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Sufi Dance of Oneness® at Menla

The Fascinating History of Menla Retreat Center

And why it is the perfect place for our healing sacred dance!

375 million years ago, a half-mile-wide meteor crashed here, creating the oldest known meteor impact crater on Earth, equivalent of several hundred million tons of TNT and pulverized the bedrock, leaving a 6-mile-wide crater.

Over millions of years, Panther Mountain was gradually fored, a nearly perfectly circular mountain, surrounded by two rivers, one flowing North and the other South. The crater is approximately 1.5 to 2 miles beneath the surface of the earth. The local Native American peoples, including the Esopus and Mahicans, regarded this valley and region as especially sacred, a place of the spirits, used only for ceremonial purposes.

Indoors at Menla

In the 1950s the land was turned into a hotel and then later in 1970s it became the Pathwork Center, a non-sectarian spiritual community and retreat center. By the end of the 1990s, the Pathwork Center had to sell the property. A non-profit called the Aesclepius Foundation purchased the land and started to renovate and upgrade the buildings with the intent of creating a healing center, modeled after an ancient Greek healing tradition. People with illnesses would travel to the Isle of Delos in the Mediterranean, hoping to have a dream of Aesclepius, the Greek god of Healing. In that dream, he would appear to them and reveal both the root causes of their illness and the cure. Phase One (of three) of the renovations was complete when the patrons of the Foundation very generously decided to donate the property to Tibet House, US in 2002 with the understanding that it would continue to be a healing center.

Menla has gorgeous Tibetan Buddhist art and the Center is dedicated to the Dali Lama, so it feels harmonious to connect the Sufi tradition with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Join me at Menla Retreat Center on November 3-5, 2017 for Sufi Dance of Oneness®.

Stunning art inside Menla


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Dance of Oneness® is the dance I had been waiting to do all my life. From a young age I had danced, read watched and followed Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Joffery Ballet, Margie Gillis, Gabriel Roth and many more than I can name that moved in a way that spoke to me. Dance of Oneness® is the culmination of all that I had been drawn to in the other dance forms which seemed to be missing the main ingredient. Banafsheh has found the missing thread which is the opening to the Beloved, to truly give yourself in movement to the Divine energy that resides and moves through all of us from the Earth and the Heavens. I felt that for the first time in our dancing. It also reintroduced me to my own body, allowed me to accept my imperfections and for the first time in years swim naked in the ocean. All of this and more.

Janet Sawatsky


Transformative! Banafsheh skillfully takes us step by step to an experience of dance that brings me deeper into my body, to peace, feeling grounded and open to beauty and to love. Most importantly for me, the process brought me to experience a lovingness toward myself. I appreciate her presence of gentleness and fierce passion, and I’m inspired to bring my best self into my world.

Mary Regis