Retreats at Ask Retreat Centre
Next Retreats at Ask Retreat Centre:
5-day Autumn Retreat, 9-14 October
We will work with classical yoga, breathing exercises, deep relaxation, concentration, and meditation. In addition, there will be good vegetarian food, sauna, 1 day with Silence (Mauna), and Satsang. The retreat is open to everyone who wishes to go deeper in their work with themselves.
The Teacher: Bjarke
Innovative yoga book with QR codes for over seven hours with online audio and video instructions.
The book is both a foundation in classical yoga and tantric meditation and an introduction to deeper, esoteric yoga. It is a guide to exploring the chakras by using the powerful tools of classical yoga. The book is structured so that even beginners can enjoy it. You start by getting to know your body, breath, and mind through simple relaxation, good meditation poses, undemanding yoga exercises for the back, basic breathing techniques, and meditations.
Next, you follow the yoga tradition’s approach to awakening the Kundalini power, the dormant energy: First you gain better contact with Sushumna (the central energy flow) by cleansing and balancing Ida and Pingala –the two main energy currents in the body. Furthermore, you develop contact with each chakra through physical poses, breathing techniques, other energy techniques, relaxation, and meditation related to the chakra. Throughout the book, you will gradually learn the integrated chakra meditation called the Source of Energy.
The techniques of the yoga tradition are best learned by following oral instruction. Through the book, you will find QR codes for some of the techniques with links to video and audio files. There are over seven hours of instructions that make learning easier and provide greater benefits from the techniques.
The book is based on the classical yoga tradition and the sober Scandinavian form that this yoga has acquired through the Danish yogi’s Swami Janakananda and Per Peo Olsen – in addition to my own experiences both in life, on the yoga mat, and through teaching.
Review of the Book ‘Chakra – Esoteric Yoga’
The closest you get is a book that can teach you to immerse yourself in yoga, regardless of the starting point
By Audun Myskja – author, chief physician, and specialist in general medicine
The author is one of the most experienced and consistent teachers within the rapidly growing yoga movement in Norway. In 1976, I myself took part in one of the first yoga courses in Norway, led by Peo, one of the supervisors who helped with this work. On the sidelines, I have since witnessed that yoga has emerged as the closest we come to a total package for spiritual, mental, and physical health building. That an ancient discipline should have so much to give modern people, says something about the durability of the knowledge the tradition springs from. The author has enforced this tradition with a breadth of experience and depth that few others can point to. He can therefore present an authoritative work based on chakra.
He begins by making it clear that chakras are not absolute sizes on a par with the femur. The fascinating thing about chakras that make them so useful in inner work is that they stand at this strange intersection between the subjective and the objective, the subtle and the concrete, like a door opener or a bridge builder. This is the main reason why I myself have prioritized the work with chakras and taught this tradition for decades: Chakras can be similar to music in the ability to show the meeting point between different dimensions. The doctrine of chakra simultaneously challenges all absolute traditions, such as our materialistic science. At the same time, work with chakras gives experience-consistent results, precisely because they can bind together the various parts that have lost touch in our fragmented and turbulent age.
I have read many books about yoga and chakra, both in Scandinavian, English, and German, and experience that this book is an important contribution in a field where chakra books abound, often characterized by simplifications that give the theme a blunt and abstract feel.
Bjarke has a consistent and authoritative style. I myself have tried to explain exercises in books and experience how difficult it is to make it clear and simple. I have never read a yoga book where the various exercises are presented so clearly, without oversimplifying. At the same time, the depth and weight of the experience lie behind it, which creates confidence and motivation to practice it. The closest you get is a book that can teach you to immerse yourself in yoga, regardless of starting point. At the same time, Bjarke emphasizes that the depth can hardly be learned from books, and therefore provides generous access to a large and elaborate digital learning material, which is tailored to the book’s structure. There is thorough work behind this release!
If the book addresses esoteric traditions, this part is also characterized by the same strength. The author is able to make it easy without trivializing or presenting a deep tradition in an easy way. As someone who has been trained in deep work with chakra for decades, the many stenciled chakra books have been a stumbling block: In an attempt to make a deep tradition modern and accessible, authors present forms that often violate tradition and do not agree with systematic empirical evidence. It is therefore a pleasure to read the thoroughly lived descriptions of chakras, which add new dimensions to the understanding of chakras that I have missed in the literature of recent decades. Each sentence in these chapters seems clear and elaborate: A material that can be tested and built up to an understanding of the chakra as a unique gateway to understanding how spirit, mind, and body are connected and give the many who are struggling today a unique tool in the hands. Bjarke avoids clichés and frivolities and uses a refined language that promotes access to spirit, body, and subconscious in a way that I have previously only found in classic yoga texts. At the same time, the content is updated and available for scientific thinking. The chakra part is a particularly innovative and unique part of this book.
Should I miss something in this book, it is the same as in most other yoga books:
- Case studies where we get a clearer picture of yoga in everyday life.
- How to overcome obstacles and what to achieve over time.
- Instructions on how to adapt to different functional levels.
It is my belief that in our time we need to find our way back to our roots – not stick to traditions, but respect the sources they draw from. In this work, Bjarke does a formidable job of presenting a tradition in a clear and simple way, at the same time as he includes his own experience material so that the tradition comes alive and adapted to our time. It is in itself a work of art and requires the depth of experience and the artist’s creative ability to achieve. Bjarke has written a book of lasting value.
Author, chief physician and specialist in general medicine
Audun Myskja (b. 1953) is a chief physician and specialist in general medicine, with a doctorate in the use of music in elderly care. Together with his wife Reidun Myskja, he runs Senter for livshjelp in Totenvika, with an emphasis on coping medicine – tools for health and growth. He is the author of a number of best-selling books, including Finn din indre kraft, Ungdomskilden, Pust, Kunsten å finne ro og De tibetanske ritene – 15 minutter som forandrer livet ditt. Myskja has developed the studies Music-based environmental treatment and Unit Therapy coping medicine, which provides a professional framework for systematic measures to strengthen coping and contribute to resource-based approaches to unresolved challenges in the health care system and society. He is a prominent speaker and has led a number of national projects for quality improvement in health and care. As a musician, he has released several albums with his own songs and music with instructions for relaxation. Myskja has been a meditation teacher since the eighties, and leads a meditation teacher education at Senter for livshjelp from 2021.
Review of the Book ‘Chakra – Esoteric Yoga’
Yoga’s hidden wisdom and the discovery of yourself
By Christian Paaske – social debater, author, and meditation teacher
A rarely beautiful yoga book has seen the light of day. Bjarke is one of the veterans in the yoga community. He started with yoga already in the 1970s when yoga was new, exciting, and exotic. Reserved for those who ventured off the beaten track to explore new opportunities that large sections of the youth generation did at the time. Many freaked out, let their hair grow, and the bumblebee hiss. Others ‘flipped in’ through discipline, asceticism, exercise, and withdrawal to discover the deeper secrets of yoga. Not in books and theory, but through concrete living experiences in direct contact with the original Indian yoga tradition.
After several years of such intense training and education, Bjarke opened in 1983, among narrow small, and white-painted wooden houses in one of Bergen’s modest alleys, this city’s first yoga center. Later, together with his partner, they expanded to the Ask Retreat Center on the island of Askøy outside Bergen. Here, thousands of students over the years have experienced in-depth and intensive yoga training only possible in secluded surroundings adapted for the purpose and under the guidance of mature teachers. 40 years of continuous yoga teaching provides such a qualification as few other yoga teachers have. Chakra – Esoteric Yoga, is the essence of this teaching, compressed between two thick binders and 168 colorful pages in between.
Bjarke is originally a visual artist. It was the desire to expand his creativity and go deeper into the art that led him to yoga. In 1976, he also met the Danish yogi Swami Janakananda with an artistic background before devoting himself to yoga life. Rather than focusing on art, his point is that yoga is perhaps an even greater art because it provides tools to increase the ability to experience. In addition to a balanced body, a calm mind, sharp concentration, and richer life. The book clearly shows that Bjarke, in addition to being a full-time yoga teacher, has maintained his art. Many of his paintings reproduced in the book show a meditative depth, intensity, and clarity and make the whole book an aesthetic journey and meditation in itself.
The book begins by making it clear that yoga is about being yourself. It is not like in religion and in the self-development environment in general that you get to know that something is wrong with you, and here you get methods to get rid of your guilt, pettiness, and limitation and become a new and better person. You are already yourself, so how can you become something you already are? Yoga is therefore not to make you anything other than what you are basically, but to help you ‘remember’ and learn everything you have mistakenly thought about yourself and discover your own naturalness.
This is also where the theory ends, and is content with this summary of yoga in a nutshell. The rest is your own inner journey and discovery and where yoga’s arsenal of techniques is to awaken clarity and gradually remove the veils of ignorance. There may be an inner guidance that often takes care of itself by having confidence and attentively approaching the process of self-discovery. The book is therefore first and foremost practical with a wealth of techniques, in addition to QR codes for audio and video instructions on a number of different internet platforms. The techniques include all the well-known classical steps of yoga in an integrated whole of physical poses, breathing exercises, relaxation, concentration, and meditation.
The book’s common thread is the seven chakras. There is an esoteric anatomy in what is referred to as the body’s etheric or energy body. Through this energy field, mental and physical processes are controlled and regulated, and where the chakras are seven central energy points. Especially the tantric branch of yoga has added this knowledge. Here are a number of techniques for activating and exploring the chakras and opening seven magical gates in an inner journey of consciousness expansion and self-discovery. The book shows the way and gives ‘keys’ to these gates. How to open them gently and at your own pace. The book refrains from describing or revealing what you can expect to experience inside for several reasons. The mind is most open without preconceived notions and expectations, and perhaps even more important and wisely not to deprive the student of the joy of discovering it for himself.
This is a mature yoga book. It has been 40 years in the making. As a ripe fruit, it can now be picked. It is a gift for anyone who is ready to eat the fruits of yoga’s manifold, lush and life-giving tree. These are the fruits of such a branch of classical yoga from an experienced yoga teacher who now generously shares his knowledge and many years of experience. When the student is ready, the teacher comes, it is said. Maybe this is the book for you who want to move on, even if you are perfect already, – because everything yoga will show you is just that.
Social debater, author and meditation teacher
Christian Paaske is an enthusiastic contributor to public debate, self-development, and spirituality. Great need for exposure and often blows the trumpet to share their knowledge. He is among the veterans of the alternative community. He started with yoga in 1977. Started Stavanger’s first yoga center in 1985 and ran this until 2005. He has always been engaged in astrology and is today a practicing astrologer and astrological subject editor in the magazine Medium since 2007. Apart from being a diligent writer, he is the organizer of The Alternative Fair Healthy – Lifestyle in Stavanger and Bergen. In recent times, Vedanta has lit a fire of self-knowledge and provides the answers he has been searching for all his life.
Bjarke Jørgensen aka ‘Bjarke’ is Danish and was born in 1954. After a 3-month course in 1976, he began his yoga teacher education with Swami Janakananda, in search of combining an active, creative life with spiritual qualities. After 7 years of intense Sadhana and 24/7 ashram life in Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Oslo, he founded the Yoga School in Bergen in 1983. Bjarke has taught classical yoga for more than 40 years, and also the advanced tantric meditations Antar Mauna and Ajapa Japa for the last 37 years. He also uses his creativity in painting, web design, desktop publishing, and building traditional Norwegian log houses. Bjarke lives at Ask Retreat Center with Audhild, and he likes to hike in the mountains both in Norway and abroad.
Dear Bjarke and Audhild,
I wanted to say thank you for the most amazing five days. When I was looking for a yoga retreat and deciding where to go, I found places in Thailand, San Francisco, mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, Greece, etc.
And I chose your retreat because I wanted to do proper yoga and learn proper meditation. I got that, and so much more than I ever expected. I feel like a cleaned up, better version of myself and I’ve laughed more in the past five days than I have all year. Bjarke, I loved your explanation of the energy meditation as housekeeping for the chakras. Clean them up through the meditation and everything neatly falls into place. Audhild, I really enjoyed the Sufi dancing. I didn’t expect to, but it was great fun. And it was the loveliest group of people I’ve come across in a long time. As Maja said, everyone was such good company even during the silent period. Thank you for bringing us together and making the friendships possible.
Please could you also pass my thanks on to Robert for spoiling us with the gorgeous vegan food. That was worth the trip in itself!
I look forward to returning to the school and seeing you both again on another retreat.
On all our Yoga Retreats the main activity is the deepgoing exploration of the original and authentic yoga:
Asanas, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, Pratyahara, Deep Relaxation, Concentration and Meditation in the Tradition of Swami Satyananda and Swami Janakananda. On returning home you have the tools to get back to inner peace, energy and well being.
In addition – as a + activity – you will also get:
- Exceptional good vegeterian food
- Having a good time in the Sauna – bathing in the sea (5 m from the Sauna!)
- Canoing along the seashore exploring the idyllic surroundings
- Shorter and longer Walks in the surrounding hills and mountains
- Just relaxing enjoying the atmosphere of peace and quietness of Ask Retreat Centre
- On the longer Retreats – the 5- and 10-days and the Easter Retreats – we will be Silent for 1-3 days
Ask Retreat Centre
The Retreat Centre is situated undisturbed by the sea, with a great view towards Bergen. Fine possibilities for recreation and walking in the surrounding countryside.
Drone Video of Ask Retreat Centre
Quote of the Day
«During the 33 days of silence, I realised that Swami Janakananda did not just want to teach me something, he wished to give me the opportunity to explore dimensions of my being that I hadn't been aware of before.» (Morten Jon Jepsen)