarship fund for those who might not be able to attend a program otherwise.

Tuition: $330.00
This is the price of the program, it does not include housing options or material fees.

Please Note:
Price does not include accommodations, which will be added during the registration process.


Payment Policies:
Please read the payment policy before proceeding with registration.

Financial Aid:
Karmê Chöling offers full-time student discounts, scholarships and other financial aid.

Program Credit:
If using existing program credit to pay for a program, you must pre-register for this program at least two weeks prior to the program start date by calling the front desk (802-633-2384 x3000). Program credit may not be used to pay for housing or practice materials and may not be used on or after arrival day.


Suzann Duquette Karme Choling
Suzann Duquette

Mudra Instructor - Suzann Duquette began her lifelong exploration of Mudra in 1974 as part of the Berkeley Mudra Space Awareness Group led by Dr. Craig Warren Smith. Suzann views the power of embodied awareness as essential to awakening, and Mudra, as taught by Chögyam Trungpa, as a profound method for tasting direct experience and bringing embodiment into effective action in all aspects of our lives. Among many Mudra gatherings and retreats, Suzann co-taught a landmark, month-long Mudra and meditation retreat with Dr. Smith in 2004 and the 2019 Mudra Summit that brought together leading Mudra teachers at Karmê Chöling. Appointed as co-director of Karmê Chöling (1995 - 2001) by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Suzann was also a senior teacher of the center, 2007 - 2012, and its resident senior teacher, 2012 - 2023. Suzann also teaches Daoist-Qigong and strategic leadership in the lineages of Dr. Eva Wong. She lives with her husband, Jan, in Barnet, where they own and run Blue Skies, a B & B.

Alison Pepper
Alison Pepper

Alison Pepper, LCSW, has been studying and practicing meditation and Buddhism since 2005. She has studied Dharma Art with Jack Niland for a number of years and is currently studying Mudra space awareness with Suzann Duquette and others. Alison mixes her passions for art, body work, creativity, and meditation in her NY therapy office as a Buddhist psychotherapist. When Alison isn't in the shrine room or therapy office you will find her outside, playing with friends or home with her silly cat Pickles!

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