Who We Are
“Galiana Meditation Retreat is a community project dedicated to all kindred spirits in the name of light.” Saraswati, Mahabaleshwar Mountain, 2010
Galiana is a sanctuary located on the border of Upstate New York and the Berkshire Mountains. Galiana is a home to meditation retreats, rooted in times honored modalities like yoga, tantra and ayurveda as well as trance/post modernistic/tribal music, theater and art festivals, soul dance fire circle events and raw food cleansing fiestas. Our team consists of people who are dedicated to the evolution of consciousness and path of self-discovery.
Our founder Saraswati (Luba Evans) is a free spirit dedicated to the evolution of consciousness since the beginning of times. Her vision is for Galiana to be a bridge between old and new, left and right, feminine and masculine, east and west, subconscious and conscious mind. We provide common ground for different modalities which all have Loving Kindness in common. Some retreats are led by Galiana teachers and others by guest teachers from India, Peru and other countries whose approaches resonate with ours.
Galiana’s workshops and events reflect insights from different modalities and philosophies, yet they are all united by common principles, such as seeing the world as a manifestation of higher power.
We believe in the original purity of consciousness:
- in love, faith and hope as the essence of the universe
- feeling the divine presence in everything
- taking responsibility for your reality
- learning to live in the present moment
- learning to respect and appreciate nature
- learning to face the shadow and stay in the catharsis
- awakening and healing the core feminine and core masculine
- letting go of judgement of others and self judgement
- understanding the union of the opposites
- aligning speech, mind and body
- and learning to live from the heart.
One can choose a path of self-discovery and renewal and experience a progressive sequence of retreats to immerse into these principles. To be led on the progressive path we recommend to step into the Seven Strings Tantra Series program, which ultimately leads to apprenticeship and teacher training.
“Galiana is a river. We are a river in the ocean of the global effort dedicated to the evolution of consciousness.” ~ Saraswati
Galiana offers a wide range of weekend long to five day retreats as well as 2-3 hour long seasonal classes and activities. In 2011 we will be running Seven String Tantra, Couples Retreats, Tantra Without Borders Community Retreats, Healing the Broken Heart Retreat, Galiana Goddess Rejuvenation Program and Entering Shivahood Men’s Retreat. There will also be two special Tantra Yoga retreats with acclaimed guest teachers from India and Australia. Find a perfect retreat for yourself. See our calendar.
Galiana is home to the Tantra Without Borders movement, which is dedicated to using tantric principles to establish peace and mutual healing between the feminine and masculine of the world. Galiana is also home to Healing the Broken Heart project, a revolutionary program dedicated to helping people get over heartbreak.
We are also working on a revolutionary interactive theater piece: “When the Gods are Laughing”
In addition to the main facilities like the Pine Log Chalet and Lotus Yoga dome, we are in the process of completing a goddess temple, a pool, a sauna and an Ayurvedic treatment facility with an Ayurvedic garden, along with a sacred circle space and studio spaces for workshops and dancing. The style of Galiana combines Indian, Tibetan and South American motifs. Everything is carefully chosen and prepared with wisdom and love.
We are the guardians of this land. We are the gatekeepers who hold the space for everybody who comes to receive healing here. Galiana teachers and workshop participants teach and learn to experience life to its fullest, see depths in seemingly shallow waters, and, as a result of deep faith and strong hope, discover what it means to be (and to love) with true fearlessness.
Our community is blessed with a unique combination of life experiences, skill sets, and talents. Many are licensed in art, dance, body work and holistic beauty. You will trust their hearts and hands, and learn to truly let go. Open your heart to Galiana and tune into the frequency of Loving Kindness: the fresh wind of change.
Surrounded by nature, you will be free to experience unconditional love. Though each retreat and teacher offers something different, all projects are united by our commitment to loving kindness for all beings. Our colorful paths have melded together; our resources and visions have become singular so that we can create a better future for our children. As spiritual beings, we know that finding our cores, and being at peace with ourselves, will allow the universe to align us. We move forward together, sure to preserve our differences as we fortify our unity.
The land of Galiana is shaped like a womb, with a mountain stream running through it and conservation land on all sides. The diversity of flora and fauna on this land is stunning. Once, this land belonged to the Mohican Indians; the People of the River, a clan of fur, raspberry and golden rod. Galiana is nestled among the trees, in a grove rich with birch, white oak, spruce and balsam fur, raspberry and golden rod. Woodchucks, squirrels, turtles and deer grace the land with their presence and, at five in the morning, an orchestra of heavenly blue birds and crows (along with the not so heavenly woodpeckers) join voices with the sound of the stream. Trout used to swim through the mineral-rich waters, until some industrious beavers built a dam somewhere in the mountains. We are still hoping to negotiate with them so that they move their construction to a different area.
Galiana is surrounded by nature and yet is located very close to civilization. We are blessed with the proximity of Tanglewood, Clark Museum, Olana Castel, Kripalu and other landmarks. Jiminy Peak, Hand Hollow Conservation and Taconic State Park with Copake Falls are some of the natural wonders located in proximity to Galiana.
The creation of this retreat has been in our dreams since childhood, when we read a legend about the Spanish King Alfonso the XIII who fell in love with a Jewish woman named Rachel. Rachel was highly educated and spiritual, and had a vision of creating a magical place, an interfaith sanctuary, where the Spanish Christian traditions of her beloved King could be met and unified with the Jewish Arabic roots of her own culture.
The King offered to Rachel the Palacio de Galiana, a castle which, over time, she had turned into a sacred land. Palacio de Galiana was a land with beautiful streams, fountains and gardens, where the trees whispered of tenderness and the waters sang of love. When the King saw this magical land, he did not want to go to war anymore. He only wished to stay with his beloved in this place of love, healing, and rest.
Rachel spoke many ancient languages, and in every language she wrote inscriptions of ancient wisdom on the walls and doorsteps of the palace. The inscription that we adopted and swear by is “Alafia, peace to the one who enters”.
We feel the role of the feminine in the world is to create healing places inside of the man’s heart, so he does not want to go to war anymore, be it with himself or others.
We do not possess the aid of the King’s wealth, and the creation of such a magical land would have been altogether impossible had it not been for the existence of a loving and supportive community. Galiana has a place for everyone who would like to be of service to our community and, in a larger sense, to humanity.
We believe that “The one who is constantly calling on god’s door will finally open it.” There are many ways to practice; everybody’s life is a sort of practice already. Our way is not the only way, but if our way appeals to you: come and dance with us.
We offer many programs, one of them will work for you. We believe that everybody should have access to our workshops, our spirits and our hearts. If you need helping hands let us know – the universe has miraculous way of showing its grace.
We are looking for volunteers, any free spirits who wish to join us on our journey. To walk their path, to teach us and to learn from us, to enrich our lives with theirs. We are also looking for teachers; contact us if our values resonate with yours, and your energy will add to the magic of Galiana.
“There are three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.”
~ Bible, I Corinthians 13:13