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Fertile Void: A Meditation Retreat for Women

1) Monthly Format

Please complete this online registration form: http://www.niralis.com/application-fertilevoid
Very few spots left, so please register.

  1. The program will start in October 2018
  2. There will be two video meetings each month:
    • Beginning of the month: Guided meditation and a Mindfulness talk explaining the topic of the month. Q&A
    • Middle of the month: Discussion on the topic. Relational practices.
  3. Each month, there will be a suggested curriculum. Eg: Readings, daily-life practices and free ‘guided-meditation’ downloads.
  4. Optional: Twice a year, we will offer a 3-hour session with expert guest teachers (Psychotherapist, Restorative Justice, Somatic-Body Based Experts).
  5. At the end of the year, all participants will receive a certificate for completing the program.

This interactive workshop is secular and has no affiliation with any religion or institution. The program will be customized based on the specific needs of the organization.

2) FAQ Section

This section covers most Frequently Asked Questions: 

3) Suggested Topics for each month:

  1. Introduction to Mindfulness
    Cultivating awareness of breath, body, feelings and thoughts.

  2. How to reduce stress and anxiety
    Understanding why zebras don’t get ulcers? Learning the causes and effects of stress and how to dramatically reduce it.

  3. Self-compassion & Self-care
    Incubate your inner-space. Understanding self-compassion and its practices.

  4. Working with the Inner Critic
    Discerning ways in which the deep-seated critical voice within brings harshness and anxiety. And self-doubt, shame, addictions and out-dated habits block us from fully expressing our gifts and creative life-force. How can we find release from it?

  5. Tools for Mindful Communication
    Exploring the relationship between mindfulness and NVC (Non Violent Communication). Also learning how to have difficult conversations with skillfulness.

  6. Mindfulness of Joy and Delight
    Learning to inhale and exhale joy and delight. Unearthing the powerful role of perception and concepts.

  7. Working through Difficult Emotions
    Bringing balance or equanimity in the midst of difficult experiences and overwhelm. Learning to track your nervous system instead of imbuing trauma.

  8. Empathy & goodwill towards challenging people
    Learning benefits of cultivating a loving heart. Bringing goodwill for difficult people, not as a way of spiritual bypass, but as a way of expanding our heart’s capacity.

  9. Mindfulness and De-addiction
    How to work with addictive patterns (eg. internet social media, netflix, smoking, alcohol, drugs, eating habits, etc.)

  10. Mindfulness of systemic oppressions
    What is the role of mindfulness in the midst of racial and gender violence or socio-economic oppressions? Learning to see how our personal well-being is connected to our response to greater well-being and healing on the planet.

  11. Awakening a greater vision for your life
    How can mindfulness help us awaken to our greater potential and purpose? How to fully step into your power?

  12. Continuity of Practice
    Cumulative benefits of daily-life practice and awareness in each moment. How to truly integrate and translate this practice in day-to-day activities?


4) What is Mindfulness Meditation?

“Mindfulness is a capacity of purposefully bringing attention to one’s present moment experience as it arises in the thoughts, emotions or body sensations without judgment; with a willingness to be open and curious.”

Today, mindfulness meditation has become integral to employee well-being at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – where they have established meditation rooms and offer classes throughout the year. It is also actively taught in hundreds of schools and universities across United States and Europe.

Universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford,  Berkeley and UCLA are spending millions of dollars on scientific research that reveals the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation. Most of these colleges also have centers and buildings dedicated to teaching this practice.


5) Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation?

Modern neuroscience reveals Mindfulness Meditation leads to reduced stress and anxiety and increases concentration, focus and well-being.  Mindfulness helps the brain encode its patterns towards greater compassion as well as emotional resilience – some of the most critical qualities for empowered leadership.

An seminal study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s grey matter in just eight weeks. The results of another important study published in NeuroReport show thicker cortical regions related to attention and sensory processing.

4) Please Note

  • All those in the gender spectrum who identify as female are welcome.

  • For the benefit of the group process, punctuality and full attendance are requested.
  • While the retreat draws from some Buddhist teachings, this series is non-sectarian and has no affiliation with any religion, organizations or institution.
  • Please be aware that this is a workshop style retreat that will include some periods of silence and some periods of speaking. Some exercises may be emotionally evocative as we learn to face and respond to the expansive and contracted states of our inner and outer worlds.

5) Diversity

We are committed to diversity and inclusive community building.  Our sincere wish is to learn. To create a nourishing space for people from a wide range of backgrounds, race, class and sexual orientation.

6) Contribution

Sliding Scale : $75 - $325 for each retreat

About Finances: This series is financed solely by your contributions. Sliding-scale prices allow us to keep programs affordable for those with limited financial means. Please pay at the highest level of the sliding scale that you can afford. This allows others who cannot afford the full cost, the opportunity to attend. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity.

7) Teacher Bio


Nirali Shah offers Counseling and teaches Mindfulness Meditation retreats with an emphasis on mind-body awareness and self-inquiry. She has spent thousands of hours meditating in silent retreats in monasteries, meditation centers and cells in Asia and the United States.

She is a certified mindfulness facilitator from UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, part of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She has received training from world-renowned Jungian Analyst and post-trauma recovery specialist, Dr. Clarissa Estes. She is also trained by the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (Dr. Peter A. Levine). 

She lives in the Bay Area, California and currently teaches with technology companies such as Google, academic institutions such as the Stanford D. School, non-profits and spiritual communities around the world.

She is a regular teacher at Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City and facilitates retreats with Spirit Rock and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education.

In the past, she served in one of the largest slum communities of Asia for more than four years, part of it working out of the Gandhi Ashram. She is the founder of Shvaas, a non-profit platform that has helped streamline efforts of hundreds of volunteers to work on meaningful social change projects on ecology and social justice. She has spent a year in rural and forest areas with native communities often living in mud huts, without electricity or running water learning natural farming and local art. 




8) Contact

If you have any questions, you can contact: info(at)shvaas(dot)org

9) Share

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